A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The second half of Homeland’s somewhat lackluster third season begins with an episode that largely centers around the Javadi hunt. It’s been teased all season that there is something that is happening between Saul and Javadi that hints at a bitter past and Saul reveals it to Fara. But Javadi has little detours of his own that take on a fatal angle before he is captured and slammed down by Saul. In non-CIA subplots, Dana Brody changes her name and moves away in what is at best an oddly constructed sequence. Homeland for me is trying to do its ultimate best to recoup its emotional plausibility it threw out of the window at the end of episode 4 and it’s still struggling. Still Positive is a good episode filled with tense moments but not a great one, as if it’s somehow afraid of something.
Javadi’s hooking of Carrie is a tense sequence as further evidence that Homeland can do interrogations better than any show out there. It’s quickly evident that Carrie is lying, but Carrie embodies Homeland and within two minutes she moves forward with the plot, informing Javadi quickly of how the CIA is aware of him embezzling funds from the Iranian government. Javadi asks why he hasn’t been arrested yet, which is a reasonable question. She reveals that a meeting will be set between him and Saul. Saul meanwhile reveals to Fara that he and Javadi were allies in 1979, when the Iranian Revolution was going down. Javadi betrayed Saul and killed four American informants to secure a job in the new regime and in return, Saul helped his wife and son escape.
Naturally Javadi doesn’t go to the meeting, he instead goes to the house where his former family lives. I don’t recall how he knows where they are considering they’re supposed to be under witness protection in California, but whatever. It’s a scene that works in the end. Saul, never one to miss a beat, realizes what’s about to go down. But as fast as Carrie and Quinn are, they’re unable to stop Javadi from shooting his daughter-in-law and brutally murdering his ex-wife by stabbing her in the neck with a broken bottle. Local homicide arrives, complicating the matter. Oh, and Javadi’s grandchild is in the same home, completely unaware that he is now motherless. It’s a tense, uncomfortable sequence, ending with Saul breaking Javadi’s nose by punching him in the face. Any scene ending with Saul kicking ass is good in my book.
Dana’s plot here drags the entire episode down. I love Morgan Saylor and she is by all standards a terrific actress, but the material Homeland writers have given her this season simply sucks. There’s no other word for it. She changes her last name from Brody to Jessica’s maiden “Lazaro,” which makes sense because she wants to escape her father as fully as possible. What makes less sense is her leaving her home with a friend of hers named Angela whom we’ve never seen before. Jessica protests her leaving as any mother would, but within about a second of screen time allows her daughter to go away. It’s a profoundly stupid sequence and I have absolutely no idea what the writers were trying to accomplish with its second half. Next week is supposedly all about Saul, so thank goodness for that.
Notes Not Above:
+/- I don’t know what they’re trying to do with Carrie’s child here. We’ll see if this actually helps the show in any way.
Title: Still Positive
Written By: Alexander Cary
Directed By: Lesli Linka Glatter
Image Courtesy: Life is Caps @ LiveJournal