[Spoiler alert: Stop now if you haven't seen Sunday's Homeland.]
The most recent episode of Showtime’s Emmy-winning drama has hungry Homeland fans jonesing for answers: How did a fugitive Nicholas Brody end up in Caracas, Venezuela? Who shot him, and why? Also, what’s with the shaved head?
The good news: Homeland‘s writers can, in fact, explain themselves. The bad news: You’ll have to download a 29-minute interstitial audio book called Homeland: Phantom Pain to hear them do so. (The good news, again: The book is free! And it’s narrated by Damian Lewis!)
Why go this route to reveal what happened to Brody in between seasons 2 and 3? Don’t ask; just be thankful that Phantom Pain exists in the first place. Because if series creator Alex Gansa had his way, Brody’s backstory would have stayed obscured.
“Our feeling was that it’s a fairly straight narrative line between Brody being dropped off [at the Canadian border] and how he got to Venezuela,” Gansa told the New York Post. “He’s been on Carrie’s underground railroad…and ran into some difficulty at a border crossing. Maybe people feel differently, but our goal was to reveal Brody in an interesting way, rather than showing him being shot…That was the most impactful and narrative way [to show Brody] after not seeing him in the first couple of episodes.”
“One of the men [guarding Brody] does allude to ‘those Colombians’ and the fact that Brody didn’t have a pleasant border crossing,” Ganza continued. “I don’t know if it had to be explicated beyond that.”
In other words: On Homeland itself, what you’ve seen so far is all you’ll get in terms of Brody’s journey. The audio book, written by Glenn Gers, fills in the gaps, explaining how Brody is “guided off the grid by a former CIA analyst and a battle-scarred French mercenary” after escaping into Canada in last year’s season finale. Naturally, there’s also an element of tortured romance: as Phantom Pain‘s official description notes, “Wherever he goes and whoever he meets, he cannot stop thinking about Carrie.”
The story seems to have placated thirsty Homelanders so far — currently, Audible users rate it 4.7 out of 5 stars.