TV Recap: Homeland, “Still Positive”

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The Debriefing: Carrie (Claire Danes) is now in the hands of the second in command of Iranaian intelligence — Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub). He puts her through a lie detector test in order to establish trust if they’re going to work together but Carrie, as always, finds away to turn the tables. We later discover that Carrie is pregnant and has been for some time. Mira (Sarita Choudhury) confesses to Saul (Mandy Patinkin) that she was seeing someone while they were “separated.” It’s revealed that Javadi and Saul worked together…and Javadi turned on him right before the Iranian revolution. Dana (Morgan Saylor) asks Jess (Morena Baccarin) to take her to get her last name changed to Jess’ maiden name…and then decides to move away from home. Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) meets with soon-to-be CIA Director Lockhart (Tracy Letts). Lockhart makes it very clear that he wants people like Carrie and Brody in the past and he wants to reclaim the hardline approach Adal and CIA used back in the day.

America’s Most Wanted (Best Overall Performance): I really loved Shaun Toub’s performance tonight. For those who are wondering where you’ve seen this guy before, you saw him in the beginning of Iron Man as the engineer who helped Tony Stark create his first suit of armor and rigged his heart to the ARC reactor. Toub’s portrayal of Javadi is amazingly complex. He’s a smooth operator, a cagey spy, a bloodthirsty monster, a man with nothing to lose. He’s an animal backed into a corner and a man holding all the cards. I’m really stoked to see this character’s evolution.

The Sleeper Cell (Best Supporting Performance): I thought Mandy Patinkin was great in this episode, but he didn’t steal the show like Toub did. I thought his best scene (outside of the palm thrust to Javadi which I’ll get into later) was his confrontation with Mira. His facials…trying to remain stoic Saul while on the verge of utterly breaking down in tears was great.

A “BOO” Nazir (The Worst Part of the Episode): The Dana Brody storyline gets worse and worse. I thought the changing of her last name was fine but then suddenly she moves out. Stop. Seriously. Just stop. This out of the blue plot change really killed the momentum of such an awesome episode. The mater of factness of the scene was completely disarming.

The Key Evidence (Best Part of the Episode): I loved Saul’s open palm thrust to Javadi’s face. It was an expression of anger, sorrow and rage that Saul has never shown in the series. He’s always been a reserved character, suppressing his emotions for the sake of the greater good. He wouldn’t even fight for his own marriage for Pete’s sake. But here, after all that Javadi has done to Saul from killing those people back in the ’70s to the murder of his own ex-wife and daughter-in-law, Saul cannot hold it, he acts. It’s a great scene and a real turn of the page for one of the show’s consistent characters.

The Analysis (Overall Thoughts on the Episode): This was such a great episode until the Dana Brody left turn. It really left a bad taste in my mouth and made all the weak parts of the episode stick out in my head. First, as mentioned before, the Dana storyline just delves deeper and deeper into a world of suck-titude. I also thought the whole Carrie pregnancy thing was a little contrived and forced — which is atypical for the series. Looking past the bad, this was an extremely thrilling episode. We saw the introduction of an intriguing new character plus a glimpse at a possible new version of Saul.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites