Invincible Season 2 Episode 2 has a funny name, “In About Six Hours I Lose My Virginity To A Fish,” but within that humor, the episode portrays the most important aspect of the season: Mark (Steven Yeun) paying for the sins of his father. While Nolan Grayson (J.K. Simmons)—aka Omni-man, the world’s strongest superhero—is missing after going masks off for Viltrum’s genocidal empire-building campaign, that doesn’t mean that his negative impact isn’t still being felt. Last episode, we saw the way that Mark and his mother, Debbie (Sandra Oh), were individually carrying their guilt for loving Nolan as a husband and father.
In this episode, we see the external ramifications of Omni-man killing the Guardians of the Globe when Cecil makes Mark form a pact with Atlantis, and Mark has to fight Darkwing’s grieving apprentice. Both situations show how the world views Mark’s own heroism in the shadow of his father’s villainy and how hard it is to step out of it. Everything that Mark sees is a reminder of his father’s spree and a choice to prove that he isn’t like him. That is the core of Mark’s character now.
We see him behind honesty and succeeding in building his relationship with Amber, and his friendship with William is strong, but underneath that, Mark is struggling every time he puts on the Invincible mask. At first, it looks as if Mark and Debbie’s relationship will remain strained. While Mark wants to keep moving, keep being a hero, to combat his grief, Debbie is just trying to forget everything and focus on making sure that Mark can have a normal life. Fighting with Cecil, it’s clear that Mark has become a pawn for him, but with Mark trying his hardest to quell his guilt through good deeds, everything becomes almost uncrossable.
Until the cabinet in the kitchen that doesn’t shut is taken care of.
As Invincible Season 2 Episode 2 comes to a close, a pesky kitchen cabinet finally pushes Debbie to the edge. She breaks it, rips it off the hinges, and collapses on the floor. Just then, Mark comes home, beaten and bruised by the Atlantean creature. We get to see characters dealing with their trauma and grief in no uncertain terms. In one of the series’ best moments, we see Debbie break down, and Mark sees it, too. It’s the first time that the mother and son really recognize the pain one another is going through, and it hits hard.
Debbie, for the most part, was a background character in Invincible Season 1, important, yes, but in how she was being manipulated by Nolan. In Invincible Season 2 Episode 2, however, she takes a more important role. She is the human toll of Nolan’s betrayal, and her pain is no less important than Mark’s or those that Nolan betrayed. Omni-man betraying Earth is one thing, but Nolan betraying his family is another. The series understands this and explores both.
Despite its animation and its humor, Invincible Season 2 Episode 2 continues to show an emotional depth that embraces the ways that heroes reflect our culture and are shaped by them. Invincible isn’t trying to mask any of the trauma responses on display with comedy. Episode 2 is filled with humor that satirizes the superhero genre in a fantastic way as it did in the first season. That said, it never works so hard as to cover up any of the awful bits of heroics and how it sticks with our characters.
But it’s not just the Nolans who have emotional revelations in this episode. So does Atom Eve / Samantha (Gillian Jacobs). Moved to use her powers to enact immediate change instead of just fighting crime, she confronts her parents and rebuilds Chicago. When she meets her parents, her father pushes back, much like we saw in Season 1 and in her solo mini-series. He sees it as a sidestep of work and wants nothing to do with her creation power. Riding the high from building a park in a part of the town that was completely ignored, the newspaper backs up her father’s assertion. Just because Eve can build something doesn’t mean that she should.
Eve is put through the wringer in this episode, and it’s all a part of a larger complex arc. She has been idealistic since the first season, but in Invincible Season 2 Episode 2, that idealism is being put to the test. Two things are true. Eve is desperate to do more than just fight crime with a power that could allow her to cure world hunger. But that idealism has also blinded her to the things that she is not capable of and that she can not avoid, particularly making mistakes and losing people she tries to save.
A continuation of Invincible’s fantastic storytelling started last episode; Season 2 continues to grow larger in Episode 2 as we see the layers of characters beyond just their heroism or what they portray to the outside world. It’s a choice that continues to take the adult animated series from Amazon Studios to new heights, honoring every element that the series has built up. It’s funny, has great action, but the emotional writing is what makes Episode 2 a standout not just for the season but for the series.
Invincible Season 2 Episode 2 — "In About Six Hours I Lose My Virginity To A Fish"
A continuation of Invincible’s fantastic storytelling started last episode; Season 2 continues to grow larger in Episode 2 as we see the layers of characters beyond just their heroism or what they portray to the outside world. It’s a choice that continues to take the adult animated series from Amazon Studios to new heights, honoring every element that the series has built up.