[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from the Season 2 finale of Homeland. Read at your own risk.]
Have Homeland fans seen the last of Marine-turned-terrorist Nicholas Brody?
Homeland finale burning questions: Bye bye Brody?
Although Brody (Damian Lewis) didn't die in Sunday's Season 2 finale, he was seemingly framed by his former terrorist pals, who used his car to kill more than 200 people at the CIA's memorial tribute for the deceased Vice President. Brody was last seen leaving his CIA agent/lover Carrie (Claire Danes) in the woods as he headed for the Canadian border and beyond.
So, is fugitive Brody gone for good? And will the show continue to explore the family he left behind? Co-creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, who say they've only had a couple meetings to discuss the narrative skeleton of Season 3, haven't quite made up their minds yet.
"They're all open questions for us," Gansa told reporters. "We had a much clearer picture of what the first two seasons would be than we do of what the third season would be.... Damian's involvement and Brody's family is very much up in the air."
However, the producers, who admitted they again toyed with the idea of killing Brody off around Episode 7 or 8, suggest that Brody will definitely come back at some point — the question they're wrestling with is when.
"It's a nice idea hanging over the next season possibly: Where is Brody? What is he doing?" Gansa said. "I do think that there is value in the fact that he's still alive and in the world somewhere, even if he doesn't make an appearance in Season 3. And I'm not suggesting that's going to happen. Even if he doesn't show up, the fact that he's still alive would mean something to Carrie and I think that's important."
But Gordon made it clear that the decision to keep Brody haunting the show was not just in response to huge ratings and Lewis' Emmy win earlier this year. "Obviously, you can't let the tail wag the dog," Gordon said. "All the awards in the world won't give rise to a character or a story that's either run its course or had whatever shelf life it has. I think as tempting as it is... you can't let all the awards and acclaim — and Damian's brilliance — dictate the story in terms of where it needs to go."
Keep reading for more scoop and highlights from the producers.
Should Carrie — or the audience — believe Brody was a pawn in Nazir's attack? "A lot of people have told me that they still have a glimmer of doubt about Brody, and if you watch his behavior through the finale, there are moments where it's a little uncertain as to whether or not he may or may not have been responsible," Gansa says. "But don't forget he was willing to blow himself up in the first season. This very well may have been a suicide play [that Carrie foiled]."
Or is the mole still in play? Although the producers were tight-lipped about who the mole is (if one exists at all), Gansa did posit that the mole provides one possible explanation for how Brody's car was moved moments before the bomb exploded. "The investigators [may] believe that Brody was actually possibly in that car when it exploded," Gansa said. "Also, we do have our ever-present mole who also might have been responsible for moving the car. Those are the possibilities that are running around in our heads."
So, if Brody is out of the picture for a while, what does the show do next? "Carrie has promised Brody that she's going to clear his name," Gansa says. "And there's this aftermath of what we consider the next 9/11 and how the country responds to that and how the intelligence agency is going to pick itself up off the ground and try to start functioning again. I think those two things are going to be front and center as we begin the next season." Gansa also suggests that Season 3 will have a new story engine. "One thing we might not do again is have Carrie try to stop or witness another attack on America," he said. "We might try a different propulsive thriller trope."
But the show definitely will move on from Carrie-Brody Round 3: "We certainly don't want to be telling the same story," Gansa said. "If we bring Brody back on stage for Season 3, something else would have to be between the two of them. ... If you look at these two seasons ... we've told a significant part of that story. If there's a Chapter 3 [in that relationship] it's going to have to be a reinvention of some kind. There's a point at which we have to fall back on the franchise, which is Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson [Mandy Patinkin] trying to keep the world safe.
Speaking of Saul, will he become suspicious that Carrie helped Brody get away? "Saul is not going to be ignorant of [those types of questions], and Carrie has some explaining to do," Gansa said.
Better yet, can Carrie even trust herself? Gansa points out that although Carrie had a better handle on her bipolar disorder this season, she made a number of mistakes in her professional life. "There is the idea that possibly her genius was dulled a little bit by maintaining this emotional equilibrium this season," Gansa said. So, will Carrie resort to her more manic ways in order to do her job better? "I think that's one thing she's going to question very strongly next season," Gansa said.
Will Quinn be back? "Absolutely," Gansa said. And, pending negotiations and availability, the producers want to bring back F. Murray Abraham as Quinn's boss Dar Adal. "The intelligence community has been decimated by this attack," Gansa said. "One way [the CIA] might move forward is to call back recently retired intelligence officers to come back and rebuild the thing. Dar Adal may very well be one of those people brought back into the fold and it would immediately bring him into conflict with Saul."
So, what was up with Brody chatting with Abu Nazir on a Blackberry? The show faced some critical backlash down the stretch as its amped-up plot sometimes made leaps in logic that seemed implausible. For example, how did Brody, whose phone was tapped by the CIA for most of the season, communicate with Nazir when plotting to kill the VP? "Brody had delivered to the CIA all of the information that he knew about Nazir... and all of his information was correct," Gansa said. "And most of [Nazir's] network... was rolled up. So the assumption by the CIA at that point was that [Brody's] role ... was over. ... They had mistakenly stopped monitoring his movements and his phone."
So, will the producers try to be more plausible next season? "One of things the show does promise is twists and turns as a nod to the thriller part of the show," Gansa said. "I think the show is always going to have the ability to surprise and whether that's plausible or implausible is really not for us to judge. It's for you guys to decide.
"These highly serialized dramas are a high-wire act, and occasionally on the wire, you're going to fall off," Gansa said later. "And if we did fall off this year now and then, I like to think we had a safety net under us, and that that net was our audience, who said they believed in us that we could get back up and cross to the other side. ... Hopefully we answered things a lot of the questions people had in the finale. And now we can start again in season 3 and begin the journey with everybody one more time."
What do you think will happen in Season 3?