Where to start, where to start?!?
There is so much to latch onto to make you want to toss your TV out the window on Homeland Season 5 Episode 11, it's practically impossible to pinpoint any one area to focus the distress signals.
At one point, Allison is called damaged goods by a Russian or German agent working on behalf of Russia, and that seems like a good enough place to begin, because not only is Allison damaged, so is terrorist Qasim, poor, poisoned Quinn and, what the hell, let's just toss in Homeland, because the writing is seriously not up to par if someone thinks we should buy these scenarios as dramatic.
What's happening on "Our Man in Damascus" SHOULD be riveting. It really should. One of the best characters on the series, Peter Quinn, is fighting for his life. The station chief in Berlin is a Russian spy, and there is a major terrorist act being carried out in her city.
Instead, it's all kind of comical.
Poor, poisoned Peter Quinn has seen better days. He's our tough guy, dammit. Even at his worst, he's always been somewhat of a renegade. Now we've been set up to expect his demise.
He was tortured and survived merely because the kind terrorist (oh we'll get to him shortly) couldn't stand to see Peter die. The kind terrorist cousin of the big bad terrorist, who can't shake his soft spot for said cousin. We couldn't write this crap if we tried.
Carrie and Saul treat poor, poisoned Peter Quinn worse in their quest for information about the impending terrorist attack than anyone has treated suspected spy Allison or the big, bad terrorist treated his kind terrorist cousin when he saved Quinn's life.
Allison is nothing but a whining bitch. It's absolutely ludicrous that she has remained active and on her own with one bodyguard who was faithful to her. She continued getting communication from her spy friends that made even the most simpleton TV viewer take note, but her bodyguard thought nothing of it. Meanwhile, Allison runs around acting self-righteous and with a genuine sense of indignation that she has a pal at her side.
Why are we being treated like we've never seen a season of Homeland before? Where is the mystery? Allison was allowed to go interview (and kill) someone and it JUST SO HAPPENS to be the very man she needs to see for the Kremlin?
And are we to believe the BND has no ballistics testing? No way to trace the trajectory of bullets firing? A simple CSI team could have disproved Allison's story in mere minutes once they entered that apartment. Where's the gunshot residue on the professor's hand? Let me take out my handy dandy gismo and check it out. Oh. He has none. Hey! He didn't fire a gun, Allison. What gives?
Then Carrie calls and tells them where the attack is taking place, but, whoops, too late. ALLISON HAS ALREADY TOLD THEM WHERE IT IS. THE TRAITOR. Oh. My. God.
Seriously. I'm laughing as I type this.
Laura Sutton is out there hoping and praying the attack is going to happen, because our rights, and I just hope she's on a train after being on the TV show. Nowhere near the open door Qasim left, of course.
Oh Homeland. Couldn't you just commit to a terrorist story if you wanted to do one? Did you REALLY have to have Bibi the soft-spotted lead terrorist and his cousin Qasim at the top of it? When does that ever happen? Where are the stories of people in real life recollecting how the terrorist let them through the gate and didn't lock it because he was actually a kind-hearted soul?
There aren't any, because it doesn't happen.
But there are probably great stories about people like the Good Samaritan and those who surround him. The rest of the religion. If you want to show both sides of the story, be realistic about it. Show the radicalized Muslims for what they are and then show the rest of the Muslims for what they are, normal people, because they are plentiful and would probably not like to be confused with terrorists. Just sayin'.
Qasim and Allison are a lot alike. Qasim wants to think he's a nice guy, but he just keeps going along with a bunch of terrorists. There's nothing heroic in that, no matter from which angle you look at it. Allison likes to think she's a good person, but she didn't hesitate to save her own ass when she was told she was damaged goods. It's my last mission? Millions of dollars it is! Buh bye Germans!
So what's going to happen in the finale? To what will Homeland commit? They sure like Allison. Not too fond of Peter, he'll be in more trouble. Qasim will probably go out as a hero. Will Carrie be stuck in the train station as the sarin gas starts to leak out?
Take a look at the preview for Homeland Season 5 Episode 12 and then shout at me in the comments. I feel a lot of heat coming my way.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.