Homecoming season 2: Janelle Monáe and a new Geist Group mystery – why we can’t wait for the return of the psychological thriller

Julia Roberts won’t be returning, but Janelle Monáe joins the cast for a second series of the podcast adaptation exploring the dark mysteries of Geist Group and the Homecoming Initiative.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 29 April 2020 - 1.49pm
Drama Prime Video

Janelle Monae

Amazon Prime Video

Homecoming was one of our favourite TV dramas of 2018.

Starring Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, Alex Karpovsky and Stephan James, the unsettling psychological thriller brought  Gimlet Media’s critically-acclaimed podcast series to life.

Season 1 told the story of Heidi Bergman (Roberts) and her relationship with young veteran Walter Cruz (James) at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center.

Lurking in the background of the story was the shady and mysterious Geist Group, who were using the Homecoming Initiative for nefarious purposes.

Season 2 tells a new story with some major new additions to the cast and a few familiar faces from season 1 – and a new bigger mystery involving the murky world of wellness company Geist.

The first Homecoming season 2 trailer is revealed

Homecoming season two is ramping up the tension and doubling down on the mysteries surrounding the Geist Group.

The first look trailer at series two gives us our first look at Janelle Monaé's character, who finds herself waking up on a rowboat with no memory of her identity or how she got there.

But her storyline won't be the only mystery in season two as Stephan James also returns as Walter Cruz, who is trying to rebuild his life away from the Homecoming Institute.

The trailer suggests we're going to learn a lot more about what's going on at the Geist Group and the shady happenings from the bottom to the top of the corporate ladder.

When is Homecoming season 2 released?

Homecoming on Amazon Prime Video

Homecoming season 2 is launched on Amazon Prime Video on May 22, 2020.

All episodes will be available to watch from release.

You can catch up on the first season now on Prime Video.

Who is in the Homecoming season 2 cast?

Janelle Monae in Homecoming season 2 Amazon Prime Video

The biggest change from season one is the departure of Julia Roberts, whose story as Heidi Bergman has concluded.

Roberts remains involved in the series, working as a producer through her company Red Om Films.

Replacing Roberts in the lead role is Hidden Figures and Moonlight actress Janelle Monáe.

In the opening episode, her character wakes in a rowing boat adrift a lake, with no memory of how she got there, or even of who she is. Her ensuing search for her identity will lead her into the heart of the Geist Group.

Talking about why she signed up for the show at the Television Critics Association press tour, Monáe said: “When I saw season 1 and I listened to the podcast, I was a fan. When I had the opportunity to be a part of the show, I said, ‘Hell yeah!’

“I moved my schedule around and I made it happen.

“It’s just been an honour to join this family and to push myself as an artist to give the best performance that I possibly can.”

Stephan James and Janelle Monae in Homecoming season 2 Amazon Prime Video

Back for a second season is Stephan James as Walter Cruz, who is trying to build a new life following the traumas of war and the Homecoming Initiative, when he begins to realise that there’s an even more insidious version of the programme underway – if only he can remember.

Fans of season 1 will be thrilled to see Watchmen star Hong Chau back as Audrey Temple, the anonymous underling at Geist, who unexpectedly finds herself at the top of the corporate ladder.

New cast members for season 2 include Oscar-winner Chris Cooper, who will play Leonard Geist, the eccentric founder of the company, and Emmy-winner Joan Cusack as Francine Bunda, who is described as an “equally eccentric military woman”.

What happened at the end of Homecoming S1?

Stephan James in Homecoming season 2 Amazon Prime Video

Based on the podcast of the same name, Homecoming told the story of Heidi Bergman, a counsellor in a privately run retreat for returning war veterans, who befriends young soldier Walter Cruz.

Over the course of the series, we discovered that all wasn’t quite as it first seemed at the Homecoming facility.

It was being run by pharmaceutical group Geist, who claimed the drugs they were using helped treat PTSD when actually they wiped the soldiers’ memories so they could be redeployed.

After discovering the truth about Geist, Heidi took the drug to wipe her memories and also gave Walter an overdose so that he wouldn’t be fit enough for the army.

In a future timeline, Thomas Carrasco from the Department of Defence reawakens Heidi’s memories from Homecoming and his investigations triggers her to visit Walter.

The first series went beyond what happened in the podcast, so season two will be an original story which will take us deeper into the world of Geist.

Showrunner Micah Bloomberg said season 2 is both a continuation of season 1 and a completely new story.

“In some ways, this season goes far afield from where we were in Season 1. In other ways, it’s directly tied to the moments where we left off in Season 1 and is intimately involved with more the corporate side of what was done to the men and the consequences of that,” he explained.

Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez added: “I think season 1 is really driven by a mystery of ‘What’s going on?’ You have no concept of what’s happening. You spend a good amount of time in the season being shrouded. That’s the enjoyment of it, what’s going to be behind it.

“This season, the mystery is generated from a different place. It’s less literal and more about how these characters get to this specific place and how they wound up here. We may or may not play with time in some similar ways.”

What happened in the S1 post-credit sequence?

Hong Chaus as Audrey Temple in Homecoming Amazon Prime Video

If you’re catching up on season one, make sure you stick around right until the end for a special post-credit sequence, which should play into the season 2 mystery.

Wrapping up Colin Belfast’s (Bobby Cannavale) story, we see him sign paperwork which means that he is taking the fall for the breach of protocol at Homecoming.

He hands it to Audrey Temple (Hong Chau) and pleads with her that Mr Geist will recognise the sacrifice that he’s made.

We then see Audrey switch from a trance-like state to reply: “We will bear it in mind”. And then after Colin leaves the room, Audrey looks concerned and jittery and takes a vial of red liquid out of her bag.

The vial says “lab use only” on it and she sprays it on her wrists, before sinking back into a trance-like state.

The final scene highlighted the controlling powers of Geist, their latest advances in disturbing mind-altering medication and the possible implications of their experiments and operations. It brilliantly teased a second season, delving into the shadowy corporation.