(Extra credit) Significance of the hug in Invincible

The show Invincible, an Amazon Prime Original by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, and Cory Walker, has taken audiences by storm. After finding out his father had been lying to him about his past as an alien conqueror rather than a simple superhero in season 1, episode 4 of season 2 shows them reuniting for the first time. Mark, the son/protagonist, was tricked into seeing his father by manipulating his urge to help people. This episode explores the philosophy and symbolism of the ultra-powerful Omniman, which can be related to our relationship with humans and lesser animals on Earth. The most interesting part of the episode to me was Mark giving his father a hug after seeing him for the first time. The buildup to the moment made you suspect he would lash out in anger with tense music and an oscillating camera/animated POV. Instead, he hugs his father before yelling at him. This moment signifies the duality of Mark’s consciousness while also showing his broken psyche. Mark has so much justifiable anger towards his father, but he’s still broken. Due to his humanity, he doesn’t understand Nolan’s point of view that his mom and all of his friends are lesser beings. This is signified through the motif of the bug planet they meet on. Nolan has a child with a bug, who has a lifespan of 1 year. He sees no problem with this. The bugs are a symbol of how he views humanity. This also raises the question of if he is wrong for thinking this. Here on Earth, we see bugs as less than us. If we see a bug in our house, we often kill it. Why is this any different than an alien god conquering Earth? Nolan leaving Earth may even show he has more humanity than any other character in the show. This idea of the supposed villain being more humane than the heroes fascinates me and reiterates my love for this show.

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