Here’s where we stand after Invasion‘s ninth episode:
- Mitsuki finally made contact with Hinata…or so she thought. Whatever the case, the United States military used her connection to pinpoint the alien invader’s location in space and hit them with a nuke.
- Ahmed finally did something worthwhile, sacrificing himself to save his family as they fled from the people pursuing them to acquire Luke’s alien rock. Aneesha was also able to use the rock to get them through a wooded area overtaken by alien goo.
- Trev and Jamila got Casper to a hospital and successfully induced a seizure. After he claimed to see what the aliens saw, a group of creatures attacked the facility. Casper protected his friends by self-inducing another seizure and freezing the aliens in place, seeming to kill himself (and the aliens) in the process.
- Sheriff Tyson is still dead, although we did get a pre-death glimpse of him in one of Casper’s visions.
This week, Invasion brings us the final chapter in what one assumes will be its only season. (UPDATE: In a twist more shocking than anything we see in this episode, Invasion was recently confirmed for a second season). It’s unlikely a single episode will be able to salvage much from this series, but hope springs eternal.
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.
Exploring the Past
The episode opens with Mitsuki in mourning while the rest of the world celebrates the alien invaders being defeated. After Ikuro drives her home, she finds herself unable to stay there and goes to Hinata’s apartment instead. She looks through her lover’s belongings, eventually finding a compass that Ikuro said helped spark his daughter’s interest in exploration. Mitsuki hangs onto the compass and one of Hinata’s jean jackets before packing her belongings back up, this time adding the glow-in-the-dark star Hinata previously placed in her own bedroom before departing for space (back in the first episode).
Mitsuki follows the compass north, eventually stopping when a man who’s taken up residence in an abandoned Buddhist temple offers her shelter. While eating dinner together, he reveals himself to be the only monk who remained. Their leader attempted to reach enlightenment via meditation without food or water and starved to death. The other monks fled, their faith shattered by the alien invasion.
He, on the other hand, sees the invasion as a test. In his mind, the invader’s arrival was a way to remind us how little we appreciate all the things we have — including the many physical pleasures that he and his fellow monks typically denied themselves.
Now he plans to enjoy them all.
When the man asks Mitsuki what her beliefs are, she says that she believes in memory — not of the past, but in possibility. As far as she’s concerned, it would be better to live life in a dream now instead of face reality. The apostate monk replies that his people believed the only way attain true happiness was by ridding yourself of all desires and letting go of the past.
That evening, Mitsuki builds a fire outside and places Hinata’s jacket inside it.
The next morning, she checks her computer and sees that it is still connected to the satellite that helped her pinpoint the alien mothership. She also observes that a strange signal is still broadcasting from the same location.
Mitsuki then looks into the sky and sees something that appears to give her a mix of hope and fear.
Over in England, Trev and Jamila carry Casper’s body back inside the hospital. The boy is breathing, but his heart rate is beginning to fade. They bring him to the same doctor who induced the seizure and put him back under the CT scanner. This time, instead of his neurons firing in an impossible manner, there’s no brain activity at all.
Despite Trev’s insistence that she find a solution, the doctor is unable to save Casper. His brain cells have been destroyed, effectively sentencing him to death once the machines helping him to breathe are removed.
Distraught and with nothing left he can do, Trev decides to leave the hospital. Jamila follows after him, reminding the soldier that he saw Casper stop the aliens single-handedly with his mind. Trev counters that it was actually the nuclear bomb that stopped them and not the seizure that killed her friend.
*Side Note: Last episode didn’t make it very clear if Casper’s seizure shut down all the aliens across the globe or just the ones in the room with Trev and Jamila…or if the nuke was what killed Casper because he was connected to the aliens.
Trev then tells Jamila that he won’t stay and watch Casper die. He already had to do that once before when they unplugged his son from the machines keeping him alive and he refuses do it again. Before he departs, Jamila takes one page from Casper’s sketchbook and gives the rest to Trev, insisting that he look through it if he truly doesn’t believe Casper stopped the aliens.
Over in Brazil, military aircraft surround the downed alien mother ship. On the ground, a recovery team heads inside and observes what appears to be an organic interior. It also looks like the ship is attempting to heal itself.
Hopefully you weren’t expecting more information from this scene, because that’s all you’re going to get.
After backtracking through the woods, Aneesha finds the spot where her husband was executed after warning her and the children to run. His body is gone, but some blood and brain matter remain as a reminder of his final sacrifice. When she returns to her children, Luke is quickly able to deduce what happened to his father. Sarah tries to rationalize that he might have just been captured, but Luke forces her to accept the reality that their dad is gone.
Later, Aneesha leads her distraught and hungry children through the woods to an abandoned house. While preparing to take shelter for the evening, Luke sees a report on TV about the aliens being defeated. He tells his mom about it and asks if they can go home, but Aneesha refuses, explaining that they still need to hide. She isn’t able to justify this decision beyond having a gut feeling…which is weird since they were just being hunted by a militia.
Whatever the case, Luke isn’t happy with his mother’s reasoning for not going home — or that they left his father to die.
That evening, the family holds a memorial service for Ahmed. Sarah buries a drawing she made of the entire family along with one of her favorite stuffed animals. Luke sullenly apologizes to his father, then steps away from his mom and sister.
Even later that night, Luke walks back to where they held the memorial and chucks the alien rock into the woods. He then looks up into the sky and observes a strange light formation. This somehow inspires Luke to go looking for the rock he just threw. Upon finding it, the boy observes that the object is rippling as if reacting to something nearby.
Meanwhile, Aneesha awakens with a start to find that Luke is not laying next to her. She then looks out a window into the sky and sees something that worries her even more.
Back at the hospital, Jamila is given a chance to say goodbye to Casper before he’s unplugged from the machines keeping him alive. She places a headphone from his cassette player in each of their ears, allowing the pair to enjoy some 90’s grunge rock one last time together.
Later, as Casper is allowed to pass, Jamila is finally reunited with her mother.
Meanwhile, Casper’s body is wheeled down to the morgue. Although he appears to be completely dead, the boy has a dream in which he wakes up in a house back when his mother and father both lived there. After hearing his parents argue, Casper opens his bedroom door to find a black void in front of him. He walks into it and is greeted by Ikuro, who says he never opened his gift and hands him a small red box. Casper opens it to find Hinata’s compass, which Ikuro explains will help him know where he is and where he’s going.
A moment later, Casper finds himself alone in a field. He follows the compass toward what appears to be a downed alien spacecraft. The organic vehicle glows and pulses, causing his compass to spin in the opposite direction.
Yeah…I’m not sure what’s going on here, either.
When Trev steps out into the streets of London, he’s immediately surrounded by citizens cheering and proclaiming him a hero due to his association with the U.S. military. He walks in a haze past people celebrating and bashing alien carcasses. He then sees a family with a young child, which reminds him of Learah and his deceased son. This inspires him to head to a nearby phone booth, calls a NATO command center, and request to be brought home.
This time he’s told that a flight will be available to him.
Before being allowed to leave, Trev is debriefed by a man who explains that the aliens were attempting to terraform Earth. He also says that all the aliens died when their mothership was taken down via the nuclear strike.
The man attempts to question Trev about his own encounters with the aliens, but the tired soldier refuses to answer. As far as he’s concerned, his only priority is getting home to Learah. You’d figure this sort of evasiveness would earn him a detainment, but he’s granted transport back to the Unites States, instead.
On the flight home, we learn via a brief discussion with another passenger that Trev hasn’t seen Learah in two years. After arriving at his home, Trev walks inside and takes in the familiar surroundings. Learah eventually comes downstairs and runs into his arms, overjoyed to see her husband despite their estrangement.
Things quickly go south when Trev tells his wife that he loves her. She responds that he is no longer welcome in her house and tells him to leave. He counters by promising to leave the military and be home more, which makes Learah willing to give him another chance.
The next day (or maybe later that same day), Trev and Learah take a trip to the beach together. As they’re unloading the car, Trev begins flipping through Casper’s sketchbook. He eventually finds a loose page with four columns made out of a Japanese symbol. He uses his camera to translate the word, discovering that it means ‘Hoshi,’ the same name as Hinata’s shuttle.
As the couple comes together to look out across the ocean, they’re shocked to see what appears to be another alien spacecraft appear in the sky above….or maybe it’s the Hoshi shuttle.
It’s anyone’s guess at this point.
It’s bad enough this show was all types boring and inconsistent. The least it could’ve done was give us a solid conclusion. Instead, Invasion provided a cliffhanger ending every bit as nonsensical and disjointed as the narrative leading up to it.
My best guess is that Casper’s conscious was somehow “uploaded” to the alien mother ship, hence why he saw Ikuro (and Casper didn’t seem dead anymore). On that same track, it appears that Mitsuki’s previous vision of Hinata may have been a dream and that her lover’s conscious was uploaded, as well. This is further evidenced by the fact that Hinata was somehow able to swim through space to the destroyed Hoshi shuttle last episode (thanks to AIPT commenter Emanuele676 for pointing this out).
Then we have the final shot, which still has me completely baffled. The ship looks like it could be a combination of the Hoshi shuttle and another alien mothership, but it could be a different alien species entirely.
All of these questions are perfectly fine on their own, but the tangled lot of them feels like a poor attempt at unearned intrigue/mystery. Putting aside the fact that it’s hard to even care about the invasion at this point, the aliens’ process makes absolutely no sense.
Snarky Wacky Wall Walker comparisons aside, I actually liked the invaders’ design. They look strange and…well, alien. What I didn’t like was how nothing they were doing made sense even after the terraforming explanation we got during Trev’s debrief.
Whether it was orca slapping a squadron of troops (Episode 2) or hunting a family through their rural home like a sticky Michael Meyers (Episode 6), the aliens’ hostile behavior appeared to be primarily motivated by whatever the script needed. They’ll rip a shuttle out of space or kill Casper’s mom on a whim, but leave a packed hospital in the middle of London alone until Casper forces the issue.
And don’t even get me started on all the other dangling plot threads. That could be an entire article on its own, but for now I’ll focus on the two that bugged me the most.
- Luke’s nose not bleeding. I assume that it was because he had the rock, but that would have put the object in the proximity of plenty of his other classmates. Also, why the heck did the aliens make all the kid’s nose bleed anyway?
- What the hell was the point of Sheriff Tyson? Was his truncated plotline simply to have Sam Neill draw more people to the show? The way he was featured in the trailers and advertising material, it certainly appeared like his character was going to do a lot more than die in the first episode and never be heard from again.
I’ll admit to being one of those folks whose interest was piqued by Neill’s involvement, but this cast was outstanding. In fact, some of them deserve an Emmy for making the most out of some surprisingly poor writing.
One example from this episode was Aneesha’s speech to Luke and Sarah about listening to the voice inside you to avoid danger. The dialogue on its own was cringe-worthy, but Golshifteh Farahani somehow makes it feel earnest. Another example was when we finally got to see Learah and Trev reunite. Even in such an emotional moment, Learah’s abrupt change in demeanor and disposition toward her estranged husband was jarring. Thankfully, Tamara Lawrance is so good that she actually makes the scene believable and far sweeter than it had any right to be.
All that being said, the cast and beautiful cinematography couldn’t save Invasion from being one of the most poorly constructed big budget series in recent memory. If there’s a second season, you’ll have to tell me about it. I’d much rather watch the members of this cast on a show where their talents are used to enhanced the narrative rather than keep it barely afloat.
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