Homecoming 1x09 "Work" & 1x10 "Stop"
May 15, 2018. The last day that Heidi Bergman and Walter Cruz were at the Homecoming facility. It turns out that it wasn’t a violent incident that put Heidi and Walter in the hospital, but a pivotal act of sabotage on Heidi’s part. Unable to bear that Walter will be sent back to war, away from his family and at risk for being re-traumatized, Heidi turns off her recorder and invites Walter down to the cafeteria.
The chefs stare in horror as Heidi scoops two extra helpings of food for her and Walter. As they eat, they promise each other they will take their hypothetical road trip when Walter gets back. Walter gives Heidi their map, to hold on to for the time being.
Meanwhile, Colin is giving a presentation about expanding Homecoming. His assistant, Audrey, shows him his phone. Craig is texting him that Heidi has gone off the deep end. Heidi is calmly packing up her office and moves through the facility, and we get a beautiful parallel to the first episode. The first time we see Heidi talk on the phone with Colin, the facility looks pristine. This time around, it feels a little more lived in and a little more chaotic.
Heidi has made a move that Colin could have never predicted. While she remains cool and collected, using all of Colin’s favorite phrases against him, Colin loses his mind. Now that Walter has overdosed, there’s no way they can deploy him.
We learn that Craig files fake reasons for Heidi and Walter being discharged, and both of them are returned to their families, bringing us all the way up into the present.
Even though it seems like Colin has gotten away, Carrasco vows to file a report and escalate an investigation. Heidi wonders aloud what will happen to her. Does Heidi deserve to be punished for what she did? As far as we can tell, she didn’t have a full scope of knowledge of what was going on, and all she ever wanted was to help her patients in the Homecoming initiative. Perhaps Heidi only wants punishment because she wants a finite end to the horrors she experienced. It’s a fair question to wonder how you can seek closure or move on from an experience like that. It seems like the only thing Heidi can do at this point is take the road trip that she and Walter had planned all that time ago, hoping that she might see him when she reaches Yosemite.
When she finally crosses paths with him, Walter is thriving. He’s building a deck for his cabin by a creek, is a regular at his local diner, and seems at ease. It’s confirmation that even though Heidi put them through hell, it was the right thing to do. Right before their conversation ends, Walter tilts his fork towards Heidi, the way he used to tilt the pens on her desk. Does he remember her, or is just muscle memory?
Colin rushes to a meeting with is boss, Ron. He’s greeted by an empty conference room, except for his assistant, Audrey. Ron is nowhere to be found, and Audrey is asking a lot of odd, pressing questions. Because Colin is self-obsessed, it takes him way too long to interpret Audrey’s intentions. At the name of their head honcho, Mr. Geist, Audrey flashes a creepy smile at Colin, and it’s suddenly seems like he’s in a Black Mirror version of Undercover Boss. After being so concerned that Colin was going to get away with all of his actions, it’s satisfying to see him being backed into a corner. Colin signs the paper that Audrey pushes towards him, which apparently admits his responsibility in the catastrophe that was Homecoming. As he leaves, she nervously pulls a red vial out of her bag labeled “lab use only.” She rolls it over her wrists, and immediately calms down. Podcast listeners have surely been waiting for Audrey to appear. Amy Sedaris is a standout at the end of Season 1, and plays a much bigger role in Season 2. Will that be true of the show as well?
Homecoming is an incredibly compelling and faithful adaptation to its source material. Looking at the season overall, the middle episodes sagged under some new plotlines, but it starts off strong and totally sticks the landing. Like any good mystery, the final episode answered some questions but posed some fascinating new ones for a new season.
“Work” is filled with some strange filler scenes. The dead diner patron and the scene between Colin and his wife were both unnecessary. Colin’s wife is a woefully undeveloped character, so the scene between them halted the action.
I understand that the narrative formatting made the role of Becky pretty insignificant, but I was pretty disappointed to see that one of my favorite characters from the podcast didn’t even get a clever mention.
When we see Heidi leave her interview with Colin, there’s a sign that says “Manchineel” with a leaf logo. Is this somehow connected to the leaf that Schrier gave Carrasco?
Is Carrasco’s boss in cahoots with Homecoming? It seems like the only reason that she wouldn’t be on his side is because she’s somehow benefitting from Geist.
I’m wildly impressed by Heidi using a paper map. I don’t think I could do that if I tried.
Marianne Jean-Baptiste did some incredible work as Gloria Cruz. Every time she went toe to toe with Julia Roberts, she came out on top. “Walter wanted to believe, that was the best thing about him. And you used that.”