Here’s where we stand after Invasion‘s fourth episode:
- Trev is driving back to the base where he’s stationed with the body of his dead friend/squad member Chavez in the backseat.
- Casper and the other kids climbed out of the ravine and have decided to walk home. They also finally stood up to Monty and knocked him down a few pegs.
- Mitsuki and Hinata’s father are on a mission to find out what happened to his daughter.
- Aneesha and her family have taken shelter with an elderly couple (Patrick and Kelly) who are so you nice you just know something bad is going to happen.
- Sheriff Tyson is still dead.
For this week’s episode, I hope you like human drama and don’t care about aliens, because you’re about to get a bunch of the former and barely any of the latter…again. 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 Trev arriving at the base, which is completely empty. This understandably freaks him out, but he still has the presence of mind to grab some water and ammunition. Afterward, he goes to the base’s communication center and attempts to make contact with other U.S. forces.
When no one answers, Trev begins scouring the area for clues as to what happened. He eventually finds a discarded communication indicating that the base was evacuated due to an “unknown hostile contact.” Now completely alone and distraught, he buries Chavez while promising to honor his friend’s final request and return to his wife (Learah).
That night, he manages to get a call through to Learah, who asks if he’s been watching what’s happening on TV. Trev doesn’t know exactly what she’s referring to, but is pretty sure it’s connected to the craziness he’s been dealing with. After asking if she’s safe, he informs her that he’s heading to a NATO base the next day to come home. Learah tells him not to, alluding to the a severe rift in their marriage caused by him abandoning her.
Before Trev can plead his case, they both stop to listen to the president, who officially announces that the earth is under attack from an extraterrestrial force. Upon hearing this, Trev once again tells Learah that he’s coming home, this time leaving no room for debate.
After walking through the scenic countryside for a while, Casper & Co. happen to find an abandoned vendor truck filled with delicious snack food. While the rest of their classmates pig out, Casper and Jamila wonder where the vehicle’s driver might’ve gone. As she departs to partake of the food, Casper opens the door and notices a black substance on the driver’s seat. When he waves his hand over it, tiny spikes emerge from the goop and follow his movements.
Before things can get too weird, the truck’s radio crackles to life. Casper beckons the most tech savvy kid in the group (Alfie) to see if he can get a signal and/or contact anyone. After finding an emergency broadcast recording and a random person asking if anyone’s there, Alfie locks onto a harsh sounding frequency that nearly causes Casper to have a seizure.
Thankfully (?), Monty tears out the radio and smashes it before that can happen. The other kids are justifiably pissed at him for destroying their only means of communication, but Monty counters that it doesn’t matter since adults are to blame for whatever caused the chaos and destruction that put them in this situation.
This leads to one of the kids asking Monty if he actually wants to go home, causing him to storm off. Casper follows and gently declares that he knows Monty’s fake story from before was at least partially true. Monty admits that his home life is actually terrible, thus why he doesn’t want to go back to it.
Their unexpected bonding moment is interrupted by Jamila, who tells the boys that no matter how awful the grown ups in their lives have been, everyone in the group needs to buckle down and focus on getting home. When they walk back to the bus, however, the trio are surprised to discover that most of their classmates want to stay and eat snacks while they wait for help.
Casper and Jamila decide to keep moving along with Alfie and kid whose name I can’t find. Monty also ends up joining them after Alfie says he’s too scared to do so (and Casper sticks up for him). As the five of them prepare to depart, two of Casper’s friends point out that Jamila is totally into him. That may be true, but I have hard time believing that even kids at this age would be thinking like that.
For Love and Justice
Mitsuki uses her JASA credentials (which were inexplicably never revoked) to enter the command center and confront the director. Akira threatens to call security, but decides not to when Mitsuki says he needs to listen to something. She then plays the “wajo” recording for him, explaining how the sound of Hinata’s voice proves that the shuttle’s cabin couldn’t have depressurized. If her theory is correct, then Hinata and the rest of her crew could still be alive.
Akira is understandably skeptical and initially refuses to entertain her theory. He quickly changes his mind when Mitsuki asks what he would do if it was his wife and there was even the smallest chance of saving her. Akira also reveals that Mitsuki isn’t the only one who heard something on the recording. The Japanese government has brought in linguists to help JASA interpret another pattern on the recording, which Mitsuki describes as “language without sound.”
This leads her to conclude that whatever destroyed Hinata’s shuttle was extraterrestrial in origin, which Akira confirms. He then informs her that the Americans will be joining their investigation, which (for some reason) means that Hinata and her crew will be forgotten.
He ends their meeting by refusing to officially help Mitsuki before handing her his badge so she can covertly gather equipment/resources…and maybe save the woman she loves.
As the kids are finishing up breakfast, Aneesha hears Patrick asking Ahmed to go to the store with him to look for supplies. Since Ahmed is the absolute worst, he tries to beg off the trip on account of wanting to be with his kids. Thankfully, Aneesha offers to go in his place. She then tells Luke that he’s the man of the house while she’s gone (oof) and heads to the store by herself.
*Side Note: I have no idea why Patrick went from asking Ahmed to go with him to letting Aneesha go alone, but I also gave up trying to make sense of this series a couple episodes ago.
Aneesha arrives at the store to find it looted and almost completely picked clean. As she looks for anything left to take home, a pair of soldiers show up and and ask why she’s out when there’s a curfew in effect. They also ask if she needs a doctor, which leads to Aneesha telling them she actually is a doctor (sort of).
Upon hearing this, the soldiers inform her that they’re heading to the next town, which is in desperate need of medical assistance. If she can help, they’ll provide her with provisions to take home to her family. Aneesha agrees and is loaded into an ambulance with other medical personnel the military just happened to find out and about. She introduces herself to one of them with a fake name before they depart.
After arriving at the makeshift medical facility, Aneesha scrubs in and takes off her wedding ring (SUBTLE SYMBOLISM). She then wanders in a haze a bit before the man she met on the ambulance asks for her help treating a laceration. Aneesha almost immediately recognizes that something isn’t right and ends up discovering a tiny black organism on the inside of the wound. She removes it from the patient, earning her colleague’s admiration and gaining some much needed self confidence.
Later, the same presidential announcement Trev and his wife heard sends shockwaves through the medical facility. Aneesha looks like she wants to go back to her family, but is convinced by one of the soldiers and the doctor she helped to move onto another town and continue helping people.
At this point, Invasion is likely one of the following:
- A VERY slow burn.
- A full 10 episodes where the writers think they’re super smart for almost never showing the aliens, instead choosing to focus exclusively on the human drama.
If it’s the latter, then the show can still work. It might not be my preference, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Unfortunately, the characters and their stories are now competing with the lack of aliens for what makes this series so unwatchable.
Let’s start with Casper’s story. Setting Monty up as a sociopath trying to rule over his classmates wasn’t a terribly original idea (think Jack from Lord of the Flies), but had some real potential. Now, however, we’re at the starting line of a painfully clichéd/predictable redemption arc.
Meanwhile, Mitsuki’s stone cold boss revealed he actually has a heart in the most sappy, unbelievable way you could ask for. Moments like the one between them can be great, but they also have to be earned. Shingo Usami does an admirable job trying to sell it, but there’s little he or anyone could do to keep Akira’s shift in demeanor from being all types of jarring.
As for Aneesha, her narrative is moved forward by a series of events so contrived it makes a hidden alien invasion seem downright plausible. At least this solo adventure provides her (and us) a well-deserved reprieve from Ahmed.
Trev’s story was okay, which made it by far the strongest part of the episode. Shamier Anderson deserves a ton of the credit for that, especially since a large portion of his screen time was just him observing or reacting to things.
The production values on Invasion continue to be great, but that can only do so much. Same with the phenomenal cast trying to portray a weak and uninteresting story. At the halfway point of the series, I’m not sure why anyone would watch this unless they were personally involved in its production or assigned to review it.
What makes Invasion even more frustrating is how good it could be. Even if they stuck with the idea of rarely showing the aliens, a coherent narrative could do wonders with all the money and talent being poured into this. Instead, we’re in the middle of a beautiful disaster with no indication that things will get better.
Oh, and #JusticeForSheriffTyson. If that can’t happen, then it would at least be nice to check in on Deputy Grady before the end of the series.
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