Binge and Repeat: A Hitchcockian Homecoming

Julia Roberts stars in Homecoming on Amazon.
Julia Roberts stars in Homecoming on Amazon.

Julia Roberts graces the silver screen in Amazon’s Homecoming, a series about a psychological treatment center that helps veterans transition back into civilian life. Taking place in sunny Florida, Robert’s character Heidi treats the veterans in her care, taking particular interest in Walter, played by Stephan James.

However, things are not as they appear, as the story’s timeline jumps from the present, as a Department of Defense employee examines a complaint made about the Homecoming program to the past where viewers gradually piece together what happened while Heidi and Walter were involved in the program.

Viewers are pulled in deeper into this intriguing rabbit hole as its revealed that Present Heidi doesn’t have any recollection of her time working at the Homecoming facility. Director Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) teases the audience through the series, leaving the viewer grasping for every kernel and red herring as they try to piece together what happened to Heidi and Walter at Homecoming and if it has anything to do with the closing of the facility. Esmail employs small and easily missed details to convey larger elements of the story.

Roberts weaves an evocative performance as the audience watches Present Heidi piece together what happened at Homecoming. In the flashback scenes, Roberts provides viewers with the delicate do-gooder, who gradually finds herself horrified by what her work is really doing to the veterans at Homecoming. James captivates viewers with a breath of humor while simultaneously breaking their hearts as he shares a bit of Walter’s combat experience. Bobby Cannavale’s Colin is a meticulously manipulative career climber and often steals the scene whenever he’s on screen.

Homecoming has one season available on Amazon and is rated TV-MA. Viewers may also enjoy Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a story about a society with a dwindling population and a horrific patriarchy. Audiences looking for something less intense might enjoy Drew Barrymore’s campy turn as a suburban zombie in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet.