‘Homecoming’ evaluate: Janelle Monae stars in a brand new chapter of Amazon’s eerie thriller



For those that missed the primary flight — based mostly on the Gimlet Media podcast and produced in live performance with “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail — the sequence centered on a secret operation that experimented on troopers, toying with their minds and recollections. It’s once more an understated model of a 1970s paranoid conspiracy thriller, diced into half-hour installments.

Here, Monae’s character is launched waking up in a rowboat floating on a lake, with no reminiscence how she obtained there. The sequence then works backwards — filling within the gaps of what occurred — earlier than spinning ahead, bringing in Chris Cooper because the cranky founding father of Geist, the shadowy firm behind the Homecoming program, Hong Chau as an formidable worker and a few acquainted faces from the present’s first version.

Like Season 1, the pacing is sluggish at first. Yet it once more builds, fairly artfully, over the course of 10 episodes, which — as with the primary go-round — really feel like a longish movie advised in chapters.

As the plot comes into focus, the twists change into slightly extra predictable, however it’s nonetheless eerie and fairly compelling — as Monae’s character steadily fills within the blanks — whereas tapping into sci-fi-esque considerations concerning the dangers in hacking human beings.

The impact brings a measure of closure to the marginally muddled storyline whereas nonetheless standing other than it. Under the circumstances, that is no small accomplishment.

Monae is kind of good because the understandably confused protagonist, who begins her journey by saying, “If I did something wrong, I have no idea what it is,” earlier than continuing to search out out. James additionally advantages from a sharpened presence as Walter Cruz, whose arc gives the strongest hyperlink to season one.

Granted, “Homecoming” hardly cried out for a second season, and there are legitimate criticisms that that is as a lot an epilogue as a completely realized story. Yet on this planet of streaming, there’s little incentive to discard ideas with even a shred of fairness left in them.

Faced with the problem of justifying a return with out Roberts (who nonetheless possesses an govt producer credit score), the filmmakers have largely risen to the problem. It’s like a type of movie sequels no person actually requested for, however which proves to be a pleasing shock.

While this could shut the books on “Homecoming” for good, who is aware of? If the streaming-fueled starvation for content material has demonstrated something, it is you can dwelling once more, and once more.

“Homecoming” premieres May 22 on Amazon.



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