‘Invincible: Atom Eve’ Recap & Ending, Explained: Did Eve Learn About Her True Parentage?

Along with the teaser trailer for the second season of the much anticipated and acclaimed animated series Invincible, based on the comics of the same name by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley, a one-hour special has been released on Amazon Prime. The special, titled Invincible Atom Eve, revolves around the origin of the leading female superhero of the series, Atom Eve, voiced by Gillian Jacobs. It is a prequel to the main series itself as it showcases Eve’s journey from infancy to a period when she truly owned her superhero moniker. So far, we have known Eve, the molecular structure manipulating super, as an invaluable member of the Teen Team and also got to know about her estranged relationship with her parents, which led to her moving out of her home. The special reveals her true potential, which might just make her the strongest superhero in the Invincible universe and keeping in sync with the tradition of the series, her backstory is explored with ample amounts of violence, tragedy, and brutality.

Spoilers Ahead


A Cataclysmic Birth: What Did Viewers Learn About Eve’s Origin?

Invincible Atom Eve episode begins with the Lizard League, a group of reptilian power-based supervillains, breaking and entering inside a governmental black site, which is supposed to be an experimental lab, and searching for a particular serum. The superhero team, Guardians of the Globe, soon arrives on the scene and engages in a violent conflict with the Lizard League. Their battle almost crashes the building down, and Omni-Man, the strongest superhero on the planet, arrives just in time to save the day.

As the battle rages on, scientist Dr. Elias Brandyworth escorts a woman named Polly out of the facility. Polly is in labor and needs immediate medical attention, which prompts Brandyworth to drive her to the nearest hospital. However, something strange has afflicted Polly, which is shown through her emitting energy charges, for which Brandyworth is somehow responsible, and she asks him to take care of her child in case she doesn’t make it. En route, he receives a call from government agent Erickson, who threatens him to bring Polly, who is apparently carrying a ‘specimen’ back to the facility. Brandyworth ignores his warnings and admits Polly to the hospital.

Brandyworth warns medical professionals to be prepared for every inconceivable situation, as the child who is about to be born already has superpowers. Polly’s fits of supercharged emission get out of control, knocking out all the medics at the operating table, and presumably killing Polly in the process. Elias mourns Polly’s death, but realizing that the child could still be alive, he operates it out of her womb. Moments later, Erickson and his men arrive at the hospital in search of the baby and the mother, and by then, adhering to the instructions of Brandyworth, a nurse has given the girl child to Adam and Betsy Wilkins. The Wilkins couple had just lost their child, but the nurse misguided them deliberately to believe that Polly’s child was their own, and they named her Samantha Eve Wilkins. Brandyworth gets captured by Erickson’s men and lies to them about the deaths of both the mother and the child, but he is momentarily relieved to learn that he has managed to save the child at least.

The events of the beginning of the special take place almost two decades before the main series, at which point Omni-Man’s villainous side didn’t come to the surface. It is understandable why he was the last person to be suspected in the murder of the Guardians when we see the camaraderie he shared with the team, which makes the betrayal even more tragic and shocking. The government back then was still very much engaged in heinous covert experiments to weaponize the superpowers; not content with just the Guardians at their side, the authorities wanted to have their own killing machine, which is the reason Polly was experimented upon. Eve was supposed to be the government’s superweapon, but thanks to Brandyworth’s intervention, her future turned out to be different.


Atom Eve: How Did Samatha Discover Her Powers?

Since a very young age, Samantha displayed a knack for science, especially in molecular structure-based studies, and turned out to be a science prodigy. Betsy and Adam care about Samantha, but they tend to be overbearing and condescending most of the time, and Samantha’s uniqueness is seen as concerning and weird to them. Samantha gets enrolled in a school for gifted students, where she academically excels but suffers from loneliness most of the time due to feeling alienated. However, a neighborhood girl of her same age, Val, befriends her and turns out to be the only person she can confide in. A teenage Samantha reveals to Val that she wants to leave everything behind; her life at a special school is uninspiring and boring, with all the kids only aspiring to excel in their careers, while she wants to do something good for the world.

However, even as she grows up, the situation at Samantha’s home hasn’t changed a bit, as Betsy and Adam are still busy grilling her for the most basic childlike tendencies. After one such bout of rebuke, little Samantha tearfully rushes to her room and accidentally transmutes her book into the crystal. Shocked at the revelation, Samantha finds out that not only can she change the molecular structure of an object to turn it into something entirely different, but she can also create energy-based objects out of nothing. Later, Samantha reveals her powers to Val, who unfortunately gets freaked out and distances herself from that point onward, which leaves Samantha lonelier than ever.

Samantha continues to explore her powers and realizes that she cannot manipulate the molecular structure of living beings. As Samantha grew up, Elias, who is now in a destitute condition, had been observing her all the while. After creating a domino mask using her powers, Samantha reignites her wish to help the world by becoming a superhero. Using her powers, she makes her hovering platform and wearing an all-pink makeshift costume, Samantha ventures out to test her powers for the first time. As her superhero alter ego, Samantha herself chooses the name, Atom Eve.


What Did Elias Reveal To Eve?

A natural in terms of using her skills, Eve quickly gets the hang of her powers and, in her first mission, easily thwarts two dog traffickers. Elias, who was on the lookout, appears in front of her, and Eve at once gets alarmed, considering him a stranger creep. However, after learning that he knows about her past and the origin of her powers, Eve decides to tag along with him and learn what he knows.

Elias reveals his identity as a former assistant director of the Pentagon’s Department of Superhuman Research, whose assignment was to create a superweapon like Samantha, who was going to be controlled by the U.S. military. Elias warns Samantha not to use her powers, which can alert the military of her presence and bring them to her doorstep. He vanishes as suddenly as he appears when he senses danger. Samantha uses her hover platform to return to her home, which Erickson observes from a government facility thanks to drones capturing the footage. Since losing their supposed superweapon and the chief scientist, Erickson has been using Elias’ lackey to create new superhumans, which has only resulted in apparent failures. However, these ‘failures’ still had complete human consciousness and mental acumen; only their physical features were grotesque, and their powers were uncontrollable. Right after being born inside tubes, all these humanoid anomalies were subjected to torture, hate, and demeaning treatments, making them feel belittled and purposeless. After learning the first child (Samantha), whom Erickson calls phase one, indeed survived (energy signature similarities), Erickson prepares to bring her back ‘home.’ 


Did Eve Learn About Her True Parentage?

The next day, which is also Eve’s birthday, Eve sets out to search for Elias to learn about her birth parents but is unable to find him. While searching for him, she intercepts a fleeing bank thief supervillain named Killcanon, and after an intense battle, she manages to knock her out. Elias appears right after to remind her about his warning not to use her powers and gradually shares more about what he knows about her parentage.

Although Elias doesn’t know about Eve’s father, he states that her mother, Polly, was his research partner and agreed to undergo the experimental procedure during her pregnancy. We see in the flashback sequence that Elias convinced Polly, who was a pregnant homeless woman, to undergo the experiments during the late stages of her pregnancy in exchange for a better life for herself and her child. Polly’s amniotic fluid was altered, mutational change was imbued, and her bodily system was flooded with decaying particles, which resulted in Samantha getting superpowers before her birth. Elias became sympathetic towards Polly, and she wished her child to have a normal life far away from the cruelties to which she would have been subjected inside the lab. Elias regretted his action and tried to get Polly out of this mess, but it was already too late as Polly died during childbirth, and Elias could only secure a better life for Samantha by entrusting her with the Wilkins. Their conversation is cut short as the anomalies sent by Erickson attack the city, and Samantha, donning her Atom Eve costume, goes to check up on the situation.

As she confronts the anomalies, Phase Two, the only one of them capable of speaking, introduces himself and the rest of them as her siblings and states that he despises how she got to have a normal, perfect life, in sync with her perfect appearance, while the anomalies were loathed for their mere existence. As their fight begins, Samantha realizes that unlike her, they can transmute biological organisms as well, and Elias said he deliberately put a subconscious block in Samantha that prevented her from using that power, knowing the ability to transmute or manipulate living tissue can be unethical and too dangerous—something his lackey didn’t care about. Samantha gets pummeled by the anomalies and gets saved by Elias, and she herself saves him as well. An aggrieved Phase Two goes into a fury and almost breaks down Samantha’s defense but starts rapidly decaying himself along with his other anomaly siblings. Samantha empathizes with her siblings’ predicament, apologizes to him, and helplessly holds a dying Phase Two in her arms. As both siblings tearfully bid adieu to each other, they hold hands, and Phase Two states his last wish if things were different between them. A drained, devastated Samantha falls unconscious, and the duo is captured by Erickson’s team.

At their secret facility, Erickson intends to use Elias to continue their weapon program and holds Eve captive. However, after gaining consciousness, Eve easily gets free and demands Elias’ freedom. Erickson tries to distract Eve by showing that her birth mother, Polly, is held captive in a comatose state inside one of the tubes, and she was experimented upon relentlessly to keep her alive and produce the anomalies—a revelation that truly solidifies Phase Two’s sibling claims to Eve. Elias breaks down in agony and attacks Erickson, and during their struggle, both Elias and Polly get shot. Infuriated to the worst limit, Eve holds Erickson and Elias’ lackey scientist accountable for the demise of her entire family and gets into an elevated state, which supposedly unlocks her subconscious barrier, and she wipes the memories of Erickson and the lackey. Before leaving the facility, Eve mourns the deaths of Elias and Polly.

An aggrieved Eve returns home, where the Wilkins couple have made arrangements for her birthday celebration, but again facing their chastisement, Eve retires to her room at the very moment. Eve takes a family photograph in her hand and transmutes it into a photograph consisting of her original family—consisting of Elias, Polly, and her four siblings—as they would have appeared in their human form. Betsy knocks at her door to comfort her daughter, and Eve comes to the realization that, as of now, she has to make do with the family she is a part of and hugs Betsy. The poignant, heavy tone of the special and heartbreaking narrative excels on all fronts and truly establishes Atom Eve as one of the most humane characters of the series.


A Look At Familiar Faces

Invincible Atom Eve special episode doesn’t end there, however, as the mid credits titled “Where Was Mark Grayson During All This?” take viewers to the Grayson household, where Omni-Man, aka Nolan Grayson, returns home to his wife Debbie and son Mark. We see a teenage Mark, whose Viltrumite genetics haven’t kicked in yet and who has not developed any powers, pretending to be a duct-taped man in front of his parents. As Linda and Mark return to their quarters, the view gets fixed on Nolan’s face, who is anxious about whether Mark will develop his powers. As the special ends, Nolan’s face momentarily gets crooked in fiendish anger and hatred, showcasing his true nature before he controls himself and continues his usual casual pretense.


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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