Homecoming review: Janelle Monae stars in a new chapter of Amazon’s mysterious thriller

Homecoming review: Janelle Monae stars in a new chapter of Amazon's mysterious thriller

For those who lost the first flight – based on the Gimlet Media podcast and produced in concert with “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail – the series focused on a secret operation that experimented on soldiers, playing with their minds and memories. Again, it’s a low-key version of a 70s paranoid conspiracy thriller, broken into half-hour installments.

Here, Monae’s character is depicted waking up in a rowboat floating on a lake, not remembering how she got there. Then the series works backwards, filling in the gaps of what happened, before turning forward, bringing in Chris Cooper as the grumpy founder of Geist, the dark company behind the Homecoming program, Hong Chau as an ambitious employee, and some faces. relatives of The first edition of the show.

Like season 1, the pace is slow at the beginning. However, it is built again, quite ingeniously, over the course of 10 episodes, which, just like in the first round, feel like a long film told in chapters.

As the plot zooms in, the twists get a little more predictable, but it’s still haunting and reasonably compelling, as Monae’s character fills in the blanks, while taking advantage of science fiction concerns about the risks of hacking. Humans. .

The effect brings a measure of closure to the somewhat confusing story while staying away from it. Under the circumstances, that is not a small achievement.

Monae is pretty good as the understandably confused protagonist, who begins her journey by saying, “If I did something wrong, I have no idea what it is,” before proceeding to find out. James also benefits from a sharper presence like Walter Cruz, whose bow provides the strongest link to the first season.

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Granted, “Homecoming” barely screamed for a second season, and there are valid criticisms that this is both an epilogue and a fully realized story. However, in the broadcast world, there is little incentive to drop concepts, even with a pinch of equity.

Faced with the challenge of justifying a return without Roberts (who still has executive producer credit), the filmmakers have accepted the challenge. It’s like one of those movie sequels that no one really asked for, but that proves to be a pleasant surprise.

While this should close the books on “Homecoming” forever, who knows? If the craving for streaming-driven content has proven anything, it’s that you can go home again and again.

“Homecoming” premieres May 22 on Amazon.

Will Smith

About the author: Will Smith

Alfred Lee covers public and private tech markets from New York. He was previously a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University, and prior to that was a reporter at the Los Angeles Business Journal. He has received a Journalist of the Year award from the L.A. Press Club and an investigative reporting award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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