Homecoming Season 2 Review- Compelling yet lacking depth

Aparnna Hajirnis -

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Format: Web Series
Platform: Prime Video
Movie Rated: 18+
Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller
Language: Hindi
Digital Premiere Date: 15 May 2020

What is it about?
The second season of the Dystopian drama follows the story of a woman played by Janelle Monae, who wakes up on a boat in the middle of a lake with a loss of memory and having no sense of time or place. What follows is a tale of lies and deceit as she tries to uncover secrets about her past and the events that put her in the boat in the first place. Season 2 also dwells deeper into the story of Geist, the mystical and Dystopian company at the centre of the first season, dealing largely with Hong Chau's Audrey Temple, who ended Season One by swooping in to clean up Colin Belfast's mess at the Homecoming facility. This season also sees Stephan James'  return as veteran protagonist Walter Cruz and introduces the man who owns the entire company, the mysterious Leonard Geist, played by Chris Cooper.

 
Analysis
Much of the second season functions as an extended epilogue to the first, and creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg have trouble making the story feel as significant and powerful. While the first season took place across two timelines several years apart, the second season -- which runs only seven episodes instead of 10 -- takes place over the course of two weeks and mostly unfolds as a straightforward, linear narrative. Geist employee Audrey Temple (Hong Chau), who showed up briefly toward the end of the first season, is now leading the company and a twist at the end of the second episode connects her current project to Jackie’s experience.

 
Performances
It’s great to watch all these performances. Monáe, who usually plays supporting roles, handles the lead with total confidence. At first, she has to play confused and semi-panicked, but other sides of Jackie come out that allow Monáe to capitalize on what has always been her best asset as a performer, both in film and music: her unflappable swagger. Chau is also at her best when the ordinarily insecure Audrey lets her inner boss bitch out to play, while Cusack, who shows up a few episodes in, adds welcome hyperactive energy as the ambitious Bunda. 

Music and Other Departments
For a Dystopian show with dark and psychologically thrilling moments, the direction and cinematography play a key role. The show which has a dark background throughout its run of 7 episodes has been beautifully shot and directed by Kyle Patrick Alwares. He takes over the direction from Sam Ismael who directed the first season. The long and short shots to look haunting and dreaded. The editing is crisp and keeps you on the edge of your seats as it is a show with a lot of twists and turns. The climax has a shocking twist and we marvel at the way the people behind the scenes handled it. Along with this, the soundtrack to seems eerie and at times increases the overall fear and horror quotient of the show.

 
Did I Enjoy It?
I did enjoy it, but here are my few observations about the way it ends- Homecoming season two ends not with a period or exclamation, but a semicolon. It concludes in a way that could work as a series finale, while still dangling a faint possibility that there could be more story to tell. By the last episode, all the basic questions about Jackie have been answered, but what we’re meant to take away from the experience of watching should have had more depth and could have been murkier.
 
Do I recommend it?
Yes
 
 
Language :
Synopsis : Homecoming returns for its second season with a fresh new mystery and an exciting new star, Janelle Monáe. Her character wakes in a rowboat adrift a lake, with no memory of how she got there — or even who she is. Her ensuing search for identity will lead her into the heart of the Geist Group, the unconventional wellness company behind the Homecoming Initiative.
Cast : Janelle Monáe, Joan Cusack, Chris Cooper, Stephan James, Hong Chau
Directors : Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Producer/s : Kyle Patrick Alvarez (Executive Producer), Micah Bloomberg (Executive Producer), Eli Horowitz (Executive Producer), Sam Esmail (Executive Producer), Chad Hamilton (Executive Producer), Julia Roberts (Executive Producer), Alex Blumberg (Executive Producer)
Production House : Amazon Studios, UCP
Total number of seasons : 2
Episode Duration (minutes) : 37
Digital Premiere Date : May 22, 2020

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