Roush Review: An Unforgettable Memory Puzzle in a Return to ‘Homecoming’

Homecoming - Janelle Monáe - Season 2

The less said the better about the myriad mysteries unfolding within the mesmerizing second season of Homecoming. Disorientation is the point, and also the device that propels us back into the sinister corporate world of the Geist Group.

The Hitchcockian opening episode — most clock in around a wonderfully brisk 30 minutes — introduces an understandably panicked Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures) as a Jane Doe who awakens alone in a rowboat in the middle of a lake. You may experience echoes of the 2000 cult film Memento as she follows clues that suggest she isn’t who she appears to be.

Her suspenseful search for answers leads to Geist, a wellness company that, in the first season (which starred Julia Roberts), was discovered to be developing a memory-erasing drug for soldiers with PTSD. The new season features some familiar faces from Season 1—which obviously should be seen before digging into this one—including a sly Hong Chau (HBO’s Watchmen) as Audrey Temple, an inexperience office worker whose calculated rise within Geist comes off as satirically amusing. Until it isn’t.

And as the company’s founder, Leonard Geist, a homey Chris Cooper (new to the series) commands one’s sympathy, when he locks horns over control of his creation with a deceptively convivial military overseer, played with her usual quirky efficacy by Joan Cusack.

As the episodes keep us wondering if Monáe is a victim or a villain in this twisty scenario, the series reintroduces Walter Cruz (Stephan James), an ex-military guinea pig still troubled by confusing flashes of his time in the Homecoming program. As their connection becomes more clear, and as he pieces together his own troubling memory puzzle, Homecoming builds to a shocking and satisfying finale that you’re not likely ever to forget.

Homecoming Season 2

(Ali Goldstein/Amazon)

Homecoming, Season 2 Premiere Friday, May 22, Prime Video