“Hope” is Invasion up to its old tricks, with a slow-paced episode that can’t help but feel like a sudden step-down.
This recap of Invasion season 1, episode 7, “Hope”, contains spoilers.
It might have taken six weeks, but you’ll recall that the previous episode of Invasion finally had some aliens in it. To make the most of the opportunity it also locked Aneesha, Ahmed, and their kids in a single location and let them guest-star in a horror show for half an hour, and since “Hope” opens right where that installment left off, I wondered for a moment if we were just continuing to continue following Aneesha and forget all about everyone else. I say “wondered” — maybe “hoped” would be more appropriate.
Invasion season 1, episode 7 recap
None of this is to say that Aneesha is a great character, or that anyone else is much worse, just that the show was so much better when it was contained and focused and actually about aliens that I was hesitant to move on. And besides, there were still questions that needed answering, such as where Luke got that chunk of alien-killing metal. Aneesha presses him about it, and just as he’s about to answer, Ahmed takes a turn for the worse, and “Hope” cuts to credits. Come on, Invasion! Nobody even cares about Ahmed.
But the alien invasion has occurred the world over, so there’s more to cover. Trevante has a whole sequence roaming through the desert and finding a bunch of corpses, which is almost a direct retread of Aneesha’s opening scene last week. Rather than meeting up with his own family, though, he finds someone else’s, a man and his wife and children planning to walk 200 miles to Kabul like he’s auditioning to be one of the Proclaimers. (All Trevante’s scenes, by the way, seem mandated to include at least one tense standoff where the rules of engagement come into play as if to remind us that he’s an American soldier operating in the Middle East.) Casper and the other kids, meanwhile, flag down a woman racing past in a Jeep, and she tearfully explains to them there’s been a spot of bad news and aliens have invaded Earth.
I get why all this is necessary, but it can’t help but feel like a crushing step down in pace after the previous episode, especially since every character’s subplot just seems reiterative of what Aneesha went through. Well, all except Mitsuki, who seems to be the only person trying to move the plot forward by taking command of JASA and trying to locate the source of the alien signal so as to send a message to the visitors in response. But “Hope” spends less time on this, at least in the first half, than it does scenes of Casper and co. roaming through a deserted, smoking London, and Aneesha and her family breaking into an abandoned diner and rustling up a load of burgers and fries.
It isn’t until the final ten minutes or so that we actually see another alien, this time from a bit of a distance and from Casper’s perspective. When they’re not hostile, they seem to cartwheel around on spindly stilt legs and then unfold themselves to investigate things, leaving behind a sticky black residue. It’s an intriguing design, granted, but nobody — least of all me — has complained about the superficial aspects of this show anyway. It’s gorgeous to look at, consistently well-acted, and so on, and so forth, but it’s also cripplingly self-important, glacially paced, and often very dull in a way that no show about an alien invasion ever should be.
The real problem though is that Invasion kids itself into believing it’s much more exciting than it really is. There’s a whole sequence with Trevante trying to blag seats on the country’s last plane for himself and his new friends that we’ve spent the entire episode building towards, and the only real conclusion that comes from it is the implication that Trevante is being watched over by God, even though he doesn’t believe so. Meanwhile, Mitsuki manages to isolate a pattern within the signal that turns out to be the emergency beacon from the Hoshi-12, and she’s just about to locate its source when the military kicks the doors in and drags her away from the terminal kicking and screaming. Sure, it’s an important development, or at least it almost was, but seven episodes deep, it hardly feels like the most exciting cliff-hanger in the world.