“All In” | Directed by Alex GravesThe episode opens as Saul,…

“All In” | Directed by Alex Graves

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The episode opens as Saul, Carrie, and the team arrive from Moscow. In an interesting reversal, they are the ones being watched now–by Mirov and Yevgeny. We really like this scene because we finally get to know the full names of Carrie’s Angels, but it also provides some key insight into how Yevgeny views Carrie. He doesn’t view her as an idiot, even as he turned her (unwittingly) against her own country. As Yevgeny stares intensely on the screen in front of him, we understand he’s telling the truth. She is a worthy adversary for him, but now they’re on his turf.

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It’s been nearly a full season since we’ve seen Dar, and the editing, cinematography, and overall directing take great care to make the reveal worth it. Director of Photography Giorgio Scali shoots Dar from afar, behind Paley’s coat, and it’s not until after Dar says his first line, his voice low and gravelly, that we actually see his face.

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Dar is shot from below–much as he has been in prior seasons, especially season six–conveying a power and authority that only now stands in stark contrast to his current position. As he says, he’s been stuck in prison for the last six months.

We also want to note Dar’s black cap here, which matches closely the ones Saul and Carrie wear later in the episode. Is this an intentional costuming choice? Is Dar on his way out, back into the game? Or is it just a coincidence?

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This isn’t totally an “IJLTP” pic, although this shot is really freaking cool. This episode has several “maze-like” shots, and this is the first. Here we gaze down the long, twisty spiral of barbed wire lining the fence surrounding the prison.

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Look at how neatly those guns fit into those suitcases. Guess space is at a premium and guns are more important than clean underwear?

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The meeting room in the Moscow hotel stands out for a few reasons. First, it’s almost the reverse of the Roosevelt room, where Keane met with her entire cabinet last week. Instead of red walls, it has white. Instead of hardwood flooring, we have the ornate red carpeting. The three windows letting in light and rounded ceilings suggest inclusion and a softening of formality. Here as in Keane’s meeting last week, it’s mostly for show, and the tension between the two sides is palpable.

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We discussed this briefly in the podcast, but Carrie doesn’t say a single word in the episode until about 15 minutes in (it goes without saying how unusual that is), instead opting to let Saul do the talking. She sits, observes, listens, and synthesizes information.

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And here we have Simone, similarly silent in this early scene with Yevgeny, letting him do all the talking as Carrie does with Saul. This show has made a great effort to show the similarities between Yevgeny and Carrie, but after Carrie and Simone’s literal identity switch at the end of this episode, the parallels between these two capable and smart as hell women are even more interesting.

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Fucking Janet! She’s literally in the driver’s seat. Fucking Janet’s all about survival now, and nothing’s going to stop her–not even treason. (Her relationship with Paley reminds us of that old adage, “behind every successful man is a strong woman.” Maybe she wanted to crush Clint because he referred to her as Paley’s “assistant.”)

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We have to give props to Dylan Baker in this scene (he’s been great all season actually). He stares straight ahead, his light blue eyes almost see-through, unable to look at Janet’s treasonous meeting with the Russian ambassador. Is he too cowardly to stop her? Trying to maintain some form of deniability? Not wanting to get his hands dirty? All of the above? (Sara’s comment here: “lulz… what a snake.”)

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These are just incredible shots. They look like something out of a James Bond film. What was the budget for this episode? The production values are incredible.

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We’ve talked a lot over the season about Yevgeny’s casual, almost lackadaisical conversational manner, and it’s no different in his first interaction with Carrie. As he lists off the various American aggressions toward Russia over the last thirty years, Carrie rises, losing her temper. Was he trying to provoke her? His smirk as she glares at him certainly suggests so. (Quick aside, and it’s difficult to capture via screenshot, but we love how Carrie mimics the same pattern of numbering off the various perceived aggressions of the other side, proof she’ll meet him blow for blow.)

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Here’s the second maze-like shot of the episode, this one as Anson, Bennet, and the rest of the team ascend the steps of Yevgeny’s dacha.

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We also talked on this week’s podcast about how closely this episode paralleled “Halfway to a Donut” in season four, also directed by Alex Graves. This stare-down (again, a terse look from Carrie, and a smirk from Yevgeny) after the blown op matches the one Carrie exchanges with the ISI members as Saul’s rescue mission collapsed before their eyes.

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After making a big deal about his tie color last episode (starting with red and then switching to blue), we’re paying a bit more attention to Beau’s tie choices this episode. As the news that the Supreme Court has ruled against Keane 5-4 comes in, he’s wearing a blue and red striped tie, possibly an indicator that he’s caught between both sides (red would be the presidential side, as Wellington here is wearing a red tie; last episode he starts with red and then switches to blue, an indicator of his overall arc moving from Keane’s side to Paley’s).

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IJLTP. Face to face, head to head.

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IJLTP, part II. Also, kudos to the visual effects team because the Budapest skyline definitely does not look like that.

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Here are Carrie and Saul, both in black knit caps like Dar at the beginning of the episode, as Carrie tries to convince Saul that their operation can still be a success. It’s reminiscent of their rooftop conversation in “Beirut Is Back,” when Carrie has to convince Saul that despite recent events and evidence, she can be trusted. How many times have they actually had this conversation over the years?

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This line of black SUVs speeding down the streets of Moscow is reminiscent of season four, too. But again… with all these aerial shots and huge action sequences, what was this episode’s budget? We’re still amazed.  

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We’ve not really talked much about the Simone/Yevgeny relationship, but the writers deserve a lot of props for the twist of making them lovers. It complicates the story ten-fold in ways similar to the Carrie/Brody romance. We can’t really say their relationship is on the same level, but this shot, with their bodies in shadow and light coming in through the window, is ship-worthy.

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Note the portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the left. The use of presidential portraits this season has seemed intentional. Lincoln was of course the president during the American Civil War and is often credited with saving the country. Gail thinks that ultimately this is what Beau will do.

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BACK TO TIE COLOR. It’s the next day, and Beau’s tie is now red after assuming the presidency.

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Carrie on the roof! More “Beirut Is Back” vibes.

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Carrie inching her way across the exterior of the GRU building is the climax of the episode and the sequence is painstakingly, stressfully slow (as it should be). Graves and Scali shoot the sequence in wide, medium, and extreme close-up shots. We get both the macro scale of what she’s attempting and the human scale: the fear and anxiety in her eyes, her fingers wrapped tightly around the building. She is quite literally on the edge.

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Spidey!Carrie! Sorry, this crouched pose is fucking hilarious and Claire Danes is a capital-Q Queen forever.

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Sigh… how amazing does Carrie’s hair look here?? Sara will go all into it on Things Carrie Wore This Week. Maybe we should all start scaling buildings to get that perfect ~windswept look.

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Simone is wearing white in this scene, Carrie’s in grey, and Yevgeny’s in black. So literal.

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IJLTP.

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Here is the last of the maze-like shots, yet another staircase (or exit) leading out from Mirov’s suite. Unlike the aerial shot of the wide stairs leading to Yevgeny’s dacha, here we see a tighter shot and the space between the flights is tiny. The window is closing to get Simone out of Russia and finding her may be like finding a needle in a haystack.

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This is some great face work from Costa Ronin. The betrayal in his eyes and the barely-contained anger in his face. Damn…

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The tried and true, good ol’ switcheroo! Carrie gives Anson a slight smile, high on the triumph of persuading Simone to get the hell out of there. (So we know that everything’s gonna go to shit in the finale.)

Simone, meanwhile, crouched in the backseat of the car (sorry, but “America First” parallels) looks skyward. There’s an eerie calm to her expression (that also doesn’t bode well) but more than anything she looks like a deer in the headlights. Almost all of episodes this season have concluded with Carrie, closing in on her face, trying to locate her psychologically. Here, we have a look at her doppelgänger. 

She’s left behind the man she loves, the man who would have killed her had she hesitated a second longer. It’s a strange reality to have to come to terms with–in Carrie’s words, it’s the deal they make in the work they do–and it’s dark out here, in the cold.