A C-130 hurricane hunter plane flies into the eye of Hurricane Eve, hours before it’s due to make landfall near Miami, Florida. The crew realizes too late that something else is in the eye of the storm as well – something large, under the water, which then blasts the plane out of the sky with thousands of brilliant lights.
Park ranger Russell Varon battens down the hatches at work and then rushes home to find that his daughter Rose has disappeared while looking for her missing cat. Russell’s teenage son, Jesse, is boarding up the windows of their home, and both Russell and Jesse are annoyed when Russell’s ex-wife Mariel, now married to the sheriff of Dade County, makes an appearance to accuse Russell of not caring properly for their children. Jesse shuts his mother out of the house while Russell looks for Rose in the woods near the house.
Just before Russell finds her, Rose sees thousands of lights descending from the storm itself into the water. Trying to dodge a falling power line on the drive home, Russell rolls his truck over and he and Rose aren’t rescued until the next morning. When Russell returns home, he finds it’s a mess, but Jesse is unhurt, as are Russell’s new wife, reporter Larkin Groves, and her hard-drinking conspiracy-theorist brother Dave. But Mariel apparently never made it home after leaving Russell’s house, and Sheriff Underlay promptly makes an appearance to question Russell and Jesse. Underlay gets a call: Mariel’s car has been found in the Everglades, but she’s not in it. He, Russell and Jesse join the search parties, and find her naked, but otherwise unharmed, at the edge of the swamp. She doesn’t seem to recognize anyone except Underlay.
Intrigued by Rose’s mention of lights in the sky, Dave asks her to guide him to where she saw them land. Traveling through the swamp by boat, Dave finds a large piece of metal – and finds something else as well. He takes Rose back home and then goes back to retrieve what he saw: mangled human remains, enmeshed in the remains of some kind of creature he’s never seen, floating just under the surface of the water. Dave shares his terrifying find only with Russell, who refuses to share Dave’s belief that it’s evidence of an alien presence on Earth. Still skeptical, Russell agrees to accompany Dave back to the swamp that night. They see something glowing under the water, and when Dave tries to get a closer look, something grabs him and pulls him under the water. Russell dives in and brings him back to safety, but now Dave is more convinced than ever that he’s seen an alien life form. Russell takes Dave to the hospital where Mariel is one of the head doctors, and she seems dismissive of the idea that Dave has been attacked by anything other than an alligator.
Why are more people being found in circumstances just like Mariel’s – completely disoriented, unclothed, and then back on their feet and doing their jobs within hours? Why have Mariel and Sheriff Underlay agreed to quarantine Homestead despite Russell’s assurances that it’s not necessary? Why can’t Rose shake the feeling that something has changed about her mother? And why is Russell starting to find that he can’t completely discount Dave’s rantings about alien invaders?
Season 1 Regular Cast: William Fichtner (Sheriff Tom Underlay), Eddie Cibrian (Russell Varon), Lisa Sheridan (Larkin Groves), Kari Matchett (Dr. Mariel Underlay), Tyler Labine (Dave Groves), Evan Peters (Jesse Varon), Ariel Gade (Rose Varon), Alexis Dziena (Kira Underlay), Aisha Hinds (Mona Gomez)
Guest Cast: Jeannetta Arnette (Ruth), Frank Collison (Earl), Bryan Anthony (Guardsman), Ivar Brogger (Dazed man), Phe Caplan (Young woman), Holmes Osborne (Mayor Littles), Amy Watt (Ms. Gilroy), Scott Mercer (A.A. reporter), Rich Skidmore (Anchorman), Robert Standley (Pilot), Ryan Honey (Navigator), Gwen Mihok (Weather Officer), Mesan Richardson (Dropsonde operator), Juan Ramirez (Hispanic man,) Lorena Mena (Hispanic woman), Aramis Knight (Hispanic boy)
Notes: In reality, Homestead, Florida was nearly wiped off the map by Hurricane Andrew in 1992; the first two episodes allude to that real event. In an example of the worst possible timing, the pilot episode of Invasion aired mere weeks after Hurricane Katrina slammed into parts of Louisiana and Mississippi – and just days before Hurricane Rita struck Texas and the other end of the Louisiana coast. ABC quickly pulled promos and previews referencing the fictional hurricane in the wake of Katrina.
Kari Matchett was a recurring cast member on the posthumous Gene Roddenberry series Earth: Final Conflict, appearing throughout the series as the Taelon conspirator Zo’or. SF movie fans may remember William Fichtner as Kent, the blind colleague of Jodie Foster’s character in the feature film adaptation of Contact.
LogBook entry by Earl Green