Based on the podcast of the same name, Amazon’s ‘Homecoming’ stars Julia Roberts in the role of Heidi Bergman, a woman who has forgotten what role she played while working for a company named Geist. The first season follows two timelines. One set in 2018, where Heidi begins working at the Homecoming facility and gets to know Walter Cruz, a young soldier who is there to prepare to get back into the world. The other is set four years later, where Heidi doesn’t remember about the job that she is no longer a part of, and no one knows where Walter is.
In ten episodes of half-an-hour each, the season covers a great deal about Heidi, Walter, and Geist. Before you jump into the second season, here’s a quick look at all the things you need to know about the show.
What is Homecoming?
Homecoming is a treatment programme designed for soldiers who suffer from the traumas of war. Heidi Bergman manages the place and serves as a therapist to the clients, one of whom is Walter Cruz. On the surface, it is sold as a place where soldiers get to leave their PTSD and other problems before re-assimilating with the civilians. It helps them to get back to the civilian life without carrying over any emotional baggage from their service.
Designed for six weeks, the main purpose of the program is not to treat PTSD, but to delete it entirely. Through the therapy sessions, Heidi’s goal is to locate the memory that is the underlying cause of the trauma. Meanwhile, the soldiers are medicated through their meals, the doses steadily increasing with every passing week. Eventually, the soldiers forget the bad memory. With their problem “cured”, they are fit to serve again, and hence, can be redeployed.
What Happened with Heidi?
When Heidi took the job, she thought she was going to help the soldiers. Over her sessions with Walter, she was focused on what bothered him and what he wanted. They developed a close connection with each other, which borders on romance. They play pranks and talk intimately about several things in their lives.
When things go wrong, Heidi becomes protective of Walter. When Shrier becomes paranoid about the place and tries to leave, along with Walter, he is cut off from the programme and sent back home. Colin, Heidi’s supervisor, intends the same for Walter, but Heidi convinces him otherwise. She believes that Walter is doing well and if he is cut-off from the meds, then he will face severe withdrawal.
When Walter’s mother becomes suspicious of what the place is doing to her son, she tries to bring him back. But again, because Heidi believes Walter can be better, she convinces him to stay. However, when he starts forgetting important things about his time in the war, she becomes concerned. This is when she discovers that the plan was never to rehabilitate the soldiers, but to make them fit for redeployment.
Realizing what’s going to happen to Walter, Heidi overdoses him with the meds and takes some herself as well. Due to this, Walter’s health worsens and he is sent back home. Heidi quits the job, and goes back home. She is hospitalized due to the effects of the meds, and later, forgets about Walter and the Homecoming programme. She only remembers that she used to work there, but the truth of it is erased from her mind.
Four Years Later…
After failing to bring back her son from Homecoming, Walter’s mother files a complaint, which is later picked up by a DoD officer, Thomas Carrasco. He is unable to locate Walter, and becomes suspicious when Heidi refuses to help him find out what had happened at Geist. Eventually, he succeeds in getting help from Walter’s mother, who gives him the recordings of the sessions between Heidi and Walter. It turns out that Heidi had mailed them to her before taking the meds.
When Heidi’s memories come back, she confirms everything and Carrasco elevates the complaint for further scrutiny. However, his boss tips off Geist about it.
After remembering everything, Heidi decides to reunite with Walter. They had once talked about taking a road trip and discussed where they would end up. She drives there and finds Walter living in a cabin by the creek. However, he doesn’t remember her. They make small talk as strangers in a restaurant, and she decides not to bring back his memories. After he is gone, Heidi notices that the fork that she had arranged parallel to others is slanted- a call back to the way Walter used to mess with her pen and other things in the office.
In the post-credit scene, we see that Geist has found its fall guy. Colin, who had messed things up by reconnecting with Heidi and bringing back her memories, is to pay for whatever the investigation brings upon him. Another thing that comes into focus is that Audrey Temple, who was supposed to be Colin’s secretary, has now been elevated to a different position and is in direct contact with Mr Geist, the owner of the company. Before the screen goes blank, we see her rub the meds, that were used to make the soldiers forget, on her wrists like a perfume.
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