Show review: “Invincible” season 2 episodes ranked

by Gavin Meichelbock

The following contains spoilers for season two of “Invincible.”

After waiting three years and a four-month mid-season break, audiences have finally been able to return to the brutally awesome world of “Invincible.” While season two is not as phenomenal as the first, delivering some of the lowest moments of the entire show, it also showcases some series highs. With this season having such a varying degree of greatness, here are all eight episodes of “Invincible” season two ranked, from worst to best.

“This Missive, This Machination!” (Episode 3)

The parts of this episode centered around Mark are good. Seeing him go off to college and take the next step in his relationship with Amber is all solid “Spider-Man-esk” character development that “Invincible” is great at. Debbie going to group therapy for the spouses of superheroes is an emotionally rich character-driven moment. Putting her face to face with the normal people who are victims of Omni-Man’s actions, beautifully grounds a series that deals with alien adversaries and multiversal threats. This episode is at the bottom, however, because no one cares about Allen. His part of the episode is just an exposition dump about something the audience already knows, the Viltrumites are bad and taking over the universe. Also, the cliffhanger ending is a pointless fakeout to manufacture tension.

“I Thought You Were Stronger” (Episode 8)

Putting in Spider-Man, Batman and “Mad Max” as a throwaway gag is fun, but does not make it a good episode. Angstrom Levy threatening Debbie and Oliver is intense, as it makes the stakes of the finale small and personal instead of the world-ending threats the show usually goes for, which is good. This episode falls apart, however, because Angstrom is a poorly executed villain. He has no connection to this version of Invincible and hence has no reason to be trying to kill him. Angstrom even points out how this is one of the few versions of Invincible that is not evil, providing further reason as to why he should not be trying to kill him. So not only is his motivation poorly executed, but nonexistent. Also, Mark beating himself up about killing Angstrom makes no sense. Mark has expressed his fear of losing control and becoming a murderer like his father all season, but he killed Angstrom by accident after he threatened to kill his mom and brother. His actions are totally justified in this instance because if he did not kill Angstrom, he would be responsible for the deaths of his mom and brother. There is also the fact that killing someone to protect loved ones makes Mark even less like Omni-Man. In addition, episode eight also falls flat because it teases way too many plot points in its final minutes, making it feel like nothing is resolved by the time the credits roll.

“A Lesson for Your Next Life” (Episode 1)

“Invincible” season two soars back to the screen with an amazing first episode. The Radiohead needle drop perfectly conveys the guilt Mark feels after his fight against his father. He feels responsible for the countless deaths and flies around the city desperate to save every life he can to make up for it. This intro scene perfectly echoes the series premiere when Mark first entered the superhero hero scene, flying around to the song “Broken Boy” by Cage the Elephant. On the lighter side, Cecil gets some subtly humorous moments as the “reluctant Nick Fury type” who has to parent a bootleg Justice League that sucks at their job. The Mauler Twins also make a return and have such great banter with the season’s big bad, Angstrom Levy. While multiversal villains are nothing new in this day and age, Angstrom’s introduction is a great setup for him to be a new kind of threat Invincible has never faced before. Also, the recurring joke where characters keep setting up the title cut away, only for it to not happen, is quite funny.

“In About Six Hours, I Lose My Virginity to a Fish” (Episode 2)

Episode one is amazing because it has Mark mentally dealing with the actions of his father. Episode two is even better because it compounds on top of that by forcing him to deal with it physically as well. The audience knows how Omni-Man would have dealt with Darkwing’s sidekick wanting revenge and the Atlantean’s trial by combat; he would have killed everyone, but Mark is not Omni-Man. Mark could have easily done the same thing, but he is desperate to prove, not only to the victims of Omni-Man’s actions but to himself, that he is nothing like his father. Seeing Mark take the path of most resistance by trying to save every life he can is a strong demonstration of show-not-tell character development. Another great addition to the episode is getting to see Cecil as this morally gray character who does not fully trust Mark, and the actions he takes because of it. He not only feeds into Mark’s fear of becoming like his father as a means to control him but is also preparing defense measures to take him out if he turns bad. This is great “The Dark Knight Returns” levels of complex storytelling.

“It’s Not That Simple” (Episode 6)

Episode six is simply a very enjoyable episode because it does not do as much. We are not dealing with every character’s emotional trauma; instead, episode six takes a step back and lets its characters take a step forward. With conceding to Invincible that he is not as strong as him and the emotional toll of Dupli-Kate’s death, the Immortal is given a lot of great character work. Debbie bonding with Nolan’s other son, naming him Oliver, is great growth that shows her no longer letting her ex-husband define her life. Mark and Amber individually taking the time they need to figure out their relationship issues pays off a season and a half’s worth of build-up. The heart-to-heart between Rex and Mark about how they hurt the people they love most is such a heartfelt moment of realization for these two. This episode finally lets our characters move past their trauma, which is why episode six is ranked so highly.

“This Must Come as a Shock” (Episode 5)

Episodes one through four have primarily been devoted to picking up the pieces left by the first season. Episode five is when season two starts to take on its own identity. The Guardians of the Globe are not treated as a joke and are given a stake in the plot. Rex Splode becomes an actual character and it is done really well. The way he comforts Atom Eve by reminding her of all the good she has done is a great scene that evolves Rex beyond just being a douchebag. Likewise, his failure to lead Dupli-Kate and Shrinking Rae against the Lizard League is a devastating moment where he finally learns that being a superhero is not a game. The double cliffhanger conclusions with both sects of Guardians failing against the Sequids and the Lizard League is an edge-of-the-seat moment that surely left viewers dying for more.

“I’m Not Going Anywhere” (Episode 7)

It is important to acknowledge that this episode may have the worst start of the entire series. The meta joke about how hard it is to make an animated show is cheap, horribly unfunny and does not make up for “Invincible’s” terrible release schedule. Yes, this scene is directly lifted from the comics, but just because it worked in the comics does not mean it works in animation; this is actually one of the show’s greatest weaknesses. But once that is over, the episode fires on all cylinders. Debbie talking about how she taught Nolan to be human was incredibly touching and allows her to relate to Mark on another emotional level that goes beyond just being a mother and son. The Viltrumite agent threatening Amber just as everything was starting to go right in her and Mark’s relationship, is a heart-stopping moment. The agent explaining to Mark the good the Viltrum Empire can do on Earth does so much to add complexity to the show’s villains. The fight was also outstanding and made the audience feel every Earth-shattering punch of Mark getting his butt handed to him.

“It’s Been a While” (Episode 4)

“Invincible” is at its best when it balances ultra-violent action with meaningful character moments, and episode four delivers on that. This episode develops one of its best characters, Omni-Man, by letting him be vulnerable for the first time. When faced with the consequences of his actions, Omni-Man is not strong enough to face them alone and needs Mark’s help, whereas Mark has been facing the consequences of his father’s actions alone all season. The Viltrimites destroying Omni-Man’s new life forces him to face his own humanity, an emotion he does not know how to deal with. Mark calling his father out, saying this is how he should have felt on Earth, is a phenomenal piece of character work that is perfectly placed in the middle of this hardcore action sequence. To top off these great moments, is the brutal fight with Omni-Man and Invisible against the Viltrum soldiers. Watching these ultra-powerful individuals rip each other to pieces is awesome and makes for one of the best fights in the whole series with some incredibly visceral finishers.

Featured Image Courtesy of Prime Video

You may also like