Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) thinks she’s finished with the war on terror but soon discovers it’s not done with her in “Separation Anxiety,” the Season 5 premiere of Showtime’s espionage thriller “Homeland.”
It’s been almost two years since Carrie and her CIA comrades suffered a disastrous defeat when Taliban fighters overran the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.
Now she’s a private citizen living in Berlin, happily raising her preschool daughter Franny (Luna/Lotta Pfitzer) and praying for atonement, perhaps, at a cathedral. She’s also head of security for the mysterious Düring Foundation.
Carrie, however, finds herself caught between two worlds in Deutschland.
Some CIA officials brand her a traitor for protecting billionaire industrialist/philanthropist Otto Düring (Sebastian Koch), whose charity is accused of supporting organizations with terrorist ties.
And some colleagues at the foundation – especially dissident American journalist Laura Sutton (Sarah Sokolovic) – believe Carrie never made a clean break from the CIA.
The relative safety Carrie enjoys is shattered when Otto announces he’s traveling to a Lebanese refugee camp in three days. His mission is providing food and medical supplies for Syrians fleeing Islamic State militants and other threats.
Additional security is needed, Otto casually remarks.
“Additional security is what we take to conferences in Geneva,” Carrie says with alarm. “This is a war zone! We’re really not equipped.”
Realizing Otto won’t be deterred, Carrie scrambles to prepare for the dangerous journey.
“It’s like my old life came back – everything I moved here to get away from,” Carrie sadly tells Jonas Hollander (Alexander Fehling), her live-in boyfriend and Düring’s attorney.
Although the United Nations officially administers the camp, it’s unofficially controlled by Hezbollah forces. Accordingly, Carrie pleads with Islamic scholar Sheik Hafiz (Samir Fuchs) to contact fugitive Hezbollah commander Al-Amin (George Georgiou).
Carrie comes face to face with Al-Amin after being kidnapped, hooded and taken to his hiding place in Berlin. Al-Amin initially appears more inclined to murder Carrie than cooperate with her, given the multitude of deaths she caused during her CIA tenure.
“You killed my son in Beirut,” Al-Amin growls. “I will fight you forever!”
But when Carrie points out that Hezbollah risks “disease and starvation on a massive scale” at the crowded camp – and she offers Al-Amin a sizable bribe – he relents and lets her go.
Meanwhile, a hacktivist named Numan (Atheer Adel) inadvertently penetrates a CIA database and downloads top-secret files regarding an illegal arrangement between American and German intelligence agencies.
When Numan reaches out to Laura at the Düring Foundation, she’s eager to expose the inflammatory information, even though it would quash efforts to track down jihadi terrorists.
“Germany’s doing an end run around its privacy laws by having the U.S. do the spying for them,” Laura excitedly tells Carrie, who refuses to confirm the existence of such a program.
“You can take the girl out of the CIA,” Laura snaps, “but, you know.”
Finally, black ops specialist Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) is dispatched to Berlin following the data breach, which has become a full-blown scandal thanks to Laura and Otto.
Germany and America quickly disavow the unlawful surveillance program, meaning Peter must target terrorists on his own.
“You’ll be out of the agency,” cautions Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), who now serves as CIA European Division chief. “No acknowledgement if you’re caught. No contact from today.”
The only supports Peter receives are operating funds and the key to a mailbox where Saul leaves details about which terrorist to assassinate.
“Put the names in the box,” Peter solemnly says. “I’ll take care of whoever you put in there.”