Invasion‘s first episode centered around three characters and their storylines:
- Aneesha just discovered that her husband was cheating on her when something caused all the houses near theirs to get completely wrecked. Also, all the students at her kids’ school got nosebleeds at the same time except for her son Luke.
- Mitsuki was in a secret relationship with an astronaut (Hinata) who presumably died after something hit her space craft and ripped it open. At this point, Mitsuki still has no idea that her lover is likely dead.
- On Sheriff John Tyson’s last day before retirement, he and his partner Grady found a weird crop circle while investigating the disappearance of two meth addicts. He believes this is a sign from God and tries to keep looking into it, which results in an alien life form (presumably) killing him.
This episode, we’ll dive back into Aneesha and Mitsuki’s narratives while adding another new perspective and completely ignoring what happened to Sheriff Tyson.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers. The sequence of events has also been streamlined for the sake of clarity.
The episode opens with Aneesha watching as the couple across the street checks to make sure the other is okay, which understandably strikes a painful chord. She snaps out of it when Ahmed tells her they should get the children down to the basement. Once they’re downstairs, it doesn’t take long before Aneesha can’t stand being in the same room as her adulterous husband. She tries to leave, but Ahmed convinces her to stay with the children while he goes outside to see if he can figure out what happened.
Upon stepping out the front door, he sees that the devastation to their neighborhood is even worse than they thought. None of his frantic and traumatized neighbors know what happened, either.
As explanations move from natural disasters to a possible terrorist attack, Ahmed’s neighbors notice that his house is the only one without any damage, which he simply chalks up to good luck. The tense moment is interrupted when he hears his children screaming and runs back inside, where Luke is writhing in pain due to a piercing noise only he seems to be able to hear.
After checking his ears and not finding anything, Aneesha tries to calm her son down. He responds by asking why she can’t hear the voices saying “Wajo” over and over again. What Aneesha can hear is her husband calling his mistress to make sure she’s okay.
Ahmed walks back in the room and lies about who he was on the phone with, which makes Aneesha even more disgusted/angry. He tries to talk to her, but she shrugs him off to go look after her ailing son.
Before Ahmed can figure out a way to justifying his behavior, a sound races overhead followed by all the windows in their kitchen being blown out. Aneesha immediately springs into action and begins gathering supplies and getting the children ready to flee their home. Instead of helping her, Ahmed stands at the window before walking away in a haze.
Later, Aneesha gets everyone into the car only for Ahmed to try and fail repeatedly at starting their expensive Tesla. He gets out of the vehicle in a panic, sees one of their neighbors leaving, and begs them to take him. In case you didn’t hate this guy enough, he also tells them that it would just be him they’d need to fit in their vehicle and not the rest of his family.
The neighbor refuses and drives off, leaving Ahmed to get an epic/awesome tongue lashing from his wife about what a coward he is. The best defense he can offer is that he was going to leave her that week, which she responds to by saying he picked a bad week to abandon his family. She then orders him back into the car before taking his phone and uses it to successfully start their vehicle.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Over in London, a teenaged boy named Casper meets his friends on the way into school. The day appears to be starting off fine until a bully (Monty) shoves him to the ground. The incident is humiliating enough on its own, but he also spills his anti-seizure medication, causing Monty to taunt him even more. Thankfully, a teacher (Mr. Edwards) is able to put a stop to things, but is unable to do more when Casper refuses to confirm that Monty attacked him.
Casper runs to the bathroom and takes a few pills, helping him to avoid having a seizure. He takes a moment to collect himself before heading back out to board the bus for a field trip. After his friends check to make sure he’s okay, Monty and his pack of hyenas get on and begin acting like turds again. Thankfully, Monty & Co. get taken down a peg thanks to some biting remarks from Mr. Edwards and another student named Jamila, who Casper clearly has a crush on.
As they head toward their destination, all the students’ cell phones begin glitching before something causes the bus to jump in the air for a second. Mr. Edwards assumes it was a pothole and keeps driving. The sudden motion causes Casper’s sketchbook full of sci-fi drawings to fall to the floor. Before he can retrieve it, Jamila grabs the book and looks through it. To Casper’s relief/surprise, she totally digs his work.
This leads to the pair listening together to Casper’s 90s grunge rock on his old school tape player, which is somehow both sweet and cringey.
Later, while still listening to grunge with his crush, Casper looks out the window and sees sheep all running in the same direction — which is always a sign that something bad is about to happen. Sure enough, he begins to have a seizure, causing Jamila to become very concerned and rest of the bus to freak out.
Things get much worse when objects falling from the sky cause Mr. Edwards to skid off the road and right into a giant ravine.
Across the Stars
Over in Tokyo, Mitsuki begins leaving a video journal for Hinata. The first entry consists of her talking about how much she misses Hinata and that she’ll be making a video every day that they’re apart.
The next day, Mitsuki is called into work, where she learns that mission control has lost contact with Hinata’s shuttle. Things become even more dire when she tries to piggyback a signal off other satellites only to learn that the American and Russian space programs are having similar communication issues. She manages to discover that the crew’s ship sent out mayday signals mission control never received, which the director immediately blames her for.
Mitsuki eventually manages to uplink to one of the shuttles cameras, which shows that the spacecraft has been ripped open and the crew is gone. As the mission control crew stare in stunned silence, she leaves the building and heads home before finally breaking down.
The next day, Mitsuki is visited by her mother, who implies that Hinata’s death might actually be a good thing since it will give her daughter a chance to fall in love with a man and live a “clean” life. As you can probably imagine, this sentiment does not go over well.
After kicking her mother out, Mitsuki wanders the Tokyo nightlife scene in drunken stupor. She eventually sees a woman who she hallucinates as being Hinata and takes her home. In the middle of them hooking up, she comes to her senses, kicks the woman out, and pulls Hinata’s star from the ceiling.
Down in a Hole
In Afghanistan, a very well-liked and respected United States soldier named Trev (short for Trevante) puts on a happy face for the rest of his squad. What they don’t know is that his relationship with his wife back home is terribly strained, which is tearing him up inside.
Later, Trev and his squad are heading out on a mission when they lose contact with their other units. When they arrive in a nearby town, the residents say another group had already come through, although it’s unclear if they’re talking about other American soldiers, the Taliban, or something else entirely. The people say that whoever (or whatever) it was headed toward the school. When they check the building, however, all the soldiers find are a group of scared children and one of the building’s walls completely blown out.
Trev then notices that one of the kids has noose bleed and his drawing a circle in the dirt on one of the tables. When he and the translator ask what happened, the boy points to a strange dust formation in the distance and begins repeating a word (which I couldn’t decipher) along with all the other kids.
The squad checks out the location and finds an abandoned walkie near a rundown building. Moments after their comms begin to fail, the sand around them starts flying upward. The squad loses at least one member, but manages to make it out of the impossible sandstorm only to find themselves face to face with a giant version of the rock with suction cups we saw at the beginning of last episode.
The soldiers begin firing on the object, which responds by blasting them all backward.
While I still have no idea what to think about the aliens in Invasion, I really like Trev, who was portrayed with painfully accurate range by Shamier Anderson. Anyone who’s felt the need to lift up others around them while hiding their own devastating heartbreak (or had to teach music to middle schoolers while going through a divorce) can appreciate how good his performance is.
Also, it was nice to finally get some real action along with a solid glimpse at one of the aliens (or at least one part of them). I’m not a total meathead, but the lack of both of those components was making me a little antsy.
On the flip side of that sentiment, how badass was Aneesha? Even without guns and aliens, watching her give that verbal smack down was the best part of the episode. Ahmed may be entering cartoonish territory on what an awful husband he is, but that’s forgivable if Golshifteh Farahani continues playing off of it like she has.
Unfortunately, the other two narratives we explored are starting to lose me.
I’m hoping that the hints at Mitsuki’s brilliance means we’ll see her do more than grieve and be treated badly by the authority figures in her life. As for the London story, it’s built around the most clichéd group of characters imaginable.
- The weird kid who’s into retro music and has a crush on the cute girl everyone likes.
- The aforementioned cute girl who is also an independent badass and secretly likes the same stuff as the weird kid.
- A bully who makes King Joffrey from Game of Thrones appear subtle.
Maybe that fall into a giant ravine will kill them all and spare us a poorly executed Lord of the Flies scenario, but I doubt it. Meanwhile, I can’t be the only one hoping we get back to Oklahoma and see Grady looking into Tyson’s death…or maybe he’s not dead. It’s hard to tell at this point since we’re two episodes into the 10-episode series/season and still barely know anything about what the aliens can do.
Let’s hope Apple dropped three episodes today so that the third one can give us more on that aspect than we’ve gotten thus far.
Join the AIPT Patreon
Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:
- ❌ Remove all ads on the website
- 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
- 📗 Access to our monthly book club
- 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
- 💥 And more!