‘Homeland’ recap: Carrie is at a crossroads as season dramatically ends

After thwarting a bioweapon attack in Berlin, former CIA intelligence officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) finds herself at a personal and professional crossroads in “A False Glimmer” (Episode 512), the Season 5 finale of Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Her former CIA boss, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), fervently wants Carrie back at the agency, promising her “complete autonomy” in waging the war on terror.

For if Carrie hadn’t tracked down and killed jihadi leader Bibi Hamed (René Ifrah) -- with help from his conscience-stricken cousin Qasim (Alireza Bayram), who died in the process -- thousands of civilians would have succumbed to deadly Sarin gas inside a crowded subway station.

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But Carrie’s answer to Saul is “no,” emphasizing that she’s “not that person anymore.”

Carrie desires to lead a quiet life far away from global hot spots by spending time with her young daughter, Franny (Luna/Lotta Pfitzer), and reuniting with estranged boyfriend Jonas Hollander (Alexander Fehling).

Forget about Jonas, however. He ends his “crazy” relationship with bipolar Carrie, saying he doesn’t “want to go through life always worried about what’s around the next corner.”

While that door closes for Carrie, another one opens in the form of an unexpected proposal from her current boss, philanthropist Otto Düring (Sebastian Koch). Instead of retaining “brilliant, free-thinking” Carrie as his head of security, Otto has a more vital role in mind.

“I want a partner,” Otto announces. “Someone who knows the world for what it is but also knows it must be made better. Someone to share my life with.”

Otto doesn’t need an answer this minute, he assures dumbfounded Carrie. He gives her a month to decompress from her ordeal with terrorists and would-be assassins before making a decision.

In other developments, Saul makes a generous offer to captured Russian spy Ivan Krupin (Mark Ivanir). Ivan will enter a witness protection program at a Wyoming ski resort if he helps locate CIA turncoat Allison Carr (Miranda Otto), a devious “mole” for Russian intelligence.

In Allison’s final assignment for Moscow, she almost made the terrorist attack succeed by directing authorities to the Berlin airport rather than the subway station. Now she’s hiding in the trunk of a sedan and speeding toward the Russian border.


Thanks to intelligence from Ivan, Saul and his team send Allison’s driver down a remote side road where an ambush awaits. After the car is riddled with machine gun bullets, Saul opens the trunk and stares unemotionally at Allison’s bloody corpse.

Finally, CIA agent Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) remains in critical condition and may never regain consciousness or cognitive function.

First he was nearly killed when terrorists made a recording of him as Sarin filled his lungs. (If not for Qasim’s secret injection of Atropine, Peter would already be dead.) Then Peter nearly died a second time after suffering a severe brain hemorrhage in the hospital.

In a “goodbye” letter Peter composed during a dangerous mission in Syria, he confessed his unrequited love for Carrie. This former street kid once thought that “maybe, just maybe” he had a chance for a “real life” with Carrie.


“But I know now that was a false glimmer,” like a mirage in the desert, Peter wrote. “So don’t put a star on the wall for me. Don’t say some dumb speech. Just think of me as a light in the heavens, a beacon steering you clear of the rocks.”

As Carrie tearfully prepares to end Peter’s suffering with a mercy killing, she pauses when sunlight suddenly floods into the room.

A divine message, perhaps? It’s an intriguing cliffhanger, for sure. And one that won’t be resolved until “Homeland” returns next year for Season 6.