Invincible follows the story of Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), a half-alien teenager with superpowers who fights for justice as a superhero while also dealing with the typical obstacles faced by many teenagers. Episode 3 of Invincible season 2 explores the following themes: selflessness and emotional connections. The episode breaks the typical formula of other Invincible episodes in ways that are at times fun but also feel somewhat unnecessary.
The episode begins with Debbie (Sandra Oh) dropping Mark (Steven Yeun) off for his first day of college. Mark is introduced to college life but is also forced to balance pleasure with work, which in this case refers to his life as a superhero. Recurring characters such as Amber (Zazie Beetz) and William (Andrew Rannells) also play important roles in this episode. Another storyline follows Allen (Seth Rogen), the lovable alien from season 1, as he attempts to restore peace in the universe with the help of other powerful intergalactic beings. Two members of the teen team, Rudy (Ross Marquand) and Monster Girl (Grey Griffin), are given a lighthearted storyline as Monster Girl teaches Rudy how to live as a normal person, which is something that he isn’t used to. After Debbie drops off Mark to college, she continues her path to recovery, though she meets some unexpected challenges on the way.
The episode as a whole feels noticeably different from the rest of the show. One specific aspect is the use of a third person narrator, which gives the episode a comic book-like feel. The comedy is also more prevalent in the episode, which works well for the most part. Allen’s reintroduction to the series is the episode’s biggest stand out moment of the episodes, and it is a welcome surprise which will certainly be enjoyable for fans of the show. Despite these positive elements, the use of narration and comedy don’t always mesh very well with the plot, especially given that episode 3 contains some very heavy emotional moments.
The most notable performances of the episode come from Sandra Oh. Her performance as Debbie had been consistently strong up to this point but it is in this episode that she particularly gets to shine. The viewer gets a glimpse of the deeper emotions being experienced by Debbie thanks to Oh’s talent.
Though it is commendable that the writers made some unique creative choices, they don’t fully pay off as the tone of the episode feels inconsistent at times. Even so, the episode succeeds in exploring the complex emotions felt by the characters, primarily Debbie.