Here’s where we stand after Invasion‘s fifth episode:
- The president of the United States has officially revealed that the world is under attack by an extraterrestrial force.
- Upon finding his base abandoned/evacuated due to the aforementioned threat, Trev made it his mission to get back home to his wife Learah.
- After reaching an understanding with each other, Casper and Monty are headed back home along with Jamila, Alfie, and one of the other kids. The rest of their classmates have opted to take shelter inside a vendor truck and eat snacks until help (hopefully) arrives.
- JASA director Akira Hashimoto allowed Mitsuki to steal some equipment, which should aid considerably in her quest to discover what happened to Hinata and her shuttle.
- Aneesha went on a supply run that turned into her providing badly needed medical assistance to people in a nearby town. She must now decide between answering her calling and returning to her family.
- Sheriff Tyson is still dead.
This week’s episode varies greatly from the previous ones in a few key areas:
- It’s much shorter (roughly half an hour).
- It stays with only one perspective (Aneesha and her family).
- It’s actually good.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers.
The episode opens with Aneesha in shock along with everyone else at the president’s announcement. As she and the other doctors are transported to the next town via ambulance, one of them begins discussing how a school was taken out by a recent attack. This causes Aneesha to think of her children, which in turn causes her to demand that they turn around. When the driver refuses, she gets out and begins running back to them, instead.
After traveling a few miles on foot, she comes across a convoy of soldiers who were ambushed and eviscerated by aliens. She tries to make use of their armored transport, but is unable to get the vehicle started. With more than a little trepidation, Aneesha takes a weapon off one of the dead soldiers before continuing to sprint back to her family.
By the time she arrives at Patrick and Kelly’s house, the sun has set and a storm is starting to roll in. When no one answers the door, she kicks in a window and climbs inside. It immediately becomes clear something is wrong when the house is dead silent except for a whistling tea kettle.
Aneesha’s frantic search for her family is interrupted when she finds a strange black substance covering one of the walls. Things become exponentially more creepy/awful when she trips over Patrick and Kelly’s dog, who’s been eviscerated and covered in the black goo, as well.
She barely has time freak out over this discovery when something breaks into the house and starts making scary Smoke Monster-esque noises. Aneesha responds to this by going full 80’s horror victim, abandoning her gun and fleeing upstairs instead of out from the house.
Luckily, she runs into a closet connected to the attic, where Patrick pulls her to temporary safety while the creature’s rumblings cause the entire house to shake.
As Patrick warns her to stay on the attic beams and keep her voice down, Aneesha is overcome with relief at seeing her children, who run from their father into her arms.
The warm reunion is cut short by the creature moving beneath them again. Ahmed tries to assure his children and Kelly that the aliens likely want water instead of them. Kelly astutely counters that his hypothesis doesn’t make much sense when one of them is doggedly lurking inside of the house. She then begins to panic, likening the alien’s arrival to a prophecy foretold in the Book of Revelation before declaring that she can’t breathe due a lack of air in the attic.
Ahmed tries to calm Kelly down, which results in her turning the panic/fear she’s feeling toward him and his family. When she demands they leave, Aneesha agrees, but Patrick stops her. His seemingly kind gesture turns menacing when Aneesha insists and Patrick points his shotgun at her. As far as he’s concerned, an attempted exit may draw the creature toward all of them, thus requiring everyone to stay put.
After pointing out that his shotgun will make much more noise than them quietly escaping, she attempts to take her children and leave. A scuffle ensues, resulting in Sarah falling through the attic floor.
When Sarah begins crying, Aneesha kicks in a larger hole in the floor and drops down to rescue her. Ahmed finally does something good and tries to follow, but is stopped by Patrick, who holds him and Luke and gunpoint. Aneesha sweeps Sarah into her arms and hides behind a door as the creature begins searching for them.
*Side Note: Unless you count the giant Starro-looking thing from the end of Episode 2, this is by far the best look we’ve gotten at one of the aliens up close. My description of them as “dog-sized versions of those sticky wall crawler toys” from the brief glimpses we got in Episode 4 still feels apt.
As the house begins to shake, Kelly steps back toward a soft part of the attic floor and one of her legs drops through. Patrick runs over to help his wife, but is unable to rescue her before she’s brutally pulled down and killed. Ahmed uses the gruesome distraction to gather Luke and escape from the attic.
Aneesha escapes downstairs with Sarah and hides behind the basement door. While holding/comforting her daughter, she notices that the girl has a bloody wound on the back of her head due to her fall. She then opens the door and sees Luke with Ahmed, who she quietly warns about the nearby creature that’s now made its way to the dining room.
Aneesha tries to get her husband to meet them in the basement, but he silently implores her to follow him outside, instead. While this seems like one of the rare times Ahmed has been in the right, the door he wants to leave from is barricaded, meaning that an exit from that area would produce a great deal of noise. After he refuses to heed Aneesha’s whisper-shouted warnings about this, she convinces Luke to join her and Sarah behind the basement door, much to her husband’s chagrin.
Despite having every reason to let him die, Aneesha reopens the door to see if she can still help Ahmed. She spots the alien creeping up on his location, but is unable to warn her husband before the creature pounces on him.
Aneesha grabs the gun she dropped before, shuts the basement door, and takes the children downstairs. She then breaks out one of the hopper windows and ushers the children outside. She also manages to get outside moments before the creature arrives downstairs to kill them.
She and the kids make it to Brian’s car just as he’s running outside, too. Instead of demanding them to stop, he tosses Aneesha the keys and tells her to start it. She gets Luke and Sarah inside the vehicle and starts it up while Brian reloads his shotgun. Before she’s forced to make a decision on whether or not to help the old man, the creature jumps out and attacks him.
Aneesha screams and puts the car in reverse, slamming it into a tree and getting back wheels stuck in the wet mud. As she tries to power the vehicle free, the alien jumps onto the hood and busts through the windshield. Aneesha screams for her children to crawl into the very back of the car before aiming the gun and firing at the creature.
When this proves to be completely ineffective, she throws the gun followed by any nearby object she can find. She eventually grabs the weird black rock her son had been covetously hiding (but also saw fit to leave in the car) and stabs the alien with it. This predictably results in the creature’s death.
After shoving the alien’s husk out of the car, Aneesha is just about to leave when a badly injured Ahmed emerges from the house. Despite all the awful things he’s done, she can’t help but feel relieved to see her husband alive. She runs out and helps him into the car, where he gratefully holds his son hand.
With her broken family alive and together against all odds, Aneesha powers the vehicle out from the mud and drives them away.
Was Ahmed’s inexplicable survival and the revelation about Luke’s rock ridiculously contrived? Yes.
Did we learn significant information about what the aliens are doing or Invasion‘s endgame? No.
Even taking those factors into account, however, “Home Invasion” is the series’ strongest episode thus far. That’s an admittedly low bar, but this was the first installment I’ve enjoyed watching from start to finish. The singular POV might have helped a little, but it was just a fun, scary, and extremely well-executed horror story. The acting and production values were superb (as usual), but all of it clicked into a tight narrative with a solid beginning, middle, and end.
Unfortunately, this effect happened completely within a vacuum. As far as the rest of Invasion is concerned, we learned next to nothing despite our closest of encounters.
For starters, I’d really like to know what Brian, Kelly, & Aneesha & Co. did to piss off the aliens so much. It must’ve been pretty bad, because one of their ranks took time off from causing planet spanning disasters (and ripping apart space shuttles) to stalk humans through a rural homestead like a goopy Michael Meyers. At least when one of them killed Sheriff Tyson, it was because he’d been digging around in their crop circle.
After six episodes, we’re no closer to understanding what the aliens are doing or how they operate. We also appear to be on the cusp of a redemption arc for Ahmed, which is definitely not something I’m looking forward to. What I dread even more, though, is a return of episodes that favor atmosphere and throwing esoteric questions at the wall over telling a good story.
As we presumably return to a multiple perspective structure next week, let’s hope Invasion starts to finally move its overarching narrative forward.
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