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‘Optics’ – Homecoming season 1 episode 3 review

The more we learn, the less we know as Homecoming becomes ever more sinister

SPOILER ALERT!
Serial

The two worlds of Homecoming are starting to close in on each other. As we press forward in the present – our suspicion growing as Cruz and Shrier’s dissipates – in 2022, Carrasco is joining dots to confirm his own suspicions. In all those boxes and boxes of files, dates are starting to line up, particularly the dates that Cruz and Heidi left Homecoming. Violent misconduct on his part, hospitalisation on hers. Those two seem likely to be related, right? Something tells me that it’s not as straightforward as we think.

There’s a big gap between Cruz and Heidi’s flirtation and the information in their files

Our first sign that the sinister wrongness of Homecoming extends beyond the ‘clients’ (the shows insistence on using that term over the more conventional ‘patients’ just adds to its unsettling clinical nature) comes when Heidi meets up with her ex-boyfriend Anthony (a brilliant Dermot Mulroney) in 2022. He thinks they’re reconnecting, but for her it’s almost a first connection. She can’t remember anything, even Colin’s name escapes her. When she told Carrasco that she didn’t remember anything, she wasn’t lying.

Shrier doing an excellent job of looking relaxed and unsuspicious

This brings us back to Colin. Carrasco finds promotional leaflets for Homecoming, with pictures of the staff, but Colin’s nowhere to be seen. We’ve never seen him at the facility, only skulking around golf courses, Mexican factories and even his own home during his daughter’s birthday party. The man seems permanently on edge, permanently suspicious. We never see him speak to anyone connected with Homecoming except for Heidi. It all screams deniability.

Anthony comes back into Heidi’s life. The first mention of the word crossfit should have had her running for the door

Cruz and Shrier’s little jolly seems to have lessened their paranoia. Stealing a van, they head off to find a bar only to discover they’re miles from anywhere except a retirement village, which they initially take to be some kind of creepy staging ground (I’m still not convinced it’s not). Colin wants them out of the programme, but Heidi fights to keep Cruz. She undoubtedly has a connection with him, which will no doubt complicate matters a little further down the line. What’s worrying is Shrier. He’s about to be cut loose, facing severe withdrawal symptoms from whatever medication he’s on (the drugs are placebos, the real stuff is in the food – that seems totally normal). Last week, I said I foresaw a bad ending for Shrier. I’m even more convinced now.

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