SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't yet watched the Season 2 finale of Showtime's "Homeland," please don't read this until you have.
If you have seen Sunday's episode, chances are that at least some of the questions you've had about some of the show's recent twists and turns were answered in an episode that killed off more than 200 people but, amazingly enough, left Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) alive and kicking.
And on the run.
Some of us still had questions this morning (I woke up at 5:30 to rewatch the entire episode to make sure that I'd actually seen what I thought I had).
Showtime, happily, anticipated this and put executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon on the phone with reporters (along with actor David Harewood, whose character David Estes did not survive the terrorist attack, but who doesn't seem even a little bit bitter about that).
Here are a few of the highlights of the hourlong call:
— The strategy for Season 2, overall, was to get to that point where Carrie (Claire Danes) busted Brody and turned him against Abu Nazir, Gansa said, noting that while Season 1 had ended with Carrie being the only one who believed in Brody's guilt, Season 2 ended with her being the only one who believes in his innocence (at least so far as the attack on the CIA).
— Just because Brody's still alive doesn't mean we'll see much, if any, of him, in Season 3. (Nor does it mean that we won't.) They're just starting to talk about next season, but "we've told a significant part" of the Carrie-Brody story, and "if there's a Chapter 3" in that relationship, it's going to have to be different, Gordon said.
— "There was a plan early on to kill Brody in Episode 7 or 8 of this year," said Gordon. Ultimately, "we felt there was enough story between these characters to tell through this year, and there probably is another chapter in that story, but frankly we don't know what it is yet."
— "There was a deeper plan" originally for the car accident involving Brody's daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor) and the vice president's son, according to Gordon, though neither he nor Gansa seemed able to remember exactly what it was. Mostly, it seems to have been seen as a wedge to be driven between Dana and her father and as yet another example that the veep (Jamey Sheridan) was not a good guy. "It was really about the emotional separation between Brody and Dana," said Gordon.
— Wondering how Brody and Carrie got away so easily? The producers' reasoning: "Chaos" at the scene, combined with the expectation that Brody might have been a suicide bomber, at the wheel of his car and thus incinerated when the bomb went off.
— Gansa said he and Gordon had a much clearer idea of how the show would work in the first two seasons than they have — so far — of Season 3, but it looks as if Saul (Mandy Patinkin) will continue to have a major role, since ""The second season ended on Saul's face... Carrie made a choice. She chose Saul, not Brody."
— I should probably point out that no matter how much carping there's been about some plot developments this season, the producers don't appear to be in defensive mode (nor, I'd argue, should they, since the finale justified at least some of their decisions, at least in my mind).
"One thing the show does promise is twists and turns as a nod to the thriller part," said Gansa, who, like Gordon, also wrote for "24." "I think the show is always going to have the ability to surprise and whether that's plausible or implausible is for you to decide."
-- Most of the scenes between Carrie and Brody were written by Meredith Stiehm, who co-wrote the episode with Gansa. (Stiehm, a Penn grad, was also the creator of the Philadelphia-set CBS drama "Cold Case.")
— How they felt about that dead-on "Homeland" parody on "Saturday Night Live" this season:
It's "one of the highest cultural honors to be lampooned by 'SNL,'" said Gordon, who noted that "some of the actors were charmed and disturbed."
"I did think it was funny," said Harewood, the only actor on the call. "I just enjoyed it."
— I'd thought that Carrie's story about her mother going off to the CVS and never coming back might have been used to foreshadow Brody's final meeting with Dana before he, too, left, possibly forever, but Gansa said that was "completely unintentional." And yet I'd argue that it nevertheless worked out well.
— One reason I'd gotten up to rewatch the episode was to reassure myself that it was Carrie, not Brody, who'd first moved to leave the memorial service (an action that conveniently saved both their lives). If it had been Brody, it would have made it seem much more likely that he'd been behind the bombing.
"A lot of people have told me that they still have a glimmer of doubt about Brody," said Gansa, who doesn't seem to mind that.
"We definitely deliberately left the door open a little bit to that possibility," but, nevertheless, the producers appeared to be saying that Brody was indeed innocent in this latest attack.
"We're all astounded sometimes by what people read into" 'Homeland,'" said Gordon.