REVIEW: ‘Invincible,’ Episode 5 – “That Actually Hurt”

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Invincible Episode 5Invincible Episode 5 tests its protagonist’s moniker with the appropriately titled episode, “That Actually Hurt.” Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) struggles to balance his superhero career as Invincible and his relationship with Amber (Zazie Beetz). Complications arise when the rock-skinned Titan (Mahershala Ali) approaches Mark with an idea to take down his boss, Machine Head (Jeffery Donovan). Meanwhile, Robot (Zachary Quinto) struggles to make the Guardians of the Globe a cohesive unit, Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs) deals with her overbearing parents and doubts about her superhero career, and Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh) is forced to face the fact that her husband Nolan (J.K. Simmons) is not who he says he is.

Titan first appeared in Invincible’s pilot episode, “It’s About Time,” where he served as the first superpowered opponent Invincible ever fought. Here, he is given more dimension, as the reason for his life of crime is revealed. It’s also a nice way to make Titan a more well-rounded character, as the comics didn’t really expand on his home life. Ali is no stranger to playing villains with a sympathetic side, having taken a similar role as the Prowler in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. I also loved that the opening juxtaposes Titan and Invincible’s lives, particularly with how one manages to balance his work/life balance. And it’s not who you think.

“That Actually Hurt” features one of the bloodiest action sequences in the show to date-even rivaling the shocking ending of “It’s About Time.” It’s a realistic look at how a superhero vs. supervillain fight might go: supervillains are willing to cheat and kill, where superheroes aren’t. Suffice it to say, Invincible and the Guardians are in for a massive shock-and the episode ends on one of the most nerve-wracking cliffhangers I’ve seen so far. Fair warning: this fight is not for the faint of heart.

This cliffhanger comes courtesy of a collection of rogues that Invincible fought in the comics, including the feral warrior known as Battle Beast. Battle Beast is well known for his bloodlust and fighting prowess, and Invincible and the Guardians learn this the hard way. Adding to the awesomeness is the fact that Battle Beast is voiced by Michael Dorn, who is best known for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Worf-who happens to be another warrior alien. I hope to see more of Battle Beast in the future, especially since he played a significant role in the Invincible comics. Other villain standouts include Machine Head himself, with Donovan giving the crime boss an auto-tuned voice that is equal parts amusing and sinister.

“That Actually Hurt” doesn’t skimp on the dramatic elements either. Mark constantly shows up late on dates with Amber, which puts a strain on their relationship-and she understandably is upset. Yeun and Beetz are in fine form during these exchanges, with the latter delivering her lines in a firm, unyielding tone. Amber cares for Mark, but she wants to make sure she’s first in his life. Similarly, Oh shifts Debbie into detective mode as she starts to unveil the truth about her husband, which is a departure for the comics but a welcome one as it could ratchet up the drama in the series’ remaining episodes.

Finally, “That Actually Hurt” features one of the bloodiest action sequences in the show to date-even rivaling the shocking ending of “It’s About Time.” It’s a realistic look at how a superhero vs. supervillain fight might go: supervillains are willing to cheat and kill, where superheroes aren’t. Suffice it to say, Invincible and the Guardians are in for a massive shock-and the episode ends on one of the most nerve-wracking cliffhangers I’ve seen so far.

Invincible Episode 5 finds common ground between its title hero and one of his villains and ends on a blood-soaked cliffhanger. With only three episodes left in the series, Invincible could go anywhere-and that’s an extremely exciting possibility.

New episodes of Invincible are available to stream Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.

Invincible Episode 5 - "That Actually Hurt"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Invincible Episode 5 finds common ground between its title hero and one of his villains and ends on a blood-soaked cliffhanger. With only three episodes left in the series, Invincible could go anywhere-and that’s an extremely exciting possibility.