Good intentions. Unpredictable bosses. Growing paranoia. Unexpected consequences out of control. Janelle Monáe plays a woman who wakes up in a canoe on a lake and can’t remember how she got there, or even who she is.
Homecoming. I return to ‘Homecoming’, the acclaimed – at least by me – television series inspired by the Gimlet Media podcast created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, also creators and scriptwriters of a series nonetheless more popularly known worldwide, or by almost everyone for being “a series of the creator of Mr. Robot”. Now, Sam Esmail is neither the creator nor the writer of ‘Homecoming’, but its director. The director of all the episodes of its first season, not of those of the second.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez replaces the aforementioned Esmail as director of all the episodes of this second season. Who did you say Kyle Patrick Alvarez, someone we cannot locate in the world without the help of IMDb. Until now, at least, he has been given a difficult task: to replace Esmail. And the one who says substitute, like the one who says to emulate. As one of those softwares that allow you to run programs or video games on a different platform from the one for which they were originally conceived.
Something like this feels this second season, as if we were playing a Play game on a PC. We pretend that it is the same, but in reality it is not. Because we enjoy it practically equally. Because we don’t stop to think about it either. Because we let ourselves be carried away, as we can gladly leave for this second season of ‘Homecoming’, packed like the first one in chapters of about 30 minutes very conducive to viewing it in one sitting. Seen and unseen, a sigh.
It is, it seems, presented as such. And we pretend that it is, but no, it is not. As this second season of ‘Homecoming’ is not exactly the same as the first. Sam Esmail’s shadow is as long as his visual talent, and the hard-working Patrick Alvarez can’t help but think of a surrogate. Attractive, entertaining, intriguing, stimulating. But without that “charme” that made the first season a special production, and built on the achievements of a precedent that behaves like an appendix.
It does not help that there are only seven episodes, nor that the presence of Janelle Monáe to replace Julia Roberts as a new protagonist brings with it an expansion of the world of ‘Homecoming’. Rather, this second (and probably last) season is devoted to filling in some of the gaps left by the first. To put the points on the I’s. An appealing, entertaining, intriguing, stimulating appendix. But neither necessary, nor essential. Because it is not asserted as if it were necessary or essential.
In a sense, it could be said that it is like watching the additional scenes of the extended version of a story. It adds value, of course and of course, but it does not enrich the product in the same proportion as the minutes it lasts. For something after all they were left out of the original version: Because a priori these additions are not essential, even though they are never less interesting. Interesting, but not exciting. Or not as much as they probably would have been in the hands of Sam Esmail.
As if he were the ‘Ant-Man’ that Edgar Wright never managed to direct. Or that ‘Justice League’ that was not – but will end up being – Zack Snyder. The feeling is that this second season is an appendix to the first, suggesting if we want to be misthought that it may be about complying with the record. It is attractive, entertaining, intriguing. Also stimulating. But she is neither brave, nor daring, nor does she seem to want to eat the world. It’s more like the last day of work in a company: You want to leave a good taste in your mouth …
… but the reality is that you will close the door when you leave. And to something else, butterfly.