Homecoming creators answer burning questions about season 1
Warning: This post contains spoilers for season 1 of Homecoming. Read at your own risk!
If you’ve binged the first season of Amazon’s thriller Homecoming, you’re probably asking yourself one thing: DOES WALTER REMEMBER HEIDI?
The finale ended with Heidi (Julia Roberts) finding ex-patient/crush Walter (Stephan James) living a small California town and building the cabin they talked about. The pair, who both had their memories blocked thanks to copious amounts of drugged food, end up in the same diner, but Heidi never reveals her identity. Walter doesn’t seem to know who she is, but then Heidi notices he moved a fork on the table just like he used to do with her pen in their therapy sessions. WTF?!?!?!
EW talked to podcast and series creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg about what this all means and what they can say (not a lot) about season 2.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you decide on the drugged menu at Homecoming, like the gnocchi?
ELI HOROWITZ: It’s an interesting question. A lot of times we were just trying to make each other laugh, and then it just stuck in the script.
MICHAH BLOOMBERG: For the gnocchi specifically, Eli kept saying that and I was like, “Well, eventually we’re going to change this to something more sinister, obviously.” Then we were doing the podcast and I was like, “Are we really just going to leave it as gnocchi?” Then, it was funny, when I saw it on the TV show, I find it disgusting and unsettling just like that it’s that final meal. It’s like there’s something about scooping it out on the plate that’s viscerally displeasing.
What was the change you all were most nervous about or most scared about going from the podcast to the TV series?
HOROWITZ: For me, once we got into the writers’ room, people started asking a lot of good questions about the broader scenario, and what’s this complaint that Carrasco [Shea Whigham] was following up on, and kind of taking that investigation more seriously. Something about that audio format lets you be so focused and you almost don’t have to consider any reality that’s not specifically audible in that specific scene. Television sort of opens those questions up wider. So we started pursuing them, but it was worrisome because I was a little worried we were pulling a thread that would unravel the whole sweater. But ultimately it turned out great because it led us pretty big into Carrasco, who turned out to be one of our favorite characters, and Shea did such an amazing job.
BLOOMBERG: The other thing everyone was thinking about was we have these really long, intricate dialogue scenes where there’s just two people sitting down and talking, and the phone calls too. It’s a little uncommon for TV to have a scene go on that long and to keep the blocking so simple and straightforward. So I think there was this initial impulse or question about, like, opening those scenes up and cutting them shorter. I think ultimately we gravitated back to wanting to keep those moments on the same terms they were in the podcast and let the words and the faces tell the story.
Shea was so good as Carrasco. Did you guys write to him as you were shooting because he was so dynamic in that role?
BLOOMBERG: No, not at all. When we finished with Carrasco, I was like, “Well this character is accomplishing the plot stuff that he needs to do and I understand it, but of all the characters I understand him the least.” Then Shea came in and just delivered this totally powerhouse, completely unexpected performance that was fully lived in and 3-D and had this whole take on it, and then did it with these tiny choices, like barely perceptible things, and made this character just something very far from the page. It was really impressive.
HOROWITZ: One thing we did think about specific to him is when we were writing the scripts, we kept kind of having this gesture where he would tilt his head and look confused at somebody. So when we were casting the part, I remember envisioning people doing that specific beat, and somehow for Shea that was really easy to imagine. He has a great befuddled ability.
Do you think we’ll see him in season 2?
HOROWITZ: We would like to keep seeing him. I’ll say that.
This ending is different from the podcast. How challenging was it to find a new beat to end this story on?
HOROWITZ: The details of the scene were challenging. But we knew we wanted to go somewhere like that. I think it was important to us to try and tell a full story over the course of a season. It’s not a typical end for a thriller, but in some ways we weren’t thinking of this as a thriller. We were really thinking of this as a story of a relationship between these two people that hopefully was thrilling enough to take you along.
Do you think that Walter remembered Heidi? Or was that just a Pavlovian response with the silverware?
BLOOMBERG: Those are the two interpretations we talked a lot about. I think our hope was to let the audience bring their own emotion and understanding of the story and hopes to that ending. We weren’t like, “We’re gonna do an ambiguous ending.” This is something we found as we were putting stuff together. To me, the whole scene is there’s this impulse [that] you want them so much to be together. You want that romantic conclusion to the story. But I think if we fully embraced that and had gone for that, it would have cheapened what came before it, and to me it just doesn’t feel totally honest to Heidi and Walter and who they were and their relationship. I think the ending kind of tries to respect their privacy in a weird way. Or it tries to understand and connect to everything that came before and doesn’t just wanna give you the romantic sugar rush together and kiss thing. One way it does that is letting you bring your own interpretation to it.
HOROWITZ: I think the way each person decides to interpret it kinda resonates with the larger questions of this season I think, like: Do your memories make you who you are? Or is there some kind of core identity behind them? That’s kind of the question that’s being raised by your interpretation of the ending.
Tell me about this after-credits moment with Hong Chau’s character, Audrey Temple. Is she like freebasing the Homecoming drug? Is it like a street drug now?
BLOOMBERG: We’re under pretty strict rules here.
HOROWITZ: We can say that’s a relevant question.
BLOOMBERG: Yeah… you’re on the right… that’s a good question.
Colin’s wife also was really intriguing. Will she play a bigger part in season 2?
HOROWITZ: We’ve run out of even coy answers.
What can you say about where the story goes from here?
HOROWITZ: We can say it broadens. We’re interested in all the individuals that are necessary for a situation like this to take place.
BLOOMBERG: It broadens, and we want to look at more of this world and more of the people involved in this. But at the same time, we’re just looking for those key relationships that will give us that same feeling, like the relationship of Heidi and Walter drives this season. Its’ really about these two people. So as we go into season 2, we’re just looking for the relationships that will give us the same type of texture, and these people you get to unpack and understand in these complicated ways. We’re looking for more of that.
Is there Mr. Geist? Or the head of this company?
HOROWITZ: That is possible.
BLOOMBERG: Good question! These are good questions!
HOROWITZ: By keeping the focus on the characters, we sort of had a very narrow view on this big, sprawling story. So as a result of that focus, there’s a lot going on in the margins you’re only sort of aware of. So that gives us a lot of room to explore in detail in future seasons. Definitely the Geist side of it is relevant.
The focus is still Heidi, yes?
HOROWITZ: We can say it’s not anthology show. The story continues.