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‘Toys’ – Homecoming season 1 episode 6 review

Heidi continues to grasp for answers as her past starts to catch up with her

SPOILER ALERT!
Serial

So far, Colin Belfast has never come across as anything other than completely untrustworthy, underhanded and unlikeable. He’s behaved like a bully, a liar, a charlatan and a soulless corporate crony. But what he’s never really seemed, before this episode, is truly dangerous. Colin isn’t just some big business shark with a void where his conscience should be, he’s truly amoral and an unbelievably gifted liar on a sociopathic level.

You don’t slip that easily into such a convincingly fabricated story of tours in Afghanistan and a disintegrating marriage without something vital being absent from your soul. Colin has lurked in the shadows in the 2018 timeline, never present but always threatening. In the 2022 timeline, he’s become a very clear and very present danger to a Heidi who is so desperate to fill in the gaps in her life that she’d bare all to a charmingly vulnerable stranger with great hair.

Walter’s mother does not seem like someone you want to mess with.

But is Heidi so innocent herself? The 2018 story in ‘Toys’ suggests that she might not be overly enamoured with what she finds if she does piece together all these missing memories. Walter’s mother – who doesn’t seem like someone who would ever be as trusting of the government or big business as her son is – discovers that the equivalent of Unilever (I really hope Geist doesn’t really make Method because I always buy their shower spray) has been tinkering around inside her son’s brain and sets off to find the facility and bring him home.

“I really hope Geist doesn’t really make Method”

Walter’s all set to leave with her, but makes one last pitch for Heidi’s affections, asking if she’s ever thought about them being together. Heidi’s admittance that she has given the idea some thought initially seems genuine, but her expression – and her desperate attempts to convince Walter’s mother that Homecoming is all above board – gives her away. There might be some truth to her words, but it’s hard not to see it all as a way to protect herself from Colin’s rage. Her outburst at Alex Karpovsky’s Craig suggests she’s learned a thing or two from her intimidating boss.

Colin smoulders in the laundromat while waiting for his y-fronts to finish in the dryer

This is a slower, subtler Homecoming than last week’s alternately funny and sinister episode. But the slower and darker the show gets and the more space and silence it incorporates, the more bewitching it becomes. Julia Roberts is particularly brilliant this episode, the scenes between her and Bobby Cannavale positively crackling with tension and chemistry, like an intensely murky version of the purer chemistry she shares with Stephan James. Roberts and James both got nominated for Golden Globes this week and it’s not hard to see why.

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