If there is one silver lining to being quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s that many of us have had the opportunity to binge-watch shows that we didn’t have the time for prior. One series I have found myself engrossed in has been Amazon’s HOMECOMING. I binged the first season in less than 48 hours as I found myself completely obsessed with the unfolding narrative and mystery at hand. Recently, I had the opportunity to check out Season 2 ahead of it’s Amazon premiere and though the execution wasn’t as effective as the first season, there was still enough surprises in store to keep me glued to the edge of my seat.

To best describe the plot, and to not give out any spoilers, I’ll turn to the official synopsis: “Jackie [Janelle Monae] wakes in a rowboat adrift a lake, with no memory of how she got there – or even who she is. Her ensuing search for identity will lead her into the heart of the Geist Group, the unconventional wellness company behind the Homecoming Initiative. Meanwhile, Walter Cruz (Stephan James) is trying to build a new life following the traumas of war and the Homecoming Initiative, when he begins to realize that there’s an even more insidious version of the program underway – if only he can remember. Audrey Temple (Hong Chau) also returns as an anonymous underling at Geist who finds herself thrust into unexpected positions at the top of the corporate ladder.” This season also introduces viewers to Leonard Geist (Chris Cooper), the company’s eccentric founder and Francine Bunda (Joan Cusack) as a military woman curious about the benefits that Geist products can provide.

Janelle MonĂ¡e in HOMECOMING | Image courtesy of IMDB

As with the first season, HOMECOMING throws viewers into a puzzling story that twists and turns throughout the seven-episode season. What I enjoyed about this season was how the narrative focused on those who were considered secondary characters in the first season (with the exception of Walter Cruz) as well as giving the audience more to learn about Leonard Geist and the powers that his harvested berries contain. Though it takes a little for the action to truly unfold, once it does, it reveals shocking secrets, hidden agendas, and moral dilemmas that could change the course of Geist Group forever. Though the focus of this season is more on Geist, the damaging effects that the Homecoming Initiative had on Walter Cruz does become an important storyline to the overall tale.

One of my favorite aspects of this series is the creative way in which the show is executed. Using wide shots that focus on symmetry, the composition and cinematography is nothing short of breathtaking. I also enjoyed the use of different camera angles, such as wide overhead shots of rooms, as this allowed for a particular view into the lives of the characters. The attention to design and the visuals is one of the reasons I’ve been so captivated by this series. As someone who is a fan of modern design that features clean lines and symmetrical positioning, this tapped into an area of design that I truly love. Plus, it gives off the feeling of perfection, which makes for an interesting experience to witness when it all comes crumbling down.

Hong Chau and Joan Cusack in HOMECOMING | Image courtesy of IMDB

In regards to the cast, this season brings back returning characters such as Walter Cruz (Stephan James) and Audrey Temple (Hong Chau), with more of a focus on Temple’s new position, how she got there, and how her actions intertwine with both Jackie (Janelle Monae) and Walter. I would love to go into more detail about all of that but then I would be spoiling some of the best parts of this season. Additionally, we get to meet the enigmatic Leonard Geist (played brilliantly by Chris Cooper) who was revealed to be unlike what I had imagined him to be. There’s a touch of humanity within him that seems to be lacking in almost every other character. We are also introduced to Francine Bunda (played by the always entertaining Joan Cusack), a representative from the Department of Defense who becomes interested in working with Geist after learning about the results of the Homecoming Initiative. All the acting was top-notch and though I can’t go too much into dissecting the characters for spoiler reasons, believe me when I say that you’ll be hard-pressed not to be glued to your screen as the truth surrounding each of them bubbles to the surface.

Overall, I really enjoyed what Season 2 of HOMECOMING had to offer. The series expertly continues to focus on themes such as the lack of resources for Veterans Affairs as well as how power and greed can easily facilitate corruption. It’s a morality tale that hones in on these characters to a point you can’t ignore the horrific consequences of their actions. With superb performances from the cast and edge-of-your-seat tension, HOMECOMING is a series you won’t want to miss. HOMECOMING SEASON 2 is now available on to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Shannon McGrew
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