Amazon has been making a big push this season to get more on the radar of TV watchers, with shows like Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The latest addition to the streaming canon arrived over the weekend. Homecoming stars Julia Roberts in her first foray into prestige TV as caseworker Heidi Bergman, who works with soldiers suffering from PTSD in Tampa. The transitional center she runs is called "Homecoming." But what looks to be an emotional therapy session is really a thriller is a huge twist ending. Will there be a Homecoming Season 2? Amazon already has it in production.
Much like other shows such as Jack Ryan and the forthcoming Lord of the Rings series, Amazon went into this project with a plan to do two seasons right off the bat, much like the fiction podcast it was adapted from. When signing a cast like the one assembled here, which includes not only Roberts but also names like Bobby Cannavale and Sissy Spacek, Amazon decided it was worth guaranteeing two seasons to everyone from the beginning.
The show also has a great director behind the camera: Sam Esmail, the mastermind behind Mr. Robot. Like his previous series, Homecoming twists with perception and timeline all throughout the first season, leading to a show that's a thrill ride. Warning: Spoilers for Homecoming Season 1 follow.
Homecoming takes place in two timelines, one where Roberts' character Heidi is working in the center and then a second one (seen in the trailer in vertical cell-phone clips) set four years later, where Heidi is working as a waitress. When asked about her time at the center, she cannot recall what she did there.
The big secret behind Homecoming is Heidi isn't actually part of a program helping PTSD soldiers transfer and acclimate back into civilian life. Unbeknownst to her, the transitional center is a front for a laboratory run by government contractor the Geist Corporation. It experiments in wiping away the traumatic memories of war from the soldiers' minds completely so they can be redeployed back into the field. Heidi believes herself to be sending these guys home, when in fact she's sending them back to die.
It takes most of the season for Heidi to put together the clues in the past, and for Heidi in the future to figure out why she's no longer working there. The final twist is when she discovers the Geist Corporation didn't do this to her at all. She did it to herself.
After spending all season bonding with Walter (Stephan James), Heidi discovered the truth about her job. In response, she decided to take drastic action. She and Walter discuss a plan of escape, where she overdoses him with the memory drug, so the center will have no choice but to send him home. She then overdoses herself so she will be free as well.
The problem is, neither of them remembers the other, until Heidi's breakthrough. She then contacts Walter to meet, but he seems not to know her.
Or does he? Fans will find out next year when Amazon releases Homecoming Season 2.