“Still Positive” that Homeland‘s still got it? Sam and I break down Episode 6

Jay: Well, the consensus — at least among the reviewers I read — seems to be that Homeland is drifting farther and farther from its Season 1 glory. While I tend to agree that this season in general has had more than its fair share of rough patches, I’m not as appalled as some of the reviewers. Not yet, anyway.

This week’s episode contained what was, for me, perhaps the single most shocking scene in Homeland history, when Javadi used a bottle to puncture to death his ex-wife, who had defected to the United States years earlier. That moment was so singly un-Homeland-like in its brutality that I almost couldn’t believe it at first.

It also raises many questions. First of all, why was Saul so hellbent on ensuring that Javadi not get into the house? This is especially bizarre considering the fact that, as Quinn and Carrie briefed him immediately after entering the property, Saul didn’t even seem to realize that Javadi’s ex-wife was even living there at the time. (Or am I getting the chronology mixed up?) Methinks there’s some more history between Saul and Javadi’s ex: something about the way Saul held up the picture of her earlier in the episode suggested a deeper backstory.

Speaking of possible romantic connections, whatever was left of Saul’s marriage is definitively disintegrated in this episode, while Carrie suddenly seems to be carrying someone’s child. The obvious implication is that it’s Brody’s, but weirdly the first guy I thought of was that rando from the liquor store in the first episode of this season. Given the way some of Homeland‘s plot twists have petered out so quickly this season, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if that happens again here.

What did you think?

Sam: I’m actually with you on giving Season 3 a bit more time. I think it’s safe to say that this season of Homeland has turned the corner and is quickly picking up steam. The fragmented stories from the first few episodes are starting to come together, and I expect soon the last major piece (Brody) will fit directly into what’s happening in Saul and Carrie’s world. Whether all this will come to match the glory of Season 1 remains to be seen.

While things have been exciting though, I can’t help wondering if they’ve also become slightly predictable. If Saul is on the job for another two weeks only (or less), can we assume that the project he, Carrie, Quinn, and Fara are working now will get resolved by then for a potentially happy ending? History suggests I not think this way.

Some new developments could throw a wrench into this potential ending — and after two plus seasons of Homeland twists, I fully expect them to. First of all, as you mentioned, Carrie’s pregnant?! What if they pull something out of left field and say the baby’s father is Quinn? Any chance they throw in some backstory from between Seasons 2 and 3?

Second, we always suspected that Dar Adal dude was shady. Now he seems to have straight up stabbed Saul in the back. Or is it all a show and Saul put him to it?? (Side note: am I the only one who thinks Dar Adal looks like a character out of Star Wars or something?)

I think your take on Saul’s behavior when they were tracking Javadi are on point. I was wondering why he was so absolutely determined not to let Javadi enter that house. I didn’t think he knew who lived there at that point. Definitely chilling how Javadi just killed his ex-wife, though. As for Saul’s wife (and perhaps soon to be ex-wife), I’m really not sure what the whole point of that story line is other than that Saul’s dedicated to his work to the detriment of his own personal life, which we already knew. If this doesn’t turn into anything more, it’s getting dangerously close to The Americans territory.

Finally, I do not understand Dana Brody or Dana Lazarro (or however you spell it) at all. She just decides to leave? I really hope that was the last we saw of her, but I have little doubt it was not. At least her mom was resigned enough to let her leave, realizing that Dana’s a hopeless case. Poor Chris. Dude just gets shafted every time.

What do you think happens next with Saul and Javadi?

Jay: Quinn could be the father, but I certainly hope not. To do that, they’d have to surprise the audience with another retroactive story we weren’t allowed to know about while it was happening, in the same way that the Saul/Carrie ruse worked. I don’t think that’s a good place for the show, though.

I’m not sure what to make of Dar Adal’s meeting with the senator. On the one hand, I never fully trust the guy. However, nothing he said during the meeting really tipped his hand much in either direction, and he did appear to be genuinely reporting back to Saul on the phone later. Hard to say without having access to the entire private meeting, though.

I do think Homeland — TV shows in general? — spend way too much time focused on the minutiae of various characters’ family lives. Saul’s marriage is crumbling, sure, but let’s hope it doesn’t become an overbearing theme. The naggy/cheating wife trope is already drastically overused on TV. No need for more of it here.

I had to laugh at your description of Chris. Does he win the award for most useless TV character of all time? In some ways the Brody family would make so much more sense if Dana had been the only child.

I’m not really sure how much more gas is left in the Javadi storyline tank. If they try to turn him into a double agent, this will look too much like what they did to Brody and will feel like a rehash of past storylines. Speaking of Brody, this is right about where I expect him to burst back into the picture and ruin everything.

What do you think is coming up?

Sam: I hear you on not having too many stories started during a time we did not get to see. I just feel like I have to brace myself for the most unexpected development with regards to Carrie’s pregnancy. I feel like at some point her being pregnant is going to have a direct impact on her ability to take on some crazy undercover sting.

Your point about Dana as an only child makes so much sense! Seriously! Why did they have to include Chris? I refuse to believe that they’d have one child who is so absolutely bonkers and another who is so absolutely passive. Maybe he’s one of the producers’ kids? Okay, that’s unfair. He seems like a good kid, just out of place on the show.

I wonder if what we see in the next episode is going to involve some flashbacks to Saul’s prior relationship with Javadi. I hope not, but they will fill us in somehow on the backstory, right? Perhaps that’s where Brody busts in. I, too, fully expect him to join the party soon. But how will he escape the tower? There are a lot of loose ends to his story still, I think.

My guess is that we’ll see something crazy happen in this next episode that rocks the full picture and not just the small world of Carrie, Saul, and Quinn (i.e. Javadi slaughtering his ex-wife). Who knows, it might even be impetus enough for Saul to keep his job as acting CIA director for a little while longer.

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About Samson X. Lim

Samson Lim is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Scholarship Junkies, a Seattle-based scholarship resource organization that works to help students make higher education more affordable. Sam spent the 2010-11 academic year in Berlin, Germany, as a U.S. Student Fulbright Scholar and is currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. When he’s not buried in grad school reading, Sam emerges every once in a while to highlight higher education and financial aid issues in 140 characters or less at @samsonxlim.

What do you think?