Invincible – Season 2 Episode 3 “This Missive, This Machination” Recap & Review

This Missive, This Machination!

Invincible goes to college in episode 3 of the series. Mark, embarrassed by his toys, throws them all into the dumpster, save for his favorite, Seance Dog. William, now Mark’s roommate, explains the familiar ‘sock over the door’ implications, and immediately puts it to use. Mark and Amber have sex for the first time as well. A narrator then turns our attention to This Missive, This Machination.

The narrator recounts planet Unopa being taken over by the Viltrumites. They join the Coalition of Planets. The Unopans created Allen (Seth Rogen) to challenge the Viltrumites and ultimately search for anyone that could defeat them. Rather than introduce the show as Invincible, the title credits read Allen The Alien. Allen informs the Coalition about Invincible. The Coalition is not doing well against the Viltrumites. Allen argues with the council on Mark’s behalf because they don’t trust Viltrumites. Thaedus suspects the Viltrumites have infiltrated the council.

Everyone is busy ‘getting busy,’ so the narrator turns our attention to Allen’s cat-like alien pet. At dinner, Allen is confronted by three Viltrumites. They’re looking to confirm that Omni-Man had a child on Earth, and abandoned his post. Allen won’t answer their questions, so they beat him to within an inch of his life while his girlfriend watches. Thaedus ‘pulls the plug’ on Allen, killing him.

After Allen the Alien

Robot (Now Rudy) is hard at work removing fear from his brain- literally. This doesn’t sit well with Monster Girl. He summons the courage to ask her to a movie, and she agrees. Debbie goes to a support group for spouses of superheroes. She meets Theo (Daveed Diggs). Monster Girl helps Rudy sneak into his first-ever in-theater movie, and try his first burger.

Debbie and Theo bond over their experiences over drinks, but Debbie learns that Omni-Man killed Theo’s partner, The Green Ghost. As it turns out, William was not having sex earlier, he just forgot to take the sock off the door after his demonstration. Seance Dog (the real one) knocks on the door, asking for Mark. He’s actually Nuolzot, asking Invincible to help his people from death by meteor showers. Invincible agrees to help despite Cecil’s protests.

Debbie decides to open up to Theo outside the bar. Theo is angry hearing the truth, and tells Debbie not to come back to the group. The shape-shifting bug, Nuolzot, leads Mark to his king… the king is Nolan/Omni-Man, Mark’s father. The episode ends on a cliffhanger.

The Episode Review

“This Missive, This Machination” is another example of Invincible’s creativity and vague familiarity. Right off the bat, with the Mom trying not to cry over her son, the Toy Story 3 moment, the sock on the door, the camera moving away from the lovers towards a view of the city, it dipped fairly hard into the cliche. It’s punctuated nicely, though, by the cheeky narration that came out of nowhere.

Allen was one of the most intriguing, silly things to come out of the first season. Peter Cullen’s voice is iconic and instantly recognizable as Thaedus. Getting an expansion of Allen’s story was a promise fulfilled, and his short-livedness made his death all the more devastating. More than that, the half-episode diversion did well to expand the scope of the story that was set up in the season 1 finale. It may seem late in the show to be introducing a Coalition of Planets to ultimately stop Omni-Man’s plans. However, there’s just so much going on, and most of it is worthy of attention.

Duplie-Kate and Rex’s fight manages to feel trashy, darkly fun in a reality TV kind of way. It feels a bit useless. Rudy and Monster Girl’s story was a major curveball in season one. Yes, what Robot did to get a body was inarguably creepy… but he did it for love! And she’s into it! Getting to see them finally go out on a date was a catharsis. Their date is wrapped in the theme that the idiosyncrasies of human life are self-justifying, even fear and eating unhealthy food. It echoes Mark’s decision to defend humanity from his father.

Superhero’s Spouse

Debbie’s internal struggle remains the dramatic high point of the season so far. The raw weight of Sandra Oh’s and Daveed Diggs’ emotional exchanges are utterly deflating. Theo’s reaction is, of course, understandable, but having seen everything Debbie has been through makes it easy to hate him. When you feel conflicted about hating a character less than 10 minutes after meeting him, you have effective drama.

The overarching theme of this season is remaining on track, and delving into identity in a way most superhero films and shows simply lack the depth to do. The moments of cliche and comedy in the show lower your guard for the dramatic gut-punches that are sure to follow, both literally and figuratively. It seemed Mark was just becoming unshakeable in his resolve to be different from his father. Will this stand when put to the ultimate test yet again?

Previous Episode

Next Episode

You can read our Season 2 Review of Invincible here!

  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment