Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Invasion (2021 - Season 1)

Did US Special Forces face ship or creature?


You know the standard alien invasion story package: aliens attack worldwide; earthly weapons have no effect; aliens do terraforming. Invasion stuck to just that list. 10 episodes in all and I did not see the alien race that wants to take over the Earth. I can barely even remember a ship.

But why isn’t there one well defined ship? Why not a fleet and do an alien blitzkrieg? 

Yes they use cloaking tech in the series but that doesn’t justify the mysterious tone. It took the American President 5 episodes to say ‘we now believe’ it to be an alien attack, not we are under attack and we need to unite. It's as if the series is divided between urgency and mystery. 

They wanted it to be urgent enough that you'd believe Earth to be in danger but mysterious enough to leave you wondering what's going on. Keep in mind there were no massive armies for Earth or the Aliens. If there were, it's all narrated via news broadcast.

The aliens that did appear are the equivalent of battle droids, I think. Like when that control ship exploded in the Phantom Menace, the droids that did appear in the series died the same time when Earth did manage a nuclear strike. Why kind of species would die all at the same time if not an artificial one run by remote? 


Luke unaffected in probable attack


Trevante tries to defend Casper against 2 attackers

They are formidable, shapeless, and lacking in personality, as if built to army specifications – alien style. Without an alien personality there won’t be a human versus alien in the story, strange as that may sound. Case in point, do you remember any zombie in all of cinema? 

Those monstrosities invading Earth is the same as the zombies. It’s all about how humans react to mysterious happenings all around.

The real problem is that regular people lead the story. One is in Europe (Casper Morrow), another in Japan (Mitsuki Yamato), then US (Aneesha Malik), and finally the Middle East (Trevante Cole). Although two are in government they’re only on staff level, thus they are also as helplessly carried by the tide of events.

If winning can be achieved by all lead characters needing to meet – symbolic of a united Earth – then the series set itself up to go long and slow. Back with the zombie reference, at least Rick Grimes had his own group, Invasion is watching a divided people with family problems.


Aneesha Malik’s (Golshifteh Farahani) family drama swallowed too much time. She and husband Ahmed are having problems so bad that even while fleeing from danger, with his own children in hand, the husband could only think of the mistress. 

Screen time would have been better spent on Aneesha’s son, Luke (Azhy Robertson), who was unaffected when most of his school including his sister had a nosebleed - a presumptive part of the alien strike. Luke also managed to get himself part of the alien ship (armor or weapon, who the hell knows) when no one else even saw as an alien attack.

Aneesha did find out what Luke had and it saved her. And then nothing. No questions to her son, no reporting to authorities, no personal experiments the metal’s potential as a weapon.


Mitsuki Yamato (Shioli Kutsuna) is a technician in the JASA, Japan’s very own space program. You would think a space focusing character would get most of the attention in Invasion but no, she play's second fiddle to Aneesha’s own drama. 

Mitsuki’s LGBT and the lover of Captain Hinata Murai (Rinko Kikuchi), commander of the current JASA mission to space. Hinata’s craft was lost at the initial strike.

JASA had the excuse to do a postmortem scene or episode, bombard the story with data gathering exposition. Why did they lose their craft? Is it connected to everything that’s been going around? Instead we got episodes questioning Mitsuki’s lifestyle choices.


Casper Morrow (Billy Barratt) is like Luke, thus a pattern worth studying: young boys with a psychic link to the aliens. But I only managed to be sure about that by episode 8 after being bombarded with Casper’s family problems and that of his bully, who as the cliche goes, has abusive parents.

The reveal that Casper has vision of the aliens was a dud. I only took him for his word because I deeply wanted the story to focus on the aliens. Nothing in his drawings say aliens or even spacecraft. Was he just an epileptic English kid with delusions of grandeur?


Trevante Cole (Shamier Anderson), my least favorite character, is just the muscle. I don’t like his eyes. It felt relaxed, without an underlying darkness considering he is Special Forces, a trained killer.

His worth to the series came in episode 8 when he met Casper by chance and gave him protection. He only agreed to link up with the boy because his team insignia is, again by chance, the only well-defined object in Casper’s drawings – the rest were just loads of blacks with barely discernible patterns. 

Trevante and Casper meeting was the first time the leads linked up. The meeting would have been the best time for exposition, like the JASA scenes, especially when Casper froze the aliens in their tracks. 


Did Casper see Trevante's platoon die?

Maybe it was just the two after him; maybe it was the entire alien force on Earth. Maybe it was long enough to stall the aliens for Earth’s nuclear strike, coincidentally was ongoing. The boy is the key to victory or at least a question worth investigating; instead, after victory of course, Trevante leaves Casper for dead.   A mistake that is further compounded when he avoids  mentioning the boy in his official debrief. 

How will Earth learn and expound on the advantages that Luke and Casper provided when no government body is aware of the two? It had one and they let him go.

The word invasion carries with it expectations. I think of the invading force, how they look, the technology they use, and what drives the aliens to conquer new territory. Conversely, I also look out for how the earth survives and eventually wins. Those expectations are not met. 


What is that in Luke's hand?

Aneesha, Mitsuki, Casper, and Trevante are not bad characters. But watching them for 10 episodes is like running in circles. Regular people and reacting as regular people do. The characters know enough only to survive the day and that knowledge does not include strangers across large distances. 

All of them had insight to the invasion but none of them tackled it.  For future prospects you’d have to ask, how many episodes of family drama will we have to go through assuming in season 2 (yes I am shocked this series will have another season) the aliens attack again?

Will Trevante to suit up for Earth? How many episodes before he reconnects with Casper? How many episodes for Casper to learn his abilities assuming a respectable scientific mind gets a hold of him? Will Aneesha be able to share that alien metal with the government? Will there be an international task force that includes Mitsuki? 


What did Earth shoot down if this remained standing?

Two leads have already paired and yet all ended as separately as they began the series. Will the audience be willing to run in circles again? Not me.

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