By tapping into the manic phase of her bipolar disorder, former CIA official Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) attempts to discover who wants her dead on “Super Powers,” Episode 503 of Showtime’s “Homeland.”
Carrie learned from a Hezbollah soldier that she -- not her philanthropist boss Otto Düring (Sebastian Koch) -- was the target when a bomb exploded at a Lebanese refugee camp.
Now Carrie lays low in Germany and sifts through a huge pile of material related to her tenure as a “spook” in the Middle East.
To accomplish the daunting task of pinpointing her would-be killer, Carrie stops taking lithium so she can channel “all that crazy energy” of a bipolar high while still remaining lucid.
It’s the inevitable post-manic crash that worries Carrie, which is why she convinces her boyfriend, Jonas (Alexander Fehling), to stand by with a fast-acting sedative.
“It can get ugly sometimes,” Carrie tells Jonas, warning him that symptoms such as rapid speech, incoherence and abusive behavior mean she must take her meds pronto. “You’ll know when it’s time,” she emphasizes, “believe me!”
Carrie’s strategy seems to work as she narrows down a long list of suspects. But by revisiting the hundreds of deaths she caused, guilt overcomes this so-called Drone Queen. And after drinking vodka to ease the pain, Carrie begins sobbing and hallucinating in a full-blown psychotic episode.
Now a ghost from her past appears. It’s a vision of Aayan Ibrahim (Suraj Sharma), a naive CIA asset executed in Season 4 by his terrorist uncle Haissam Haqqani (Numan Acar).
“It wasn’t him,” Aayan insists, referring to Haissam’s photo on the wall. Want to know the real culprit? “Come closer,” Aayan beckons, “I’ll whisper in your ear.”
When Carrie starts ranting about “avenging angels” and lamenting that she “can’t atone for that much blood, for that many souls,” Jonas rushes to get the meds. Carrie turns combative, however, and only takes her pills after Jonas threatens to call an ambulance, which would have revealed their location.
What does reveal Carrie’s hideout is a clever ploy by her former comrade, CIA black ops specialist Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend).
By posing as a police officer, Peter pretends to arrest but actually kidnaps Jonas’ son, Steffan (Joshio Marlon). And when Jonas’ ex-wife, Jana (Luise Heyer), relays the disturbing news, Peter traces the phone call to a house in the forest.
“We’re blown,” Carrie exclaims when she realizes what happened. “I’m saying that whoever is trying to kill me, they’re coming here!”
But Jonas is more concerned about finding his missing son than helping Carrie escape.
Knowing she can’t count on Jonas, who hurriedly departs for Berlin, Carrie grabs a sniper rifle and scrambles to a lookout point in the woods. After darkness falls, she sees a car pull up and a hooded figure emerge carrying a pistol with a silencer.
The intruder is Peter, who’s apparently under orders from CIA European division chief Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) to track down and eliminate Carrie.
Why would Saul want to assassinate his former protege? He believes Carrie betrayed her country by signing on as head of security for the Düring Foundation, which is accused of financially supporting Islamic terrorist organizations across Europe.
Because Carrie spots Peter before he sees her, she gets off the first shot. But Peter, who’s protected by a bulletproof vest, manages to sneak up behind Carrie, choke her into unconsciousness and inject her with a drug.
If Peter meant to kill Carrie, she’d be dead by now. So luckily for Carrie, Peter at least wants to hear her side of the story before possibly pulling that trigger.