(Back in the 80s, the best videos had a broad story to them–but it was up to the viewer to fill in the details. This is my attempt to explain what is going on in the video for Stevie Wonder’s 1985 hit “Go Home.”)
Blondie, a woman from the Greater San Francisco area, mulls over photos of her and her lover, Young Michael Douglas. The two had a whirlwind romance until a month ago, when YMD suddenly quit his job with a prominent Silicon Valley firm and went back home to L.A.. Since then, she’s only had one phone conversation with him, during which he pledged his undying love, said he couldn’t see her any more, and hinted he was in some sort of trouble. Blondie decided their love was worth the risk, and her United flight rolls into LAX.
She is met on the concourse by Black Private Investigator, who shows her similar pictures to ones she has in her purse and asks if she’s the woman in them. She says yes, and he asks her to come with him, to help YMD. Intrigued (and without any leads of her own), she leaves with him. At a nearby bar, the Miami Vice Twins see them depart, and follow.
Then we see Stevie. Stevie’s just a blind newspaper/Map to the Stars vendor on the streets of L.A.-or is he?
Blondie and Black PI visit Young Michael Douglas’ apartment. (Not shown: along the way, Black PI tells Blondie that he’s not a cop. He’s a friend of YMD, and like her, thinks he’s in trouble and can’t find him.) Gun drawn for trouble, they enter the apartment, but no one’s there. YMD saw them coming and slipped out the back. He drives off moments before the Miami Vice Twins arrive.
Blondie sees him drive off. Black PI finds a note taped to the mirror, addressed to her. Angry, she crumples it and stalks off. Also, Stevie is on TV.
(That last bit is more inexplicable than almost anything else in the video. Why is the ambiguous street lord/blind newspaper vendor on TV? I’m going to use fiat and say that a local TV news program filmed a human interest story about him.)
Blondie and Black PI leave the apartment. The Miami Vice Twins separate, hoping to trap YMD-but when they see the two others, they just let them pass, hoping that they may yet lead them to their prey.
YMD drives aimlessly around L.A.. No place is safe for him. He’s carrying contraband worth a half-million on his person, small enough to fit in his pocket. He knows the MVT are after him. All he has to do is last until the meeting with the Takahara Corporation. Until then, he must avoid Blondie and Black PI-for their own good.
Black PI finally goes to see Stevie. Stevie may look like an ordinary newspaper vendor, but in reality, he has total awareness. Everybody knows Stevie, and everybody talks to Stevie. Black PI asks Stevie where YMD is. Stevie doesn’t know, but doesn’t let on. He assures Black PI that while he can’t say anything now, answers will yet appear. Black PI and Blondie drive off.
And lo and behold, who should come to see Stevie, but Young Michael Douglas. Stevie informs YMD that BPI&B are looking for him; YMD replies he knows and he has to remain incognito. YMD hangs out around the newsstand, growing increasingly more antsy, spilling out more than he intends about his plans. Stevie seems to ignore him, but is listening the whole time.
B&BPI continue up the street, meeting some ladies of the night. Black PI asks if they’ve seen YMD lately. Blondie joins him, angry and out of place. One of the streetwalkers makes it clear that she knows Young Michael Douglas-really, really well. Blondie grabs the photo and stalks off.
(Not shown: the night is one of many uncomfortable revelations for Blondie. BPI informs her that her boyfriend is not a charming young high-tech salesman, but actually a clever hustler, who last year got the idea to go to Silicon Valley for various shadowy reasons. BPI was in the army with YMD’s dad (Old Michael Douglas? Just plain Michael Douglas?), and promised him on his deathbed to keep an eye on his son and prevent the boy from the same bad end he met. That hasn’t worked too well so far, but BPI still hopes.)
BPI&B go back to Stevie. Stevie fills them in: YMD stole prototypes of cutting-edge microchips and intends to sell them to the Japanese Takahara zaibatsu (this is 1985, after all) for five hundred large. The MVT are trying to get the chips from him. YMD is supposed to hand over the goods to Takahara in an abandoned office building downtown that morning.
Still looking for YMD, the MVT try to steal a paper from Stevie. If they were street-smart, they would know to ask Stevie where YMD was, but they are far too stupid and evil for that.
Just outside the rendezvous point, Blondie spots YMD. They pull over. Blondie finds that despite everything she’s learned, she still loves him, and wants to help him. He’s thrilled to see her, but says it’s too dangerous and she should Go Home. She refuses, and she and BPI sneak into the building behind him.
YMD sits down with the Takahara agents. They inspect the chips, verifying their authenticity. Unknown to the intent buyers, Blondie and BPI creep up and watch. An underling opens a suitcase filled with money. YMD reaches for his reward-only to find the suitcase snapped shut. The Takahara Corp has decided to alter the deal.
The Miami Vice Twins approach. However, Black PI sees them coming and fires the first shot, sending everyone into a frenzy.
YMD grabs the money. Everyone starts blazing away. Truth is, it can be very difficult to hit someone with a pistol at short range, and all the lead is for naught. Bits of cash flutter everywhere. BPI covers Blondie and YMD as they flee.
Outside, BPI rebukes YMD, who runs. BPI takes Blondie back to the airport, and they say goodbye. Sitting in the plane back to NoCal, Blondie knows YMD was bad for her, but she also knows she’ll always cherish the memory of this little adventure.
And Stevie is the movie on the flight. OK, I have no explanation whatsoever for that.