When the CIA and Nazir were both handlin Brody, it was like childs play. That was a man who was so emotionally broken, he could be remade to fit whatever purpose easily. Majid Javadi is nowhere near broken and worst of all he’s one of them, an intelligence officer. Turning someone like that against their own country is one of the hardest things to do, they are already a spy and know all the tricks. Javadi lets it be known that even though they have him over the barrel he’ll never be their bitch. By brutally murdering his estranged ex-wife and daughter in law. Both moments of real action and shocking brutality. Director Lesli Linka Glatter plays everything up to that point understated and cool. So that once the violence occurs it’s truly sudden and brutal. Did you need all those neck stabs? Javadi is a supposed to be a smart character who made one mistake, taking the bait, so I hope they continue treating him as smart.
Saul, the bearded emotional heart of this show. Is talked about and kind of deified by Javadi, Carrie and just about everyone this episode. This entire gambit with Carrie to just get Javadi alone in a room, relied on him having near omniscient knowledge of how Javadi would react. Of all the craziness Homeland has done, this is the one thing I’m not buying. Episode writer Alexander Cary does his best to sell us on this concept. Filling in much needed history between Saul and Javadi. Saul trained Javadi during the final years of the Sha but once the revolution hit Javadi betrayed him and killed four agents to get a seat at the table. “So this is revenge?” Fara wonders after getting this dropped on her. Nope turning Javadi isn’t revenge that came earlier when Saul moved Javaid's wife and son to the West. Patinkin does his best to get this scene across there’s just one problem. We’ve never seen this side of Saul before. Saul has always been the bearded emotional support of the show not some super spy who is far more adept at manipulating people than you’d imagine.
Once Carrie and Quinn get Javadi back to the safe house, all that doubt about Saul begins to change. The Bear comes out and Saul asserts dominance. Punching Javadi in the nose suddenly and quickly. The old pupil is annoyed at the physicality, he’s got appearances to keep up. The punch sends Javadi to the ground and we get a reverse low angle shot of Saul just looming over him. Partially lit by the room. Looking very very large. 20 minutes earlier he looked so small as he left his wife and house. Now here he is standing over his mark looking like the Bear. Now I believe the deification of Saul Berenson.
From the preview material, “Still Positive” looked like it could be Carrie’s “Q&A”. They don’t even attempt at putting a new spin on that episodes structure. The lie detector test doesn't matter. Just a formality to get Carrie and Javadi in a safe room together. That’s when Carrie “drops the hammer” on Javadi about all his money laundering. Better yet they don’t even show you Carrie fully dropping the hammer on Javadi and taking control. They just cut to them getting out of the room and having a talk on the patio. “Still Positive” was filled with moments of unspoken and scene interaction. Relying instead of second or first hand accounts and other knowledge to figure them out. To catch everyone maybe not being the most truthful. Dar Adal meeting with Senator Lockhart. The CIA losing Carrie with their drone coverage. How Javadi reacted once Carrie dropped the hammer. At first this collection of scenes seems like they could've been big important moments. When they weren’t. Saul punching JAvadi and becoming the Bear that was important. Javadi breaking a bit was a necessity that they just speed up to get to that final scene.
In completely unrelated-land, Dana has changed her name and moved out. Well, she’s in the process of changing her name it takes 3-6 weeks for it to go all through. If this is how they write off the Brody clan no one cares about so be it. Now we’ve got the possibility of new and interesting characters being introduced in their place.Guess we’ll never get the Chris Brody Karate Kid storyline we’ve hoped for.