Among the fraternity of television critics, of which I am a mere pledge washing their underwear with my toothbrush, advanced screeners are a blessing and a curse. Hooray! We get to see stuff early! But boo! We often don't have anyone to talk about it with. All we can do is speak cryptically of what we've seen, and on Friday, an unspecific message was tweeted by a critic at another website, announcing that "this week's Homeland features the silliest thing the series has ever done" (or something to that effect). For a show that once assassinated a vice president by way of a hacked pacemaker, had Brody murder a man while on the phone with his wife, and focused so much of its energy on Dana Brody doing anything, this was a bold statement. Naturally, I was SUPER excited for "Still Positive."
As I watched the episode, I found myself saying, "Oh, that was the silly thing that critic was talking about!" several times. Oh, Saul knew Javadi all along and used to have breakfast with him? That's silly! Oh, Carrie's undercover plan lasted only about five minutes? That's silly! Oh, Carrie has a drawer full of positive pregnancy tests? That is REALLY silly! Oh, Dana decided to move out of the house and Jess allowed it? That is REALLY silly, too! Given how badly Season 3 began, a drawer full of peed-on sticks and a teenager who recently took a joyride with a murderer deciding to move out were not what the series needed. Sorry to be blunt, but this show kinda sucks now.
Saul and Carrie's frustrating and deceptive plan to get Carrie ingratiated with Javadi's crew is over. Already! After five episodes of spy-burning, psych-ward-committing, and front-and-back nude-scanning, Carrie made herself as a plant in the first second that she and Javadi were alone. I was not expecting that! But I didn't want that, either! I don't want to call the situation a total rip-off, because Saul and Carrie caught their man and the plan worked, but dammit, I was looking forward to seeing Carrie play this game for a little longer. For as slow as the arduous first act of Homeland's third season was, the second act appears to be zipping right along. Methinks that pacing should have been reversed.
All those terribly exciting paper trails Fara'd been following made themselves useful as Carie essentially waved a bunch of shady bank statements in Javadi's
face and threatened to expose his embezzlements unless he cooperated with her. But "Follow the money!" may as well mean "Change the channel!" because this the type of plot device that can be written in any way to build leverage against bad guys. Admit it, our eyes all glazed over when Fara and Saul first started talking about Venezuelan bank accounts and fake identities, yet now that's being used as the big "gotcha!" to snare an evil terrorist.
And evil he is! Not only is Javadi a selfish coward who puts himself ahead of his country (with his track record of flip-flops, who would trust him in the role of second in command of Iran's Intelligence Directorate?), he also holds grudges like Dana holds a sad face! Knowing he was in trouble, he agreed to meet with Saul—but first he took a little detour to visit his ex-wife. He shot his ex-wife's daughter-in-law in the forehead and then stabbed his ex-wife in the neck with a broken bottleneck. Point made, exclamation mark included. This dude is a bad guy! Why'd
they stop him at just that? Why not stuff the baby down the garbage
disposal, too, Javadi? Anyway, Peter and Carrie captured him and brought him back to Saul, at which point Old Beardy gave Javadi a well-deserved sock in the mouth.
Annnnnnnyway, apparently Carrie catches sperm in her vagina as well as she catches terrorists, cuz girl is expecting! She peed on a stick and the plus sign came up, and then she put that positive test in a drawer full of something like 50 already used positive pregnancy tests. How does a woman who doesn't even take her shirt off for sex get pregnant? I don't know what's more shocking: that she's pregnant or that she keeps all of her used pregnancy tests in a drawer. Those are covered with pee, Carrie! And things that are covered with pee are gross and should be thrown away. At least that's how it works in my house.
Hygiene and self-respect aside, let's work backwards and play Montel to figure out who the father is. We know that Carrie has had sex with two people: Nick Brody and Faux-dy the Championship Mountain Biker. Carrie last felt the ecstasy of Brody's pasty lovemaking over two months ago, before she sent him off at the end of Season 2. Faux-dy and Carrie totally did it what, a few weeks ago? That means unless Carrie is taking pregnancy tests every 15 minutes, this little bastard is Brody's. Is this the silliest thing Homeland has done? Probably! Now Homeland is taking the once-forbidden romance of Carrie and Brody and turning it into soapy garbage about a deadbeat dad who's addicted to heroin in Caracas and the hard-working single mom who's busy saving the world. This is a terrible development for a show that wants to be taken seriously.
Speaking of silly developments, it's Dana time! How about Jessica's parenting discipline? After Dana stole mom's car and sold it so she could run off with a teenage murderer she met in rehab, Jess rewarded her by letting the little lady change her name. Even Dana Brody didn't want to be Dana Brody anymore, and she paid the $40 to change her name to Dana Lazaro and the entire family seemed thrilled about Dana trying to distance herself. "Dana Lazaro, sounds pretty cool," said Chris, in his character's most astute observation of the series to date.
But that wouldn't be Dana's biggest move of the episode. Without warning, Dana decided to move out of the house and shack up with her friend. And Jess shed a tear and let her go. "Mom, I can't live this life anymore," Dana said. "I just
can't. I mean, it nearly killed me. I've got to leave." YOU nearly killed yourself, Dana. It's almost unfathomable how irritating Dana has been lately; it's downright shocking that Homeland continues to find ways to make her even more of a dunce. Yet there she was, moving out without warning, and worst of all, Jess let it happen. How terrible of a parent is she? Instead of crying, she should have screamed or at least put up some protest about Dana moving out. But no, she handed her daughter a $300 gift card. The whole thing was so monumentally unbelievable and stupid; what self-respecting parent would let her teenage daughter—who obviously needs help—suddenly move out of the house after an attempted suicide, a stint in rehab, and grand theft auto? Jess, you are a horrible mother.
Someone call in a S.W.A.T. team to save Homeland, because this show is has been abducted by awfulness. It's been said before but I'll say it again: The drop in quality is especially noticeable because Homeland used to be so good. Now Carrie is pregnant with Brody's lovechild and Dana continues to be Dana. Homeland used to walk a delicate line between between intrigue and melodrama, but now it's just stumbling.
– Did I sense a little "How YOU doin'?" from Max toward Fara?
– Saul and Mira need to just end it. They're both terrible for each other. Saul can't give her any time, and Mira can't wait for Saul. Mira shouldn't've come back. They're both acting like children. Run off and eat baguettes with that French guy, Mira.
– The Brody Board in Carrie's living room takes on new meaning now. It's a "Where's my baby daddy?" board instead of something to help acquit Brody of the murder of 200 CIA agents.