As proven on Mr. Robot, Sam Esmail loves to place a nice, ambiguous post-credits epilogue at the end of his TV seasons. With Amazon’s Homecoming, he does it again and makes it just ambiguous enough to necessitate more than one viewing. Here’s what’s going on — I think — in that final-final scene at the end of season one.
Stick around past the credits and you will discover a stinger that puts a button on the conversation between Audrey Temple (Hong Chau) and Colin Belfast (Bobby Cannavale) that transpires earlier in the season finale. Colin decides to sign the paperwork Audrey presented to him, in which he takes the blame for the fact that protocol was not followed at the Homecoming facility. Realizing that his job security is now anything but secure, Colin notes that he’s being a team player and asks, “He’ll bear that in mind. Won’t he — Mr. Geist?” The phrasing Colin chooses there may be significant, so mark that in yellow highlighter. I’ll get back to it in momentarily.
Audrey looks spaced out, as if she’s in a trance. Then she snaps out of it and says, “We will bear it in mind, yes.” She accepts the paperwork, Colin leaves the massive conference room, and then the camera lingers on Audrey, who suddenly looks very anxious and jittery. She reaches into her bag and pulls out a vial of some red liquid — it says “Lab use only” on it — and applies it to each of her wrists as if it’s deodorant or perfume. That action makes it clear she’s using the “roller” that Colin referred to as a new application of the Geist medication. Afterward, she sinks back into her chair, once again calm and in an almost trancelike state. And … scene.
What can we take away from this, aside from the fact that the second season of Homecoming can’t come soon enough?
First, it seems fair to assume that Colin will no longer be working at Geist, but will be compensated well enough to accept his fate and keep quiet, thereby allowing the company to (maybe) stamp out any controversy generated by Tom Carrasco’s filed complaint. What’s more important is what we can glean from Audrey’s behavior and what it may signal about Geist’s plans for its apparently effective medication.
In their scene from earlier in this episode, Audrey (in an absolutely delicious performance by Chau), establishes that she’s now in a leadership role and Ron (Fran Kranz), who was Colin’s protective shield within the company, is gone. My guess is that this was always the plan and Audrey’s role as an assistant was just a front that allowed her to monitor Colin’s every move without Colin realizing he was being watched. As I see it, Audrey’s relationship with Geist — who, it is worth noting, we still have not met — can be explained one of three ways:
1.) The two of them have been working in tandem all along and the big boss rewarded Audrey with a promotion for getting the intel she needed to push Colin out and make him the fall guy. In her new role, she’ll continue to work on the initiatives Colin pushed forward. By taking the memory-erasing meds as Geist has directed her to do, she is able to calm herself while doing his bidding, and will also forget huge chunks of what she’s done, which protects her from ever implicating herself or the company.
2.) All of the above is true, except that Audrey won’t actually benefit from her “promotion” for long. Now that Colin is no longer a problem, Geist will push her out of the way, too, because her Colin-spying mission has been accomplished.
3.) Then there’s option three, which is a little out there. This is also why it’s my favorite scenario. Here it is: Audrey is actually Geist. Think about it: We’ve never seen Geist. The fact that he’s a “Mr.” and therefore male is something we’re just assuming to be true because that’s how he’s referred to, but it may not necessarily be the case. We’re in a Sam Esmail show here. On Mr. Robot, Whiterose and Zhang are the same person. Mr. Robot and Elliot’s father are the same person. Elliot himself lives a double life of sorts, and has often found himself completely forgetting the misdeeds in which he’s engaged. Honestly, if Audrey isn’t Geist, I’ll be disappointed.
There are other hints that this could be the case. Remember when I noted the phrasing of Colin’s question, “He’ll bear that in mind. Won’t he — Mr. Geist?” Change that em-dash to a comma, which more closely matches the way Colin says these words, and it’s “He’ll bear that in mind. Won’t he, Mr. Geist?” He’s referring to Audrey as Mr. Geist, even if he isn’t conscious of it.
It’s also interesting that Audrey has such ready access to a “roller,” which she’s possibly using for what Colin referred to as “comfort management.” This new iteration suggests that Geist may be developing the meds to serve a broader purpose than helping soldiers with their PTSD. Perhaps the plan is to sell the medication to companies so it can be used in exactly the kind of high-pressure situation in which Audrey uses it: when you have to fire someone, or deal with sensitive information that would best be conveniently forgotten. If that’s the case, it’s possible that Audrey is just Geist’s corporate guinea pig as I described above. But it’s also possible that Audrey is Geist, that she’s exactly the kind of control freak who likes to sample her own goods to make sure they work, and that she has become addicted.
In any case, the only way that Audrey would have access to the lab samples is because Geist either gave them to her on purpose, or because she is Geist and has access to whatever she wants. Theoretically, I suppose she could have stolen them. But Audrey seems too calculating to be that reckless. Plus, I really like this Audrey = Geist theory, so just roll with it.
There’s also one other tiny clue in this episode: Heidi’s map of California, which she got from Walter Cruz. The map clearly has the words “Einhorn Travel” printed across the top of it. If you’re like me, the first thing you think of when you hear the word Einhorn is … Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Surely you remember the wildly transphobic moment when Jim Carrey’s Ace realizes that Lt. Lois Einhorn, played by Sean Young, is actually former football player Ray Finkle.
“Einhorn is Finkle! Finkle is Einhorn!” Perhaps that map is Esmail’s (much less transphobic) way of telegraphing that Geist is Audrey and Audrey is Geist, not because she went through gender-reassignment surgery but because she has kept her identity hidden to provide cover for herself. In a way, that’s also what Colin did as Heidi’s manager: kept his face out of sight.
I realize that Homecoming is steeped in nods to the work of Alfred Hitchcock and Alan J. Pakula, as opposed to the comedic oeuvre of Mr. James Eugene Carrey. But that’s what’s so wonderfully sly about that clue and this theory. One of the key answers to Homecoming just might come from knowing the ins and outs of a movie as ridiculous as Titanic Rising.