NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Invincible” are present in this review
It appears that Omni-Man can no longer hide his true colours from the world at large. This week’s penultimate Season 1 episode of Invincible, “We Need to Talk”, sees Nolan unable to cover up his gruesome murders of the former Guardians of the Globe any longer, eventually culminating in a hell of a setup for next week’s season finale. Before that however, we get a great showcase of heart-pounding action and destruction, as the GDA tries throwing everything in their arsenal at an increasingly enraged Omni-Man, in a desperate bid to stop him from making contact with his son. Mark is no doubt extra susceptible to suggestion as well, considering that he’s currently reeling from being dumped by Amber.
The show’s Amber subplot ends up taking a very interesting turn here as well– Amber knew that Mark was Invincible for several weeks now, and is simply angry over Mark refusing to confide his secret identity in her. Yeah, this is maybe a little reckless, though I suppose that Amber is a teenager, one that probably can’t fully appreciate the gravity of being involved in a superhero’s inner circle. That being said however, as much as it’s interesting to see how sharp Amber truly is around Mark, the subplot of Mark being constantly raked over the coals due to how he treated Amber feels excessive and annoying, being a weak link in an otherwise very exciting episode.
The pacing does continually amp up overall, and the narrative does eventually abandon Mark’s civilian woes, but before that, Mark spending time moping over Amber doesn’t mesh well with everything else. Moreover, despite seeking comfort from both William and Eve, they both see fit to kick Mark while he’s down, essentially punishing him for wanting to be a good superhero, while simultaneously insisting that he do better as a superhero. The writing just doesn’t really track here, and it quickly feels like drama for drama’s own sake. At least Amber is barely in this episode, but even so, whenever Mark is wasting time moping, it’s a squandered quiet moment that will just make you want to go back to the action against Omni-Man.
Fortunately, this week’s Invincible episode does present a better subplot surrounding the new Guardians of the Globe as well, or more specifically, Robot. After Cecil puts the new Guardians on alert, in case they need to step in and assist in the battle against Omni-Man (a notion that predictably confuses them), Robot uses the opportunity to oversee the Mauler Twins’ completed work on their mystery project; Building Robot a new human body. Yes, as it turns out (or, as it may shock you, if you haven’t read the Invincible comic books), Robot is actually a severely deformed, pod-contained mutant who has been acting and communicating through robotic drones. This is why Robot had the Mauler Twins build him a new body, having lifted some DNA from Rex Splode in order to complete the concoction, before copying his consciousness into it.
Surprisingly, even this turn results in some solid action. The Mauler Twins and Robot, now going under the civilian identity, Rudy Connors, disagree on their payment plan, resulting in Robot/Rudy using a neural link to attack the Mauler Twins with a giant robot rig! This is another very cool sequence, one that eventually sees Rudy simply flee the battle, leaving the Mauler Twins at large. Rudy naturally has to explain himself to the new Guardians as well, with Monster Girl putting together that Robot became Rudy in order to better interact with her, allowing his original body to die, while a clone body with a copy of his mind carried on. The new Guardians are naturally overwhelmed by this change in their friend, and honestly, there could have been a bit more focus on it, though I do understand that Invincible’s first season only has one episode left after this, and that episode is no doubt being reserved for a showdown between Mark and his father.
This battle is heavily foreshadowed throughout this episode, after Nolan comes to realize that the GDA is spying on him. Debbie is taken to safety with Cecil, but the initial revelation of the GDA’s meddling leads to Nolan cornering Donald, who detonates a house with Nolan inside, killing himself, only to tragically fail to stop Nolan for more than a second. The continued escalation of Cecil’s methods, especially in response to his friend’s death, does an excellent job of showcasing both how terrifying Omni-Man can truly be when provoked, and just how ill-equipped this world is to stop its most celebrated superhero. Nolan keeps insisting he had his reasons for killing the former Guardians, but the GDA nonetheless keeps throwing everything they have at Nolan, only making him angrier in the process, which eventually culminates in Cecil unleashing the Kaiju that Nolan previously battled in Japan.
There’s another really great payoff here to boot. Two, in fact! After witnessing his father being nearly devoured by the Kaiju, Mark intervenes and sadly gives Nolan a definitive advantage against the monster. Eve, whom Mark was flying with beforehand, gets called away by Cecil, but the Mauler Twins’ pet project also ends up showing up on the scene. As last week’s episode teased in its epilogue, the Mauler Twins dug up the body of Immortal, trying to use schematics from Robot to put a GDA collar on him, which would make Immortal a slave to the Mauler Twins. Thanks to Robot giving them bum collar schematics however, the resurrected Immortal breaks free of the Mauler Twins’ confinement, ultimately flying to Omni-Man in a fit of rage, before the two superheroes engage in another violent battle. This battle eventually concludes with Mark, and everyone across the world, courtesy of some news helicopters, witnessing Omni-Man tearing Immortal in half, to which everyone reacts in horror. Mark, meanwhile, is simply confused at what his father has done, to which Nolan replies that they need to talk, and that’s the end of this episode. There’s not even an epilogue this time, a first for Invincible at this point, so you know that things have become very serious.
As much as it’s terrifying to see unfold (in a good way), the GDA’s continued efforts against Omni-Man, along with Robot’s shocking transformation into Rudy Connors, leads to another episode that beautifully flexes Invincible’s animation. The Omni-Man sequences in particular continue to be spectacularly violent and gory, constantly building in scope until everyone across the world eventually sees Nolan for the monster he appears to be, including Mark. Thus, “We Need to Talk” is a fantastic setup for next week’s season finale, one that has Invincible’s excitement cranked up to awesome effect. I definitely could have done without the tedious Amber subplot, especially when Mark’s friends are unrealistically blaming him for everything that went wrong there, but fortunately, that subplot doesn’t take up most of this episode. Besides, there’s nothing like the knowledge of Mark’s father being a mass superhero murderer to put your contrived adolescent relationship drama into perspective.
- Violent, spectacular battle between Nolan and the GDA
- Robot's shocking transformation into Rudy
- Nolan inadvertently revealing his monstrous side to the world
- Amber drama is beginning to feel very forced
- Not much focus around the new Guardians witnessing Robot's new look