This episode can be divided into two acts: The first would encompass Carrie’s mission to bring Javadi to Saul, and the second would include the tense showdown between Saul and Javadi, though the two don’t meet face to face until the end.
These two acts are pushing the plot much faster than I expected, though it’s on par with what Alex Gansa told EW would happen to the show a few weeks back, when he promised everything would reach a “breakneck speed” by the last five episodes. We’re suddenly barreling through plots, bringing Javadi into play earlier than first season Homeland would have done. (Remember how long it took us to see Abu Nazir interact with the CIA? Now we’ve got Saul and Javadi meeting in only the second episode we’ve seen Shaun Toub as Javadi.) Still, we’ve got more intriguing ground to cover with this episode, titled “Still Positive”: As the name suggests, Carrie’s pregnancy is bound to take center stage, and Saul’s miscalculation about Javadi (and their complicated history) will mean consequences for not only him and his close colleagues, but I’m guessing the entire agency. More on those twists later.
Let’s start with Carrie. Held in the same room we saw her in at the end of last week’s episode, Carrie is strapped in, wired to a lie detector, and questioned. Though the machine says she’s lying, Carrie insists that her focus is wandering because of Javadi’s men in the room, and asks that they leave because she requested a one-on-one meeting. Javadi relents, and just as he’s about to start over with the questioning, Carrie switches on her confident CIA case officer mode and tells him their little act is over. “It’s time we talk about Nasser Hejazi,” she says, referring to the 1978 Iran World Cup team’s legendary goalkeeper, whose name Javadi has used as an alias to siphon off money from Iran. “You are now an enemy of your own state.”
Carrie stands up, stares Javadi down, and walks out with Javadi in tow. “Brava, Miss Mathison, quite excellent,” Javadi says, apparently seeing no other option than to go with Carrie’s plan. But he challenges her, asking her why she and Saul haven’t arrested him already. Carrie replies that Saul wants to speak with him first, and then bluffs, saying Javadi’s outnumbered and outgunned. (Of course, she has no idea Saul has already lost track of her whereabouts.) Javadi, hearing this, almost takes pity on Carrie. “Saul Berenson, after all these years, still putting other people’s lives on the line,” he comments. Toub, seasoned character actor that he is, inserts just a hint of disdain in the line, but his face conveys a shadow of understanding of Saul, foreshadowing the connection between them we learn later.
Unfortunately for Carrie, the plan hits a snag: Javadi refuses to be led off the compound because it’ll arouse suspicion, so she must carry out a test of his and meet him later. Carrie tries to reassert her control, choosing the meeting spot and demanding that Javadi “make it quick” while he passes the information to his men. Javadi pauses and turns to face Carrie. “Saul should have trained you to treat me with more respect than that,” he tells her. Carrie is driven away from the compound by two of Javadi’s men, who drop her off at a deserted location.
While all of this is happening, Quinn, Fara, Max, and Saul are helplessly monitoring their last known location for Carrie. Max scrolls through the footage, but Saul realizes what’s happened. He tells them to keep looking, but when he shuts off his feed, he curses to himself.
Poor Saul. Does anything ever go according to plan for him?
NEXT: “This isn’t going to be easy, is it?”