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From its opening shot onward, Sam Esmail’s “Homecoming” is designed to throw you off-kilter. What appears to be a palm tree in the night sky is quickly revealed to be a decoration inside a fish tank. That fish tank is within an office, and that office is within a compound. But where’s the compound, and what are they doing in there? Who’s watching and why? Subversion runs rampant throughout Esmail’s joyfully paranoid first four episodes, as the “Mr. Robot” creator builds a universe where keeping your head on a swivel is as instrumental as acknowledging what’s right in front of your face. Forged from inventive long takes and killer audio cues, the upcoming Amazon original series feels like Alfred Hitchcock has made a new mystery, and it’s a deliciously good time.
Based on the podcast of the same name (and written for the screen by creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg), the half-hour conspiracy thriller bounces between two timelines: In one, Heidi (Juila Roberts) is a case worker — really a therapist, of sorts — for a program called Homecoming. Run by the Geist group, it’s meant to help soldiers adjust back to civilian life after extended periods in combat. Heidi interviews the men once they arrive back, while other employees lead them in practice interviews (to help them get a job) and provide calming activities (like board games) to help pass the time.
Future - Timeline - Heidi - Tables - Fat
But in the future timeline, Heidi is waiting tables at Fat Morgan’s, a diner on the side of a bay with a giant walrus wrapped around its sign. She’s not on the phone all the time with her controlling boss, Colin (Bobby Cannavale), nor is she donning professional attire for her formal sessions in a giant office. She’s not affiliated with Homecoming at all, and she’s not to...
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