Here, Mona’s character is presented waking up in a floating boat floating on a lake, without remembering how she got there. Then the series works backwards – to fill in the gaps of what happened – before turning ahead, and Chris Cooper as founder of the eccentric Geist, the mysterious company behind the Homecoming Program, brought Hong Chao as an ambitious employee and some familiar faces from the first edition of the show.
Like Season 1, it’s running at a slow pace at first. However, it builds again, in a somewhat artistic manner, over 10 episodes, which – as with the first round – feel like a feature-length movie that is listed in the seasons.
As the plot becomes the focus, twists are a little more predictable, but it’s still reasonably scary and convincing – as Monae’s character gradually fills in the blanks – while taking advantage of science fiction concerns about the dangers of penetrating humans.
The effect brings a measure of closure to the slightly confused story while still standing away from it. Under these circumstances, this is not a small achievement.
Monae is just as good as the understandable confused hero, who started her journey by saying, “If I did something wrong, I have no idea what it is,” before proceeding to find out. James also benefits from a sharp presence like Walter Cruz, whose arc provides the strongest link for the first season.
Admittedly, “homecoming” barely screamed for a second season, and there are valid criticisms that this is a conclusion as much as a fully-fledged story. However, in the world of flow, there is little incentive to ignore concepts even with a few shares remaining in them.
Facing the challenge of justifying return without Don Roberts (who still owns executive producer credit), filmmakers are often up for the challenge. It’s like one of the movie series that nobody really wanted, but it proves to be a pleasant surprise.
While this should close the books “Back Home” for good, who knows? If the hunger fueled by the streaming stream of content has shown anything, it is that you can go home again and again.
“Homecoming” starts on May 22 on Amazon.