The first season of Showtime‘s Homeland sure left us on an interesting note. To pick up the pieces and tease where the overarching story will take fans next season, EPs Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon dished a few details.
Spoilers for the Homeland season finale and Season 2 follow.
Nutshell: The season ended with Carrie successfully preventing Brody from unleashing a devastating suicide bomb attack on the vice president and senior members of the White House. However, Carrie’s recollection of events has gone and — like everyone else — she is starting to think she’s crazy, having checked herself into a hospital for electroshock treatments. Where does Homeland go from here?..
On whether they knew from the start that Brody would survive the first season:
Ganza: We didn’t, actually. We didn’t know how the actual attacked would be carried out. We knew Brody was going to target the people responsible for [Abu Nazir's son] Issa’s death. We were unclear how that was going to happen. We came down to the suicide vest for a couple reasons. One, the vest could malfunction — which would be fantastic. And because it could malfunction we got to live in the best of both worlds. He got to flip the switch, which was true to his character because that’s what he’s been leading up to all this time. But it didn’t work, so he was able to be brought back from the brink. And that device really helped us, because it not only allowed the character to go where he needed to go, but it also allowed us to bring him back for the second season.
On the decision not to end the episode on a visceral note:
Gansa: It was actually something that I learned working for Howard on 24, that there’s a lot of merit in the denouement of the story. In 24, the big event often happened in the penultimate episode or early on in the last episode, and there’s a lot of wonderful ground to cover after it’s over — and in certain ways, that’s where the character really comes to the fore. That’s where we really see Brody and Carrie and Saul and Estes and everybody dealing with the aftermath of what happened, and you learn a lot about people in those moments.
On the decision to have days counting up in the finale:
Gordon: There were three distinct movements in the finale. The first day is really still, the camera didn’t really move, it was all done with a quiet camera. The second day, from the moment he wakes up, everything is hand-held, everything is shot energetic and kinetic — and it builds to that climax in the bunker. And the third day goes back to that quiet style of filming. It helped to transition the audience from one feeling to another and also gave the episode a shape. It was very specific to this 90-minute show. We didn’t play the main title in this one, either, we wanted to jump right in.
On whether this season’s story line will over-arch in Season 2, or will it see a completely new threat:
Gordon: We’ll continue to tell this story from the point of view of these characters who have been so richly realized. So any story will continue with those stories and interactions. For example, Brody is planning to play a much quieter and longer-term game — that’s where that story is heading. And the other big plot point is that suicide confession is still out there. And Abu Nazir is still out there. But clearly the thrust of Brody’s story will change, it’s not going to be about him planning another attack.
On what informed the decision to continue exporing the Brody storyline rather than a new threat:
Ganza: One of the virtues of having Showtime as our home – and their partnership has been phenomenal – was that we got to slow it down. They’re the ones who said, “Take a deep breath – you’re not on a broadcast network anymore,” and that was a tremendously liberating way to start the process.
On how they’ll keep the storyline fresh:
Gansa: That’s clearly going to be the challenge, although certain things have changed. Clearly there is now an established relationship between Carrie and Brody that is going to have to be resolved one way or another. There is still a reservoir of emotion that exists, but they have some big differences as well. Also, Brody, I think, is done committing a big attack on the United States. He’s got another trajectory that is much more insidious, a long-game political one. That’s going to change the tenor of the show, but hopefully we can keep the charge between our two main characters as hot as possible.
On whether they’ll play with Carrie’s toggling memory next season:
Gansa: Absolutely. She’s kind of back to square one now, and the audience is going to be waiting for the moment where she begins to re-suspect Brody. Her logically going back and putting the pieces together is definitely going to be a part of Season 2.
The producers also said they’ll have to find a “unique way” to bring Carrie back into the fold next season, noting that she’s a very different character from 24′s Jack Bauer. They also revealed that season 2 will probably pick-up after a “jump forward” in time.