Welcome to the age of the 30-minute drama. That’s right, every episode of Julia Roberts’ new Amazon series is only 30 minutes long. And with only ten episodes, that’s a pretty swift binge. It also helps that this is one fantastic show.
I won’t say much about the show’s premise besides the fact that it tells the story of Heidi Bergman, a therapist at Homecoming – a center the helps soldiers transition back into civilian life. If I tell you anything more, I’ll surely spoil the show’s captivating narrative that’s packed with surprises at every turn. The series does such an immaculate job of revealing just the right amount of info at the right time, while stretching out the mystery across ten glorious episodes. There’s no filler here and no unnecessary distractions – just one focused and cleverly constructed story.
Most impressive about Homecoming is its visual style. All ten episodes are directed by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, and that ensures consistency across the board in both tone and structure. Moreover, the cinematography by Tod Campbell is truly special. He employs some wildly creative framing and unorthodox camera angles to bring this story in life. There’s never a dull moment and a ton of details to unpack.
To no one’s surprise, Julia Roberts is a phenomenal series lead. I don’t know why it took so long for a network or streaming service to give the world’s biggest actress her own show, but she knocks it out of the park at every turn. Her signature smile (and charm) are in full force, but she’s also quite proficient in handling the story’s completely absorbing thriller elements. A bonus is the fact that there are two timelines for her to play around in and showcase different facets of her character. Here’s hoping she sticks around for season two (which has already been commissioned).
Also a standout? Stephan James as Walter Cruz, a young military veteran who is assigned to Heidi. Their chemistry is electric in every sense of the word. Watching Roberts and James bounce off each other is the undeniable highlight of the show; it’s a breathtaking symphony of banter and sexual tension. Wow!
Bits & Gnocci
– Absolutely unforgettable is Bobby Cannavale’s turn as Heidi’s boss Colin. He’s a smooth-talking sleaze ball, and he’s ridiculously entertaining in every one of his scenes. His final scene with Audrey is a thing of beauty.
– How great are all the split-screen phone-calls between Heidi and Colin?
– Shea Whigham’s Thomas Carrasco is such a reliable presence throughout the season. I have a feeling he’ll be back in season two to tackle another case.
– Someone give Marianne Jean-Baptiste all the awards for her performance as Walter’s mother Gloria. She is SO good.
– I want that darn bird as a pet.
– Outstanding touch: The aspect ratio closing in whenever Heidi can’t remember. First it’s the future timeline that is constricted vertically, then it’s the present timeline after Heidi eats that damn gnocchi.
– The show’s final scene is incredible with Heidi refusing to tell Walter who she is and hiding the map. However, his trick with her pen proves that he still remembers her. Or maybe it’s just muscle memory? Who knows. But I kind of want their story to end here.
A brilliant psychological drama with addictive plotting and a splendid performance by Roberts.