Homecoming season 1 series premiere recap: Mandatory


The series premiere of Amazon’s Homecoming is off to a suspenseful, mysterious start as we’re introduced to the past and present of Heidi Bergman’s life.

Homecoming is–interesting. And when I say that, I mean it in the best way possible. First off, Julia Roberts is in her first television show, which is amazing enough as it is. And then the series has this vibe to it that I can’t quite explain but it’s purely addictive.

Of course, due to the fact that the show is a creation of Mr. Robot creator, Sam Esmail, it comes as no surprise that this show would automatically pull you into the suspense and foreboding vibe of it all. But enough about how amazing it is, let’s get into what the series premiere of Homecoming was all about.

Immediately we meet Roberts’ character, Heidi Bergman, who is a counselor at a facility called the Homecoming Transitional Support Center. This center is designed to help war veterans assimilate back into daily life, and we first meet Heidi while she is meeting with a young man named Walter Cruz (Stephan James) who just completed his third tour in the Middle East.

This is Walter’s first session at Homecoming and officially a part of the reintegration process as Heidi informs him while reading the welcome letter. At this very first glance, everything seems seemingly normal, and just a session between a man and his therapist.

The next scene completely changes the vibe of the episode as it switches to a boxed, cutoff scene of a diner representing a time jump, and a reflection of Heidi’s state in that moment. But now instead of the center, we are now at a diner where she is working as a waitress. While tending to a table, she comes across a man who we come to know as Thomas (Shea Whigham), an employee of the Department of Defense.

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But he’s not really there to order food so much so as to ask Heidi about her time at Homecoming. But there is something extremely strange about her response, it’s almost as if she doesn’t recall much of her time working there.

We also learn that it’s been about four years since she last worked there so given that the episode started off in 2018, we’re somewhere between 2022 onwards in time.

Thomas informed her that he’s there to speak with her because a complaint was filed against the Homecoming, and since she worked there, he needs to find out what she remembers and knows.

But Heidi isn’t too eager to have any sort of conversation with him, and we can’t blame her.

We switch back to Heidi and Walter’s conversation where Heidi is explaining to him the things he has to do while at the center which include the sessions with her, workshops, and eating with the other guys at the center. And he’s completely on board with everything she has to say, and just wants to work through everything he went through.

It’s hard to gauge at this point whether Heidi is content with Walter being so understanding or if she thinks it will help. But while on a call with her boss, Colin (Bobby Cannavale), it seems like she’s pleased to be working with Walter, and it may even help her with her case study.

Let’s just take a moment to talk about Colin who seems absolutely horrendous, and has that douchey asshole vibe about him. During their conversation, there is mention of medicine, renovating the facility, and asking Heidi to take care of things.

Credit: Amazon Prime Video

He’s really pushing her to make sure she gets all the information she can out of her sessions, but it’s unclear as to why–and we don’t really find out, at least not in this episode. Another thing that oddly stands out in this episode is while on the phone with Colin, Heidi walks by the entrance sign that reads “Geist Initiative”, and if you were paying attention, it was what Thomas had written in his notebook in the present.

As Heidi arrives at home, we meet her boyfriend, Anthony (Dermot Mulroney), who seems smitten over her, but she’s not that interested. He’s talking about moving to Tampa because seeing her success has empowered and inspired him, but she refuses to acknowledge what he has to say and just shrugs the conversation off.

Back in the past at Homecoming, we see what the workshops are all about, specifically one where the guys are going through mock interviews to prepare them. Here we meet Rainey (Rafi Gavron) and Shrier (Jeremy Allen White) who are amongst the other veterans there. When it’s Rainey’s turn to practice, he has a hard time following along and doesn’t seem to take it seriously at all.

In fact, he has passive aggressive responses to every question he’s asked and before we know it a fight breaks out in which Walter also gets involved. When Heidi asks him about it, he says he’s afraid of how he was acting, and it’s really thrown him off. To help him out, she suggests that instead of sleeping alone he should bunk with Shrier.

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The episode ends with Heidi and Thomas in the present as they take the conversation outside where he continues to inquire about Homecoming and her time there. It’s interesting because she doesn’t seem to remember much at all except for the fact that she came back home to take of her mom.

She can’t recall whether or not the men that were at the center were there of their own free will or forced to be, or if they were allowed to leave whenever they wanted. It’s hard to say what exactly is going on with Heidi, but it’s the last thing she says that catches you off guard — she doesn’t remember Walter Cruz.