Thursday, October 20, 2005

TV Review: Invasion: "Unnatural Selection"

Oh my, things are getting creepier in the aftermath of Hurricane Eve on the Shaun Cassidy/ABC series, Invasion. This week, storm "survivors" (those who disappeared in the storm and then mysteriously washed up nude on the shore sometime later...) have gathered in a "Hurricane Survivors Group" that meets at the local church. Mariel attends, the priest attends, Veronica Cartwright (who survived the Invasion of the Body Snatchers...) attends, and most importantly, Sheriff Tom Underlay attends, and he has something to say...

Tom delivers a speech at the church altar that gives us the first big chunk of this strange character's backstory. It seems that back in 1996, Underlay and his first wife were on a flight to Atlanta. But the plane crashed and spread debris over a mile. There were no survivors...except Tom. He was pulled up from the ocean by rescue divers a full twenty-hours after the crash. What's clear then (and my friend, Howard Margolin, the host of Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction said this in a private e-mail to me weeks ago...) is that Tom is the vanguard of the invasion; the advance scout. Very interesting.

"I emerged stronger and with a clearer purpose..." Tom tells the flock gathered around him, "and that's the gift Hurricane Eve gave you." By his way of thinking, they've all been "chosen" to rebuild the community "as they rebuild themselves." His words clearly can be interpreted two ways. Either Tom's just a really nice guy who's been through a terrible tragedy and he's encouraging others who have seen tragedy in their lives. Or, he's rallying the alien troops for the impending colonization.

I wonder if these aliens here on Earth in Invasion represent not a race coming to steal the Earth, but perhaps a group of refugees or aliens, just looking for a safe place to live. That would put an interesting spin on the series.

On other fronts, the series is clearly starting to more closely resemble the plot of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This week, a man is killed by Tom because he had imperiled one of the mystery survivors, his wife Lucy. But their son, Gage, confides in Russell that something's wrong with Lucy. "She didn't come back the same," he whispers. Indeed. When family members start saying that they don't recognize family members, or that Mom's somehow "changed," we've landed clearly in the county of the pod people. Check those cellars for sea pods!

Invasion is still moving at a snail's pace; and yet I still like it best of all the new alien shows. Go figure.

3 comments:

  1. THIS SHOW IS THE BEST AS WAS CLEAR AFTER LAST NIGHTS EPISODE. i'LL GO OUT ON A LIMB AND SAY THAT THE SHERIFF IS GOINT OT BE A GOOD GUY IN THE END BUT HE IS AN ALIEN. i SAW THIS LITTLE THING ABOUT IT AND THEY SAID THINGS MIGHT NOT TURN OUT AS THEY SEEM, ND THE WAY HE WAS HELPING THE REPORTER ??

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  2. i like the invasion strategy where the bad guys behave pretty benevolently, such as having the invaded collectivize in...a church group to...rebuild the communities. pretty provocative stuff actually, i think shaun cassidy and company will have a great time mining this ambiguity.

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