TV Show Review

TV Review: HOMELAND: Season 5, Episode 9: The Litvinov Ruse [Showtime]

Mandy Patinkin Claire Danes Homeland The Litvinov Ruse

Showtime‘s Homeland The Litvinov Ruse TV Show Review. Homeland: Season 5, Episode 9: The Litvinov Ruse was the culmination of great writing and character work all season long. Homeland did something this season, for the last three episodes, that TV series rarely do. It introduced a new, major character, not a throw-away character, but an integral one, a person that is an intellectual match for anyone else on the series. I don’t believe Allison Carr (Miranda Otto) is going anywhere, especially by the end of the season, as is the norm when an actor or actress of note is added to an already established TV series (e.g. Katie Holmes on last season of Ray Donovan). Too much great work has gone into Allison’s construction (i.e. All About Allison) for that to happen. The Litvinov Ruse solidified that belief.

The main villain in A View to A Kill believed that “intuitive improvisation” was the secret of genius. CIA Berlin Station Chief Allison Carr may have proved that assertion correct in The Litvinov Ruse. Like CIA European Division Chief Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) displayed earlier in the season, Allison displayed a masterful use of intellect and ‘thinking-on-her-feet’ in The Litvinov Ruse. It was very impressive to behold. CIA looks for cerebral individuals to fill its ranks. Carr not only proved that she is one of those cerebral individuals in this episode but that she may be one of the best (she was promoted to Station Chief after all.)

Allison’s spur-of-the-moment plan in the third act of The Litvinov Ruse was brilliant. Like The Joker in The Dark Knight, Allison took “their little plan and turned it on itself.” Her last minute maneuver would not have been possible if Russian Intelligence Agent Ivan Krupin (Mark Ivanir) had not passed Allison useful information over the years. Allison’s improvisation was almost stumbled upon: Allison panicked, then Ivan lost control, blamed Allison, and pseudo-psychically assaulted her, then the brainstorm occurred i.e. a reason for everything that Allison had done that day, going all the way back for twelve years.

As Allison sat in her chair, telling CIA Director Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) her story, she was confident and completely in control. She had bested all those that would see her exposed and thrown in jail. Those two people, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson, were shocked and dismayed. They both knew there was no way they could disprove what Allison was saying. Her clever spin absolved her of all guilt. Not only that, it implicated Carrie and Saul in blowing her fictional twelve year operation, effectively making her the victim of the day’s events. Like I said previously, it was brilliant.

Carrie and Saul’s only saving grace is that Allison doesn’t know that they were part of the operation. They may be able to turn that to their advantage in someway, though Allison will be on full alert for years now after this close call and everyone will know it.

Allison will most-likely expose every aspect of her and Ivan’s relationship, switching their roles, so there will be nothing left for Carrie and Saul to expose or for CIA to discover. Examples: 1.) Allison used Acrobat to turn Ivan. 2.) Allison will have no idea who was trying to kill Carrie. If Ivan was, it was not sanctioned by Allison. Allison didn’t even know Carrie was involved until Saul told her.

The ‘recruitment’ of jihadist Qasim (Alireza Bayram) by CIA Special Operations Group Operative Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) while the both of them were ‘in play’ was handled expertly. Quinn didn’t immediately ask for Qasim’s help. Quinn showed him the cost of inaction then asked for his help in a way that would get neither of them killed. Quinn was in a perilous situation, yet he was able to think clearly, manipulate while maintaining his composure (attesting to his psychology training).

Qasim’s improvisation before Quinn entered the Sarin gas chamber made it seem as though Qasim had been trained by CIA as well. I didn’t see any of what followed coming i.e. the needle stab. Neither did Qasim’s confederates. That was the point. Carrie Mathison could not have done a better job of ‘recruiting.’

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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