6   +   6   =  

Episode 306‘Still Positive’

We’re now halfway through Homeland’s lacklustre third season, but things really do seem to be improving. Last week’s cliffhanger left us eager for more and, for the most part, episode six delivered. The central story involving Javadi gained serious momentum, while Dar Adal and Senator Lockhart began to scheme a plan to re-establish the CIA as the cornerstone of American intelligence. Then there’s Carrie, our bi-polar heroine, who provided the episode’s biggest gasp in an admirably nuanced way.

When we left Carrie she was terrified after being bundled into the back of a van and taken to Javadi. We find her strapped to a lie detector, with Javadi preparing to determine her reliability as an informant. Having convinced the Langley Bomber to send his men out of the room, Carrie cunningly turned the tables on her interrogator by revealing just how much information she and the CIA have on him. It was another finely tuned piece of misdirection, revealing the plan was to use the meeting as a way of bringing Javadi in to be questioned by Saul, who has unfinished business with the Iranian Intelligence agent.

Saul is understandably melancholy as the episode opens; his wife has admitted she’s in love with another man, he’s about to lose his job and, initially, his best Case Officer is missing. It would be enough to push any man over the edge, but Saul remains stoic, much to his estranged wife’s frustration.

With his options diminished, Javadi accepts Carrie’s proposal to come in and speak to Saul, but refuses to raise the suspicion of his men and superiors. He releases Carrie and arranges to meet her later at a local coffee shop. Having returned home and checked in with Saul, Carrie goes upstairs and enters the bathroom… The revelation that Carrie is pregnant may feel a bit like a forced narrative device in retrospect, but the writers and Danes expertly handled the reveal. Removing all but only the faintest diegetic sounds, the information was teased to the audience, leaving us to ponder all the questions it instantly throws up. Carrie’s face was content but fearful, heartbreakingly emphasizing our heroine’s vulnerability.

Unfortunately, she had little time to ponder the implications of her situation, as soon she’s with Quinn, on their way to the meet with Javadi. Our slippery villain however, had other plans. Using time to build an incredible amount of tension, the writers reveal the reason for Javadi’s surveillance of a mother and child in suburbia last week. Here lives his grandson, daughter-in-law and ex-wife. The visceral violence as Javadi coldly murdered both women provided the sort of superior shocks that Homeland has struggled to muster since the season 2 finale. Javadi’s emotional discontent to the horror he has created defining him as a threatening and vagarious villain.

As threatening as he is, Javadi is clearly no intimidation to Saul. The frustration inside him was building and was brought to fruition as Javadi, bloodied but smiling, stood before him. A fast punch to the nose had Javadi on the floor and the look in Saul’s eyes suggests he hasn’t finished yet. “This is just the fucking beginning” mumbled Quinn… well it’s about time!

★★★★

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