Homeland showrunner explains last night’s controversial baby bathtub scene

“I think we were all nervous about it,” says showrunner Alex Gansa

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Last night’s second episode of Homeland series four stopped viewers in their tracks with a controversial scene that seemed to show CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathison contemplate drowning her baby in the bath.

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Carrie (played by Claire Danes) had just been forced to return to the US from her posting in Kabul after a drone strike hit civilians. Viewers watched as Carrie crumbled, her emotions raging between whether she can be a mother to the baby of her executed former lover Sergeant Nicholas Brody, whether she can handle staying in the US, if she can come to terms with what’s happened in Kabul and whether doing the unthinkable can be a way out.

Homeland as a show certainly doesn’t hide away from dark subject matter, notably the climax of Brody’s storyline at the end of series three. But many viewers took to social media to share their shock at this latest scene.

However, while showrunner Alex Gansa admits he expected the scene to be a “controversial moment” he says that the way it was filmed actually left viewers to decide what was happening.

“We spent five days in the editing room making that scene what it was,” Gansa tells Entertainment Weekly. “We tried to leave it in the mind of the audience – did she actually put that baby underwater or not? That’s left to the audience to decide.

“It went through a lot of iterations. Where we left it is in the eye of the beholder. Did she just contemplate it? Is it all in her head? Nevertheless, it terrified her, and I think Carrie’s response where she yanks the baby out of the bath, we realise how terrified she was.”

Be that as it may, Gansa admits they were all nervous about the scene airing.

“I think we’re all nervous about it. We certainly don’t want anybody to turn off to Carrie.”

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Homeland continues Sundays at 9:00pm on Channel 4