Invasion Season 1 Ending Explained: The Visitors Haven't Left

Apple TV+'s series "Invasion" is not your typical alien show. The series takes place all across the globe as seemingly random people are impacted by first contact from extraterrestrials. The series' budget appears to be as massive as its scope, but its stories mostly stay grounded thanks to a few standout performances and an emotional score by Max Richter.

The first season of "Invasion" was apparently a success, as Apple has already ordered a second one. "I'm super excited about what we're planning for season two, expanding our universe in the most intimate and epic ways," series co-creator Simon Kinberg said when the news of the renewal first broke. Indeed, the show that initially seemed like it could've been a limited series turned out to be a bit more sprawling, tying up some loose ends but leaving others unraveled at the end of its first 10 episodes.

Mitsuki makes contact

For the most part, "Invasion" is your typical sci-fi fare, so its first season ending isn't so much existential or profound as it is simply narratively interesting. The show follows five key characters across the world, although one who featured prominently in promotional materials was unceremoniously killed way back in episode 1: Sam Neill's Sheriff Jim Bell Tyson, an Oklahoma man on the verge of retirement, is among the first to encounter the extra-terrestrial creatures, and is swiftly dispatched by them, never to be seen again.

The other four key players are schoolboy Caspar (Billy Barratt), soldier Trevante (Shamier Anderson), doctor-turned-housewife Aneesha (Golshifteh Farahani), and astronaut comms specialist Mitsuki (Shiori Kutsuna). It's the latter who ultimately unlocks the key to the whole interplanetary endeavor when her dead lover –- or an alien cosplaying as her –- makes contact with Mitsuki in the penultimate episode. In a sweet moment, Mitsuki asks the disembodied voice of Hinata (Rinko Kikuchi) what happened when the pair first went home together, and it responds by playing a David Bowie song in reference to the couple's discussion of the musician.

The sincere moment is cut short, however, when it's revealed that Mitsuki is communicating with (probably) the alien force as a form of distraction while the United States nukes the crap out of the invaders. Although her fellow scientists confirm she's talking to a synthetic version of her girlfriend, Mitsuki isn't convinced, and in the final episode, she returns to the satellite station to try one more time to get in contact with her lost love.

Mitsuki's plot hits the hardest of any in the first season of "Invasion," and her grief feels very real, but so does her hope. If the aliens can somehow know that she and Hinata talked about David Bowie after their first date, that either means they've harnessed Hinata's brain power, or they can read Mitsuki's thoughts. The third option, of course, is that Hinata is somehow alive, and communicating with her through the alien technology.

Caspar ends up in a liminal space

Not everyone makes it through the early stages of the invasion unscathed, though. Seizure-prone UK schoolkid Caspar turns out to have a strong link to the aliens, and whenever he has an episode, he seems to see the future. He meets up with Trevante in London, and the pair decide to induce a seizure on purpose to see if they can stop the alien invasion. It's unclear whether its this procedure or, you know, the nuclear bomb that does the trick, but the invasion does stop when Caspar falls into a seizure. Unfortunately, he doesn't get to see the world come back to life again post-invasion. Caspar is left with no brain activity, and Trevante –- whose life in deployment hasn't allowed him much time to process anything –- mourns his death.

Of course, "Invasion" wouldn't get a second season if it didn't have a story teed up for kickoff, and it starts planting the seeds for its continuing plot at the very end of its finale. We see Caspar on a table in the morgue, but we also see him -– in his own mind? In an alternate dimension? — being given a compass that leads him to what seems to be a pulsating, bioluminescent landscape. Stranger yet, the man giving him the compass is Hinata's father. "You can see where you are and where you're going," he says. "You can see how the world pulls."

Caspar isn't the only person to end the season in a strange, liminal space. After finally making it home to his wife, Trevante goes on a much-deserved vacation, only to be overcome with emotions when he sees a spacecraft hovering in the distance. Meanwhile, Aneesha and her family end up at an abandoned fire station, sans her husband Ahmed, who seems to have sacrificed himself when the family got caught in the woods. Aneesha suddenly awakens in the middle of the night, and her son, Luke, clings to the iridescent material he found that seems to act as a sort of Kryptonite for these aliens.

The group still feels the invaders

This is an ending that's much more suggestive than it is explicit: it's all but impossible to know exactly what's going on, but "Invasion" seems to want it that way. The four people we started the series with seemed random at first, but each one played a key role in vanquishing the aliens. It's noteworthy that we don't see any news footage at the series' end marking the space invaders' return. Instead, the focus is on the overwhelmingly personal experiences of the people witnessing them.

In fact, the season ends on a note that's so personal, it's hard to tell if the remnants of the invasion are real for everyone, or only visible to those who ended up closest to the species the first time around. Caspar and Mitsuki's plots seem to indicate the show is ready to head into a more metaphysical direction, which would be a welcome turn after the slow burn "War of the Worlds"-like first season. Until "Invasion" returns, we'll be left to ponder the impact these visitors have left on earth, wonder if Sam Neill will return as a creepy alien vessel, and play that painfully gorgeous score on repeat.