Amazon UK TV review: Homecoming Season 2
Chris Bryant | On 26, May 2020
Following the spiralling conspiracies of Season 1 (read our review here), Amazon’s Homecoming returns for a second season of amnesiac paranoia, corporate greed, and dimly-lit excellence. Homecoming’s new outing begins in a canoe – with pockets full of clues, and a mostly refreshed cast. Refocused on Jackie (Janelle Monae) and Temple (Hong Chau), the story weaves together the fallout from Season 1 into a new tale of high-level crisis management, personal attachment and the Geist military complex.
Homecoming’s unconventional format of 30-minute episodes is compounded by the 7-episode second season. While the first had extra time to grow the story and build the context, Season 2 commendably opts not to stretch the story an extra 90 minutes without cause, retaining the show’s practical, toned approach to putting audiences on edge. While the pacing maintains the trademark suspense and plotting, it’s difficult to say that it’s a match for the first season.
Each individual element is superb, however, and the show undeniably continues to be one of Amazon’s best in technical terms. It humbly delivers performances that deserve to be talked about on end-of-year lists, with a stylistic and moody execution (comparable only to Mr Robot), and gripping, emotionally raw dialogue to match. However, continuing such a taut and unnerving show isn’t easy, and Season 2 feels more like a phenomenal epilogue to Season 1’s anarchy than an equal entry into what could be an anthology.
Alongside masters in character-acting Joan Cusack and Chris Cooper, and supported by returning standouts Stephan James and Alex Karpovsky, Monae and Chau are juggernauts on screen. With major roles in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, Monae is proving to be a desirable addition across all mediums, and Hong Chau’s performances in Downsizing and Watchmen have cemented her status as one to watch. Replacing four-time Oscar nominee Julia Roberts is no easy task, but the vibrance, intensity and chemistry between the two – as well as some robustly written characterisation – mean that they more than hold their own.
Offering a peek behind the scenes of Geist as the story unfolds, Season 2 has enough energy, tension, and moral ambiguity to ensure fans of Season 1 aren’t let down. While the story is a little more translucent, the brilliant leads ensure that Amazon’s small-scale head-trip results in all the mistrust-laden, corporate enigmas that made the first season such a fresh and cynical wonder.
Homecoming is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.