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Invasion (AppleTV+)
Invasion (AppleTV+)


‘Invasion’ episode 4 ‘The King is Dead’ recap/review

As we close in on the halfway point of the series, ‘Invasion’ is in severe danger of making even its most optimistic viewers lose interest.

Here’s where we stand after Invasion‘s third episode:

  • Despite a major language barrier, Trev and Kuchi appear on their way to becoming BFFs. It also appears Kuchi is going to help the soldier find the rest of his squad.
  • Casper is running out of anti-seizure pills and his teacher is dying. Meanwhile, Monty has decided that he doesn’t want anyone to rescue his classmates so he can keep ruling over them.
  • Mitsuki learned that Hinata’s death was not her fault. She also managed to decipher an audio file of the aliens saying a single word (“wajo”) before getting arrested.
  • Aneesha’s husband is still the worst.
  • Sheriff Tyson is still dead (and likely forgotten).

After last week’s three episode premiere, we head into a stretch of seven weekly releases that hopefully reveal more about what the aliens are doing. 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.

Quiet Coup

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

The episode opens in the ravine, where Jamila and Casper awaken to find that Mr. Edwards died during the night. His death panics the traumatized children even more except for Monty, who demands everyone stay put instead of trying to climb out. When a kid attempts to stand up to him, the bully has one of his goons throw rocks at his head until he relents.

Casper decides he’s had enough and takes back the vote he cast the night before for Monty to be in charge. Monty fights back by revealing Casper’s secret, relaying it in the worst way possible by highlighting how he didn’t stop his dad from crippling his mom. After absorbing this awful humiliation, Casper storms away from the group and begins climbing out of the ravine himself, determined to find help or die trying.

As he gets near the top, Monty decides that the rest of them should be able to do the same…which is weird considering how we left things with him last episode, but whatever.

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

As his classmates begin climbing beneath him, Casper makes it to the top and stares in stunned silence at the destruction surrounding him. In addition to the destroyed roads, they find pieces of a Russian satellite that fell in front of their bus, thus proving that Casper wasn’t the reason Mr. Edwards drove into the ravine.

While he examines the wreckage, Jamila walks up and hands Casper his sketchbook. He stares at the Russian writing on the satellite wreckage and turns to a drawing he did with the exact same lettering.

*Side Note: This is likely supposed to be a shocking reveal, but is more likely to make your eyes roll out of your head. Why can’t a kid have a medical issue involving seizures without it being turned into a superpower?

The kids decide to head home and begin walking down the road, but Monty forbids it. This leads to Casper finally standing up him, pointing out that he has no leverage now that he’s already done his worst. Monty tries to counter by shoving the boy down, but Casper isn’t phased. After getting up, he explains that having three older brothers negates any physical threat the bully might represent.

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Sensing the shift in dynamics, the rest of the kids begin to crowd Monty, as well. He tries to seem unaffected, but clearly feels his power slipping away — especially when Jamila suggests to unanimous approval that they all go home and he stay there.

After one of the kids declares that “the king is dead” (ROLL CREDITS), Monty is forced to follow the group when even his most loyal goon begins walking with them.

Safety Through Adversity

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Aneesha wakes up to find her husband laying on the floor and looking through at phone. When he tries to call out to her, she pretends to be asleep, allowing her to hear him begin to cry. Later, the kids are discussing how weird things have been between their parents when Sarah notices a weird black rock in Luke’s bag. Luke refuses to say where he found the object and warns his sister never to touch it.

All those issues get put on the back burner when the military comes in and orders everyone in the hotel (and the entire tri-county area) to evacuate. Ahmed decides to get out and ask one of the soldiers for directions, which allows Aneesha to look at his phone. No matter how upsetting she thought the contents would be, nothing could’ve prepared her to discover that Ahmed’s mistress was pregnant with his child.

When they get back on the road, Aneesha sits in stunned/furious silence before starting to suggest baby names for Ahmed and his sidepiece. Luke also begins demanding that they stop so he can pee, which makes things even more tense. After they pull over, Luke runs away to relieve himself while his mother tears into Ahmed for his cruel stupidity.

Their fight comes to an abrupt halt when Sarah points out that Luke has disappeared.

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Ahmed takes Sarah into his arms as he and Aneesha search for their son well into the night. Just when all hope appears to be lost, the broken family finds a house owned by an elderly couple named Patrick and Kelly. As luck would have it, they just happened to find/shelter Luke, who must’ve sprinted into the woods to get that far ahead of his parents. The couple are also more than happy to offer food and a place to stay for the evening.

That night in front of a roaring fire, Luke admits that he thought he could make things better by running away. In his mind, disappearing would ensure that the deteriorating conditions of his world/family couldn’t get any worse if he wasn’t there to experience it.

Aneesha promises her son that their family will get through this together, although it’s unclear if “together” will include her husband.


Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

After two days of searching, Kuchi excitedly points out what he believes (or it looks like he believes) to be their quarry — a group of lost goats. Trev becomes all types of angry/frustrated and is about to give up when his locator starts beeping.

He ditches Kuchi (who we don’t see again) and tracks the signal to the basement of a barely staffed medical facility. After exploring for a bit, he heads down into the basement and discovers a doctor secretly taking care of his badly injured friend Chavez. The soldier doesn’t remember how he got there, but definitely remembers what he saw right before they were all blown away. Chavez also implies that he knows about Trev’s strained relationship with his wife and tells him to get home to her.

Before they can leave, the doctor chastises Trev for the damage the U.S. military has caused. Before he can counter her claims, they hear gunfire upstairs from a group of Taliban fighters who followed him to the facility.

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Trev leads the doctor back the way he came and waits for the men to come downstairs. He guns down two of them and knocks over some shelves to block the path of a third Taliban fighter descending the steps. This last part ends up being completely unnecessary when an alien much smaller than the one Trev saw lurks through the shadows and pounces on their pursuer.

*Side Note: Unlike last week’s Starro impersonator, this extraterrestrial creature looked like a dog-sized version of those sticky wall crawler toys my fellow 80’s and 90’s kids will remember. Also, do the aliens target anything specific or just randomly attack large cities and individuals as the plot requires?

Trev unhooks Chavez, carries him out of the building, and heads for a nearby truck, shooting down Taliban fighters along the way. He also totally ditches the doctor, making her the second good Samaritan Trev has ghosted this episode.

After getting Chavez inside the vehicle, however, he discovers that his friend has already died. Distraught and enraged, he takes his anger out on the approaching Taliban forces before driving away.

Unexpected Ally

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Mitsuki is interrogated by the space program director (Akira) and government agents, who refuse to believe something ripped apart Hinata’s shuttle despite the video file showing that’s exactly what happened. As far they’re concerned, an object that could do that would’ve shown up on their satellites first.

Akira posits that it might have been “space junk,” a ridiculous theory that Kaito corroborates in an effort to save his own skin. Akira also tells Mitsuki that she won’t be arrested, but can never set foot inside the building again. As she leaves, Kaito gives chase and tries to apologize. She rightfully chastises him before pointing out that with all the terrorist attacks around the world right now, it’s perfectly logical to at least suspect something targeted Hinata’s shuttle.

Mitsuki is also convinced that it was Hinata’s voice that said “wajo,” which must have been some type of warning. She doesn’t know what it meant, but is determined to find out.

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

The next day, Mitsuki goes to visit Hinata’s father (Ikuro), who we learn hadn’t spoken with his daughter in three years due to his disagreement over “choices” about how she lived her life

After awkwardly trying to explain that she didn’t know Hinata well, Mitsuki asks to use the bathroom and visits Hinata’s room instead. She takes in her deceased lover’s belongings, going so far as to lay down in her bed and stare at a single glow-in-the-dark star on the ceiling like the one in her purse.

This of course leads Ikuro to come and find her. The man reveals that he also worked for the Japanese space program along with his brilliant deduction that Mitsuki was Hinata’s secret lover. She responds by dressing him down for not accepting his daughter for who she was. Ikuro responds that he and his daughter were not estranged because of her sexual orientation — it was because he’d been angry with her for hiding who she truly was from the rest of the world. He also couldn’t bear seeing her date men just to keep up appearances (like the movie star that was mentioned in the first episode).

As you might imagine, Mitsuki is stunned — especially when Ikuro says he’s glad his daughter didn’t hide her true heart from her. It’s all a little hard to believe, but still makes for a nice moment. This leads to Mitsuki telling him about Hinata’s final transmission, which Ikuro asks to hear. After listening through once, he rewinds it and cranks up the volume. More strange noises come through this time, causing the sand in a nearby zen garden to move strangely.

Ikuro asks if the Japanese space program might have a bigger sound system so they can see what is really on the recording.

The Verdict

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a show that looks this good that’s also this this bad. The acting and production values are incredible, but the story is all over the place — and not because of its multiple perspectives.

To start things off, I’ll once again reiterate that there’s nothing high minded or cutting edge about telling an alien invasion story that focuses on human drama. 2002’s Signs already nailed the same general formula, all while overcoming some extremely suspect/water-based plot gaps.

I’m absolutely fine with ambiguity when it comes to the extraterrestrial threat in a narrative like this. Same with not seeing much of the aliens or understanding them fully. With Invasion, however, the aliens don’t seem to have any goal other than showing up to do whatever the plot requires.

Sometimes they destroy space shuttles or cause massive destruction across the planet without being detected. Other times they hunt and kill terrorists or assassinate small town sheriffs. Their most perplexing behavior thus far is orca slapping a camel herder along with a group of attacking soldiers, the latter preceded by ripping through a school building without any casualties. You’d figure a bunch of troops firing automatic weapons would inspire lethal retaliation a lot quicker than Sam Neill digging around in the sand.

Speaking of Neill, I’m starting to think that plotline is never going to be revisited, which is a shame. Even if we didn’t get to see him anymore, the thought of Wanda DeWise’s character investigating Tyson’s death in a small town with a white supremacist cell was interesting.

Invasion (AppleTV+)

Invasion (AppleTV+)

The episode did have some redeeming qualities, at least. In addition to a good action sequence, Trev’s story continues to be all types of interesting. I just wish the interesting people he meets didn’t simply disappear into the background once we change settings.

I’m also extremely curious to see how things play out with Mitsuki’s storyline now that she has an ally with some insight that could help her piece things together. Aneesha’s storyline appears headed toward some intriguing (and awkward) territory being stuck with an elderly married couple.

As for Casper, his plot managed to neutralize one of its best potential threads (Monty’s Lord of the Flies gambit) while adding a ridiculous link to the aliens…which we still know next to nothing about.

As we near the midpoint of Invasion‘s ten episode run, we have an incredible cast trying to tell a story that thinks it’s a lot smarter than it actually is. If the second half can provide the cast with a narrative that that isn’t filled with tropes and esoteric vagueness, then this could still be a great series.

If not, then it might better to just let the aliens win.


Next Episode: ‘Going Home’

Invasion (AppleTV+)
'Invasion' episode 4 'The King is Dead' recap/review
As we close in on the halfway point of the series, 'Invasion' is in severe danger of making even its most optimistic viewers lose interest.
Reader Rating0 Votes
As usual, the cast and production values are outstanding.
Trev's story provides some much needed thrills to the narrative.
Unfortunately, Trev's narrative also shows an odd and deflating trend of introducing interesting characters only to have them disappear without explanation.
The other three storylines are filled with tropes so common/cliched that even this cast can't make them seem fresh.
Despite barely appearing thus far, the aliens' only motivation seems to be showing up wherever the plot requires them.

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