'Felt natural to move it': Invincible season 2 episode 3's shock character reveal was almost held back

Mark Grayson looks stunned as he sees someone off-camera in Invincible season 2 episode 3
Invincible season 2's third episode contains a big character reveal. (Image credit: Prime Video)

Major spoilers follow for Invincible season 2 episode 3.

Invincible season 2 episode 3's "unexpected" character reveal was originally going to be used as its mid-season finale cliffhanger, according to its co-showrunner.

Speaking to TechRadar, Simon Racioppa confirmed that this season's third entry, titled 'This Missive, This Machination!', wasn't supposed to end with Mark Grayson/Invincible meeting a familiar face. Indeed, Racioppa revealed the scene in question was initially conceived for next week's episode but was moved up for storytelling reasons.

We're about to get into major spoiler territory for Invincible season 2 episode 3. Don't read past the image below if you haven't seen it yet.

Mark Grayson sits as he holds his superhero mask in Invincible season 2

Well, this is one reunion we didn't expect to see so soon. (Image credit: Prime Video)

The Prime Video show's latest episode sees Mark travel to the planet Thraxa alongside a bug-like alien called Nuolzot at the latter's request. According to Nuolzot, Thraxa is in danger and, as the sole Viltrum-esque superhero (remember, Mark's a human-Viltrum hybrid) with good intentions, Mark is the only one who can help.

That's what Mark is led to believe, anyway. It turns out Nuolzot lied to him about Thraxa being in peril. Nuolzot was sent to Earth to bring Mark to Thraxa because its ruler wanted to meet him.

Color us all shocked, then, when Mark goes to meet said leader of the Thraxans and it's none other than his father Nolan, aka Omni-Man, who had deserted his Earthly post after nearly beating his son to death in Invincible's season 1 finale. Realizing that he couldn't kill his child and conquer Earth for the Viltrum Empire, a teary-eyed Nolan flew off into space for destinations unknown, leaving fans wondering when they'd see him again in one of the best Prime Video shows.

Nolan Grayson extends his hand to son Mark, who stands off-screen, in Invincible season 2 episode 3

Welcome back, Nolan – and how could you do that to Mark and Debbie!? (Image credit: Prime Video)

Well, viewers didn't have too long to wait. There'll be many questions about what Nolan's been up to since he left Mark and Debbie – and, without spoiling anything, I can confirm you'll get answers soon enough.

One query Racioppa can respond to immediately, however, concerns Nolan's return to the fold. There'll be sizable parts of Invincible's fanbase that didn't expect him to show up so soon after his betrayal but, as Racioppa confirmed, it was always the plan to bring Nolan back before season 2's forthcoming mid-season finale, which airs on November 24. 

Indeed, Racioppa and original Invincible co-creator Robert Kirkman initially debated whether Nolan should return in the last scene of the forthcoming mid-season finale. That would've generated plenty of online discussions and theorizing in the break between the second season's two parts, which Racioppa previously told me "wasn't the original plan" for season 2.

"At one point we had it at the mid-season [point]," Racioppa explained. "Early on, we mapped out the whole episode breakdown for the season, and sometimes you're moving parts where they fall logically. We knew where we wanted this season to start and end, and then have the other story beats slide around loosely until it feels right to drop them in and lock them into the right shape. As we were putting the episodes together, it felt natural to move it [Nolan's return] into episode 3."

Delighted as fans will be to see Nolan reappear, some might wonder why he's returned just three episodes into season 2. Speaking to TechRadar in a separate chat, Kirkman suggested episode 3 was "the right time" for Nolan and Mark's reunion.

"One of the things we're trying to do with Invincible is deliver [on promises]," he said. "I think a lot of shows tease too much, so I don't feel like Nolan appeared too soon. We're trying to use this season to show people this is Mark's story, and Nolan is a big part of that, but Mark is the protagonist, not Nolan.

"When we were breaking the story down in the writers room, that's where it naturally fell in the end. I think if it happened later, in, say, episode 7, people would be expecting it and anticipate it more. So, to put it in episode 3 makes it much more unexpected and dynamic, and just shows how densely packed each season is going to be."

Kirkman and Racioppa will be back to answer your biggest questions about Invincible season 2's mid-season finale next week, so stick with TechRadar for more exclusive coverage. In the meantime, read our Invincible season 2 part 1 review or check out our in-depth interview feature that looks at how Invincible season 2 is crafting a bolder and "more grounded" multiverse than DC and Marvel.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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