Following three curt knocks on the tan door, Jackie, grips at the balcony railing as her pudgy white counterpart clutches his chipping forrest green oxygen tank. The music begins to swell as it’s made evident there will be no response from the other side of the motel room door. “The pills are inside and you can’t breathe!” Jackie quickly explains to the man on the mission with her. She reactively gets the attention of the maid passing by who gives the unconfirmed guests access to the room. With a cautious push of the creaking door Jackie, revealed the tacky interior of the small room. The camera pans around the tomato red and espresso lodge, pausing on one crucial detail. The fuck?! A melon on the bed?
The Amazon Prime Series Homecoming leaves many questions unanswered, and invites the viewer to binge the entire series.
Prime suggests I begin the series with Season 2: Episode 1 “People.” I was prepared to be confused, but maybe not this much. I figured the stylistic decision to start the show at season two would leave parts of the story unanswered. When watching a mystery show, that’s expected. But actually what the hell was going on? Even after the season one recap at the beginning of the episode, it was hard to apply the season one summary to what was occurring in the season two episode, “People.” There seems to be a mystery within a mystery.
The question of the episode: What happened in season one, and how does that connect with what’s happening to the protagonist Jackie?
We meet Jackie, played by actress Janelle Monáe, alone in an expansive lake lying unconscious in a boat. Without her memory, Jackie searches for answers about her condition with little to no clues. Starting off alone in the dark forrest, the protagonist seemingly makes more enemies than friends scouring for her identity. The viewer has as little information about her situation as she does.
Janelle Monáe is convincingly amnestic without overdramatizing her performance. As the episode continues, Monáe’s character remains contextually undefined, but she shows glimpses of Jackie’s personality. It’s easy to root for Jackie, since you meet her passed out in a boat with no memory of her identity or trauma. In each scene, Janelle Monáe is bold, fierce and witty. Why is someone in her position able to overcome the many challenges that she faces seemingly so easily? Another question the viewer is intrigued to find out.
Season 2: Episode 1 of Homecoming makes it clear that Giest is the center of the overall story’s conflict. Loose connections are drawn between Giest and Jackie’s condition. Although, when it seems like Jackie is getting close to a resolution of answers, that seems to only be a red herring or at best a small insignificant victory. As a viewer, I feel compelled to keep watching in the hopes that more watching will give reveal satisfying answers.
At the end of Amazon Prime’s Homecoming Season 2: Episode 1 “The People,” I had very few answers to the questions I amassed while viewing. Key take aways: Janelle Monáe stellar screen presence deserves to star as the protagonist of my bio-pic. Big Pharma is a toxic industry. But I still couldn’t tell you the significance of the melon posted up in the hotel room.