Homecoming: All Episodes
November 21, 2018 1:00 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

A waitress formerly employed as a caseworker at a facility that helps returning soldiers transition back to civilian life is tracked down by a Department of Defense investigator seeking information about the incident that led to her departure.
posted by prize bull octorok (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't bear to watch this because the podcast was SO GOOD; it can't possibly measure up.
posted by orrnyereg at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2018

I thought it was definitely good but occasionally frustrating. I didn't know it was a podcast first until I started putting this post together.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:51 PM on November 21, 2018

I binged this and really enjoyed it. Loved all the weird artsy shots and interesting framing. Also all the performances were really top-notch. I don't know if it would hold up to a re-watch. The mysterious and slowly revealed plot were really fun to watch, but I'm not sure it would hold together for a second time through. I also have heard that there are plans for another season, and that seems weird to me. This season feels like a complete story in itself.
posted by aka burlap at 5:01 PM on November 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

This felt like a poor visual imitation of Legion, that took itself too seriously. I think I fell asleep somewhere in episode two or three, but it's so disjoined and annoyingly withholding of information that I'm not actually sure.

I'm I boring because I like my shows to have a timeline that's as close to a single straight line as makes sense?
posted by krisjohn at 5:16 PM on November 21, 2018

i really enjoyed this. I also liked the short episode length, even though I watched it in a couple days. Hard to imagine what the second season could be.
posted by snofoam at 5:44 PM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm on episode 3 and enjoying this, but I have to admit, knowing in the back of my head that this is probably another version of "we fed these guys souped up drugs and made them do bad things" ala Bourne Identity etc. is a little distracting?

But the details are good and real (the overworked DOD investigator in his drab clothes, the manager breast feeding her kid, the waitress super concerned about her coworker being hassled by the strange guy), Julia Roberts as the slightly awkward counselor is way better than I expected (she reminds me a lot of my therp, actually), and the breadcrumbs are interesting enough for me to keep watching. The vets feel real, too. This is well done.
posted by joycehealy at 3:54 PM on November 23, 2018

Thanks for posting this, pbo!

I was lukewarm on the show initially, but grew to enjoy it as it developed. I particularly enjoyed the stressful phone conversations between the two leads. The short episode length made for a quick binge watch, but we were definitely like, "what, is that it?" after the first one.

I also liked how the action continued during the end credits, moments that didn't contribute to the story, but which made this world feel very real and lived in.

Sissy Spacek was a great addition to the cast! I wish she were cast more these days.

Also: Shea Whigham, I'd watch him in anything.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:00 PM on November 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

So I finished this last night (I went down with a stomach bug this weekend, so why not slurp it all down in one day), and I really really enjoyed this. The plot twists made sense in context - we weren't just blind sided with something that wasn't likely to happen. I was happy with the ending. I think there actually is enough to pick up a second season, but it would also be fine if they just left it right where it is. A+ good TV.

One thing that I really appreciated was that there were Black and brown people everywhere, just doing their things and it just wasn't a big deal. The main players were mostly young and beautiful, but there older characters (including Heidi, I LOVED the litany of "this is how I got here" with the chair scene - THAT sounds like me and my friends, I really appreciate that it wasn't "oh, I got my MWS at 20 and I'm a rock star") and a couple of fat characters floating around. And all the interracial couples! And it wasn't even a thing that came up - everyone was just themselves and living their lives. I really, really appreciated that; more TV like this, please and thank you.
posted by joycehealy at 6:42 AM on November 24, 2018 [6 favorites]

From the Rolling Stone review: The future timeline is presented as a vertical video, with black bars on the right and left of the screen. This can be a periodic distraction, but the payoff that answers why those scenes look that way proves more than worth it.

I've got a lot more to suss out about this show, but I'm curious about this payoff. I noticed the letterboxing but never associated it with a particular timeline or specific plot contrivance. Can anyone explain it for me?
posted by carsonb at 3:00 PM on November 24, 2018

I noticed the letterboxing but never associated it with a particular timeline or specific plot contrivance. Can anyone explain it for me?

Fullscreen video is during the time of the Homecoming program. Side-boxed video is some time afterward, when the DOD is investigating the complaint and Heidi is a waitress. Any time the letterboxing changes is an indication that you are looking at a different time period of the story.
posted by FatherDagon at 6:41 AM on November 25, 2018

And specific to the "payoff" - when Heidi and Colin are in the wellness centre and she hears the pelican growling/whatever you call the noise it makes, this triggers the memories she had lost/been suppressing and the frame expands. Obversely, when Heidi drives to her mother's house after dosing herself on the drug used on the patients and quitting her job at Homecoming, we see the frame contracting to the phone video format as the drug's effects take hold.
posted by catch as catch can at 11:29 AM on November 25, 2018 [7 favorites]

So the letterboxing occurs when she can't remember the whole picture.

Also, season 2 may or may not include the same characters (which I think is promising).

I loved the actress in the post-credits scene, and the potential directions this could follow.
posted by armacy at 6:25 PM on November 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

And specific to the "payoff" - when Heidi and Colin are in the wellness centre and she hears the pelican growling/whatever you call the noise it makes, this triggers the memories she had lost/been suppressing and the frame expands.

I had been tipped off that the show included a shot that did something very clever with aspect ratio - but I still found this scene draw dropping when it came along. My wife, watching beside me, noticed nothing strange and had to put up with me rewinding a couple of times to illustrate how clever I thought it was. And that is really the genius of the execution: it is set up to make the audience feel a certain visceral "oh my God!" moment , as Heidi's recovered memories flood back - without it necessarily being clear why they felt it at the time.

If you are interested in the technical details then here is an article about the use of creative camera techniques in Homecoming - and you should maybe look at this explanation of the Dolly Zoom technique most famously used in Hichcock's Vertigo.
posted by rongorongo at 4:00 AM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

The two aspect ratio switches were really well-executed! I thought it would be an affection like the use of letterboxing in Westworld. The two transitions beautifully illustrated the way in which her memories were hemmed-in, limited, and incomplete.

I got pretty annoyed at the Tom Carasco vs. his boss interactions. Between his “I’ve got a hunch (but I won’t tell you what it is)” nonsense and her flustery shortness neither were acting at all like professionals. Lots of people communicating poorly in this show.
posted by migurski at 9:37 PM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I binged the podcast before watching this and I find I'm not sure how comfortable I am with how the show teeters between comedy and ironic distance and being completely and disturbingly absorbing. The podcast did the same, but I was somehow more ok with it not quite finding its tone right away (and I also feel the podcast lost a bit of its sense of carefully balanced aesthetic dis-equilibrium in the 2nd season). I guess I find visual storytelling a less forgiving medium, maybe?

But, that said, it's also compelling in ways I can't quite explain. In particular, the music is blowing me away but it seems so . . . not of this genre. The heavy mid-20th century avant-garde yet overly dramatic overtones feel . . . just not quite what's called for. But maybe that's the point? It's such a confusing yet original mishmash of styles.

All that said, I can't stop watching, just like I couldn't stop listening.
posted by treepour at 10:52 PM on November 27, 2018

I loved every single detail of this, from the episodes' brevity to the 70s filmmaking vibe to the borrowed score. It was as if I commissioned it.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:38 AM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

this show was great and I loved the ending!!

also the final scenes between Colin and Audrey were fantastic. her cool control in the face of his increasing 'hysteria' was lovely payback for his smarmy controlling ways.
posted by supermedusa at 11:23 AM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

her cool control in the face of his increasing 'hysteria' was lovely payback for his smarmy controlling ways.

He needs a dab of that stay-cool juice she used in the stinger.

SSN2: Don't we all‽
posted by carsonb at 2:46 PM on December 1, 2018

I really liked all the shots from above like we were looking into a science experiment like mice in a maze.
posted by dog food sugar at 2:06 PM on December 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I really liked it. Binged it in a day while sick. I loved the visuals, and the acting was well done. I’m glad the plot treveal wasn’t any slower, though.

Apparently I missed an after the credit scene I need to go watch now.
posted by greermahoney at 8:04 AM on January 2, 2019

way past the zeitgeist on this, and I didn't listen to the podcast (yet), but my wife and I just binged this over the past week and I thought it was spectacular.

it's not especially subtle with its audiovisual playfulness, but that's part of what I love about it -- it's jarring and loud and weird and unnerving and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny (I was utterly mesmerized/delighted by the entire extended credits shot of the pelican in Heidi's office). so much of the imagery is deliberately shooting for "iconic" that it's kind of jaw-dropping how often it succeeds

and the actors are just pitch perfect across the board, with particular shout-outs to Julia Roberts (of course) and Cannavale (who absolutely nails the insecure-bully-boss archetype, to the point where I loathed and pitied him more than should be possible in one single human).

I appreciated how the show ended (post-credits sting aside) laser-focused on the relationship between Heidi and Walter, which both actors had done such tremendous work bubbling under the surface of every exchange; that core of humanity was what made the show worth watching even past the twists of the plot and it's always nice to see a show like this recognize that and bring it home that way.

(but on the note of the twistiness -- I actually thought the show played very fair with the parceling of information for a show of this genre. granted having memory loss as a key factor in your plot helps ease the tension of characters not telling each other things, but still.)
posted by Kybard at 6:51 PM on August 10, 2019

I just finished this and really liked it. Just superb all around. I agree that the music was off, but that only added to the weirdness of the show.

Also, I could definitely see Sam Esmail’s fingerprints all over this. Even the same font as Mr Robot.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2020

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