Invasion's aliens plot something nasty [Apple TV+ recap] | Cult of Mac

Invasion’s aliens plot something nasty [Apple TV+ recap]

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Invasion recap: Tears flow as season one wraps.
Tears flow as season one wraps.
Photo: Apple TV+

The aliens have been defeated … or have they? And if so, what next? Is this the first wave of a prolonged attack? The start of intergalactic war? This week on Invasion, our heroes wake up in a reality that’s been thoroughly altered for the second time since the series opened.

As the first season of the Apple TV+ alien combat show ends, it plants clues that leave us itching for season 2.

Invasion season one, episode 10: ‘First Day’

In the episode, titled “First Day,” U.S. authorities have nuked the aliens out of the sky. If only there was more to celebrate.

JASA technician Mitsuki (Shioli Kutsuna) is inconsolable, having believed she’d made contact with her lover Hinata Murai (Rinko Kikuchi) before the destruction of the alien spacecraft from which the lost astronaut’s signal originated. Hinata’s father, Ikura (Togo Igawa), takes Mitsuki and Daisuke (Kaito Kawaguchi) home.

Mitsuki lets herself into Hinata’s apartment and starts poring over her belongings in a daze. Then she goes for a long walk and encounters a weed-smoking monk, who’s maybe the most interesting character on the whole show, even if his worldview is shallow. He asks her what she’s learned from the experience.

“Beer is good, but nothing’s better than a dream,” she says. Poetry, if I’m honest.

But what of Caspar?

After his close encounter with the aliens, schoolboy Caspar Morrow (Billy Barratt) appears brain-dead. Maybe it was because the hive mind of the aliens died, and he was in too deep in their consciousness. Or maybe the strain of stopping them from killing Trevante (Shamier Anderson) and Jamila (India Brown) did it.

Regardless, they can’t get him to wake up. Trevante heads to a local barracks to debrief and then get home. Jamila hangs by Caspar’s bedside as they prepare to unplug him.

Meanwhile, Aneesha Malik (Golshifteh Farahani) and her children, Luke (Azhy Robertson) and Sarah (Tara Moayedi), can’t find more of a sign of dad Ahmed (Firas Nassar) than a bullet hole in a tree and some blood spray. But there’s no body, so I say he’s still alive. This show is unfortunately like that.

Luke is crestfallen to the point of no longer trusting his mother. The boy doesn’t know his dad was a cheating asshole, so he just sees that his mother let him wander off and die. So he’s resistant to her parenting, but she won’t let him fully detach, now that the country’s gonna be full of looters and militias. They have a ceremony for Ahmed where they bury a picture of him and they seem to come to some kind of a flimsy truce at last.

The truth is out there

Didn’t Sam Neill play a Midwestern sheriff on this show? Kinda…thought there’d be a little more to that whole thing, but hey, whatever. Show was pretty full anyway, I guess.

Anyway, in further “show creator Simon Kinberg can’t help himself” news, the crowds in London celebrate the death of the aliens by playing “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. I’m sure the people of England haven’t learned any new rap songs in 30 years. They couldn’t possibly be known as a haven for underground hip-hop or anything like that.

Jamila plays a Smashing Pumpkins B-side (on cassette, no less) for Caspar before leaving his side. Come on, man. You gotta talk to people. You know people, right? Out on the street and stuff? Go ask them questions.

Also, it’s kind of wild that Trevante hasn’t tried once to change his uniform since his adventure began weeks ago, but hey … TV, what can you do? Still, the smell’s gotta be wild.

Something to think about

Luckily, Invasion’s first season ends on a cooler twist on the Caspar telepathy angle than the one they showrunners have been pursuing all season. With his body cold and dead on a slab in the morgue, Caspar starts freely drifting through his own memories, as well as those of Hinata Murai. And that means they’ve both been subsumed into the alien hive mind. The question is, how is he then gonna be able to report to anyone what he’s seeing — and that the alien invasion is of course not actually over.

I’m slightly unsure what the last image of the season is supposed to be. It kind of looks like exhaust from a jet, but I’m sure they mean it to look like a planet or something. I have no idea. Looks cool, but there should have been perhaps a little more clarity, considering this is what’s meant to get us jazzed about next season.

I still am, mind you. Watching this action-packed sci-fi series unfold has been a relatively painless experience. Indeed, at its best, Invasion is quite fun and emotionally wrenching. The show features a great cast doing great work, and the VFX team is firing on all cylinders. It’s just that the writing can sometimes be truly dire.

Maybe Kinberg and Co. will fix that next season. But even if they don’t, I was more than happy with this one. The intrigue came faster than the disappointment, and that’s something of a rarity on Apple TV+. Bring on the next wave, I say. This is still the best thing Simon Kinberg’s written in at least a decade.

Watch Invasion on Apple TV+

You can watch Invasion’s entire first season on Apple TV+.

Rated: TV-MA

Watch on: Apple TV+

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the director of 25 feature films, and the author of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.