Unless their unrealistic demands are met within 24 hours, terrorists threaten to launch a chemical weapons attack on German civilians in “New Normal,” Episode 510 of Showtime’s “Homeland.”
Chief among these demands is for the United Nations to recognize the brutal Islamic State as a legitimate government. The CIA’s Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) know that’s impossible, meaning they must intercept the terrorists before they strike.
And the odds of that happening seem slim at best.
“It’s unreasonable to think we’re going to have actionable intelligence by the 5 o'clock deadline,” Dar warns U.S. State Department official Joe Crocker (John Getz).
“We haven’t faced anything on this scale since 9/11,” Saul adds, emphasizing that the German people must be warned immediately.
But that’s a nonstarter, Joe insists, because it would give terrorists “license to send citizens into mass panic anytime they feel like it.”
“It’s a new normal, gentleman,” Joe grimly points out.
Proof that the terrorists possess a chemical weapon is provided in a video broadcast on television. The gruesome images show the CIA’s Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) frothing at the mouth as Sarin gas fills his lungs.
Luckily for the CIA, conscience-stricken Qasim (Alireza Bayram) betrayed his extremist brothers by injecting Peter with Atropine, a nerve gas antidote. The drug saves his life, barely.
Qasim’s merciful act does produce a fatality, however. When Utku (Erol Afsin) spots an empty Atropine cartridge and discovers Peter is alive, terrorist leader Bibi (René Ifrah) goes into a rage. But rather than kill his cousin Qasim, Bibi frames another terrorist and executes him.
“From now on, you don’t talk, you don’t think, you just listen,” Bibi yells at Qasim. “Because the next time you do something without my consent will be your last!”
Among those watching the Sarin video in horror are Peter’s longtime colleague Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and former girlfriend Astrid (Nina Hoss) of Germany’s BND intelligence agency.
While analyzing the images for clues, Carrie and Astrid notice tilework found in more than 1,500 buildings. By tracking Bibi’s electronic transactions and applying a computer algorithm, Carrie and Astrid narrow their search to 39 locations.
When they enter one of the buildings with guns drawn, Carrie and Astrid realize they’ve found the abandoned terrorist hideout. They see the murdered terrorist wrapped in plastic. And they see Peter, who manages to wiggle a finger.
“Astrid,” Carrie exclaims. “He just moved!”
Meanwhile, traitorous Allison Carr (Miranda Otto) exploits the crisis by seeking to resume her CIA duties as Berlin station chief. Saul firmly believes that Allison is a “mole” for Russia and denounces her as a “sociopath.” But Dar takes a pragmatic approach, saying there’s a “political consideration.”
“A Russian penetration at this level would be a scandal from which the agency might never recover,” Dar points out. So he reinstates Allison but keeps her under constant watch.
Finally, philanthropist Otto Düring (Sebastian Koch) faces a dilemma when a client, Faisal Marwan (Ercan Durmaz), admits during a deposition that he overheard talk about a terrorist plot while serving time in prison.
Attorney Jonas Hollander (Alexander Fehling) wants to report this to authorities at once, emphasizing that Otto and his foundation would be culpable if Berlin is hit “and we did nothing.”
Journalist Laura Sutton (Sarah Sokolovic) strongly distrusts the CIA and BND, however, and wants to protect Faisal.
Otto ultimately decides to cooperate with Saul after receiving guarantees that the former prisoner will be treated fairly. But just as Otto, Jonas and Laura step outside, BND officers seize Faisal.
“Guarantees,” Laura says with a cynical smirk.