Episode 601


With only one episode left in its second season, Showtime’s Homeland has already dispatched two very prominent characters: Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan) went last week, and in tonight’s shocking hour, elusive terrorist Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) was finally caught and killed. Had producers known from the beginning of season 2 that Homeland‘s big bad would perish? “I think the short answer to that is yes,” says executive producer Alex Gansa. “The long answer is we weren’t actually sure how that would happen. But the reason we wanted Walden and Nazir both dead is we wanted to open the possibility that Brody and Carrie could have a happy ending, that their doomed romance was not doomed after all. The only way to make that happen was to off these two antagonists.”

Negahban discovered his character’s fate at the season 2 premiere party. Remembers the actor, “I walked up to Alex Gansa and I said, ‘So Alex do I need to look for a job?’ You should have seen his face! He’s so gentle!” Negahban says he was okay with the decision but just wanted to be sure Nazir had a proper send off, seen in last week’s speech with a captive Carrie (Claire Danes). “Let’s just make it good so that he says something before he goes, he makes his point,” says Negahban of his only request. “That was fantastic.”

Last week’s episode drew a lot of online attention for some twists that fans felt were implausible. “Do I wish everybody loved the episode and thought it was our best episode of all time? Of course I do,” says Gansa. “Am I a little disappointed that some people felt it strained credulity? Yeah, I’m a little disappointed about that. However, I am prepared to have a conversation with anybody about every single one of those plot points and why I believe they are emotionally true.” He adds, “One thing I would encourage people to do is remember the Issa episode last year? There was a similar like, ‘Oh my God.’ Then you realized after the finale how important that episode was. You realize that without Brody’s connection to Issa, none of it would be comprehensible. I think after the finale this year, people are going to understand how important episode 10 was and where we were pushing the story and why what happened in that episode had to happen.”

So what can Gansa tease about next week’s season finale? “The final episode is called ‘The Choice,’ and what I can say about it is Walden is dead. Nazir is dead. So we’ve sort of left the thriller aspects of the show behind and now we come to a very personal story about Carrie and Brody and all the obstacles that lie in the way of them being together. That is what the finale is about. It’s a real character study of these two people, where they’ve come from, how they regard each other, and whether or not there’s a future for them.”

Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack

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Episode 601
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