'Homeland': Hospitality ain't what it used to be

Episode 502Stephan Rabold/SHOWTIME

Claire Danes’s Carrie Mathison has reason to frown on Sunday night’s episode of ‘Homeland.’

Having secured a guarantee from Hezbollah over her boss’s safety during his impending trip to a Lebanon refugee camp, Carrie (Claire Danes) still isn’t taking any chances.

She bribes a local commander with a $ 40,000 bribe just to ensure Otto During (Sebastian Koch) will get an hour to make a speech about his $ 10 million check for humanitarian aid in front of the television cameras. But of course, this being “Homeland,” it’s not going to be a worthy investment.

And when the bombs go off, it pretty much blows up any pretense that Carrie is out of the espionage game.

Back in Germany, American Reporter Laura Sutton (Sarah Sokolovic) is busy causing an explosion of a less literal kind after having posted a CIA document forwarded to her by a computer hacker that proves the German government was allowing the U.S. to spy on German citizens to evade local privacy laws.

The writers are clearly mining the Edward Snowden case, and the fallout gives them plenty of material with which to torture poor Saul (Mandy Patankin). When Germany puts pressure on the CIA to use bureau chief Allison Carr (Miranda Otto) a scapegoat and demote her.

But the veteran spook instead goes around Saul’s back, secretly campaigning to Langley to throw her supervisor under the bus instead.

The script is less tight when it comes to Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), who has clearly lost whatever emotional growth he achieved last season and has reverted to his old killing machine ways.

In this episode he guns down an unarmed Muslim woman named Fatima, literal overkill for a middle-woman who recruits idealistic teenage girls to ship them off to be wives for ISIL fighters. (Another subplot torn out of yesterday’s headlines!) He exits only to get his next kill order, literally out of a post-office box.

Carrie has more immediate problems as During finally heads into the refugee camp for his publicity stunt.  The hour has run out, but despite her protestations, her boss goes past the deadline to “press the flesh.” It’s pretty obvious to viewers that it’s going to be a horrible mistake.

Sure enough, a man in a suicide vest materializes. Though he’s shot dead before he can get close, as During’s security team scrambles to get him out of there, Carrie notices that their Hezbollah hosts have disappeared.

Realizing that there’s something wrong, she orders their driver to stop… just in time to avoid the IED that goes off near them. She takes over behind the wheel and gets the team to the safety of the U.N. forces’ compound.

Episode 502Stephan Rabold/SHOWTIME

Sebastian Koch’s Otto During has listening issues.

But that’s not enough of a win by her standards, so she stays behind in Lebanon to investigate what went wrong.

“We just stayed too long,” analyzes Carrie’s boss.

“It was carefully planned,” she answers, “they were going to hit us on the way out not matter what.”

Later, she’s far less of a bad-ass in the bathroom, where she finally breaks down. There’s the crying Carrie face we know and love.

She learns the truth when she returns to her hotel room to find a visitor from Hezbollah waiting for her. He’s not there to kill her, but rather to pay back the $ 40,000, since the terror group didn’t live up to its side of the original bargain.

Under torture, the local commander who took the money admitted that he set up the group he had sworn to protect under “the tradition of hospitality.” (Hence the title, of this week’s episode).

The plot thickens: During wasn’t the intended target, Carrie was.

“Whoever paid him, he was more afraid of them than of dying,” explains her visitor. “Someone wants you dead.”

Then the plot thickens even more: that someone may be inside Carrie’s old workplace, the CIA.

A continent away, Quinn gets his newest assassination order in the form of a coded message in a newspaper from the postal box: M-A-T-H-E-S-O-N.

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Entertainment – NY Daily News