Loss of memory and control are the basic motives of "homecoming". With the new season, Prime Video continues the thriller epic that once started with Julia Roberts.
Richard von Weizsäcker once said that by closing your eyes to the past, you become blind to the present. But what if you miss exactly this past. You have individual memories, but who you really are is completely unclear. "Homecoming" deals with these points.
A boat without a paddle
A lake surrounded by forest – everything looks idyllic. A rowboat in the middle. Inside is Jackie, who is just waking up. Just accidentally throwing the cell phone into the water pushes it ahead – in a boat without a paddle. A man whose shape we can only guess stands on the bank, but quickly runs away. Now it's time to come ashore. When she reached the bank on her own, it was already night. Left alone in the forest, she is picked up by a policewoman. For her it is the clear case of a confused woman – off to the hospital. The doctor quickly noticed the bruise on the arm. Is she just a junkie looking for the next kick? No question for Jackie, there is only one thing left for her: Escape. Only with the help of a napkin from her pocket is it now necessary to find out who she is and how she got into this boat.
In 2018, Amazon released the first season on their streaming service Prime Video. In the leading role none other than Hollywood veteran Julia Roberts. The very actress who made herself scarce on the big screen was drawn to the home screens in a series. Many critics' eyes quickly turned to the thriller. The initial skepticism about the filming of a podcast quickly dissipated and "homecoming" blossomed into a kind of insider tip in the wide streaming landscape.
The new season continues the story of the homecoming center for veterans and the leading company Geist. As the former protagonist Heidi Bergman (played by Julia Roberts) had previously discovered after her own amnesia, there was a lot more to the aid program. Systematically erased veterans' memories to make them fit for use again – a creation of machines. In the end, the program was stopped by an investigation and the thread leaders held responsible. That ended the first season.
So the series creators Micah Bloomberg, Eli Horowitz and Sam Esmail created a well-rounded thriller story, in which you wondered at the announcement what a connection might look like. The veil has been lifted for two years.
Everything the same?
As expected, the end result is another criticism of the United States and how it deals with the war. This is mixed in "homecoming" with conspiracy theories that are put into reality. In terms of style, you stay true to the first season. Iconic camera movements, calm scenes, intoxicating sounds and a perfectly coordinated setting determine the series. You will find yourself in their world at the latest when the episode title suddenly occurs.
In the second season, Geist as an active company and its homecoming patron Colin Belfast take a back seat. Instead, it's primarily about Jackie, Audrey Temple, who was still working as a secretary in season 1.
As already mentioned, it was able to work its way upwards. The emerging interest of the Ministry of Defense is now using it skillfully to consolidate its position. Alien, she directs spirit in a dangerous direction.
As with the optics, you stay true to the basic structure. The episode length is short again at 30 minutes and makes the series seem very entertaining despite the slowly elegant narrative style. Especially the piece-by-piece development of the action keeps the tension at a constant high. The concept of the series really works and could be good in itself.
Now you roll up the rounded story again and enrich it with previously unknown facets. Facets which, as one must concede to the makers, are very intelligent, but would not really be necessary. The detailed elaboration destroys the mysterious and open nature of the series.
So the absence of Julia Roberts in the cast is not even a break for the sequel. The cast itself is well chosen and recurring actors such as Stephan James as Walter Cruz and Hong Chau as Audrey Temple ensure enough recognition. The direct involvement of Julia Robert's role would have been a reinforcement of the negative points in the sense of lack of creativity.
However, in order to achieve the ingenuity of the first season, at least in the script there should have been jobs like those with Julia Roberts. The calm, very authentic therapy sessions and the chemistry between Cruz and Bergman are in vain. A relationship shown in the new season may be stated by the cold, but is not enough to compensate.
Torn out, the second season of "Homecoming" can certainly be entertaining. It also stands out in comparison to conventional formats. But to keep up with the previous glory, more would have had to be done. It is worth seeing, the new season, but you give up the uniqueness.
Homecoming will be available in the original English language from May 22nd. The German version will follow later in the year. Here in the player we have the trailer for the second season for you.