University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Review: Invincible S2, Ep. 8

Jemimah Kayode

ByJemimah Kayode

May 13, 2024

CONTAINS SPOILERS, TW: Violence

As we come to the last edition of this academic year, I thought it fitting to return to the same show I reviewed in the first edition.

It has been a long year for Invincible fans. After a two-year wait for season 2, fans were ecstatic to find out that new episodes would be arriving on 3 November 2023. Only to discover that there would be a hiatus after episode 4. A hiatus that lasted until 14 March 2024. However, Invincible isn’t in Amazon’s top five most-watched shows for no reason, and this last episode did not disappoint.

This episode proved harrowing for Mark and his family. Our first introduction to Mark in this episode is him rushing into his house to find Angstrom Levy wrapping his hands around his mother Debbie’s head, threatening to kill her while she is carrying baby Oliver. Now, threatening to kill or harm the loved ones of a superhero for a villain isn’t anything new. However, what was interesting to see about Invincible was the diversion from mainstream superhero cliches where the villain merely threatens family members and you don’t actually believe that they will harm them. At multiple points throughout the show, Levy is seen putting hands on Debbie and injuring her. He throws her to the ground, slaps her in the face, and most shockingly and unexpectedly, breaks her arm, whilst then going on to dangle Oliver from his leg and threatening to make “the child hurt”. Having to watch Debbie try to protect Oliver from this man’s lunacy has been devastating because we get to see how much she has grown to love and care for this child that her husband fathered after he left Earth… and her. Honestly, this season has made me admire her more, having to watch her pick up the pieces that Nolan left behind and try and put herself back together, as well as be a mother to her son and then to the child her husband sired with someone else.

Angstrom Levy spends the episode forcing Mark into alternate realities and universes while he is threatening both Debbie and Oliver. It’s through Levy’s conversations with Debbie that we learn just how unhinged and broken he has become due to the accident, and it’s truly chilling to see how he is unable to distinguish between events that happened with our Mark Grayson and what the alternate one’s did to him. His anguish is almost palpable, but so is my fear for Debbie and the child.

Finally, Levy seems ready to fight. So far, Levy has proven unhinged, but powerful, and at this part in the episode, Mark has been fighting for who knows how long through however many dimensions and is physically exhausted. So when he tells Mark that the doctors “improved” his body, I do fear for Mark’s life, especially as all the show has shown us so far, is that he is pretty much everything except invincible. So, then we have to watch a tired Mark put up with more punches. Then, Angstrom Levy starts threatening Mark’s family again and suddenly, Mark snaps. Mark starts hitting back and we get to watch the accumulation of all his exhaustion, frustration and anger. For the entire season, the running theme has been that he needs to stop holding back and we finally get to see it happen. We finally see him snap and break. Mark loses control and with every hit, he is splattered with Levy’s blood.

And he doesn’t stop.

So now, instead of fearing for Mark’s life, I start fearing for Levy’s life and Mark’s no-kill record. And then it finally happens. Mark finally kills someone, and we watch him break, and as he screams, we hear those heartbreaking, devastating words, “I thought you were stronger”. This literally brought chills to me and with the addition of the music, the camera panning outwards and seeing all the blood on the ground I feel the gravity of the situation and what Mark has done.

From this point onwards, we witness Mark’s breakdown via a monologue. Stephen Yeun’s voice acting here is phenomenal. We watch Mark go from denial to rationalisation to acceptance. “He made me kill him… I wanted to kill him… I thought he was stronger; he told me he was stronger… I wanted to kill him but I didn’t know if I could… He took me here and I killed him, and now I’m stuck forever”. Mark is now trapped, alone, in an alternate dimension and his own mind, due to his own actions, and coming to the realisation that he is one step closer to what he doesn’t want to be… his dad.

Eventually, Mark is rescued from this desolate land, and we watch him curl up into a ball, sobbing into his mother’s arms on her hospital bed. 

All in all, this season was great, but I did think Levy was going to play a bigger role. But, really, all he did was play a role in Mark’s development and I’m guessing in his preparation to take on the Viltrumites. I look forward to next season, but given Amazon’s track record, that could be anytime between next year and the next decade.

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