(Spoiler warning: This story contains spoilers through the end of Homeland's third season.)
Even if you've yet to catch up on your Homeland watching before Sunday's two-hour season four premiere, you likely already know that season three ended with the shocking death of one of the series' main stars. While most fans agreed, by that point, that Brody needed to go for the show to have any semblance of follow-through or believability left, it was still shocking to see his ultimate demise come to fruition.
So, how does a Brody-less Homeland actually look? Judging by the three season four episodes we've been able to preview so far, it's certainly gotten more interesting. Enough so that we've put together this handy spoiler-free guide to what you can expect from Sunday's premiere.
1. New faces.
With Nicholas Brody, and his family, out of the picture in season four, fans can expect to see a lot of new faces popping on Homeland. Carrie, Saul and Peter Quinn (who is now, in our opinion, the show's most interesting character) are all back, of course, but we also get to meet CIA Chief of Station in Islamabad Sandy Bachman (played by House of Cards' Corey Stoll) in the first few episodes, as well as Life of Pi's Suraj Sharma as Pakistani medical student Aayan Ibrahim, who will likely play an important role in the show's new season. We'll also get to see Laila Robins and Raza Jaffrey show up at some point.
2. New places.
There is definitely some action taking place here in the United States during Homeland's first few season four episodes, but the focus of the show has shifted pretty dramatically to new locations, such as Kabul, Afghanistan and Islamabad, Pakinstan. We not only get to see what's going on in those locales, but our main characters are actually stationed there, on a mission there or planning to go there. Instead of fighting terror here at home, it appears Homeland has decided to take the fight abroad.
3. More action. Less romance.
There's not a ton of action in the first few episodes of season four, and there is a bit of romance (if you want to call it that), but we're truly hoping that the absence of Brody means the new Homeland means a whole lot less lovey-dovey storylines and more terror-fighting action. It's pretty clear that the show is trying to put Carrie in a new romantic situation (with someone we shall not reveal), but we're hoping that quickly fades away. The last thing Carrie needs right now is a new love interest. Now, we all should probably assume that the metaphorical ghost of Nicholas Brody will haunt Homeland's fourth season, but at least we won't have to watch Carrie and Brody make kissy-faces at each other for entire episodes any longer.
4. Carrie Mathison as a mom.
If you remember back to Homeland's third season, Carrie Mathison was carrying her and Brody's illicit love child. Well, let's just say that she's no longer pregnant and leave it at that. We wouldn't want to spoil anything for you in what will surely be a controversial (and over-the-top) storyline. We will, however, get to see Carrie's parenting skills on display.
5. Some things that stay the same.
As you can see, a lot has changed in Homeland's new season, but don't let that fool you into thinking that the entire show has somehow miraculously fixed all its problems. It is infinitely more interesting without Brody, but that doesn't mean we're suddenly going to see all the ridiculous, completely illogical plot machinations come to a halt. Those are still firmly intact for season four. Carrie is still manic. Saul is still bearded and brooding. And Homeland is still going to be a divisive, ratings beast for Showtime. Count on it.
Homeland: Season Four premieres on October 5 at 9 PM ET on Showtime.