Sunday, November 11, 2018

REVIEW: 'Homecoming' - Heidi Needs to See the Life Walter Has Made for Himself in 'Stop'

Amazon's Homecoming - Episode 1.10 "Stop"

I'm gonna stop you there, okay?

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's Homecoming.

"Stop" was written by Eli Horowitz & Micah Bloomberg and directed by Sam Esmail

This season always gave the audience a sense of tragedy. These characters were going to be dealing with the consequences from the Homecoming facility for many years of their lives. But it's also surprising just how hopeful the final moments of this finale actually are - excluding the post-credits sequence. The most tragic moment actually occurred in the penultimate episode. Here, Heidi is explaining to Colin why she did what she did. She is fully aware of her actions and was actually trying to help herself and Walter escape from this abusive and cold environment. She grew so attached to Walter. And now, they are living such drastically different lives. And yet, they are the ones in charge of their fates as well. They are no longer being controlled by some corporate entity that doesn't really care about them. Instead, Colin becomes the latest victim of Geist. He is made into the scapegoat for all of this because he was the one running the Homecoming program and broke protocol in actually returning to the facility with Heidi just a few days ago. It's so empowering to see Audrey go from his assistant to his boss. Of course, the post-credits scene reveals that there is still much the audience doesn't know about Geist and their continued testing with this product. Homecoming may have been shut down and converted into a wellness center but the lab is still working on a new variation of the drug. It's something that Audrey is even willing to use on herself after this pivotal meeting with Colin. She has more power than he ever did. And yet, she is still intimidated by him as well. That too shows just how influential and powerful Colin can be even when he is absolutely defeated. Meanwhile, Heidi feels the urge to continue helping Walter's life. She goes to Gloria hoping to explain everything that happened. She wants to outline the true purpose of the program and how it was all about making these guys healthy enough to redeploy again. But everyone also has to question if this ultimately does any good. Gloria filed the complaint in the hopes of saving her son from this dangerous experiment. The government didn't look into it for four years. Walter was eventually returned to her as a changed man. It was very difficult on his family. However, he has managed to overcome those issues and reclaim a life that is his. As such, it does no good for him to dig up all of the trauma of the past. Gloria sees her son as the man he was before he left to fight in the war. To her, that's great because it allows a connection to still exist between them. She doesn't want to inflict any more harm onto him. She wants Heidi out of his life as well because she has done enough experiments on him. But Heidi still feels that attraction to Walter. She needs to see the life that he is living. It is actually the life that they envisioned running off to have together. He has found some small town in California where he can just comfortably live in a cabin next to a creek. He is happy there. He appears to have no memories of Heidi whatsoever. She knows that it's possible to trigger him and bring everything rushing back. Much like Gloria though, she doesn't see the point. This experience is so emotional and moving for her. She sees the life that Walter has made for himself. She just isn't a part of it. That too is incredibly tragic. But it's hopeful because this is an outcome that many probably weren't expecting for Walter. He is functioning and healthy. But that final visual clue also hints at him being aware on some level of the impact Heidi had on his life. She doesn't know what could trigger these memories. It could be her face. It could be the map he gave her. Their actual interaction feels like two strangers making pleasant conversation. But her seeing the slightly eschewed silverware hints that he knows on some level that he has to mess with her. It's a small moment that he may not even be aware of fully. But to Heidi and the audience, it is so telling because it establishes that what occurred may never be truly gone - even if their relationship was always slightly inappropriate.