The fifth episode titled, Going Home, finally introduces the human civilisation to the invisible threat they are facing
As the title suggests the central theme of the story is the idea of the characters returning to a safe haven, both literally and metaphorically, as each of the primary protagonists in the various storylines begins to realise that the attacks are extraterrestrial in nature.
The series has made no qualms of what it is trying to achieve in terms of its narrative - a slow burner with grounded character-driven stories from different corners of the globe. The first four episodes were criticised by viewers for their lack of aliens and action sequences. But in its defence, the unique take on the genre was well crafted so far with each of the main characters given enough screen time to thoroughly develop their own arcs.
However, this episode, Going Home, offers very little in terms of new trajectories for their respective stories. It is a rather tedious endeavour as there is a redundant theme of everyone getting home - which is something that did not require a one-hour episode to accomplish. The only exception could be for Trevante Cole, who is stranded in Afghanistan all by himself, and going home during a global catastrophe. Whereas the school children in England have been trying to get home from the very first episode, regardless of how it has been repackaged for this episode, it is being unnecessarily shoehorned into the narrative.
For Aneesha, going home’ is merely symbolic of her return to medical practice. She was also right at home when she discovered a foreign body in a patient she was attending to. While the scene in itself was significant, it is among the handful of scenes that adds to the overall story. The same could be said for Mitsuki’s desperate search for answers in the hopes of bringing Hinata back home. There could be no arguments that these scenes have been tactfully crafted but the rest of the episode is an empty void.
The story does get a nudge towards the right direction with regards to the protagonists finally getting a clearer picture of the threat they are facing. All of this could have easily been incorporated into the previous four episodes. However, it should be noted that the technical excellence and the performances by the cast have maintained the high standards set by the episode’s predecessors. But that alone is insufficient to salvage ‘Going Home’.
The showrunners Simon Kinberg and David Weil may have picked the wrong episode for a filler. In fact, for a slow-burner, a filler is an admission that the season should be a couple of episodes shorter. This episode should’ve been the one that built up the excitement for the second half of the season, but unfortunately has become counterproductive.