Homecoming 1x07 "Test" & 1x08 "Protocol"
Walter is in Week 5 of treatment and “feeling more in the present.” Heidi asks him to recount an incident about a fallen comrade that he had told her a few weeks ago, and Walter is confused why he has to repeat himself. He seems more apathetic and avoidant than usual, and he can’t remember Titantic Rising, a very detailed prank he played on a guy in his unit. Heidi presses even more, and Walter says only remembers the end of his tour. He says this like it’s natural, like he was focused on coming home and readjusting, but it really seems that he literally only recalls the last bit of his time in the military.
Heidi freaks out, and calls Colin in a panic. She was under the impression that the treatment was only to erase the trauma, not give them across the board amnesia. Of course, even though Colin keeps insisting that he “hears what she’s saying,” it’s clear that he really doesn’t. Colin blurts out the second half of the treatment plan. If it weren’t enough that Homecoming was wiping the memory of these veterans, it’s all intended so that their minds are blank and pliable so they can be deployed again, and experience the horror of war with fresh eyes.
Heidi goes back into the facility, where she’s confronted by a group of soldiers who have just recently been admitted. Their faces are blurred, but the camera keeps a steady focus on Heidi’s face as she paints on a smile and gives them a standard monologue welcoming them to Homecoming. Her veneer cracks when she goes back to her office and cries at her desk. Walter follows her to see if she’s okay, but he doesn’t stay for long.
Carrasco finds Gloria at her work, but the interaction goes as well as expected. Not watching where he’s going, he trips and falls onto his back. From the ground, like a dying character from a melodramatic Shakespeare play, he bemoans that he doesn’t understand why everyone is being so cagey, when all he is trying to do is uncover the truth about Homecoming. Gloria finally agrees to help him, and as we find out later, gives him a very key piece to the puzzle.
Heidi comes home to find her mom entertaining Carrasco. She sits down with him and he plays her a tape from April 10, 2018 — her first session with Walter Cruz. Her memory isn’t jogged, but Carrasco refuses to give up. He plays her the road trip conversation — a session that exemplified her relationship with Walter. Heidi gets even more confused when Carrasco said that he got the tapes from Gloria, who got them from Heidi. Carrasco doesn’t believe that her memory is gone. Before things get too tense, Heidi’s mother swoops in and kicks Carrasco out.
Colin calls Heidi, still playing as Hunter. Their roles have been reversed. In the flashbacks, Heidi begs and pleads for Colin to understand her perspective, and it’s like she’s yelling at a brick wall. In this timeline, however, it’s Heidi who needs to be persuaded. Colin worries she’s slipping out his control when she mentions she’s going to get to the bottom of her old workplace. He offers to drive her to Tampa, and Heidi tells her she needs to find Colin, completely unaware that she’s already in the car with him. It feels like a horror movie where you scream at the naive protagonist to not go through the door or down the stairs. Women are always being warned about the dreaded “second location” when someone has been kidnapped, and there’s a distinct feeling that Heidi is being led there now.
Heidi and Colin arrive to what is now the “Mirror Pond Wellness Center.” It looks more like a holiday resort, and it’s teeming with way more people and trendy signage.
Its old logo can’t hide from Carrasco, however, who followed Heidi and Colin to Tampa. While he’s in an abandoned part of the facility, he gets a call from his boss, who chews him out. It explains why he’s been acting dodgy this entire investigation, but doesn’t entire reveal his motivation. She suggests that he’s acting outside of his job responsibilities by acting on a hunch. He hangs up on her, and continues to poke around with a flashlight in the remains of the initiative.
Colin and Heidi continue to investigate as well, and the facility has changed so much that it should be easy for Colin to convince Heidi that she’s being irrational. Not ready to leave, she going deeper into the building. While Carrasco winds up in Heidi’s office, Heidi finds herself in Walter’s old room. Both have found exactly what they are looking for, but the rooms are too haunted by ghosts of Homecoming’s past to be useful. Until Carrasco sees Heidi and Colin in a window across the facility, and a brush of Colin’s hand makes everything come rushing back to Heidi.
From there, it all pretty much unravels and the three characters collide in the parking lot. Colin tries to convince Heidi that their work at Homecoming was noble and his hands are clean, while simultaneously trying to intimidate Carrasco. It’s probably my favorite scene with Cannavale so far. While I think that my personal scale is still tipped towards David Schwimmer as Colin Belfast, Bobby Cannavale slips into this character so effortlessly, it’s frightening. “Let’s be really careful how we unpack things here, okay?” he cautions.
Heidi doesn’t take this advice well. While she and Carrasco can’t seem to find something that will stick to Colin, she enacts her revenge by pushing him into a tiny fountain. Which is momentarily very satisfying, I must admit. But in the end, Colin gets away, and Carrasco and Heidi are helpless to stop him.
-If Gloria doesn’t want to speak with Carrasco, why did she place the complaint? What did she hope would happen?
-Except for the brilliant use of “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” I wasn’t a fan of the music in this episode. Instead of making me feel thrilled or tense, I found it to be really agitating.
-I was living for Sissy Spacek sassing Carrasco.
-I’m still confused why this mission is so deeply held to Carrasco. Is his motivations purely about justice and keeping his pride? It seems like there’s something more personal going on. In a show where there are many victims, it seems like he has the most at stake. More than once, Carrasco falls to the ground and lies on his back, showing a helpless vulnerability.
- “Protocol” was my least liked performance by Julia Roberts so far. She’s been playing Heidi so cool and understated, I was really hoping for some more hysterics when her memory came back to her.
-Even though these episodes uncovered some very pivotal moments, they definitely suffered from the lack of Stephan James.