Season 1 Episode 4
Neil Armstrong, Eat Your Heart Out
Official Description – It’s two firsts for Mark: a first date and a first trip to another planet. At the same time, Nolan and Debbie revisit their own first vacation together.
The show opens with a stranger in a desert nation making content with something that has a deadly potential. In a cinematic segue, the scene then cuts to Mark and his father Nolan flying over a desert. The sandstorm Mark creates is similar to the one that ends the opener. It’s a reminder that everything in this universe is connected for better or for worse.
As Nolan trains Mark, he delivers his views regarding Earth, and talks about his journey from Viltrumite, and that race’s importance. While he speaks in the compassionate tone of a nurturing father, his feeling of superiority are evident. He is a man torn between feelings of duty and marked condescension.
Mark, however, has a different aspect. He loves his life and wants nothing more than to protect his home and live up to the life of a hero. As the two have a similar temperament, the question becomes: “Is Nolan’s disregard for humanity the product of upbringing?” Throughout this episode, the dichotomy between the two are explored and I, for one, am left wondering what will happen if the two eventually face off.
The episode then turns to Debbie Grayson. The matriarch of the family is highlighted extensively in this episode. While helping Olga deal with the loss of her partner, Debbie begins to question not only her husband, but the life they all lead. Actor Sandra Oh shines in this role. Her portrayal of Debbie as strong, independent, and the heart of her family is intense and emotional. The way she deals with Nolan’s erratic behavior and Mark’s teenage angst is well done and familiar.
When Mark let’s it be known that he has a date, Nolan suggests he and Debbie go on a date of their own. Mark’s date with Amber Bennett shows not only their growing affection, but the large similarities between her and Debbie. Nolan and Debbie’s time on the town, instead conveys a growing riff between them.
Meanwhile, the world of Invincible is rife with conflict and danger. The new Guardians of the Globe set up shop in their headquarters. And a familiar enemy makes destructive plans. Mark also heads off world on a mission that has surprising results.
Amidst all these separate plots, the main story is still that of the investigation regarding Nolan’s activity as Omni-Man. This episode moves slower and is less gory than what I have come to expect. However, the character development is brilliant. JK Simmons’s portrayal of a slowly devolving Nolan is both subtle and terrifying. And I can’t wait to see more.