‘Homeland’ Season 3 Shocker: Producer Explains Big “Game On” Twist
Uneven as 'Homeland' has been over the past two seasons, fans of the Showtime security series were shocked to learn that last night's "Game On" would end the first of three "movements" to unfold over the third season, introducing a game-changing twist that had pulled one over on the audience to reveal Carrie and Saul had been in cahoots from the beginning. The twist did raise several questions of logic however, for which producer Alex Gansa has stepped up to clarify.
Likening the "Game On" twist to a magician conning his audience into believing he'd made a mistake in his act, Gansa explained to several outlets that Carrie's plot with Saul to draw out Middle Eastern intelligence officer Mavid Javadi ('Iron Man''s Shaun Toub) had been a gambit known only to a few characters, one that ended the first movement of the season. That said, Gansa's revelation that Carrie and Saul had planned the operation immediately following season 2 finale "The Choice" raised questions about the behavior we'd seen from either in private over the first few episodes of season 3, though not altogether unanswerable.
Rather than contrast what we'd seen from Carrie and Saul, including Carrie's shocked reaction to Saul's public testimony about her relationship with Brody, and her drug-addled "f$%k you" response to Saul visiting her in the hospital, Gansa instead offered to TVGuide that the twist re-contextualized the character beats over the first three episodes:
When we were shooting it, we were talking to Claire [Danes] about, "This moment is going to have to play two ways. It's going to have to play one way if the audience is watching it for the first time not understanding that this is a ruse." But when you go back and look at it again, you'll understand that she's not surprised by what she's hearing. She's amazed at how it affects her to understand that she is to blame for what happened. That's where the emotion catches up with her in an unexpected way.
Gansa also explained that the nature of the ruse hadn't accounted for X factors like Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) working to keep Carrie in the hospital, making at least some of Carrie's guilt and subsequent medication distress legitimate. The reveal also opens the door for the next two-thirds of the season, in which Javadi finally reveals himself, and we see more about Brody's involvement in the apparently Venezuela-centric terrorist financing organization.
As for the continued focus on Dana (Morgan Saylor) and her groan-worthy boyfriend Leo ('Dexter''s Sam Underwood), Gansa defended that the shattered relationship between she and her father will play a role in the emotional core of the season, even if viewers respond negatively to the plot threads. We may also see less of the character physically going forward (woo!), though the emotional through-line with Brody continues to inform the story.
Well, what say you? Were you relieved to find 'Homeland' had been playing a long con with its first four episodes of the season? Do you think Carrie and Saul's plot places what we've seen in a different light? Give us your predictions for 'Homeland' season 3 in the comments below!