The title “Still Positive” is apropos to an episode that restored some optimism towards Homeland. This is an episode that restored a ragged sense of tension without relying on lame narrative trickery. The plotting is still haphazard (most television shows make things up as they go along to some extent, but that’s more evident than I’d like this season), but a minor twist like Carrie trying to turn Javadi rather than become double agent herself is effective both in the moment and upon reflection. Javadi himself is a far more compelling villain than the poorly-utilised Abu Nazir: he’s dangerous, violent and unpredictable, best demonstrated in the sickeningly effective climax.
The episode is also to be commended for putting Saul back front-and-centre. He was largely sidelined in season two with the strong focus on Carrie and Brody, so it’s good to see him back in the frame, personifying that paternal anger that Patinkin conveys so very well.
Sadly, it’s testament to the disintegrating faith I have in Homeland that the real reason for that title – Carrie’s accumulating drawer of positive pregnancy tests – could only induce a groan. Carrie being pregnant with Brody’s child is exactly what this show shouldn’t be doing.