Synopsis: As aliens quietly invade Earth by replacing individual humans, only a young boy (Jack Gore) realises that his father (Greg Kinnear) has become a dangerous monster. Desperate to protect his mother (Mireille Enos) and the human race in general, he must make terrible decisions to save them all.
Review: This episode drew heavily on classic films such as E. T. and Invasion of the Bodysnatchers as well as on more recent releases such as Stranger Things. The juxtaposition of middle class Americana with the alien invasion plot was well done throughout.
The CGI of the lights raining from the sky was beautiful and I particularly liked the shot of Charlie and his dad standing outside their tent watching them. There is a very human subplot of parents separating which is well acted by Greg Kinnear and Mireille Enos. Kinnear acts brilliantly in this episode, being able to convey the threat and the otherness of the thing through his stance and stilted speech.
There is poignancy when the father thing describes being driven from his home and wandering the stars. He also puts forth the humanness and decency of Charlie’s father through his pep talk to Charlie early in the episode, which ends up becoming a plot point as Charlie leads a resistance to the aliens by the end.
This installment could also be read as a metaphor for Charlie’s separation anxiety as his conversation with his mother in the car about how his father had changed felt very real. There are some great shots that call to mind the Invasion of the Bodysnatchers with the father thing standing in a circle of other taken humans seen from Charlie’s point of view, as well as the image of the father thing walking down the road alone in pursuit of Charlie and his friends.
The dialogue in this outing felt very true to life, with Jack Lewis and Zakk Paradise performing well as Charlie’s friends. Their scenes together reminded me a lot of Stranger Things. The music was good in this episode. I loved the buildup of tension created when Charlie finds his real father’s remains in a garage dustbin. There is a lovely human moment at the end where Charlie repeats his father’s maxim that “It’s the insides that matter the most”.
Overall, a good episode that blended suburbia and horror well.
- Incidental Music8.0