(Major spoilers ahead for both Seasons 1 and 2 of “Homecoming” on Amazon Prime Video)
“Homecoming” was always a pretty strange show, and intentionally so — the odd visual stylings define the show as much as the things that happen on it do. But it got much weirder in Season 2, not because it was more mysterious — it actually got less mysterious — but rather because of the way Season 2 almost kinda serves as the twist ending to Season 1. Basically, these first two seasons play together like one single story, with season 2 serving as the third act in which everything is revealed.
The first season, as directed by Sam Esmail, was incessantly disorienting, full of scenes that didn’t have enough context. It was a story that was told in a way that made you wonder if you really knew what was going on in each scene. By the end, we got some answers, but not all the answers. And that felt just about right.
Season 2 of “Homecoming,” serves almost like a postscript to Season 1, giving us pretty much the full context for the Homecoming project and Geist as a whole. And a couple of these revelations — specifically, everything involving Audrey Temple (Hong Chau) — come as pretty big shockers because they completely change so much of what we thought we knew about Season 1.
The most obvious retcon here involves the scene from the Season 1 finale when Colin Belfast (Bobby Cannavale) goes into the Geist office to talk to his boss. But his boss isn’t there; only Temple is there. She plays coy about the situation for a few moments before revealing that the boss has been fired. She then manipulates Colin into signing a confession in which he takes full responsibility for the Homecoming situation.
In that scene, Temple comes off as super confident and all-knowing, and it generally doesn’t play like she’s doing some kind of deceitful gambit to get a promotion.
But in the third episode of Season 2, we learn that’s exactly what Temple was doing. Having been made aware that the department of defense is investigating the Homecoming program, Temple tries to use this information to her advantage. Nobody else at the company HQ knows yet except Colin, who spent Season 1 trying to keep that whole thing under control.
So she and her girlfriend Alex (Janelle Monae) come up with a plan in which the actually-not-confident-at-all Temple — who is kind of a high-level receptionist, at this point — has to put into play. To get Colin to sign that admission of responsibility, she tells him a bunch of huge lies. She lured him there in the first place by saying it’s a meeting with Ron, though Ron isn’t aware of it at all; she tells him she had briefed Leonard Geist (Chris Cooper) about the situation, though she had never even met Geist at that point; and she says Ron had been fired because of the Homecoming situation, which wasn’t true (but would happen later).
The reality of the situation, as we learn in Season 2, is that Leonard Geist didn’t even know that Homecoming existed when Temple met with Colin, and Colin only had to take the fall because Temple tricked him. Audrey’s power move paid off big time. At least for a while.
This is the best thing about Season 2 of “Homecoming,” in my opinion: pulling back the curtain on a scene in such a way that it, basically, becomes a completely different scene. You thought you knew what happened in that scene, but you really had absolutely no clue.
It really makes you think.