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'Homeland' recap: Allison's traitorous transformation revealed

Allison Carr (Miranda Otto), shown with Russian spy Ivan Krupin (Mark Ivanir), fears her traitorous actions will be discovered on "Homeland."
Allison Carr (Miranda Otto), shown with Russian spy Ivan Krupin (Mark Ivanir), fears her traitorous actions will be discovered on "Homeland." (Stephan Rabold/Showtime)

Flashbacks tell the story of how burnout, bribery and betrayal turn an ambitious CIA intelligence officer into a reluctant Russian spy on "All About Allison," Episode 508 of Showtime's "Homeland."

These revelations about turncoat Allison Carr (Miranda Otto) explain why she tried to assassinate her successor at the CIA Baghdad station, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). Because if Carrie pieces the clues together, Allison goes to prison and the Russians lose their most valuable "mole" in history.

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The key figure in this twisted tale is Ahmed Nazari (Darwin Shaw), a greedy attorney who gained Allison's confidence by feeding her crucial intel a decade ago during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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But Ahmed was actually a Russian asset who trapped Allison in a sting operation. Ahmed sealed the deal by offering to flee Baghdad with Allison and split $8 million.

"This is for us to share," Ahmed announces. "I am in love with you! I want us to be together!"

While Allison conspires with Ahmed to rendezvous in the West Indies — where they'll sip daiquiris at a cozy beach bar — Russian spy Ivan Krupin (Mark Ivanir) records the conversation with hidden cameras and microphones. Busted!

"I know what this is," Allison yells at Ivan. "I'm not a traitor!"

"Russian and American interests are more aligned now than they've been in the past 17 years," Ivan says, claiming Allison will never be asked to compromise U.S. security.

"You see, this little spy game we're playing here doesn't have to be one-sided," Ivan continues. "I can pass intelligence to you too," thus helping both of them rise to the top of their respective agencies.

And that $8 million Ahmed offered to share with Allison? She'll indeed get half, Ivan promises, "to take the edge off the uncertainty that frightens you so."

What frightens Allison in the present day is Carrie's relentless determination to identify who wants her dead and why.

Carrie already knows the Russians don't want her examining stolen CIA files about Ahmed. She knows Ahmed wasn't killed in Iraq but escaped to Amsterdam. And now she possesses Ahmed's laptop and has enlisted computer expert Numan (Atheer Adel) to crack the password.

To determine whether Carrie should live or die, Allison meets her at a German café and poses as a sympathetic listener. If Carrie is close to discovering the truth, Allison will signal a Russian sniper by lighting a cigarette.

Carrie is keenly interested in Ahmed and wants to know if his intel was reliable. It always checked out, Allison insists.

"And you never suspected him of being a plant," Carrie asks with a look of surprise, "of playing both sides against the middle?"

Allison takes pity on Carrie, knowing she wants out of the espionage business so she can lead a safe and happy life with her young daughter. Accordingly, Allison puts away her cigarettes and the sniper stands down.

That move may have doomed Allison, however. For Numan eventually breaks into Ahmed's computer and Carrie is startled to see the screen saver. It's a picture of Ahmed at that West Indies beach bar Allison raved about. Busted again!

"Oh, my God," Carrie exclaims, realizing her former comrade is a Russian spy. "Allison!"

Finally, CIA black ops specialist Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) journeys to Kosovo with a band of jihadi fighters on the pretense of sneaking them into Syria.

But the group's leader, Bibi (René Ifrah), has other plans. He ties up Peter and loads a truck with chemical weapons for a terrorist attack on European soil.

"We were never going to Syria," Bibi tells his jihadi brothers. "We're going back to Berlin!"

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