Today's News: Our Take - Homeland: How Does Brody Figure Into Saul's Master Plan?
Homeland fans who have missed Brody will certainly get their fill of him in Season 3's final four episodes.
On Sunday's episode (9/8c, Showtime), it becomes clear that not only has Saul (Mandy Patinkin) known all along where Brody (Damian Lewis) has been hiding, but also that Saul is counting on Brody to pull off the second part of Saul's master plan.
There's just one problem: Brody is hooked on heroin and Saul has only nine days before he loses his ability to call the shots as the CIA's acting director. Plus: Who's to say Brody wants to have any part in Saul's game? That's where Carrie (Claire Danes) comes in - but even she will find her relationship with Brody is not what it once was.
So, how will this all play out? TVGuide.com chatted with executive producer Alex Gansa about Saul's dilemma, how much Brody can be trusted, and how Carrie's pregnancy plays into everything. Plus: Gansa tells us whether planning this season's ending from the beginning was a good idea.
You said this season was broken into three movements. What can we expect from the upcoming final movement?
Alex Gansa: There's no doubt that Episode 8 was the end of the second movement, and the big reveal at the end of that episode was that Saul has another card up his sleeve. And that card is Brody. We will learn in Episode 9 what Saul's plan for Brody is.
Given Saul's master plan, we're supposed to believe he has always known where Brody was, right?
Gansa: I think you could look at in two ways. You could look at it that El Nino decided that Brody is in such decrepit shape that he might as well collect the reward before he dies. Or you could read it that Saul knew very well that Carrie was lying to him about being in that bathroom for 14 hours after the explosion, knew that she must have been the person that got him out of the country, knows her networks and followed Brody to where he ultimately wound up and has been keeping tabs on him ever since with this ulterior motive in the back of his mind.
Is Brody's condition a concern for Saul's plan?
Gansa: You're very astute because that is first and foremost Saul's problem. He did not expect to find Brody in that decrepit shape, and that is a big problem for Saul. Brody is essentially a total junkie.
And Saul only has a few days left as the acting CIA director.
Gansa: You've identified the ticking clock. Saul has a very ambitious operation up and running, which he knows will be terminated the minute Senator Lockhart becomes the director of the agency. So here's Saul's problem: The plan is half in place. Brody is the second part of that plan, Lockhart is being confirmed in nine days. Brody is completely physically incapable of carrying out the mission that Saul has planned for him. How is Saul to reconcile all this stuff? How is he going to make it work?
Even though the CIA basically knows Brody didn't do the Langley bombing, how much does Saul trust Brody?
Gansa: The one thing Saul had to know before he sends Brody off on the mission is that Brody didn't do the bombing at Langley. He needed to know that Brody was trustworthy at that level. But that's not to say that Saul doesn't look at Brody with an intense amount of wariness. He knows what Brody was capable of in the past, knows that Brody is somebody whose mind is changeable and is ultimately not 100 percent trustworthy. That's the gamble he's going to take. ... Brody is somebody who's been brainwashed once, and, in a way, Saul is brainwashing him to do this last mission. How strong will that hold? It's an open question.
Saul obviously hasn't told Carrie about the plan.
Gansa: He's kept that from Carrie because he knows how incendiary the Carrie-Brody combination is. Saul is somebody who views that relationship as incredibly detrimental to his protégé, so he's kept it from her. He's kept a number of things from her, and this being one of them is going to come to the fore in Episode 9.Saul really hoped never to have to bring Carrie into the equation. But he's forced to because of Brody's extreme reluctance to do what Saul is asking.
You revealed a few episodes ago that Carrie is pregnant with Brody's child. How does that inform these final episodes?
Gansa: Brody is about to embark on a very dangerous mission, and it's a mission from which he may not come back. The fact that Carrie is carrying his child makes her that much more conflicted about what he's doing. But it also makes it more important to her that he goes through with the mission and redeems himself, not only in her eyes but in his own eyes. He's the father of her child. You want the father of your child to be somebody to look up to.
With Brody now back in the picture, are we going to see more of Brody's family again?
Gansa: I've made this joke before, but I've just decided to stop touching the third rail of the Brody family. [Laughs] So, just keep watching. I will say that for us as storytellers, it was very important to locate Dana Brody emotionally through the first sweep of episodes so that what happens in the last four episodes has some real weight to it.
You said Saul wants to keep Carrie away from Brody, but what does Carrie want? Is she self-aware enough to know that Brody sometimes clouds her judgment as an intelligence officer?
Gansa: In Episode 9, the tenor of that relationship is different from the one that we've seen before. These are two people who have not seen each other for quite a long time, and Brody is in bad, bad shape. But Carrie has beenunbelievably successful as an intelligence officer this season. What she has accomplished, what she put herself through in the first four episodes to lure Javadi into the country - that required incredible physical and spiritual strength to do it. And now Javadi is the biggest asset the CIA has ever had inside Iran. What Carrie pulled off was an order of magnitude greater than she's ever done before. So, she has been on her game and the appearance of Brody threatens that a little bit because her emotions come into play again. She has to battle her professional obligation and her personal connection to this man.
You've said previously that this season was more planned out from the beginning than in past seasons. Do you think that's helped or hurt the show?
Gansa: I worked with Elmore Leonard on a number of pilots and on Maximum Bob, and Dutch always told me, "Don't know the ending before you start because it's not as fun as you move through the storytelling." Sometimes that works, but it's terrifying because you're in Episode 10 and you're scrambling at the last minute to figure it out. And that was largely what was happening in Season 1 and Season 2 . So, there was a degree of comfort in knowing where the show was going to end this season.
Whether that was detrimental to the viewing process, I couldn't say. Certainly plenty of people have had their criticisms. I know people were up in arms about the big end of the first movement, and I will only say that people who were watching those first four episodes were talking about how something felt off. Carrie and Saul really weren't behaving like Carrie and Saul. That's what makes the twist genuine and earned in my opinion. Something didn't smell right and then it was explained at the end of Episode 4. Then, the second movement was really about turning Javadi and sending him back to Iran, and the third movement will be mostly about Brody and Carrie. I think by the end of Episode 12, if people look back, they will understand the design.
Homeland airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, Showtime's parent company.)
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