Invasion season 1, episode 9 recap – “Full of Stars”

December 4, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 5
Apple TV+, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
2.5

Summary

“Full of Stars” at least feels like it’s going somewhere, but the journey exposes many cracks in the show’s foundations.

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2.5

Summary

“Full of Stars” at least feels like it’s going somewhere, but the journey exposes many cracks in the show’s foundations.

This recap of Invasion season 1, episode 9, “Full of Stars”, contains spoilers.


I’ve spent all of Invasion waiting for more aliens, if only as a reprieve from the global adventures of largely uninteresting people doing mostly boring things. “Full of Stars” has more aliens, and I’d even go so far as to say it feels like it’s actually going somewhere – likely in the direction of a finale that cannot possibly tie up so many competing subplots, disparate narrative arcs, and thin ideas. But it occurs to me that a lack of aliens might not have been the problem in the first place, since Invasion is still rubbish even with them, just in slightly different ways.

As ever, “Full of Stars” ping-pongs between various global perspectives, but I’ve collected all my observations and complaints under specific character-based headings to keep everything organized. First up:

Invasion season 1, episode 9 recap:

Mitsuki

So, the whole hook of Mitsuki’s storyline in Invasion episode 9 is that she is absolutely convinced that the love of her life, Hinata, is still alive and is communicating with her, while everyone else around her thinks she’s delusional and the aliens are manipulating her using her grief. Honestly, I can’t say for certain which answer Invasion is actually leaning towards, and I suppose that’s a good thing, but littering all this with romantic flashbacks and the music of David Bowie didn’t exactly fill me with excitement either way.

The problem for Mitsuki is that the military intends to use “Hinata’s” signal as a target for a nuclear strike if Mitsuki can’t talk the aliens into not butchering everyone on Earth, which of course she can’t since the version of Hinata she’s speaking to isn’t even breathing and is clearly an extra-terrestrial ruse cooked up by the wealth of Hinata-related multimedia that Mitsuki fired out into the ether. Mitsuki’s counterargument that being aggressive with the aliens could “start a war” is absolutely absurd considering that the aliens are already murdering everyone they encounter without mercy.

I suppose this is an interesting version of a story about grief, but it really isn’t doing anything for me. There are too many head-scratching “this doesn’t make sense” moments to really buy into the human drama, and even if Hinata were still alive, which nobody but Mitsuki believes, then the idea of her survival being worth potentially billions of lives being lost in an outright invasion isn’t exactly a compelling dramatic question. Mitsuki expects everyone around her to care about Hinata as much as she does, and to be so deeply moved by the timely playing of a Bowie track that the fate of humanity is just put on the backburner. It’s silly.

Trevante/Casper

Less silly, though not by a significant degree, is Trevante getting Casper and Jamila to a hospital in a journey that occurred entirely off-screen. While we’re on the subject of dumb decisions and character relationships that I’m just not buying into, consider a) this random neurologist getting all Hippocratic Oath-y about inducing a seizure in a kid who might be the savior of all mankind, and b) Trevante immediately becoming a kind of surrogate father-figure to this Cockney oik he met five minutes ago. (We know Casper’s dad left him ages ago, and “Full of Stars” reveals that Trev’s son was born “very sick” and he has developed an aversion to hospitals since, so presumably the man who lost his son and the son who lost his father are a match made in heaven).

Casper’s seizure visions are still super nebulous; they connect him to other narratively important characters, one assumes for plot reasons, and give him glimpses of artistic production design, but there’s still no real sense of why any of this matters. Except! When he’s seizing, Casper can see what the aliens themselves see, so when a gang of them invade the hospital he’s able to guide Trevante and Jamila around an ambush. This is a good idea rendered a bit limp by how deliberately cagey and wannabe-arty the show is being about this connection. When Trev cooks one of the extra-terrestrials alive, Casper feels the burn too, but nothing much is made of that connection. Then, in a particularly hairy moment, Casper goes super-seizure and basically commands the attacking aliens to “stop”, which they do, but the effort of this also seems to kill him? It’s all very confusing.

Aneesha and family

Stateside there are some potentially positive developments. One of them is that Aneesha’s magic rock can kill the aliens. The other is that we finally get rid of Ahmed, who gets a full redemption arc when he basically sacrifices himself so that the rest of the family can escape after the armored car they’re traveling in is ambushed by a militia. I’d love to say Ahmed will be missed, but he definitely won’t. Naturally, I have many questions about the magic rock, which soon afterward essentially acts as a key for unlocking a path through the woods ensconced in the aliens’ goo, but I suspect – I hope, anyway – that answers will be forthcoming in the finale.

Anyway, each of these major subplots ends with a giant light filling the sky, one assumes the aliens having called in the cavalry or some such. As I said at the top, “Full of Stars” does feel like it’s going somewhere after all. But the writing has been so consistently bland or sometimes outright terrible that it’s difficult to care where that “somewhere” even is. With just one episode remaining, it’s virtually impossible for Invasion to redeem itself after a tremendously disappointing season.

You can stream Invasion season 1, episode 9, “Full of Stars”, exclusively on Apple TV+

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5 thoughts on “Invasion season 1, episode 9 recap – “Full of Stars”

  • December 7, 2021 at 8:18 pm
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    I assumed the glowing in the sky was the nuclear strike by the US forces on the “targeted location” revealed by Mitsuki’s transmission…

  • December 11, 2021 at 7:30 pm
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    This arrival appears to be written by an individual with zero imagination, who needs every bit of plot clearly defined and spelled out for them.
    Some of us out there enjoy the buildup to seeing the aliens and mystery of the storyline. Screw reviews like this written by the short sighted individuals who enjoy character development like that of the twilight saga – where you’ll know everything before they say it. Better you stick to your cooking shows and PBS.

  • December 12, 2021 at 8:52 pm
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    Seeing the undeserved rude reply above made me sign up to comment when I initially intended to just have a read through each episode. I’m a millennial saying this, I’m sick of my generation and the one after us, acting like it’s ok to be rude just because it’s the internet. It’s not ok. Also, you know that he falls into one of those two generations without any other information on him.

    Anyway, enough about him. But now that I’ve signed up here are my thoughts on the season:

    Personally, didn’t care about any of the characters, I wanted a bit more from all the mains:

    I initially liked maternal Aneesha for taking charge and making quick decisions. She entered survival mode in episode 1, but then unfortunately carried her untrustworthy, unlikable, dead weight husband around when she should have ditched him. All of that just for him to die, and not from aliens. The writers trying to redeem him took away the satisfaction we were all hoping for, to see an alien take him out.

    Caspar would be likable if having pity for him didn’t feel so forced. I felt forced to see him as the sweet, gentle psuedo-Jedi who remains kind despite his back story. I can’t pin point it, but it didn’t feel right or natural to root for him, only an obligation. I actually thought (right until the season finale) that he imagined Jamila because he has no friends and she follows him around like a shadow – never once looking for her own family or having a path different from his. That would have been more interesting than making her the one dimensional character she proved to be.

    Trevante is presented as this entitled, arrogant American stereotype that doesn’t open up to anybody except a young British teen. Ok then.

    Mitsuki wasn’t the problem for me, it was the lost opportunity to have one story arch from the eyes of a structured organisation instead of 4 personal story archs. I would have loved to have seen the JASA (or even military) structured protocol during a time of an alien invasion. I was excited at the beginning because I thought that’s where it was going to go, but no, it quickly dawned on me that we were stuck with a grieving girlfriend making personal selfish decisions and nobody in authority stopping her.

    I really wanted to see a small town, religious, naive Sheriff respond to an “ungodly” alien attack. We never will. What a waste.

    Episode 9 was the only episode I enjoyed from the 10. It had the right amount of action and alien and finally some normal paced progression. I didn’t like the House of Horror episode that everyone else likes. It felt like it all took place in one dark room. It was also too horror- by-numbers: little girl screaming when she should be quiet, kill off the irrelevant characters, have a seemingly dead character come alive (and able to run) out of no where, car fails to start when you’re being chased, oh and queue in the dark rainy night.

    What did I enjoy about this show: hate watching it week after week, and the goat herder that I wish Trevante had stuck with for the rest of the season.

    • December 12, 2021 at 8:57 pm
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      Having Jamila be a lonely boy’s imaginary friend would have been a MUCH better idea than what we saw.

  • December 22, 2021 at 3:15 pm
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    Invasion season 1, episode 9 recap – “Full of Stars”

    REVIEW QUOTE: “Anyway, each of these major subplots ends with a giant light filling the sky, one assumes the aliens having called in the cavalry or some such. “
    WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Ummm no moron, the giant white light filling up the sky is the US government’s nuclear missiles using the lock on the alien ship to blow it to smithereens. If you couldn’t understand a simple plot like that how useful is the rest of your review(s)?

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