Amazon's new conspiracy drama, Homecoming, isn't the first TV show based on a podcast, but it is the first fictional one to make it to screen. It adapts the podcast written by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg into a 10 episode thriller. And while one of the most compelling parts of the story is watching the mystery at its center slowly unfurl, less patient viewers may wish to listen to the ending of the Homecoming podcast to understand just what the heck is going on. Spoilers for Season 1 of the Homecoming podcast ahead.
The first season of the podcast introduces listeners to Heidi Bergman (played by Catherine Keener in the podcast, Julia Roberts in the Amazon series), a caseworker at the mysterious Homecoming facility tasked with helping veterans like Walter Cruz (Oscar Isaac in the podcast, Stephan James on Amazon) readjust to civilian life after serving overseas. Flash-forwards show that years after her time at Homecoming, which often consisted of balancing her overbearing employers and an unhappy boyfriend, Heidi is a waitress living with her mother who tells people she has no memory of her time at the facility. Eventually, the true nature of Homecoming is exposed, shaking Heidi — and, presumably, the listener — to their cores.
At the end of the podcast's first season, it's revealed that the Homecoming facility was never actually interested in reacclimatizing soldiers to life back home. Instead, they've been dosing them with an experimental drug intended to treat PTSD. Rather than helping them work through their trauma, though, the medication wipes out their memories completely, with the hope being that they can then re-deploy without having to cope with any painful flashbacks. Appalled to discover she's been complicit in such an ethically unsound program, Heidi takes the drug herself so that she won't remember her work there. She also convinces her patient, Walter, to take a double dose so that he won't be fit to re-deploy. The effect this has on him is uncertain, as Season 2 focuses on the hunt to try and find where Walter is.
While Amazon's version of Homecoming will likely take some creative liberties in order to deepen the story, it's expected to stick to the podcast's main beats. It's also worth mentioning that the show is 10 half-hour episodes, while the first season of the podcast was only six half-hour episodes, meaning that fans will get approximately two extra hours to learn more about the lives of Heidi and Walter, or perhaps get more background information on the mysterious Geist Group — that is, if the series doesn't start dipping into the podcast's second season.
For anyone who genuinely hoped things would turn out well for Walter or any of the other soldiers at Homecoming, the podcast ending is an unfortunate surprise. But the fact that the story continues after this reveal hints that there's s a chance they could still get a happy ending, even if it takes a while longer to get there.