WARNING: Major spoilers from last night’s episode of Homeland, “Better Call Saul.” Go call someone else if you don’t want to be spoiled.
I warned you.
Okay, we good?
Last night’s episode gave viewers a few revelations to mull over: notably, the realization that Allison is so much more than the CIA’s Berlin Station Chief. We know now that she is working in some capacity with the Russians and we have to ask ourselves why. I think after last night, the reason for the hit on Carrie became apparent: killing Carrie (whom they deem responsible for the CIA document leaks) means no one is left to warn Saul about the impending danger facing him and the CIA. Of course we also know that Allison and the Russians failed in that regard because Carrie does meet up with Saul (and whether or not he believes her is another matter entirely).
Even though Peter Quinn’s life is hanging in the balance and I’m distraught at the prospect of losing him, I want to discuss the more important matter at hand: Allison’s end game. Seriously, what is she playing at?
The easiest answer: Blackmail
Given Allison’s frightened state at meeting with Ivan, someone less familiar with the twists of Homeland might guess that Allison is being blackmailed by the Russian SVR spy agency. It wouldn’t be against the show’s portrayal of the Russians to have them hold a loved one ransom to get what they want. Allison did react strongly to potentially being sent back Stateside at the beginning of the season, but these plans seem to be a long time in the making and I doubt that any connection Allison has to the SVR is new.
Which means she could be Russian herself.
Allison has already proven to the viewers that she is adept at playing the fool and covering up an accent. Allison very well could have been an SVR agent from the start and now her intelligence operation has extended into CIA destabilization missions. The relationship between Allison and Ivan as they sat behind their respective cars came across as more than just an unwilling partner in the Russians’ schemes. She even goes so far as to ask Ivan to sit with her for a few more minutes, quietly sharing a cigarette. Something romantic, perhaps?
Or she’s playing both the SVR and CIA and working with ISRAEL
Homeland is very good at toying with a person’s allegiances, even having some people question the loyalties of both Saul and Peter Quinn. Allison seemed distant toward the Mossad agent Etai at dinner and maybe Allison is keeping her distance from him to keep eyes on Saul’s relationship with him. How else would Etai know about the coup that totally-isn’t-a-coup?
But my number one explanation for Allison’s actions would be…
Saul and Allison have a plan
This would be incredibly Saul and Carrie-esque but we know from past seasons that Saul is not above putting his agents in harm’s way for the sake of intelligence. Early on in the season, Allison lashes out at Saul for not protecting her from Dar Adal the way he would have protected Carrie. Is this out of romantic jealousy or because such a move would put a dent in all her efforts with the SVR? I imagine that in order to obtain some legitimacy with the SVR, Allison would need to keep some plans a secret, like the bombing of Gen. Youssaf’s plane, in order to reach the long-term goal.
What is that goal, exactly? Well, hear me out. I think Saul and Allison plan to expose a connection between Dar Adal and the SVR. Dar Adal is the one who wants to hurry up and go ahead with the coup, even when Israeli allies are against the power shift, and even when overthrowing dictators has ended horribly in nearly every instance for the United States. Why would Dar Adal create such a situation in the middle east? Because it gives Russian the destabilization it needs to take control of the area. Ivan mentions to Allison that he needs her to create suspicion surrounding Saul. Why? Because the SVR already has Dar Adal in its pocket and Saul is the only one wise enough to recognize Adal’s suspicious behavior. I mean, have we already forgotten Adal’s behavior in seasons two and three and then that car ride with Haqqani at the end of last season?
Using Quinn’s hit list, knowing he wouldn’t hurt Carrie would have been the only safe way for Saul and Allison to attract her attention, to bring her back to the CIA without raising red flags. And then with their powers combined, they can take down the corruption from the inside out. Exposing Dar Adal’s true nature has been a long time coming and I think things will finally come to fruition by the end of the season.
Homeland airs Sundays at 9PM EST on Showtime.