[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from the Season 4 premiere of Homeland. Read at your own risk.]
Homeland's Carrie Mathison certainly won't be winning any Mother of the Year awards any time soon.
On the Showtime drama's two-hour season premiere, it became clear that Carrie (Claire Danes) had purposefully chosen a CIA posting in Kabul, Afghanistan that wouldn't allow her to bring along her new daughter, Frannie. Instead, the baby was being cared for by Carrie's sister and father stateside, whom Carrie occasionally checks in with via Skype.
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But after one of Carrie's drone strikes kills dozens of civilians — and after the Islamabad station chief who provided Carrie the intel on the target was murdered in the streets of Pakistan — Carrie was called home by CIA Director Lockhart (Tracy Letts
) to solve the PR nightmare. Amidst the professional crisis, Carrie's sister insisted Carrie — who is clearly uncomfortable around the child — spend an entire day with her daughter.However, after a day or mother-daughter bonding — which included a road trip to the home of Frannie's now-dead father Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis
) — things got a little sticky at bath time. As Carrie was washing her daughter, the scene took an ominous turn when it was implied that Carrie may
have considered letting her daughter drown. So, did we see what we thought we saw?"I really think that's a moment that everybody's going to have to come to terms with on their own," executive producer Alex Gansa
tells TVGuide.com. "We spent a lot of time in the writing of that scene and we spent a lot of time editing that scene, and in a lot of ways what happens in those two minutes is really in the mind of the audience. Did she put that baby under water, or did she not? Was she seriously intending to drown her own child, or was she not? The one takeaway is whatever happened in those two minutes terrified the hell out of her. It's meant to generate discussion and different opinions and, in the end, hopefully not turn us off to her as a character."
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That may be easier said than done. Some audience members have already been turned off by Carrie in the past and question how she continues to rise the ranks in the CIA despite her insubordinate behavior. Gansa doesn't shy away from Carrie's more difficult nature. "She is not warm and cuddly," Gansa says. "There is something selfish about this character. There's a messianic quality about Carrie Mathison and the people around her suffer for it. Some suffer in the extreme — look ultimately what happened to Brody."However, Gansa thinks that the audience's difficult relationship with Carrie is part of what her character journey is all about. "I think what the audience is rooting for is for Carrie to get her emotional act together," he says. "As writers, we're certainly hoping for a happy ending with Carrie, and unless she sorts all this out, she's not going to have it. Whether it happens this season or next season, or at all, is an open question, but that's what we're watching. Carrie is being buffeted by a lot of different forces and being pulled in a lot of different directions and the hope is that she's going to come out the other side a better person."Either way, Gansa says that the troubling scene with her daughter will
play a major role in Carrie's evolution. "She's wrestling with a bunch of stuff and the memory of what she did [in that bathtub] is going to haunt her," he says. "As is the memory of what to happened Brody the season before, as is the memory of things that happen in this season that you don't know about yet. It's a dangerous world that she lives in and she's a troubled character."Do you think Carrie considered harming her baby? What did you think of the show's reboot?Homeland
airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, Showtime's parent company.)