Invasion circles the globe by offering character-driven storylines–from a small town in the United States to a remote, mega space satellite facility in Japan–the show captures the ways people respond to inexplicable phenomena while still trying to live through the reality of their personal lives and the trauma of school bullies, intolerance, retirement, loss, and infidelity. One of the show’s strengths is its exploration of human nature under extreme circumstances. As the series unfolds, it delves into themes of survival, empathy, and the thin veneer of civilization. Viewers are presented with thought-provoking questions about how individuals respond to existential threats and the lengths they are willing to go to (or not) to protect their loved ones and their fellow Homo sapiens.
The initial episodes effectively build an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty as governments struggle to make sense of the situation, while individuals grapple with personal upheavals. The strange occurrences include schoolchildren with spontaneous nosebleeds, a preteen with seizures that produce visions that may predict the future, a space shuttle with a ripped belly that may not have killed the astronauts onboard, a neighborhood destroyed by a “bomb” while the neighbors-of-color are passive-aggressively blamed … and a crop circle.
The Five Protagonists
John Bell Tyson: The Short-Lived Sheriff
Where would an extraterrestrial mystery be without the desecration of a corn field? In the first episode, “Last Day,” it’s an Oklahoman field that marks the grave of the most well-known actor in the series, Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), and the last day of normal life on earth. In one of the most anti-climatic hero set-ups in TV history, Sheriff John Bell Tyson (Sam Neill), a small-town sheriff who is depressed and frustrated by his 45 years of stalwart community service, barges out of his retirement party mid-speech to search the crop circle for crime clues. As he digs frantically in the earth, hoping to find a lead that might define his career and give him new purpose (and more notoriety), he is swiftly “snuffed” out and never again seen after episode 1. Do we, however, know for sure that he is dead and gone? Absolutely not. But he probably is…
Aneesha Malik: The Powerhouse Matriarch
In episode 2, we meet Aneesha Malik (Golshifteh Farahani), a well-to-do, Long Island homemaker who sacrifices her education and career to the extreme in order to be a “good” wife and mom. The strength in her ability to forfeit so much becomes poignantly evident as she takes control of her family’s nebulous escape plan and not only saves their lives, but also the lives of strangers. Along the way, she is quick to steal a car without concern for the family who is left stranded, claim that she is a medical doctor (she almost is, really), and then she abandons the triage unit after removing a foreign entity from the innards of a patient in surgery by running for miles until she is reunited with her family. Meanwhile, her husband is trying to connect with his Instagram foodie-influencer mistress. Aneesha is shattered by the discovery of his betrayal on the same day that her neighborhood is shattered by a “bomb.” She is the unlikely warrior of the show, aided by a piece of debris that may be the only weapon on earth that can slow down the alien incursion.