Homeland-Showtime-Season-5-premiere-reviewOver the past four years, we’ve watched Homeland’s stars repeatedly rationalize their “good work” all while leaving a pile of body bags behind. But this time around, with the start of season 5, we’re getting a glimpse at what becomes of human time bombs never properly defused. “Separation Anxiety,” clued us into a whole new Carrie, and now we’re seeing a show far different from the one that started back in 2011.

Remember when Carrie used to work for the CIA? Well, that’s long gone, but as her colleague Laura Sutton so bitterly points out in the season premier, “You can take the girl out of the CIA, but, you know…,” couldn’t be more on point. Picking up two years after we last saw a lost and broken Carrie driving aimlessly around the suburbs, we’re learning about her new life and fans of the show have been beyond impressed:

Living a life of domesticity in Berlin, Carrie now heads up security for the ill-defined German philanthropy, During Foundation – it’s never fully disclosed what they do, but the money they have to do it with is plentiful. In this new life Carrie is a churchgoer, has a new beau, and is finally the devoted mom to Fanny she always should’ve been. She is seemingly happy to be rid of her CIA ties and appears more level-headed and balanced than we’ve ever seen her before. Elsewhere in Berlin, hackers stationed at a brothel have overpowered the CIA’s server and accessed hundreds of files. Staging this season in a politically-turbulent part of the world has enabled screenwriters to explore the deeper complexities of international affairs, tying in current headlines as well as realistic criticisms of America’s role as “global policeman.” Not only does this episode touch on the American war on terror, but Carrie is placed right in the middle of the Syrian refugee crisis with her new boss.

Back across the pond at Langley, tensions are running high as Quinn has returned from a two year stint in Syria running special ops. And when Carrier visits the Berlin CIA Station and runs into Saul, who’s back after taking last season off, an emotionally intense scene follows. Both look pained as they remain on the outs in perhaps the most ‘real’ scene in the entire episode.

Of course, it’s not long before Carrie’s perfect life is shaken up and her old skills are summoned when she faces unexpected challenges on the job. Upon request from her billionaire philanthropist boss, Otto Düring, she attempts to find a way for his safe passage into Lebanon to personally aid refugees at the border – however, her plans go awry when she is kidnapped by the Hezbollah commander’s men after trying to deliver a message their way. With bound wrists in an abandoned parking lot, she somehow manages to get the word across and is dropped in front of her house. Audiences are left wondering, could this be the segue back to her old life she’s secretly been waiting for?

And here we are again, back in Homeland’s grasp as the show plays with our emotions and perceptions of good and evil, something it’s be doing since the bygone era of Season 1. At the moment, the big questions of the season all revolve around Carrie, Quinn, and Saul as per usual, but with this new locale and timeline it’s hard to tell where we’re headed from here. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a serious game of Spy vs. Spy with the premier having laid solid groundwork for another cutting edge season. Catch up on the premier on Showtime, DTV, or Hulu and tune in next Sunday at 9PM to see what comes Carrie’s way next.

This is a guest author article written by Spencer Blohm.