Welcome to the Heavy Spoilers show. I’m your host, Paul, and for the last time this year, we’re breaking down ‘Invincible’ Season 2 Episode 4.
The final episode of the first part of season 2 has just dropped, and throughout this video, we’re going to be breaking down the Easter eggs, connections to the comics, and everything you need to know. I also spoke to co-showrunner Simon Racioppa about what happened in this entry and some of the themes, so make sure you stick around for that.
Please hit the thumbs up button one last time, and with that out of the way, a huge thank you for clicking this. Now let’s get into Invincible.
‘INVINCIBLE’ SEASON 2 EPISODE 4 BREAKDOWN
Ok, so predominantly, this entry takes place around Issues 26–30. Though there are other elements that are part of it, those are the main points that we’re going to be covering if you’re interested in the comics.
Now the midpoint of issue 26 has Nolan recapping where his journey took him at the end of season 1. That’s actually where we begin here, and to the sounds of Avalanche by Nick Cave, we watch him journey across the stars. The song was originally written by Leonard Cohen, who based it on a poem that he wrote when he was younger. In the comics, we get the conflict really spelled out for us with Omni-Man discussing how he felt upon refusing to kill Mark.
He even said that he knew Mark was weak and had to die, and that that was the vile way.
However, Nolan then stated that he had two choices: one in which he killed Mark and enslaved Earth, and one in which he didn’t. In the end, he realised he couldn’t do it and fled into the stars.
As we know, there are other earths where Mark joined up with his father and they took over the planet. Eventually, though, as we saw with Levi, these didn’t always lead to victory. Still, there are those realities where they came out on top but both couldn’t do something that required the death of their loved one.
As he sits out on planets, we also get an image that riffs on the panels in the comics with him perched on a rock and looking out.
Off his inner monologue in the book, we know what his plan was, and he actually was seeking out other planets as a way to make good on his failure. Nolan wanted to find another planet and hoped that if he enslaved it, then the Viltrumites would welcome him back. As we know, they’re out looking for him in the galaxy, as abandoning your post is punishable by death.
Within a week of leaving Earth, we learned he discovered one, but the journey in the show is far more fleshed out. We see him travelling the cosmos and even standing on the edge of a black hole. This is modelled in the same way that a redering of one was created for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Using calculations, they created a simulation of one that is thought to be exactly how one would look in real life.
Unlike the comic, Nolan actually finds his new home by saving a doomed vessel rather than going out as a conqueror. It shows how much he has changed as a person, and this was a man who was originally willing to let others die because he viewed them as less than him.
Talking about this guy.
He ends up going to leave, but he is welcomed as a hero. Now technically, the people here are what he should view as being even lower than a human, as they’re insect-like.
On top of this, they only live for roughly 9 months, which would seem even more insignificant to this man who lives for millenia.
They welcome him with open arms and view him as a hero who helps out anyone he can. In the comics, he saw that, because of their short lives, they cycled through leaders at an alarming rate. Thus, it wasn’t long until he was the oldest person on the planet, and thus he could take control and just run things from the throne.
Here, they altered things a lot but also changed Mark’s reaction and how he is with him.
Both pairs clench up their fists, and it seems like they’re going to then duke it out. Mark makes a move to see if he’ll flinch, whereas here he just goes straight in for the hug. In the show, Mark is way more argumentative and probably shows how someone would act in real life. He berates him for killing thousands and manipulating him to get there, whereas the source material has him begging him to come back.
Both, I think, are valid comments on divorce and how kids act when confronted by their parents in the aftermath. This is something I spoke to Simon about back in episode 1, but it spoiled things in this, so I thought I’d leave it out of the video, but it will be posted in our full interview on our YouTube channel.
Now Mark finishes the conversation by telling him to F off, whereas in the comics they toured the planet. It’s way more dismissive with him begging him to come back, but Nolan coldly just says that he’s made a home here.
Mark takes to the sky, determined to just fly home, but his dad calmly talks him down into returning to the planet.
Nolan appeals to his better emotions, and he knows that he’ll stay because the people need his help. This better side has clearly rubbed off on him too, and he wants to protect the planet as he has built a life there.
We then get a scene where he introduces his wife and the pair.
Nah, but this kissing was in the comic too, and it’s probably one of the most memorable panels in the comics. It’s easily a metaphor for when you find out one of your parents has moved on and is with someone else, and to make things more difficult, the pair have had a kid.
At this point, Mark meets his half brother, who looks this way because of the viltrumite DNA. Thats so strong, it actually overpowers the Thraxxan side and makes him look more like what a viltrumite does. Now, I did weigh up whether to spoil this next bit or not, and that is to just call him by his name in the comics. Its kind of sentimental how he gets it though, so I think it’s best not to, so for now, I’m just going to refer to him as Mark’s brother.
At this point, we cut to the title sequence, which covers a swearword instead of invincible.
Still, it works well, but it should be how it turned things on its head to the point that even the title sequence is out of whack.
Next, we jump to Debbie, walking barefoot, still broken from the SOS meeting. In the song Olympus by Blondshell, we see her wandering the streets early in the morning. The song itself talks about someone who had their relationship fall apart but still would kill for the person that left them. They talk about sitting up alone on Olympus and longing for this person to come back. Debbie is a very broken woman, and while Nolan is off doing his own thing, she’s stuck.
I love the way things are put together here, with her wandering the streets alone. This, of course, reflects how Nolan flew through space by himself, and it’s a beautiful marriage of the images.
In one of the darkest moments of the season, we see her look out over a bridge and clearly contemplate whether it’s worth living anymore. Now this, along with the majority of the stuff from the show involving her, is all brand new. Though she has a bit later on that pulls from the comics, it’s still mainly new stuff. I really love how they took the time to flesh her out, as she really is one of the most tragic characters in the show that didn’t get our full attention in the source material.
Now that moment comes when we see her sitting in her home, drinking alone on what’s almost a completely wordless page. Looking through photo albums and drinking on her own, this moment is later built upon with a visit by Art.
Either way we have her visiting Nolan’s grave, we see how opposite the description is to what was revealed in the end. Kinda true now, yeah, but… not to Debbie and Mark.
She basically made up who he was, but he fooled the entire world. Thats what makes the backlash and turmoil Debbie feels so Debbie-stating—because Nolan managed to trick everyone on earth. However, she’s the one who’s still living with the betrayal while everyone else is now getting back to normal.
Speaking of getting back to normal, we see the maulers back in their factory, creating clones and duplicating brains. The story here pulls from issues 28 and 29, with the duplication and conclusion playing out across 3 pages. We see what happens when one Mauler knows they are the original and how this creates a power imbalance that leads to jealousy. Due to one being badly busted up, we now know for definite which one the original is. Theres such a funny panel in the comic where hes just bossing him around, and in both, the original says it will be so much better.
Now back at Debbie, we cut to Donald knocking on his door, and he goes on an introspective look due to his existential crisis.
Looking at the pile of rubble, he starts to piece things together and, in the end, discovers that he’s a robot. He does this by slicing himself open, which reminded me a lot of the scene in Terminator 2. Now, as always, everything has been vastly moved about for the show, with these elements happening a lot differently.
Firstly, the maulers actually cloned themselves, and then the original died before the next one was created, and they headed out. It was at this point that they were then caught by the robot, who brought them in to move across his mind. So all that was happening way later on, as was the stuff with Reanimen and Rick.
Donald went to comfort him because he’d been turned into a cyborg, and Rick was wondering if he’d get a normal life. At this point, Donald opened up to reveal he was one too and talked about the wife and family that he’d gone on to have. None of them knew he was actually part machine, and it helped for him to act like a supportive character.
Anyway, across at the university, we see Eve meeting Amber and William, but shes clearly struggling with what happened last week. Now the important thing to pay attention to here is Amber struggling with Mark being away. I think once we pick up in the second part, you’ll see the toll this trip takes, as Marks is not exactly getting home anytime soon.
So you have all of that to deal with, while Mark has his own issues as well.
OMNI-MAN IN ‘INVINCIBLE’ SEASON 2 EPISODE 4
Back on Thraxa, we see Mark angry about being replaced and how Nolan’s priorities and mindset have changed. Like the source material, we discover that Viltrumites are forbidden from breeding with inferior races and how they are cool with humans, but grasshopper girls are too much. They’ll be viewed as inferior and thus wiped out.
Nolan genuinely seems to repent of what he did, and he finds humanity getting snug with the bugs.
He wants to start training, but in both versions, their time runs out. In the comics, we had a guy bursting in, whereas here, the viltrumites reign down like gods from the sky. They do that in the comics too, but it’s a lot more sudden, with their members also being slightly different as well.
At this point, Mark races across the skyline, and we see Mark racing away with Andressa and his brother in his arms, just like in the comics. Nolan took one look at Andress and couldn’t wait to meet her.
Now elsewhere, we join Even at the Guardians of the Globe headquarters. We take a bit of focus on the shower, and this is, of course, where she discovered Rexplode was cheating. Interestingly, this interior is also very similar to how it was presented in the comics when Rexplode discovered that duplicates were cheating on him.
She can’t go back home and doesn’t want to go to the treehouse, so she lies low here.
At this point, she overhears Killcanon breaking in, who you might recognise from the first episode of season 1. This was the first time Mark fought after getting his costume, and it was also the first time he used his superhero name.
Killcanon was a transformative villain for Mark, and now here he works as this again for Eve.
Now back on Thraxa, we see Mark arriving at a secret tunnel. These are the caves of Roclane, of which Andressa is unsure of their origins. This is likely because of how short their lifespan is, and chances are they probably only got found 3 years ago.
In the comics, though, we discover a bit more and learn that Thraxa used to endure massive lightning storms. They say this happens once every generation, and thus Roclane sought them out so the people could find shelter. With them just living for nine months, it’s probably just part of the season, but they see it as being this legendary thing from the past.
Also, Andressa says the lifespan is about a year, but yeah, comics just drilled into my brain.
Anyway, at this point, she explains how civilization works and how they have to pick things up quickly in order to advance as a civilization.
In the comics, it is explained that they master any task almost instantly upon doing it, which is a necessity because of their lack of time.
The pair also have a conversation here that’s akin to the source material, with her very much talking about how the pair fell in love. It makes you relate to her a lot, and finally, Mark sees it’s not her fault. Unfortunately, though broken up by a big character from the comics, Mark’s second viltrumite test is in the form of Lucan.
Though the other two members aren’t in the source material, here they brought him across to have these moments play out. Lucan was first introduced in the comics, though I think we may have seen a younger version in the show before. There was a guy that looked like him with a bit of hair in the viltrumite flashbacks, but I don’t think we’ll ever get it confirmed whether that’s the case or not.
Either way, in the comics, Lucan’s arrival is what ends issue 27, with us getting a big cliffhanger about what would happen next. He actually tells Mark that if he’s able to withstand his assault, he’ll let him live, and if not, he will die.
The Viltrumites, of course, have a Spartan-type mentality wherein only the strongest survive. Thus, Mark going toe to toe is the only way to prove his worth, with Lucan being one of the planet’s most powerful members.
Its during this in the comics and show that he then discovers Andressa and his brother, which then leads to a big fight. Now they do change things up, as in the source material, Mark flees, and it is only when flying through the air that Omni-Man intervenes.
Here, though, Nolan arrives in the caves, and this was done to give us this added line.
It just goes to show how Nolan knew what kind of world he was bringing them into and how his children would always be in danger. It also allows Mark to save Andressa and his brother, with us getting way more focused on the Nolan vs. Lucan fight.
In the book, we never actually see the disembowelling, whereas here they show it going all out. It also changes things by having Andressa go further into the caves, whereas they were out and about already, so then they flew back and dropped her off. Just neater, really. It is just more economical to have the fight remain in the cave rather than them leaving and then going back to then leave again.
Anyway, we see Killcanon and Eve going toe to toe on the bridge, which is kind of the staple of lots of superhero showdowns. They did it in the first Spider-Man film; the amazing Spider-Man, fantastic, fantastic four was it. Basically, loads of em because it involves heroes having to fight a threat while also protecting innocent bystanders. This is what gets Eve caught out, and she has to dive in to try and save two people. Again, it’s playing into her fear that any good action comes with a cost, and thus she can’t do right by doing wrong. Also nice detail having her with scuba gear, but in the end, yeah, she clearly shook.
Now back with Debbie, we see as she goes through her old photos, at which point she is then joined by Art.
This is kind of playing off the back of a part in issue 22 when the pair go to a bar and drown their sorrows. You have to remember that he was pretty much Nolan’s best friend, and in the comics, they spend a lot of time sharing drinks and joking around.
Art is someone who also got fooled, and he too struggled with the lies that he told him.
Debbie also starts to realise that Nolan wasn’t there all the time and that, due to his life, she almost raped Mark singlehandedly.
She’s the reason why Mark defied his father, and she’s the reason that the world wasn’t enslaved. It was her teachings that caused him to be the way he is, which is really a good message to take from it all.
Now elsewhere, we watch Donald investigate the truth and see the surveillance on Omni-Man’s house. In Episode 7, we watched as he threw that soldier out, whose spine was twisted around, which gives us a different angle in this moment. Cecil also sees his death playing out, as well as the scene in which he blows everything up.
Cut to Thraxa, when we get a moment ripped right out of the comics in which they discover the bodies left in the wake of the viltrumites. That was what closed out issue 28, with the next moment picking up in issue 29.
That was Nolan grabbing his son’s neck, bewildered that he cared about the Thraxans. Mark explained in the comics that it was normal, which then made him snap and grab Mark’s throat. Here they flip the order, and as Mark explains, this is how he should have felt on Earth.
At this point, the other two viltrumites show up with the positioning being ripped right out of the comics.
Now the leader here is Thula, who is a character that comes from the comics. She was actually inserted into the montage of Viltrum, with her being a big character that comes from the comics.
She actually appears way, way, way later in the run, so they bumped her up here to make the character more impactful earlier on. We will be meeting more women as part of the fleet later on, but this shows just how tough they are.
I’ve always loved the blade that she has in her hair, and she promises to kill Mark quickly because of who his dad is.
Nolan and Mark manage to stand their ground, but the battles are big, bloody, and over the top. Nolan tells his son to stop holding back and that if he doesn’t fight to kill, then the battles are going to only go one way.
This moment in the comics too, with Nolan holding his son as he tells him to get ready, In the end, it pushes Mark to where he needs to go and showcases that he is a powerful warrior. We get a sort of montage with it playing out in a big way, taking place across two pages. The art for the battle here is so good, with us getting the characters fighting on top of a background of snapshots of the skirmish.
In the end, the pair come out on top, but Mark refuses to make the tough choice. He gets stabbed, and then Nolan steps in, but it leaves him open to an attack by Lucan.
This is pulled straight from the source material, with him even holding his guts in as he stomps down on his back.
Just like that, he then collapses, but in the show, he says it’s done to explain how the viltrumites know to pick him up.
From here, we cut across to Debbie and Cecil, with this being pulled out of Issue 26.
Here it’s way more restrained, whereas there she slaps him and he teleports out.
Debbie says she doesn’t want the money from Nolan’s books, and this is because it makes them feel like they’re indebted to Cecil. Kept under his thumb, Mark will work with him forever and truly be his slave because he accepts the money.
Now during this, Debbie is packing up Nolan’s stuff, including his book that we see on the front cover. If that guy on the front looks familiar, it’s because that’s actually Nolan. Nolan wrote about his life in some of his work and then sold it on as science fiction stories.
In the end, she ends up taking out his baseball mitt, which he of course used when playing catch with Mark. I feel like this is her refusing to let go and maybe thinking that one day he’ll come back. It seems sentimental to hold onto this, but it is, of course, connected to their son. Maybe shes keeping it to play catch with him, but…probably going to get your arm blown off.
Anyway, back on Thraxa, we see Mark is in the same sort of place as he was at the end of season 1. The man is bloody, beaten, and out on his back, with his dad once again going away.
‘INVINCIBLE’ SEASON 2 EPISODE 4 ENDING EXPLAINED
Now again, this ties into the cover, and in the stories, it outlines lots of information on the Viltrumite Empire. These are things that are not well known, and thus they can provide insight on how to defeat them.
Debbie puts on a suit and then heads out with Nolans Boxes, but ey, isn’t that where the books are? Deary me.
Now we see the man with the invincible gun, which is a story that appears in the comics. They had a bit where Mark went to Art and read excerpts of the book. Geussing that Art is going to be the one who picks it up here and then Mark reads them later on, but we’re going to see.
Elsewhere, we watch Eve return home, attempting to make amends with her family. Donald also confirms the truth, and we see the lives of the characters changing in really meaningful ways. This is all I was yesterday by Zoe Boekbinder, which talks about the past and how you long for a time before things went bad.
Cutting back to Thraxa, we hear the voice of Clancy Brown, who is playing the legendary character General Kreeg.
Here he basically gives Mark Nolans mission and instructs him to resume taking over earth. In the comics, the man gave him 100 years to do it, whereas here it seems a lot more immediate.
He says if Mark doesn’t kill a few, then hell kill millions, and it brings things full circle from that opening scene in another universe.
Now the credits scene takes us to Mauler in a moment that’s ripped out of the source material. This has the clone killing the original Mauler, and thus neither is really going to know who the clone is.
It shows why they don’t like knowing because, in the end, it just creates a power imbalance.
That closes us out with Mauler keeling over, and we end things with everyone sort of on the down side.
So obviously, a huge thank you to Simon for taking the time to talk to me about the show, and a huge thank you to you guys for checking these videos out as well. I really appreciate it and do want to do a season 2 part 2 predictions video very soon as well, so make sure you stay stuck on the channel for that too. Again, I will be dropping the interview in full on our YouTube channel too, and if we get the opportunity next time, I would love to see if you guys have any questions that you want me to ask. Please tag it with the name Simon, and then I can just search the comments easily and get that brought up.
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