TV REVIEW: ‘This Missive, This Machination’ Strongly Continues Invincible’s Juggling Act

It was a busy week for Invincible as the show continues adding more storylines to its crowded landscape.

We’re nearing the halfway point of Invincible‘s second season and is setting up for a monumental mid-season finale. Amazon is releasing four episodes in November while releasing the rest early next year.

Invincible has shown its ability to manage numerous storylines so far, but can it sustain the increased workload moving forward? If past episodes are any indication, then the outlook is positive.

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers. Please check out our reviews for the first and second episodes as well as our season 1 recap.

Synopsis: A Jam-Packed Adventure of Love and War

Nothing is as it seems in Invincible, including the leader of the Coalition of Planets. (Image Credit: Amazon Prime Videos via Agents of Fandom)

Debbie (Sandra Oh) drops Mark (Steven Yeun) off at college. While leaving, she decides to call the number on a card from Olga, Red Rush’s wife, gave to her last season. Mark adjusts to college life and ends up sleeping with Amber (Zazie Beetz).

The scene cuts away dramatically and we get the backstory of Allen the Alien (Seth Rogen). Allen is a champion from Unopa set to oppose the Viltrumite occupation of his planet. He works with the Coalition of Planets to seek out someone who can oppose the Viltrumites after he was unsuccessful. Allen believes Mark is that person.

Galactic Coalition Leader Thadeus (Peter Cullen) tasks Allen with tracking down a mole within the coalition’s council. Viltrumites later attack him and brutally rip him apart when he won’t divulge information about Mark and Omni-Man. Allen recovers in a regeneration tube when Thadeus kills him.

Back on Earth, Rex Splode (Jason Mantzoukas) confronts Kate (Malese Jow) for cheating on him with The Immortal. There’s also a side story about Rudy (Ross Marquand) and Monster Girl (Grey DeLisle) going on a date.

Debbie attends a support group for superhero spouses. She connects with one attendee who ends up being the Green Ghost’s widowed husband. He becomes angry when he learns the identity of her husband.

Mark ends up leaving Earth to help Thraxa, a planet of bug inhabitants, when one of them implores him for help stopping the countless deaths. He does this against the wishes of Cecil. Upon arriving, he learns there is no threat and the planet’s leader is none other than Omni-Man (JK Simmons).

Analysis: An Impressive Juggling Act

Debbie confessing to the Green Ghost’s husband. (Image Credit: Amazon Prime Videos via But Why Tho?)

First off, there’s no denying Nolan is up to no good, no matter how messianic he looks. The fact that Mark wants to save lives was a key part of the Chicago fight and Nolan used that to manipulate Mark to Thraxa. This proves there is some ulterior motive.

Debbie, for me, continues to be the most compelling storyline this season. She has no where else to go to cope with Nolan’s betrayal and the one place she thinks can help, it’s cruelly ripped away.

And you can’t really fault the Green Ghost’s husband in this either. Sure, it’s not Debbie’s fault Nolan murdered the Green Ghost, but her husband is grieving. It’s a tough situation on both sides and does not fit in your standard black-and-white superhero dilemma. It’s what makes Invincible so good.

What else the show does well is its underrated comedy. There are a lot of heavy themes present in this show, but it finds a way to appropriately inject humor into each episode.

The cutaway from Mark and Amber getting busy was hilarious and it happens again when Allen and his girlfriend start hooking up. This show is, by no means, a comedy, but it does know how to use it well in the right circumstances.

Speaking of Allen, having his backstory was great. The episode presented it as a voice-over montage and it worked because you could probably dedicate an entire episode to it similar to the Atom Eve special.

We’re understanding the universe better as Invincible builds out its galactic world more and more. Seeing Thadeus betray Allen is heartbreaking but does lead us to question why and how much the Viltrumites have infected the universe.

I’ll take Pictures Taken Before a Disaster for $500, Alex. (Image Credit: Amazon Prime Videos via IGN)

And then we get the done-to-earth segment with the Guardians of the Globe. They’re becoming a bit of an afterthought but what we see of them is always intriguing.

The short arc of Rudy and Monster Girl going to dinner and a movie is cute. Rex doesn’t get enough screen time largely because there’s no larger storylines involving him and yet he’s still enjoyable whenever he shows up.

This leads into a larger concern that’s starting to bubble as the season goes on. Invincible is building so many great storylines, but can it land each one?

There is so much going on in this show that I’m shocked it does a good job at keeping track of all it’s doing. It’s rather impressive. And yet it feels like storylines start and then we don’t hear from them for a while.

There was no appearance of Angstrom Levy (Sterling K. Brown) this week. Last week, we only got a mid-credit scene with him. I’m assuming he’ll play a big role in the later half of the season, but I am bummed to have to wait because of how prominent Levy was in the first episode.

Invincible is juggling a lot of great storylines and I have faith in their ability to land the ship. The show hasn’t offered any indication otherwise at this point as each episode continues to stand out.

That messiah look doesn’t fool me, sir. (Image Credit: Amazon Prime Videos via Comic Book)

Final Score (4 out of 5)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“The Missive, The Machination” was a lot of fun, but showcases a growing concern within season 2 of the show doing too much and stretching too thin. It’s managed to juggle all of its storyline remarkable well so far.

Invincible continues to be a show where the characters carry it each week. Debbie, in particular, is the standout while Mark’s challenges offer compelling weekly tales as he tries to escape Omni-Man’s shadow.

As we head into the mid-season finale next week, we’ll get a good look at the setup for the final four episodes. I hope for some consolidation of the stories and I have no doubt the show will continue to deliver quality storytelling.

Featured Image: Amazon Prime Videos (via Dexterto)

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