Saturday, November 3, 2018

REVIEW: 'Homecoming' - Colin Lets Out His Rage on Heidi for Her Recent Actions in 'Helping'

Amazon's Homecoming - Episode 1.05 "Helping"

Life-skills activities allow the client to envision life after Homecoming, practicing social interactions in a safe and nurturing setting.

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.

"Helping" was written by Cami Delavigne and directed by Sam Esmail

It has been absolutely devastating to see the long-term repercussions of the time the characters spent in the Homecoming facility. Those flash-forward sequences have only slowly been teasing out information. It has mostly been Thomas trying to put all of the pieces together to get a better understanding of the project. But now, Heidi and Colin are active participants as well who want some kind of control over their own narrative. It's just heartbreaking because Heidi's memories have seemingly been taken away from her. Meanwhile, Colin has been promoted at Geist even though Homecoming has been shut down and deemed a failure. In the present when he goes to meet with his boss, he becomes such a waspy man. He only lets out his frustrations on his underlings. He continues to play the role of the middle-management guy who needs to be promoted within the company. He just is choosing to do so by preying on the insecurities of those beneath him. Those are typically women and people of color as well. That's a potent image. All of this has a lasting impact on everyone as well. Even though Shrier made it out of the facility early, it's clear that he was forever shaped by his time there. When Thomas meets him, he is no longer the guy jumping up on tables trying to get the world to see the conspiracy around him. Now, he's so quiet and paranoid that anything he says will lead to even more dangerous consequences. So much has already been taken away from him. He has been stripped of his humanity and identity. That's so heartbreaking. It's the same for Heidi in the future. She is no longer the counselor she was at the facility. Now, she's working a job she has long seemed over-qualified to do. Of course, this episode also explains her backstory and how she came to work this job at Homecoming. It shows that she was picked from relative obscurity after only working as a counselor at the VA for three years. That's the only professional experience she has in this line of work as well. She's not someone at the top of her field who has contributed to this program to help soldiers deal with their PTSD. Instead, she was chosen just to collect the data. Colin isn't expecting her to heal these soldiers' wounds because of the therapy she can give them. She just has to record their sessions and get them talking about their traumatic memories. She's fully onboard with this program as well. She's fine with the dispersal of medication in the hopes of eliminating these memories. This program is treating a psychological condition as if it is a physical one. So often there are physical triggers to these painful memories. That's the basis of this entire program. As such, Heidi could compromise the data by becoming too personally attached to one of the patients. However, it's so awful to watch Colin crush her entire spirit because of what she did in Walter's room. Nothing inappropriate happened. Colin is only gathering the second-hand data and making his assessment. He wasn't there to witness it. But he sees it as this compromising thing that could destroy the program. In order to keep it from happening again, he must destroy Heidi. In the present, that means crushing her independence. In the future, that may mean eliminating her entirely because of the massive loose end she represents to the company. That's so dangerous. In the present, she is utterly destroyed when she walks into her office to see the guys' latest prank on her. That shows just how destructive all of this can be even when it's under the guise of harmless fun. Heidi played along for awhile. But she is very much a victim throughout all of this as well.