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‘Invincible’s second episode feels the tug of the many sub plots it has to service

“In About Six Hours, I Lose My Virginity to a Fish” caters to many sub plots, but the winners are still Mark and Debbie.

Pictured from left to right: Amber Justine Bennett (voiced by Zazie Beetz) and Markus Sebastian “Mark” Grayson (voiced by Steven Yeun) graduate from high school together in Robert Kirkman’s ‘Invincible’ Season 2 Episode 2, “In About Six Hours I Lose My Virginity to a Fish”. Photo credits to Prime Video.

A Lesson For Your Next Life” established Invincible’s second-season core issue in how the world picks up the pieces after what Oni-Man has done. “In About Six Hours, I Lose My Virginity to a Fish” further investigates this within the characters of Mark and Debbie. Within that 40-minute timeframe, it also looks to introduce a few more subplots that are hit or miss in the whole scheme of the narrative. It can’t all focus on Mark and Debbie’s perspectives, even if they are the ones that work the best. Other characters have to be established. However, there’s so much to get to that it feels like many things are fighting for time.

Mark/Invincible is pushing through the typical young superhero problems in balancing saving the world with being present for young milestones—his encounter with Doc. Seismic to impede his quest for granite liberation was a light-hearted, funny intro. After that falls away, you can still see he’s struggling with what Nolan did and trying to shed any overtures he will end up following Oni-Man’s footsteps. It lets him be at the beck and call of Cecil, who claims he’s looking out for Mark’s best interest. But time will tell because there’s always that fear Mark could go rogue as he does later in the episode (even though it’s for the right reason).

The faults of Omi-Man aren’t just mental. Mark has to deal with the physical ramifications of battling Darkwing II (the sidekick of Darkwing I whom Omi-Man killed) in the cursed Midnight City and potentially marrying the queen of Atlantis to make up for the murder of their king. Finding out later that you have to battle a kaiju instead is an even bigger headache. Much of Mark’s two-places-at-once threads with Amber and, generally, has been the bane of Peter Parker’s existence since his inception. The more interesting realization in this particular story is him deciding he’s not like his father and helping the Atlantians, even as Cecil tells him to abandon them. It’s a step forward in the story that may have ramifications work-wise.

Courtesy of Prime Video

Debbie’s screen time is brief in the second episode, but the emotion of it all is compelling. She’s a mother trying to connect with her son and feels him slipping away into a cycle of trying to escape a stigma. At the same time, Nolan/Omi-Man, calling her a pet, is clawing inside her. We don’t need to see much of it to feel her pain. Outside of the main Grayson story, director Ian Abando and director Matt Lambert look to flesh out more of the side stories.

The best use of this is the conflict between Samantha/Eve and her parents on two spectrums. No good deed goes unpunished, and there are limits to what a powerful person can do in the realm of structure. Samantha’s heart is in the right place concerning the Chicago reformation project. She wants to help even as the construction workers get annoyed with her and even does so at a mother’s insistence. But there’s red tape for a reason, and Samantha’s efforts almost lead to people getting seriously hurt. Lump that in the fact Samantha’s parents are falling on hard times (perhaps her father should have taken the golden apple. Nine out of ten people would have).

Courtesy of Prime

There’s this pride in having a job, and because of the destruction in Chicago, that was taken away from him. Thus, there’s a total rejection of the good things Samantha can do – an overall good way to spin off a variation of Mark’s story inside another character. Besides that, the episode returns to the alien posing as the astronaut formally known as Rus Livingston. In watching a newscast, he gains inspiration from seeing the heroism of the deceased Martian Man and becomes Shapeshifter. I understand the Guardians are in trouble as a new-ish squadron about to face off against the Lizard League, but they accept Shapeshifter Rus all too quickly. Especially when you consider the animation hinting at something darker while Rus tells his boilerplate superhero origin story.

Rex Splode’s anger towards the Immortal and Dupli-Kate’s rendezvous feels like it was put in this episode for laughs sake. It takes up the time where the post-credits scene of the looming threat of Angstrom Levy could have been a better needle drop for all of this to end. I wouldn’t go as far as saying “In About Six Hours, I Lose My Virginity to a Fish” is filter to surveying the fallout feel of the first episode. Things progress with Mark and Debbie’s collective grief. Hopefully, they can help each other through it. Samantha has to reason with the responsibility of who she is and how she uses it. Something else is brewing with Shapeshifter because we know something will go down. It’s just everybody else that has to find a purpose.