War of the Worlds Season 2 Recap: Timeline Reset, Bill’s Sacrifice & the Virus Threat

With War of the Worlds back in the US for Season 3, here’s what you need to remember from last time. Spoilers.

War of the Worlds Bill Ward
Photo: Urban Myth/Epix/Canal+

Warning: contains major spoilers for War of the Worlds Season 2.

At the end of War of the Worlds season two, everything was unravelled. The ‘alien’ invasion, and everything we’d seen happen over the past 16 episodes was undone. With the help of Invader Isla and her dead partner Micah’s time-travel formula, neuroscientist Bill Ward went back in time and stopped it all from ever happening. How? By killing the Invaders’ ancestor Emily Gresham.

Bill’s World-Saving Sacrifice 

When Bill pushed teenager Emily off a hospital roof, he ensured that Emily and Sacha would never meet and sire a tribe of malevolent future-humans who would one day visit present-day Earth (all sporting matching bullseye tattoos copied from Emily’s teenage whim) and slaughter billions. 

Bill murdering Emily meant that she and Sacha would never pass on their combined genetic conditions (his incestuously inherited Muscular Dystrophy and her Stargardt Disease/blindness-causing macular degeneration) to their space offspring. That meant said offspring would never develop into a genetically compromised society that would need to travel back in time to cure themselves by harvesting organs and stem cells from their genetically healthy ancestors on Earth. 

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Bill’s actions didn’t come without a cost. He have saved the world, but the world he’d saved saw him only as a man who’d pushed a blind teenager to her death for no reason. He didn’t receive a hero’s welcome, but a prison sentence for murder and the alienation of his son Daniel and ex-wife Helen.

Back from the Dead

That was another consequence of Bill stopping the invasion – every death we’d witnessed over two seasons of bloodshed was reversed. Daniel and Helen were suddenly alive and well. Ash the hospital porter who’d been stabbed to death by an increasingly psychotic Sacha, was fine and dandy. Sacha never met or fatally shot Emily’s mother Sarah, so she’s out there now too. French physicist Catherine, who we’d seen killed by a ‘Mechanical’ (the name the Invaders gave to the killer robo-dogs they sent out from their ships as a first wave), was alive again. Catherine had never met and fallen for Colonel Makrani, and so had also never lost him. Her sister Sophia similarly hadn’t lost her partner Nathan, the father of her baby, because their baby no longer existed in this new reality. And so on and so on.

Bill having stopped the original invasion from ever happening though, doesn’t mean that Earth is safe. That’s because when Bill travelled back in time, he didn’t go alone. A handful of murderous, human-hating Invaders led by the ruthless Adina also came along for the ride. Bill’s Invader ally Isla was shot dead by Adina just as the ship was taking them back, leaving a clutch of very dangerous Invaders stranded in the new invasion-less reality. And thanks to Isla, Micah’s book of time travel formulas is now also in the new reality with them, if only they can retrieve it.

Adina and the Virus Threat

Adina and co.’s hatred of present-day humanity was handed down generation to generation, thanks to French psychopath Sacha – the Adam to Emily’s Eve – radicalising his descendants against his former people. Adina thinks the only good present-day human is a dead present-day human, and as such, still poses a major threat to humanity now that she’s trapped on Earth without a ship. Particularly because Adina is in possession of a vial of Bill’s virus. 

In season two, Bill created a virus as a weapon against the Invaders. He tested it on Emily – who, as their ancestor, shared genetic material with them – and found that it worked. Without insulin to reverse its effects, Emily would have died and so too would the Invaders. When Emily’s brother Tom was almost killed by the Invaders, Emily recognised their brutality and agreed to let Bill use the virus in her blood to try to wipe out her Invader future-children. 

Adina’s people however, knew that Bill was destined to create the Invader-targeting virus, and so broke into his lab and stole a vial of it. The plan was to reverse it so it would work as a biological weapon against present-day humans instead of their people.

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Visions Bleeding Through Realities

That’s the situation War of the Worlds is in now – no longer quite an invasion drama but more a terrorism thriller. There’s a cell of Invaders working to destroy humanity and ensure the survival of their people. There’s only one man who knows that they’re out there, but he’s locked up for murder and nobody would believe him if he tried to explain. Our cast has mostly never met one another, and they don’t even know that their lives have been saved. French teenager Sacha is presumably out there somewhere, but without Emily, does he even pose a threat?

And then there’s something else: the visions.

Despite there having been no invasion in this new reality, we were shown at the end of season two that images from the invasion-timeline had bled through for some people. Before Bill killed her, Emily reported having visions of bodies piled up in the streets. Zoe had flashes of both Bill, Emily and a violent attack that she wasn’t able to explain. Had the accidental arrival of the Invaders in the non-invasion timeline caused both realities to bleed together? Season three will tell.

War of the Worlds Season 3 Episodes 1-3 will be available to stream in the US on Epix from Monday the 12th of September, and is expected to stream on Disney+ in the UK at a date tbc.