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Those of us who watched last night's big episode of Homeland might have scratched our heads (after screeching and clapping or whatever-ing) and wondered, "OK, but where can they go from here?" Well, we'll have to wonder that for even farther in the future now, as Showtime has just renewed the tingly spy drama for a third season. The decision was a no-brainer, as the show has earned Showtime its first best series Emmy, and the ratings, once only fair, have grown steadily so far this season. But how are they going to do it??

(Spoilers from here on out, guys.)

My theory is that the next season will be Brody-less, that perhaps that drama will wrap up this year and they'll move to a new case. Either that or Brody will be a big bad that controls other people from afar or something. Either way, they obviously can't keep doing this elusive cat-and-mouse thing for much longer, or at all anymore. Something's gotta change. And I wouldn't mind that change coming in the form of a Brody wrap-up. Obviously we're all thrilled about the big Dana/Finn/Xander triangle, but other than that, I feel like this family's story is winding down. How many times can the wife be mad/suspicious? How many times can Brody narrowly escape? (Well, it actually seems like his narrowly escaping days might be done, judging from last night.) It's been a good little jaunt, and it's certainly not over entirely, but can it really be sustained for another season?

I suppose there is the vague possibility that the wife will join Brody in badness. I mean, that's probably completely unlikely, but how else could they really move the family storyline along without it become too fractured? I suppose it could happen that Jessica gets picked as a candidate instead? Maybe that's why they had her do that speech last week? Or she takes up with the VP and then there's weirdness with Dana dating the guy's son? (She's totally picking Finn, duh.) There are options, I suppose, but they start to get pretty soapy pretty quickly. So here's hoping the writers gradually introduce some new villainy into the series, so we can gracefully end Brody's run as Crazy Carrie's bête noire/raison d'être and move on to another hysteria-inducing enemy.

Call me crazier than Carrie, but I've always wondered if there could maybe be more to Saul than meets the eye. He's such a weary-warm friendly ally, all paternal and gruffly loving. He's kind of too good to be true. What if someday he becomes a bad dude? Basically, what if everyone in Carrie's precarious sphere of trust turns out to be a dastard, a trickster, a turncoat? Maybe the show could actually spiral into a real into-the-mouth-of-madness kind of a thing and end, a few seasons later, with Carrie either correctly convinced that everyone in the world is out to get her or cowering in a padded room while all her supposed enemies look on with pity. Sort of like that Buffy episode where it's suggest that her whole world might actually be a crazed hallucination. Sure it seemed like that wasn't by the episode's end, that it was all some magic trick, but what if it wasn't? I liked that question lingering over the rest of the series. And that would certainly be an interesting note of uncertainty for Homeland to take, too. They've made Carrie unreliable to a point here and there, but, y'know, so far she's been basically right, which is mostly satisfying, as it was last night, but it's also kind of easy.

Really these are minor gripes, though. And mostly playful speculations. We have no reason to think that the show runners can't steer the series into and through a third season smartly and surprisingly. After all, I wasn't so sure they could even pull off a second season, and look how exciting it's been so far. Part of the jangly fun of watching this show is the feeling that the show, and not just the characters, could go off the rails at any minute. But then by the end it takes a squeaky turn and manages to hold on; we breathe and bask in an adrenalin-gushing sigh of relief. And if that's the tightrope balance the show needs to strike in order to keep us hooked, then that's just fine by me.

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