Invasion debuted in 2021 on AppleTV+ from creators Simon Kinberg & David Weil and brought with it a slow cascading story of the beginning of an alien invasion told from multiple points of view across the globe. Through the characters, we watched grief, triumph, and absolute desperation as they processed the events around them. Sometimes slow, the series took time to develop each of the characters we followed as it presented dynamic stories. While some thought this made the series a generic post-apocalyptic affair, the intelligence with which the series was able to connect threads across the globe and, in the final episodes, highlight the aliens at the center of it all was next to perfect. Now, Invasion Season 2 ups the ante, stepping on the gas pedal in Episode 1, clearing and taking the comments about being slow to heart.
The second season of Invasion takes it up a notch with an action-packed look at the aliens’ escalating tactics on Earth and the characters who are caught in their sights. Picking up on Day 121, the world has descended into even more chaos as the aliens begin making full-out assaults on cities and populations. Invasion Season 2 Episode 1 opens with Mitsuki Yamato (Shioli Kutsuna) on a street, fighting aliens with fire, and doing her best to save people. Carrying the guilt from helping destroy the alien ship in the first season right when she thought she had found her girlfriend Hinata again after losing her, she’s taken from the street to help the World Defense Coalition (WDC) and the experiments being done at the Alien Research Facility on the alien species and their tech.
But this episode isn’t just about Mitsuki as she carries her grief into the WDC onto the alien ship. It’s also about Aneesha (Golshifteh Farahani) and her family as they attempt to outrun the military only to find themselves under the arm of the grassroots vigilante alien hunters, The Movement when they meet an ominously friendly face named Clark (Enver Gjokaj).
The premiere of Invasion Season 2 has a lot of weight to it. The multiple stories across multiple locations, as they respond to invading aliens, is the series’ strength, but with that, the premiere had to hold onto the possibilities for every character that saw a cliffhanger ending at the end of the last season. But instead of showing every thread at play for this season, “Something’s Changed” focuses on two specific vectors. These two perspectives help paint what the world looks like 121 days after the alien invasion and show how dire the survival of humanity’s existence has become, how detached the military has continued to be from the people they should save, and the overall sense of the chaos that comes with the traditional sci-fi dystopian dissolution of the world.
By choosing Mitsuki and Aneesha, the writers chose two of the most interesting characters from Season 1. Mitsuki’s grief and love for Hinata carried a gravitas as she communicated with the aliens and worked to find a reason to not just connect with the invaders but to connect with her lover. Fueled by romantic love, Mitsuki exists in a space between being completely apathetic and being moved by her emotions. The separation of the two elements of her grieving personality is razor thin, and in that way, she’s extremely relatable, both in her sadness and in her recklessness.
As for Aneesha, she’s propelled by a love for her children and a dedication to keeping them alive, even if they start to question and hate her. Her children Luke (Azhy Robertson) and Sarah (Tara Moayedi) are again integral parts of the story, even if Luke is rebelling in a way that is going to endanger everyone. Their perspective in this story is also the main connection to the new element this season, The Movement. Anarchists first, they’re also the Malik family’s savior in this episode and introduce a complex element to the dynamics this season. With Aneesha already on edge, there is something ominous in The Movement’s hideout, though it’s yet to be revealed.
This season feels like an entirely different series. It’s devoid of hope, completely somber, and the characters are a kind of desperate that comes from a place of sorrow and loss. While Invasion Season 2 takes the time to introduce new characters to the cast in Episode 1, like the scientists working at the research facility (Naian González Norvind) and a world leader calling for cooperation (Nedra Marie Taylor), this episode didn’t include Trevante (Shamier Anderson) or Jamila (India Brown), though fans will be shocked to see Caspar (Billy Barratt) as the episode closes.
Another reason that Invasion Season 2 Episode 1 feels like a different series is because of how much the young characters have aged since the time of Season 1. While this is natural and something any series with a young cast will face, it is still slightly jarring. But this is hardly something that detracts from the already dynamic story too significantly.
At this point, AppleTV+ is putting out the most consistent science fiction series on television with tight production, immersive worlds, and casting that endears the viewer to stay longer in the worlds that have been created. Invasion Season 2 is a fantastic end-of-the-world story, a thrilling drama centered on human vulnerability and resiliency in equal measure, and is now bringing the head-to-head alien fights right from the start. Invasion Season 2 Episode 1 is a stellar start to a series that continues to promise to be more than just what’s on the tin.
Invasion Season 2 Episode 1 is streaming now on Apple TV Plus new episode premieres every Wednesday from August through October.
Invasion Season 2 Episode 1 — "Something's Changed"
Invasion Season 2 Episode 1 is a stellar start to a series that continues to promise to be more than just what’s on the tin.