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#13. Invasion: Earth (S1)

Sci-fi and I don't get along so well, actually we usually avoid each other mutually. I tend to get bored after a little while and I'm not that nerd as some of my friends think so I don't get the Star Trek jokes (Sheldon Cooper would be so disappointed in me) or any other thing that involves aliens and starships. So, my dear reader, you might be wondering: what possessed me to watch a very defunct British mini-series about aliens invading the Highlands? Well...it's just 6 episodes and Phyllis Logan plays a very badass RAF pilot. Oh, yes, and frakcancer told me there was a high rate of shipping. So, I watched it (and you still haven't heard about the Babylon 5 spin-off with Gary Cole I have stored somewhere which I'll watch sooner or later...).


And surprisingly, I don't know if it was the fangirling, but I watched this mini-series so easily, wishing there were more episodes at the end. Basically, the show is about a scientist who believes there's life out there, a bunch of quite skeptical soldiers and two (!) different species of aliens who invade Scotland in order to take over the planet (well, at least one of the two species does because the other is a bit like pandas on its way towards extinction). Not the most original plot, probably, if you're a sci-fi buff. Still, I found a couple of things that really dragged me in. And a couple that annoyed me.

Let's start with the annoying ones. First, the female lead (lead?). Amanda Tucker, the scientist played by Maggie O'Neill, wasn't that engaging as a character to me. Maybe it's because I'm more on the "I don't believe it till I see it" side like some of the soldiers so I tended to cheer for them. Or maybe it's because she wallowed a bit too much in self-pity (after all, being inhabited by an alien could lead to that, I guess) and I don't like that. Moreover, the romance with Lt. Drake (Vincent Regan) was quite boring and predictable. Drake was quite decent as a character, but those two together? Yes, boring. I really didn't feel the sparkle, the connection, whatever. Amanda's assistant, whose name totally escapes me at the moment, was way more interesting and funny, even though he didn't have that much screentime.

That said, there were things I liked too. The story about the English pilot from WWII who befriended the aliens, the good ones, and became one of them is one. I found the story really interesting and very well done visually, also thanks to the black and white which made the atmosphere quite unique. Maybe this is really what all my sci-fi obsessed friends talk about when they say sci-fi is not really just about aliens, but about other things. Maybe. Perhaps it's because this hauntigly sad and beautiful story had a lot to tell about human nature that I liked it. The fact Lt. Terrell (Anton Lesser) was such a sweet person and it was really impossible not to emphatize with him probably helped as well.

And then there was Helen Knox, magnificent badass Helen who really didn't believe in E.T. and all his friends and wasn't afraid to mistreat a witness just to get her answers right. It was for a reason if she's called Fort Knox. Still, even if skeptical to the bone and very no non-sensical, she was so absolutely and scaringly human just under the surface, glimpses of her doubts and fears sparkling in her eyes and showing in her features. No wonder I could so easily identify with her. And who's fault is that? Phyllis Logan's, of course. Because she's just awesome and delivered a fantastic interpretation. And it's not just the fangirl in me speaking. I'm talking objectively here. Helen is a real multidimensional character and what I really loved in her it's she wasn't afraid to admit she was wrong, to go back and fight for what she believed in till the ultimate sacrifice. Specially from episode 4 on, this was more and more evident and then, at the end, she really appeared so vulnerable and so determined at the same time.

Coincidentally, episodes 4/6 are the more shippy ones as well. I know, the General (David Reece) was married. And apparently, Helen was married too. Still, you really can't help notice their interaction, the chemistry between them, also because they're the ones in charge, the ones with most responsibilities and worries to carry on so it was quite natural they relied on each other, seeking for each other's support while making decisions. There was definitely a sparkle (I'm using this word a lot here) there. So, yes, I ship them.

And then, there's the ending. HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD!!! The ending was...well, disappointing. First off, Helen was probably dead. She sacrified her own life to map the alien thing that invaded Scoltand and help the others to destroy it. The General felt so lonely and a tad guilty for that too. But mostly, it ends with a big explosion in which both Amanda and Drake end up dead as well. But we don't see that because it all ends with a giant white light. And then, that's it, the end. So what would have been left after that? Just AUs in which your fave characters survive I guess. But that's a completely different story...

Comments

theviciouslily
Jan. 19th, 2014 01:00 am (UTC)
Nice review. During the first episode I kept thinking "Helen is going to get to actually do something, isn't she?". Then she revealed herself to be too double-bastard hard to bother with the Geneva convention and my interest was instantly revived.

I can't say I agree about Reece, though. The fact he always called her by her first name while they were on duty got up my nose. Squadron Leader is no rank to be sneezed at. I really wanted her to turn around and yell, "you'll address me by my proper title, you little bollocks!" He did it to Group Captain Brain Surgeon as well, but never to Drake, so I'm wondering if it was meant to be taken as an indicator of his attitude towards female service-members. Then again, it could just have been a script fumble. Maybe it's an American military thing to call your subordinates by their first names. IMO, he was as dull as tar anyway. I would have loved it if Helen and Grp Cpt Brain Surgeon had gotten their own spin-off instead. Those two were the only ones I gave a shit about.

Edited at 2014-01-22 11:39 pm (UTC)
ellie987
Jan. 25th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the long time it took me to reply. I haven't been on LJ in ages!

Wasn't Helen absolutely fantastic??? I adored her!

Sorry you didn't like Reece though. :(
theviciouslily
Feb. 1st, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
No worries about the reply. I'm hardly ever here myself (I'm under the same name on tumblr if you want to check me out at all).

At least we can all agree that Helen is indeed fantastic.

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