Invasion is a series that made its name as a science fiction story that used different perspectives to tell the story of one climactic event in human history: an alien invasion. The action-packed second season of Invasion picks up at Day 121 of the invasion, just months after it began. With the aliens escalating their attacks in a wide-scale global war against the humans, Invasion Season 2 doesn’t wait to start the action, putting the all-out war into scope from the very first minutes of episode one.
Created by Simon Kinberg and David Well, Invasion Season 2 stars Golshifteh Farahani, Shioli Kutsuna, Shamier Anderson, India Brown, Billy Barratt, Azhy Robertson, Paddy Holland, and Tara Moayedi. New series regulars joining season two include Enver Gjokaj, Nedra Marie Taylor, and Naian González Norvind. After a shocking first season finale with Caspar (Billy Barratt) missing after saving humanity (if only for a moment), the series shows each perspective rushing to a convergence point with each other while each is chasing different connections to the potential Martian entity.
With a different alien citadel in the sky casting a shadow over different locations, the threat isn’t just the aliens, but the military too. Mituski is working with a research team that will sacrifice any life to bring down the alien outposts. Trevante is trying to find answers to the drawings left in Caspar’s sketchbook which brings them to the epicenter of contact in Oklahoma. Aneesha (Golshifteh Farahani) is just trying to keep her family intact despite being pursued by the military at every turn, winding up working with an anarchic organization called The Movement with the charismatic Clark (Enver Gjokaj). Jamila (India Brown) is trying to find Capsar who communicated to her through her dreams. And all of them are unknowingly being pulled to the same point.
The largest difference between Invasion Season 2 and the series’ first season is how much this part of the story focuses on action. Instead of slowly building up to large events of extraterrestrial warfare, Season 2 drops the audience directly into the thick of it as Mitsuki (Shioli Kutsuna) fights off the amorphous aliens with Molotovs, trying to save whoever she can. Outside of that, some of Invasion Season 2’s best episodes are centered on action. “The Tunnel” and “Pressure Points” represent two important developments in how the aliens fight. Still, they also lean heavily on genre storytelling outside of just science fiction.
“The Tunnel” offers substantial wonder that was missing from alien encounters. While there is a sense of fear as the action pushes forward, the way the children watch as situations get graver is substantial to seeing this newly invaded world and the new dangers that are in it. As we see the alien invasion become even more deadly with new evolutions of the enemy, the episode itself offers layers of dread and an intensity that captures the importance of using tight spaces and psychological elements to even the largest sci-fi tropes, like alien eggs producing even more brutal hunters.
Once the new alien forms are made a threat, Invasion Season 2 delivers on their ferocity in “Pressure Points,” an episode where Aneesha and the Movement find themselves sitting ducks for a new predator in the fog. Evoking elements of Stephen King’s The Mist, this is an episode of Season 2 where the Apple TV series found its genre footing, excelling in capturing suspense and thrill and pushing the story farther through it all. Here, Aneesha and The Movement are sucked into a scenario that keeps the series in touch with the scarier aspects of being attacked by aliens. Add in that Sarah is missing and Luke can all of sudden control the beasts hunting them, and the series soars.
The action of the series, when it’s firing on all cylinders, often highlights emotional elements as well. In the opening of the series, it highlights Mitsuki’s grief and the chaotic state she’s in as she processes her survival guilt. “The Tunnel” puts Jamila and her crew of fellow kids (ala the Goonies) into a situation where their youth is on display, making their resiliency all the more powerful. And Invasion Season 2 continues this throughout the season up until the finale, where we see an action set that encapsulates everything we’ve seen until then. While each new episode sometimes felt like an entirely different series, the action of the series kept it tethered together.
But for its expert use of action, the real shining piece of the narrative that keeps Invasion Season 2 from being just mediocre sci-fi is Shioli Kutsuna as Mitsuki Yamato. Her grief, her pain, her emotional connections, and how they move her, Mitsuki is ultimately the series’s example of the power of the human spirit—and that power comes from embracing its fragility.
In every episode, I did not root for humanity’s existence and resistance against the alien species. Instead, I showed up for Mitsuki. I showed up for her melancholic close-ups as she processed her emotions. I wasn’t there for the sweeping impact of a global battle so much as I was there to watch Mitsuki work through her trauma and learn how to just be human again. Intelligent, fierce, and dedicated to her own moral compass instead of the wants of President Benya Mabote (Moshidi Motshegwa) and the research facility, she is one of the best sci-fi characters on any streaming service.
The largest issue with Invasion Season 2 is that the ten-episode season feels incomplete. It’s hard to understand why the season made the choice to sacrifice some of the strongest elements of the series, particularly Aneesha and the Movement and Jamila, who are built up so thoroughly only to be cast away. While the series has often buckled under the weight of its expansive cast, this season, it strikes even harder. Almost every episode of the season feels like a siloed-off series, with its own tropes and aesthetic, connected only by the shadow of the extraterrestrial threat.
While viewers can clearly see the writing on the wall for the next season, even for characters that feel stunted, this intense season features many incredible obstacles, but we can’t think of what will come in the future, we have to look at the season that was created, and for this one, it’s only halfway there. Not to mention that Trevante (Shamier Anderson) was often left by the wayside from episode one until nine, only coming into importance at the very end. He was more of a footnote, but Anderson’s acting ability makes me want to beg showrunner Simon Kinberg to expand on him.
Invasion Season 2 is objectively good, and that’s thanks in large part to heavy lifting by Shioli Kutsuna as Mitsuki Yamato. With stumbles that cut its narrative in half, clearly for more seasons that haven’t been greenlit yet, the series deserves more episodes. It deserves more time to develop its story and the dynamic ways that each character intersects with the other. If that happens, this season may be improved, but for now, it stands half-finished, but worth the watch for Mitsuki and her incredible character journey.
Invasion Season 2 is streaming now on AppleTV+.
Invasion Season 2
Invasion Season 2 is objectively good, and that’s thanks in large part to heavy lifting by Shioli Kutsuna as Mitsuki Yamato. With stumbles that cut its narrative in half, clearly for more seasons that haven’t been greenlit yet, the series deserves more episodes.