Shout-out to the best TV bottle episodes: Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine waiting on their Chinese-restaurant reservation; Peggy and Don arguing about what the money is for; Mulder and Scully stuck in Alaska with an alien parasite intent on takeover. I cite The X-Files season-one episode “Ice” specifically because it accomplishes numerous things Invasion’s sixth episode, “Home Invasion” — a tiring bottle episode that somehow feels laborious despite a half-hour running time — does not.
“Ice” makes the stakes clear about who, or what, is presenting a threat. It makes plain what will happen if Mulder and Scully don’t stop this thing from getting out into the rest of the world. It generates tension between characters we already know, trust, and like, and it leads us into the labyrinth of whom to trust and whom to suspect. Six episodes in, Invasion still hasn’t revealed enough about what the hell is actually happening, and y’all, my patience! On all fronts! Is being tested!
The aliens’ character design remains generic. Humans are still annoying. I wish Aneesha had just left her family behind, because I am apparently coldhearted. I wish Luke at any point had been like, “Oh yeah, here’s this weird metal-looking thing I’ve been carrying around for days that is apparently an alien weapon or something?” I wish Sarah would not cry when explicitly told to stay quiet because of the advancing monster. Get it together, Malik family!
Alas, they do not. And so this will be a short recap, because not much happens in “Home Invasion”! The episode opens with Aneesha, who is still in the back of that truck with other rounded-up medical workers and first responders, being driven by the military to another town in need. This time a school “got hit by something,” and the men in the back alongside Aneesha are refusing to believe the president’s explanation of an extraterrestrial attack. It’s Russia! Or maybe China! None of this matters to Aneesha, who realizes that yes, she just abandoned her family. Although practicing medicine was theoretically her dream, she bounces out of the barely stopped vehicle and starts running home.
Yup, she just Forrest Gumps her way through what seems like numerous towns! They had been driving for a while, but her sense of direction and stamina are amazing! She passes an attacked military convoy and a number of what look like burned bodies, and when she makes it back to Patrick and Kelly’s, she stumbles over another corpse in their living room — and fears the worst. But after Invasion basically copies the basement scene from Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds remake, Aneesha is pulled up into the attic by Patrick, where everyone is safe and trying to wait out the aliens vibrating through the house.
We’ve seen a number of other characters in other parts of the world struggle to understand what is happening, and Invasion does that again, quite repetitively, in this attic scene. Patrick, who killed the intruder downstairs, is rightfully pissed that the Malik family can’t shut up and stay quiet. QAnon Kelly, before an alien tugs her in half, is convinced the aliens are after water. They both die for having generously let the Maliks into their home, and in making their escape, Aneesha, Ahmed, and the kids pick up a few more details about the aliens.
As we saw in Afghanistan, they possess what looks like a shapeshifting, metallic exterior, and they can grow additional appendages, tentacles, or mouths. As we saw in Japan, they seem to communicate through soundwaves. New information, though, is that they can die via a lot of gunshot wounds, or from an attack with whatever same material makes up their bodies. Or maybe it’s their armor, since they revert back to seeming smoothness instead of aggressive prickliness once they die? Again, the darkly lit scenes and imprecise CGI makes this all difficult to parse! What is clear, though, is that “Home Invasion” ends with Aneesha getting another “Very Protective Mom, Increasingly Bad Person” award for locking the doors so that Patrick can’t get into his own car, Luke reiterating his worst-kid-on-TV status by never once explaining what he’s been carrying around, and Ahmed somehow surviving a direct attack from the alien intruder. Or is he maybe compromised (and infected?), as we assume Sam Neill was by the end of that first episode? Where is that man?! Can he save us — and this show?
We’re Talking Here About Your Future
• It’s bizarre to me that the doctor who assisted Aneesha in the extraction of that clearly alien tech from that guy’s leg would be furthering the “It can’t be aliens!” conversation, but hey, at least she didn’t fall in love with him.
• Aneesha has some serious self-control, because I would have eaten those gummy worms immediately.
• “Is it the best military in the universe?” Ahmed, have you even heard of Space Force?!