“Look, these highly serialized dramas are a high-wire act, and occasionally on the wire, you’re going to fall off,” acknowledged“Homeland” executive producer Howard Gordon at the end of a long press conference call to discuss the Showtime drama’s second season finale. “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. (What a completely convoluted metaphor!) But that was our hope for the finale: that people understood now why Nazir was doing what he was doing, why Brody was doing what he was doing, and what Carrie was thinking. We’re very rigorous about that. Not to defend the show, but in our minds, we have answers to why everything happened. And 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.”
Gordon and “Homeland” showrunner Alex Gansa didn’t exactly spend the conference call defending the second season (I reviewed the finale here), but a lot of it was spent on discussing the various objections many critics and viewers had to different storytelling decisions, and whether they were either plausible or relevant to the world of “Homeland.” And they said as much as they were capable of saying about plans for a third season, given that there have literally only been two meetings about it so far, and Gordon hasn’t attended either one.
Among the plot questions fielded over the hour-long call:
* Carrie and Brody were able to get away quickly from CIA headquarters after the bombin because, per Gansa, “Chaos ensued after the explosion, and the first responders were not there to secure the perimeter. The intimation is that Brody and Carrie were able to slip out of the chaos.”
* Though Brody is now the most infamous terrorist in the world, and already had a very recognizable face due to his public rescue from captivity and then his ascent to VP-in-waiting, Gansa suggested that he might be able to make a go of it as a fugitive because, for now, the world likely assumes he died in the explosion, and he has the benefit of all of Carrie’s best, most trusted contacts to keep him safe and get him far away from Washington. (More on Brody’s future role on the show – or lack thereof – in a bit.)
* The CIA wasn’t monitoring Brody’s phone at the time Abu Nazir called him with the demand to murder Vice-President Walden because they believed the operation was already done after they had arrested the rest of Nazir’s American terror network, and, as Gansa says, “They had mistakenly stopped monitoring his movements and his phone.”
* Despite Brody’s crucial role as the patsy in the bombing (more on that, too, shortly), his contact Roya was willing to risk sending him to get the Gettysburg tailor earlier this season because, according to Gansa, “Roya had not assembled her network yet. She didn’t have any operatives on the ground.” Also, she believed the tailor would be too suspicious of anyone but Brody appearing at his door.
* Even though Brody was known to Saul, Estes, Quinn and others as a former terrorist who previously was part of a plot to assassinate Walden, and even though Brody was alone in the room with Walden when he died, no one suspected him of playing a role because, per Gansa, “There were no marks on Walden’s body. This is a man who was known to have a bad heart. He died of natural causes of the heart attack. Short of yelling at Walden very loudly to panic him into a heart attack, there was no trace. That was one of the things that we thought in favor of the pacemaker story was that Brody was in the room with Walden, got to play a death scene with them, however, was completely innocent in the eyes of the world in his death… There was no need for an investigation.”