Recap of episode 1 of season 1 of “Invasion”: last day

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Invasion

Last day

Season 1

Episode 1

Editor’s Note

4 stars

Photo: Macall Polay / Apple TV +

Orson Welles’ radio show in 1938 by HG Wells War of the Worlds was an illusion that has deceived many by tapping into a range of collective fears. Who were these aliens who came to our planet? What were they doing, infiltrating our communities? What were their plans for us and our children? Suspicion of strangers is nothing new; that’s tribalism, baby!

Before that term became a hackneyed political buzzword, it was a seemingly legitimate explanation for how we kept ourselves alive so many years ago in the face of all the threats the natural world had to offer, including the threat of others. But it’s a leap, a jump and a leap from suspicion to paranoia, and even before Welles terrified so many people listening to CBS that night, our feelings about the potential for life on other planets. were a mixture of curiosity and unease. As A. Brad Schwartz pointed out for Smithsonian magazine in 2015:

In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli observed a series of dark lines on the Martian surface he called channel, Italian for “strings”. In English, channel was incorrectly translated to “canals,” a word implying that these weren’t natural formations – that someone had built them. Wealthy self-taught astronomer Percival Lowell popularized this misconception in a series of books describing a highly intelligent and channel-building Martian civilization. HG Wells drew heavily on these ideas to create his story of alien invasion – the first of its kind – and his work has inspired quite a genre of science fiction.

All this to say that for hundreds of years, humanity has envisioned new threats for itself and then struggled to respond to what those threats – real or envisaged – can be. Violence is usually the answer, as is so often the case on Earth, and in this landscape happens Invasion, the latest major sci-fi series from Apple TV + from co-creators Simon Kinberg and David Weil. These two have a mixed history in the genre. Kinberg has writing or production credit on all past X Men films, which were not really great! But he also produced Elysium and The Martian, and created and wrote Star Wars: Rebels and The twilight zone restart, which were all fine! Do you remember Matt Damon’s time as a sci-fi star? It was unexpected and quite fun!

Weil is more of a stranger: he created and wrote Hunters, which was so-so, and Solo, which was terribly pretentious. (My apologies to Constance Wu, but the monologues are really not for everyone.) As co-creators, Kinberg and Weil share the writing credits for this first episode, “Last Day,” and handle this responsibility almost exclusively for the entirety of it. Invasionof the 10-episode season. White writers will be the norm here, with the credits also going to David Rosen, who worked alongside Weil on Hunters, and Andrew Baldwin, who wrote that really problematic Netflix movie “Jared Leto Joins the Yakuza” The foreigner. In comparison, looking to the future InvasionIt appears that only one woman, editor-in-chief Gursimran Sandhu, gets a nod “story by” for the eighth “Contact” episode.

Has this hegemony been a bit disturbing since this episode of the premiere, “Last Day”, emphasizes the series’ “strangers as strangers” theme starting with a scene in an unspecified location in Middle East / North Africa and then explicitly focusing on a Middle Eastern family during this time of upheaval… but the Writers’ Room seems to lack a constant presence of someone of that ethnicity? Well yes. Orientalism is exhausting, guys! And although I can recognize it Invasion has at least done the bare minimum in recruiting actors with the appropriate ethnicity into those roles, and can respect that the show is trying Something with a narrative that juxtaposes everyday racism and microaggression with supernatural mistrust on a larger scale; I’m still suspicious. Golshifteh Farahani is unprecedented, but, please, Invasion, don’t mess it up!

The title “Last Day” immediately tells us what kind of plot we’re going to have in this first episode, which explicitly defines its various locations and main characters as it shyly plays with its villains, who they are and what they are. . want to. This obscuration will do the trick for now because Invasion sets off. It’s not really the calm before the storm, but the period after – when the clouds darken, the wind picks up, something Wrong is already in the air, and Ben Foster sneaks into your town in a dirty and bloody parka to warn you, “It’s not the cold weather. It is death approaching. (30 days of night is a good pickup of a scary season, guys!) And so “Last Day” starts with an attack and then a demise. Somewhere in a desert, something falls from the sky, sinks into the sand, and quickly heads towards the only “Bedouin Man” (Ahmed Hammoud) who saw his arrival. When he appears he is first invisible and then takes the form of a mutant, transformative mass – he looks like a black volcanic rock, covered in marbles – and he emits sound waves that propel this man backwards. It’s one inexplicable thing, and another is Sam Neill’s highly questionable Oklahoman accent. (I’m sorry! I really like Dr. Alan Grant, but it was a mess, right?)

Neill plays Sheriff John Bell Tyson, who is finally retiring after 45 years working in Idabel, Oklahoma. In a real Tommy Lee Jones in There is no country for old people moving, Tyson wonders if he made a difference in this small town, which is now plagued by petty crime and drug use. His second-in-command, Grady (DeWanda Wise), doesn’t have much patience for his existential reflections, as strange things are happening in Idabel. Two people are missing. A crop circle – that for some reason nobody calls a crop circle – appears overnight in a cornfield where these two people have disappeared. Birds swarm on the crop circle as millions of locusts move towards it and then seem to die on reaching it. What strangeness is falling on little old Idabel?

Hundreds of miles away on Long Island, the issues plaguing housewife and mother Aneesha Malik (Farahani) are more sadly recognizable. Here is a bright and gorgeous woman who went to Harvard Medical School and then apparently gave up her career to marry Ahmed Malik (Firas Nassar), who also goes by the Westernized nickname “Manny”, and are raising their children Luke (Azhy Robertson) and Sarah (Tara Moayedi). Aneesha is a caring and loving mother and wife, and when a school wide nosebleed affects everyone in her children’s elementary school corn Luke, it’s Aneesha rushing to their side. And while Ahmed sleeps with his white mistress, Aneesha comforts their children about this traumatic nosebleed incident and tries to figure out how her life has gone so badly. Aneesha and Ahmed’s big fight scene was a bit forced, and although Farahani was a solid actress, even she couldn’t sell the accuser’s superficiality “Because she’s blonde?” Because she’s in good shape? Because she has perfect breasts? Still, I have faith in Farahani and hope that Aneesha uses this potential alien invasion to leave Ahmed behind. Perhaps after the Maliks figure out why every house in their neighborhood is partially destroyed and on fire after that blackout, shaking, and static attack on TV – but not theirs.

Is it all random or coordinated? This question is complicated by the episode’s third subplot, which begins in Japan, where Captain Murai (Rinko Kikuchi) is one of three Japanese astronauts to travel to the International Space Station for a one-year stay. . It is a prestigious honor and a big step forward in space exploration and space travel. But Captain Murai has a secret: her romantic relationship with communications specialist JASA Mitsuki Yamato (Shioli Kutsuna), whose ring she takes with her into space. And when that ring comes out of Murai’s destroyed space shuttle after I assume one of those alien invaders crashes into their ship, tearing a huge hole and killing all three astronauts on board? It was devastating! There were demoralizing moments in “Last Day” (the dissolution of Aneesha’s marriage) and shocking moments in “Last Day” (that alien scorpion tail thing stinging / attacking Tyson in the final moments of the episode. ), but Murai’s death was the most distressing. I wanted more Rinko Kikuchi, damn it, and thinking about that glowing sticky star makes me cry a little.

So, at the end of its 56 minutes, “Last Day” sets up a series of seemingly unrelated events that we know to be related: the attack on this Bedouin man, the attack on Tyson, the attack on Long Island and the attack on the JASA Shuttle. How long before the characters of Invasion achieve the interconnected consciousness that we already have? And what can they really do about it? “It’s not the end, darling,” Tyson’s wife told him, but hey. It seems to me to be the end of humanity!

• What is Luke’s contract? I will maintain all the theories.

• Why is Apple TV + so inconsistent in the way they promote their TV series? This Twitch partnership it doesn’t seem to have gone well.

• Other scary movie choices for the season, inspired by Sam Neill’s filmography: Possession and Event horizon are both good.

• If these location identifiers mention “Earth” each time we get a scene to this planet, does that imply that we finally get scenes disabled this planet?

• This crop circle looks like a gigantic eye, which could have narrative significance. Or, I think too much of a very simple geometric shape. Either is possible!

• The online delivery of Farahani from “Harvard. You? ”Was perfectly erased, and I hope Aneesha never confines herself like that again.

• Median value of a house in Great Neck, New York: $ 1.36 million. Influencing the kitchen must be fun!

• Related: People who undress in fully lit homes in front of uncluttered windows… why, though?

• I don’t like Tyson’s belief that “God gives me something greater” associated with everything that happens to him after that bite / sting / alien thing. Midnight Mass has already proven to us that religious fanaticism associated with supernatural / otherworldly motives is over, man!

• Is the series just using “JASA” because it is visibly similar to “NASA” or because it has not obtained permission from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA? I’m not going to lie to you, “JAXA” is a nice metal acronym.

• Ahmed is “Better than what you usually make. More flavor ”should have earned him a slap in the face.


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