Given that it’s been 18 months since Amazon’s stylish thriller last aired, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you were experiencing some of those memory lapses, like the ones that plagued Julia Roberts’ protagonist, when it comes to the finer details of the plot. So what happened in Homecoming Season 1? Where did the characters leave off? Which mysteries were answered, and which were left dangling? It’s time to act like Agent Carrasco and get to the bottom of the shadowy Homecoming project… again.
Season 1 — all ten episodes of which were directed by Mr. Robot mastermind Sam Esmail — was adapted from a popular mystery podcast of the same name. It revolved around Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts), a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, and her troubled client, the young veteran Walter Cruz (Stephan James). The season flashed back and forth between two timelines set four years apart, as the truth of what went down between Heidi and Walter — and the true mission behind Homecoming — was gradually revealed.
When the show returns for Season 2 on May 22, it will be without Julia Roberts and some of Season 1’s other main cast members. In the Oscar winner’s place, musician-actor Janelle Monáe will headline the sophomore season. But this isn’t an anthology series: Season 2 will be connected to Season 1, and will delve even deeper into some of the mysteries left lingering after the finale. Here’s a breakdown of what happened to every character.
1. Thomas Carrasco (Shea Whigham)
The season is framed through the investigation of Department of Defense employee Agent Carrasco, who starts looking into Homecoming after receiving a complaint from a worker that a patient, Walter Cruz, was held there against his will. He tracks down Cruz’s caseworker, Heidi Bergman, who in 2022 is a lonely waitress living with her mother with little to no memory of her previous job. While digging through files, Carrasco learns that Cruz and Bergman both left Homecoming the same day, when Cruz was expelled for violent behavior and Heidi was hospitalized. Presumably, these two events are connected…
2. Walter Cruz (Stephan James)
Back in 2018, Walter is ostensibly being helped by Heidi and her colleagues at Homecoming to re-acclimate to civilian life — and all the everyday mundanities that come along with it — after serving overseas, where Walter was traumatized by the death of his close friend Lesky. Walter is disturbed when his fellow soldier Shrier becomes convinced that there’s a conspiracy afoot. Shrier is certain they’re not even in Florida, so the pair break out of the compound and drive around, but all they’re able to find is a completely abandoned town. After they return, Shrier is expelled, but Heidi is able to convince her higher-ups to let Walter stay.
3. Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts)
Heidi and Walter grow increasingly close throughout his treatment, with Walter often playing affectionate pranks on his caseworker. However, in the fifth week of his treatment, Walter suddenly changes and becomes more withdrawn; he no longer plays pranks; and he doesn’t even remember the death of his friend Lesky. Heidi realizes the truth: Homecoming isn’t helping veterans re-acclimate to civilian life, it’s erasing their traumas so they can be more easily shipped back off to war again without PTSD. Infuriated, Heidi joins Walter in the cafeteria and eats the food, which contains the memory-erasing drugs.
4. Colin Belfast (Bobby Cannavale)
In the aftermath of Heidi’s rebellion, she was fired, Walter was dismissed from the program, and their records were falsified to make it seem as though he had attacked her. Four years later, Heidi’s boss Colin is facing pressure from the Geist Group — the shadowy organization behind Homecoming — to foil Carrasco’s investigation. Colin goes to confront Heidi at her new place of work, only to be shocked that she has no memory of him or her time at Homecoming. He poses as a man named Hunter to get close to her, and even sleeps with her, before taking her back to the abandoned Homecoming compound. While there, Heidi’s memories are suddenly triggered, and she remembers who Colin is.
5. Audrey Temple (Hong Chau)
After learning the truth about Homecoming from Heidi — and from Walter’s mother, who was the one who filed the original complaint, posing as a Homecoming worker — Carrasco elevates his investigation to the DOD Inspector General, against the wishes of his supervisor, who reports on his activities to the Geist Group. Having failed to stop Carrasco’s investigation, Colin arrives back at Geist, shocked to find that his unassuming assistant, Audrey, is now his boss. Audrey informs her new underling that the whole Homecoming mess will be pinned on Colin. And in a post-credits scene, an inexplicably nervous Audrey can be seen rubbing Geist’s memory-erasing drugs on her wrist.
What memory is Audrey trying to erase? What happened to Walter after he was expelled from Homecoming? Viewers will find out in Season 2, since Hong Chau and Stephan James are two of the returning cast members who will reprise their roles from Season 1, joined by new additions like Monáe, Chris Cooper, and Joan Cusack. Find out what’s next in the saga when Season 2 is released on Prime Video on Friday, May 22.
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