The following contains spoilers for Invasion S1E7, “Hope,” written by Simon Kinberg, David Weil and David Rosen, and directed by Amanda Marsalis
In general, I’d like there to be more stories where the character who obsessively insists they’re onto something everyone else says is crazy turns out to actually be wrong, where the person who follows their gut feeling even though it goes against everything reason suggests is just misguided, but also where the one who “has a bad feeling about this” is suffering from an anxiety disorder and it turns out to have been paranoia.
Invasion is not that show, however. It’s cliché city. And it has been from the beginning when I suggested that its premise involved taking all the worn alien invasion tropes and slowing them down, thereby turning them into something more interesting—something contemplative in the midst of catastrophe, wracked with dread.
But that’s long gone now, and S1E7 is all of the cliché without the ambience. I’m sure that Mitsuki is right at the end of the episode that she has found Hinata…somehow. Who cares if it makes sense? The very fact that she is interrupted at the last minute, just when she thought she was on the verge of pinning the signal down, tells us through the language of televisual convention that she was right.
Damn the authorities who get in her way with their logic and rules!
Of course I think they may as well give her the chance to do what she wants to do and that their arrogance in believing that they know better is problematic, but these tropes are just so tired.
I can’t believe Invasion just made me groan at the actions of the character who has been my absolute favorite in the series to this point. The only way to save this story now would be for Mitsuki to end up being tragically off base, but of course she won’t be, or if she is we will never find that out.
And why aren’t they talking about the word ‘wajo’?
Other things in Invasion S1E7 feel rather dumb, dashing my hope that the series might turn things around after losing its way in “Home Invasion”:
Why doesn’t Aneesha turn off the radio in the car repeating that annoying evacuation order? Can she not turn it off for some reason? Does she like listening to it? Does she somehow think it will provide new information even though it is clearly repeating on a loop? Is is Siri?
Sarah asks if what attacked them was a monster and Aneesha says it wasn’t but doesn’t mention aliens even though the President of the United States told everyone it was aliens. You can’t shield your kid who was just attacked by an alien from this truth. Also, what does she think ‘monster’ means?
The shot of the Space Invaders game in the diner is almost cute.
Ahmed can’t believe that Aneesha…knows how to cook on a grill? It’s not hard, dude. Remember when Aneesha recreated a fancy dish she read about on Mandy’s blog…a couple of days ago?
Were we supposed be rooting for him to survive? Because I definitely was not. But it seems like Invasion wants me to also believe Aneesha has turned some corner in forgiving him…because aliens?
It would make more sense if it were just that she felt she had to save his life because of her ethos as a doctor, except also apparently she isn’t actually a doctor but wanted to be a doctor before getting pregnant, which means that when she said she was a doctor and abandoned her family for a bit it wasn’t from any kind of feeling of ethical obligation but rather to pursue her little fantasy of what her life could have been like if it had gone otherwise. Cool.
And are we supposed to forgive Monty because it’s the end of the world and all, as Jamila says?
This is the most worn cliché Invasion S1E7 seems to be trafficking in—that an alien invasion would make us get past our petty squabbles as human beings somehow. If anyone truly believes that at this point, all I can do is suggest they haven’t been paying attention for the past year and a half.
We see it to some extent as well as Trev teams up with an Afghan family. The father suggests a parallel between Americans invading Afghanistan and aliens attacking the planet…I don’t even know what to do with that.
But the upshot anyway is a nice “we’re in this together” moment as they manage to get on the plane in Kabul on the end. Who cares about the throngs of people they left behind and cut in front of using the barrel of a gun, amirite?
The worst thing about Invasion is that the show spent a whole five episodes pretending it was a slow character drama, fleshing these people out with some degree of nuance, but then now has basically thrown all of that away like it never mattered in the first place. The people complaining about the slow pace of the first half of the season turn out to have been sort of right—they could have dispensed with all of that stuff in an episode or two and gotten to the fireworks.
It would have been a far worse show that way overall, mind you, but we could have avoided five episodes that made us think this was a thoughtful exploration of the human condition under the stress of a threat that eludes comprehension and just gotten right to the cheap scares and cheesy dialogue.
That’s what we all expected in the first place. Some of us were pleasantly surprised at what we found instead, only to be disappointed now. Others were disappointed to begin with, but it’s hard for me to imagine they’re happy now. You may as well watch Independence Day.
With only three episodes left, I suspect I will wrap up the season out of inertia, but I don’t have much hope for what’s to come.
See you next week if you’re looking for someone to kvetch with.