SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Still Positive" episode of "Homeland" contains storyline and character spoilers.
“Homeland” fans who’ve felt this season was dragging on slowly and without much forward movement, and those who’ve felt there was way too much Dana Brody, should be pleased with “Still Positive.” There was a lot of payoff, and a lot of crucial Saul backstory revealed, and for the Dana-haters: Dana Brody no longer exists. Literally.
But first, the Carrie twist: She’s pregnant. Again. Or still, as the “Still Positive” episode title may or may not allude to. Carrie takes a home pregnancy test (procured from a cabinet in her bathroom where there are multiple boxes of them), which reveals a positive result. She places the used test in a drawer, which already houses dozens (dozens!) of other used tests, all bearing a positive result.
So is Carrie pregnant again, or still? If it’s again, what happened to all the other pregnancies? Were they a casualty of her job? Did she end them because of a fear of passing along the mental illness she has in common with her father? Or is she pregnant still, with all those tests referring to one pregnancy? Are repeated tests her way of trying to figure out how to deal with her situation? And of course, who’s the father?
A Blast from Saul’s Past
Carrie was kidnapped last week by Javadi’s men, and now she’s been delivered to his hideaway and hooked up to a lie detector test. She tricks Javadi into dismissing his guards and then tells him the truth; she’s there on behalf of Saul, who knows he’s embezzled millions of dollars from his own government. Saul wants to meet with him, and now Javadi knows Saul has the leverage to make the meeting happen, lest Javadi choose to return to his own government, which obviously will not look upon his betrayal as little misdeeds.
Besides, Saul knows Javadi can be flipped. As he unfolds the tale for Fara, Saul reveals Javadi was once a close friend and trusted colleague. Back in 1979, Saul had enlisted Javadi’s help to arrange for the safe escape of four Iranians who were in danger after the Iranian revolution. While Saul prepared travel documents for the four to flee, Javadi was to install them at a safehouse. But when Saul showed up to retrieve them, all four were dead, shot in the back of the head, as was Javadi’s M.O. Javadi had aligned himself with the new government, and as a consequence of his betrayal, his wife sought Saul’s help in getting her and Javadi’s son into a witness protection program in America.
In the present, Carrie has relayed Saul’s demand for a meeting to Javadi, who agrees he’ll catch up with her later that afternoon and turn himself over to Saul. Saul’s unhappy with the delay, and with good reason. Instead of meeting Carrie at their rendezvous point, Javadi heads off to the suburbs, where he parks in front of a house — one he had scoped out days before, when he came to town.
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Thanks to the drone Saul has trained on Javadi’s hideout, he and his team pinpoint where Javadi is heading and quickly figure out it’s the home of his daughter-in-law and grandson. Saul orders Carrie and Quinn to get there ASAP, before Javadi can enter the house. But they’re seconds too late.
Javadi knocks on the door, and when his daughter-in-law (who recognizes him) doesn’t let him in, he shoots her in the head. As he enters the living room and begins playing with his two-year-old grandson, another woman enters and recognizes him. It’s his ex-wife, the one who fled with their toddler decades earlier. Javadi grabs her and throws her to the ground, and then breaks a wine bottle until all that’s left is the jagged bottle top in his hand. She tries to get away from him, but he’s already stabbed her over and over again when Quinn and Carrie enter the house. Javadi is covered in blood, his ex-wife and daughter-in-law are lying dead in pools of their own blood, and his grandson is sitting in the same room crying.
Quinn and Carrie report what has happened, and Saul tells them they must leave, with Javadi and the murder weapons. It has to look like they were never there, so they have to leave the baby in the middle of the blood and dead bodies. (Note to “Homeland” writers: This is what caused Dexter Morgan to become a serial killer, you know.)
“Now I’m ready to see Saul,” Javadi says, and Carrie and Quinn haul him back to Saul’s operation HQ. They chain him to a chair in the interrogation room until Saul enters. He has them unchain him, and tells Javadi to stand up. Then he punches a very startled Javadi in the nose.
Goodbye, Dana Brody
It’s true: Dana Brody no longer exists. Or she won’t, in three to six weeks — the amount of time it will take for her name change application to go through and make her new legal name Dana Lazaro (Jessica’s maiden name). A somber Dana surprises her mom with the news she wants to change her name, but she shocks her later in the episode when a friend comes to the Brody front door to pick her up. Dana emerges from her room with a few packed bags and the announcement that she’s moving out.
To where? She doesn’t say, and after a very brief and minor protestation, Jessica bids her adieu with a $300 credit card. The anti-Dana contingent will probably just be happy that she seems to be out of the picture for the immediate future, and maybe forever. “I can’t live this life anymore… it nearly killed me,” she tells Jessica. “I’ve gotta leave.”
But even so, has the Brody family become such an afterthought now that mama Jessica simply allows her very troubled teen daughter to move out of the house, no questions asked, with a $300 parting gift? Thanks for being a Brody… sorry it didn’t work out, but it’s been worth $300 knowing you?
Even Dana deserved a better send-off than that. Right?
* We are now officially halfway through Season 3 after “Still Positive,” the sixth installment of the season.
* Next week’s episode is titled “Gerontion,” a reference to the T.S. Eliot poem of the same name. A line from the poem — “wilderness of mirrors” — is often used as a way of describing complicated, twisty spy adventures, especially those that include double-agent activities. Could that be a hint about some major reveal in the episode?
* Like, say, something about Dar Adal and how he appears to be in cahoots with that wily Senator Lockhart?
* Still think something may happen between Saul and Fara, especially since Saul now knows that estranged wife Mira is in love (like? lust?) with that other guy?
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.