One critic likened Season 2 of Homeland to an extended game of Mad Libs, so implausible were some of its plot twists. As the final episode approaches, we asked Slate writers and the folks who took part in the Homeland TV Club to offer their predictions for what will go down Sunday night. We also plucked a couple of smart suggestions from the Internet.
Could Brody die?
Quinn kills Brody, and he and Estes exchange Brody’s body for Abu Nazir’s body. Then they dump it out at sea. That’s the body we saw in the “next week on Homeland” trailer. Saul tips off Carrie, but too late to save Brody, and now they have no hard evidence. She is horrified and heartbroken and vows to prove what happened so she can bring down Quinn and Estes. But Saul is discredited and exiled and Carrie is in some sort of box, too. The problem with this theory is that it means no more Damian Lewis playing Nicholas Brody in Season 3, which would be a crying shame.— Emily Bazelon
I predict that all the emphasis on the romance between Carrie and Brody (which has been driving some of us nuts) is a masterful sleight of hand by the writers. Carrie is the only person alive who knows that Brody killed the vice president. And Brody could barely play off his feelings about the death of Abu Nazir in front of his own family. Brody is using his alleged feelings for Carrie to lull her into a false sense of security, but actually he’s unhinged and she’s in great danger. Will Quinn save her? I might be wrong, but I have to believe it. Because otherwise, the show is a second-rate soap opera based on a completely unbelievable affair. —Rachael Larimore
Brody needs to die, but Carrie Mathison needs, as Roya Hammad put it to her, "someone who takes over your life, pulls you in, gets you to do things you would normally never do." So my bet: Peter Quinn manages to take out Brody in the finale. Next season, Saul and Carrie work together to prove that Quinn, David Estes, and Dar Adul are in it together, if only so I can get my prescription dose of F. Murray Abraham. And Quinn and Carrie do some “Stage 5 delusional getting laid” of their own. —Alyssa Rosenberg
Quinn will follow orders and kill Brody, only to be burned by Estes and Dar Adul. Carrie will realize that Saul has an agenda of his own—suspects with valuable information die when he’s around. Quinn and Carrie—when they’re not screaming at each other or screwing—will spend Season 3 trying to figure out who Saul is really working for. —June Thomas
I continue to think the season is going to wind its way around to Carrie having to kill Brody, then discovering she’s having his child. —The AV Club’s Todd VanDerWerff (in his take on Episode 211)
I have a sinking feeling that Season 2's finale will wrap up with Brody dead—though not at the hands of gorgeous Peter Quinn, who I envision standing down out of compassion for Carrie. Maybe Estes himself will pull the trigger, as Saul and Carrie burst into the room. When word gets out, Estes will retire in disgrace, and Saul will reconcile with his wife and open a waffle restaurant. The last we see of Claire Danes will be a shot of her bent over Brody's body, making the Cry Face To End All Cry Faces. —Katy Waldman
Or will Brody thrive?
Honestly, I have not the foggiest idea. It has gone so far off into the realm of preposterousness that they could do anything. It will probably end with Brody—a trained sniper, remember?—killing Dar Adul, as Dar Adul prepares to murder Carrie and Saul. —David Plotz
Brody becomes the new No. 1, replacing Abu Nazir. He never had divided loyalties and has been working for the terrorists all along. He has been carefully setting up Carrie and is going to make it look like she is the mole. —Emily Yoffe
Could the big bad be a character you never thought of?
If Nazir had been really smart, he would have spent years cultivating those close to Brody and Walker, knowing they would need a minder when they got back to the States, someone to keep Brody from connecting with his family ... aka Mike. —Chad Briggs
Carrie is the mole. That’s what Estes says, anyway, creating a convincing narrative: Carrie and Brody became terrorist sympathizers. Carrie and Brody are framed for Walden’s death. Carrie’s history of mental illness—manifested in erratic behavior, insubordination, and suspension—plays in. Her obsession with Nazir evolved into admiration. Estes says she was a complicit prisoner.
Estes leaks Brody’s video and other evidence that golden boy Brody is a conspirator. Brody’s family doesn’t know any better. The only person who knows otherwise is Saul, but Estes saw to it that he was discredited.
The CIA hunts the unstable pair. Estranged from Jess, we finally see what Brody and Carrie are like when they truly have only each other. They grab cash and fake passports, starting Season 3 together but on the run: They have no homeland. —Ross Gottesman
Carrie—having almost singlehandedly taken down Abu Nazir and made the world safer for democracy—is in good standing now, but she’ll be back in hot water with Estes and rest of the CIA guys as she enables Brody on the run. Look to Carrie to pillage the agency disguise shop and manufacture a full deck of alias docs for the guy.
Also, as much as I love Saul—who reminds me of some likably intellectual uncle I'd encounter at a relative’s bar mitzvah—there is definitely something up with him, something sinister, that we've yet to find out. I mean, come on; every time Saul questions a terrorist, that person ends up killing himself in short order, with a conveniently procured homemade weapon. I believe it was Season 1 when we saw Saul’s polygraph blip when asked directly by the polygraphist if he’d provided the razor blade to a terrorist who committed suicide while in custody.
Finally, it’s only a matter of time before Carrie sleeps with Quinn. Probably as some stalling technique to get Quinn off Brody’s tail. And also because, like everything else on Homeland, that makes for some damn good television. —Lindsay Moran
Maybe Abu Nazir’s plot isn’t finished yet!
Why did Nazir kidnap Carrie? Was it to blackmail Brody into killing the man he always wanted to kill? Or was it to make Carrie think that Brody did it to save her? Was the end game to both kill the VP and compromise Carrie by rescuing her (as Nazir compromised Brody by rescuing him)? Every phone call from Nazir to Brody regarding Carrie being held captive was made in front of Carrie. She witnessed it all. But she didn't see [Brody] killing the VP. It was his mission for a long time. I don't think this ends with Quinn killing Carrie's true love. It ends with Carrie eventually figuring out she's been played and maybe killing Brody. This is not a love story. — Marion (comment on the Week 11 TV Club discussion)
The big unanswered question is why Abu Nazir, the most wanted man in the world, is (was?) in America. Even the show's writers acknowledged how impossible that seemed, so what explains it? What could he accomplish here that he couldn't from abroad, and what would have been so important to him to risk death/capture when he was basically a ghost only a little while ago? Nazir wasn't in the van with the other baddies, so he wasn't going to be an "attacker" in the returning soldiers plot (personal involvement not being the M.O. of terrorist leaders). He didn't need to be here to get to the veep. So why his presence? My guess: Letting Carrie go was the clue. He had to know that she would identify his location. He didn't run, meaning he had to know that he would get captured or killed. He chose to die—but in a way that left his body in tact. My guess is that he came here to die, and his target is his own funeral. — Adam Masin (comment on the Week 11 TV Club discussion)
I’m Team Nussbaum on this: Brody has to have been part of the Abu Nazir plot. There must be some plan for violence beyond what’s current. That’s what his silence in response to Jess’ “Does Carrie know everything?” was about. Otherwise, what happens in the finale? They try to kill Brody, Carrie finds out, they bring down Estes? Oh wait, that’s actually plausible. —Julia Turner
Or maybe everyone’s wrong about everything!
Carrie finds a dermatologist and demands an overdose of Botox so her face will stop quivering. Brody decides he actually loves Jessica; he and Mike thumb-wrestle for her love. At the urging of Les Moonves and every other man in America, Jessica spends the entire episode topless, setting up a spinoff next year called Spy, Stripper, MILF, Wife. Armed only with a stale knish and a single Hanukkah candle, Saul escapes from the secure interrogation room. Later, he eats the candle but not the knish; we're never told why. Estes and Quinn come out and become the first gay interracial couple to marry in Maryland. Roya is heartbroken. Dana poisons Finn, forcing Mrs. Walden into hiding to escape the wrath of the Brodys. And, oh yeah, Galvez is the mole. —Alex Berenson
Season 2 ends with Carrie waking from the electroshock she underwent at the end of season 1. — James Poniewozik of Time magazine (on Twitter)
Please add your own theories in the comments below.