Secret Invasion 1×01 sees the return of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury to Earth to solve another Avenger-level threat to all of humanity. But this time, Fury isn’t the same one-eyed badass we’ve come to know in the MCU. Coming into the show, I knew Marvel would be tasked with explaining where the show would find Fury. Why did Fury leave Earth? Why did he and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) abandon the plan to find the Skrulls a home?
We get to see life post Thanos’ snap from the eyes of one of the most human MCU characters we’ve been with since the beginning, and it’s a breath of fresh air from what Marvel Studios has been dishing out recently. Overall the episode sets up Fury to stop the invasion in the coming weeks. Whether he is up to it or not is up for debate as we find out as we see more of what the Skrulls have in store.
Anyone Can Be A Skrull, So Trust No One
I’m happy the show didn’t waste any time throwing us into the depths of what felt like a spy show with Everett Ross’ (Martin Freeman) return to checking up on a lead on the pending Skrull invasion. The last time we saw him, he was on the run after the government found out he was feeding the Wakandans information in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In the first five minutes, we get front-row tickets to what Fury will be up against when he returns.
Ross’ character becomes suspicious of Agent Prescod (Rochard Dormer), who he finds in Moscow, and here is where the show gets good. The agent reveals he can’t trust anyone because the Skrulls have been planning their invasion of Earth for decades. Prescod links global events to the Skrulls to Ross’s amusement, but we slowly discover Ross isn’t acting like himself. Even as a watcher, I couldn’t distinguish between the two who were human and who were Skrull.
Ross ends up in a chase reminiscent of spy films like Mission Impossible, with the music and great cinematic shots that add to the danger of it all. Only to find out that Ross wasn’t even human! That was a good one I didn’t expect, and if more episodes were like this, I might have to manage my emotions a little. My favorite MCU character might be dead, or they might be a Skrull; who knows?
Talos And Fury Reunite
Secret Invasion is a show about Fury’s friendship with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) that has spanned over 30 years. By reuniting Fury and Talos in the first scenes, it’s clear they will lead the six-episode series, with their friendship being tested at every point. When they met in 1995, Fury promised to help but never fulfilled that promise. Now it’s 2025 — after the blip, and the former Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. finds Talos’ wife dead. Talos questions all his race has done to help Fury throughout the years, only to get nothing in return.
Talos explains how he was pushed into exile, leaving room for Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) to take over and influence some factions of the Skrulls to do whatever it takes to find a home. And make Nick Fury pay. Cue Cobie Smolders’ Maria Hill, who explains Gravik’s role in the invasion and the plan the Skrull Everett Ross was trying to hide. Fury is shocked to learn the fate of humanity depends on him again and takes some time to process things.
Fury Is On His Own This Time
Fury leaves the only people he can trust only to get kidnapped by Olivia Coleman’s MI6’s Sonya Falswowrth. Right off the bat, Sonya rips into Fury with jokes we appreciate in the middle of tense events. Samuel L. Jackson is humorous as Fury as he tries to convince his friend to get ready to kill some bad Skrulls. But Talos isn’t on board with killing his kind. Not all of them are on Gravik’s side; some are just refugees looking for a home.
Don Cheadle also appears in the first episode alongside United States President Ritson, played by Dermot Mulroney. War Machine explains that Fury has left the space station S.A.B.E.R and gone ‘rogue’ as Fury and Talos follow a lead from the hidden camera Fury left at Sonya’s office, which is where their friendship is tested. Talos and Fury’s interrogation styles prove ineffective when they meet a Skrull undercover. Fury kills the Skrull, which disappoints Talos since he feels they can do without killing his kind to stop Gravik.
Throughout Secret Invasion 1×01, everyone from Hill to Sonya to Talos has pointed out that Fury isn’t the same. He hasn’t been since the blip. He’s not as sharp as he used to be. I mean, who would be after dying and returning to life after 5 years? Fury also lost his closest friends, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johanson) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), with whom he started the Avengers. So it’s understandable that he doesn’t trust himself to be three steps ahead or responsible for other people’s lives after they lost to Thanos. He didn’t see Thanos’ snap coming, which still haunts him.
Gravik’s Skrull Invasion
Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke makes her debut as Talos’ daughter G’iah, and I’m just happy to see her finally debut in the MCU. Even if she is the 11th GOT actor to cross over, it doesn’t matter. From what she does in the first few scenes, it’s clear G’iah is trusted by Gravik’s rebel group. Through her, we see how the Skrulls impersonate someone while their real bodies are kept in weird pods in the Russian camp they call ‘New Skrullos.’ G’iah witnesses a Skrull steal a human’s face and memories without blinking, proving how far she has strayed to the dark side since we last saw her.
We get to see how the Skrulls do what they do to get not only someone’s face but their memories as well. And it’s both eerie and terrifying. Talos’ daughter is sent on a mission to retrieve bombs for a strike they have planned for Moscow. All while Fury and Hill get back to doing what they know how to do best. For a minute, it felt like S.H.I.E.L.D. was back.
G’iah meets her father while she’s on the run with the explosives. And here is where Clarke and Mendelsohn shine. Talos tells G’iah the news that her mother passed away while she was off fighting with the Rebel faction. Their reunion was intense, not much was said, but I felt the conflict between their characters wanting to do what is right or what their people deserve. Their moment is short-lived when Talos lets her get away – which he regrets later on after the damage the bombs do.
The Ending Was Shocking
G’iah becomes a double agent and feeds her father information about the impending attack. Fury and his team think they’re finally a few steps ahead, but it’s Garvik who has been playing them this whole time. We didn’t see much of the moody villain throughout the episode, but he was all over the last scenes when he detonated all three bombs in front of Fury. Kingsley Ben-Adir did a great job keeping us glued to his every move on the screen. I got so immersed in him that I forgot Skrulls can easily shapeshift after one look at a human.
The worst happens at the end of the episode when Skrull Nick Fury shoots Hill. I knew they had to do something drastic to show viewers just how high the stakes are in this Disney Plus project, but why Maria Hill? Earlier, when she told Fury he wasn’t ready and someone would get hurt, it foreshadowed this moment. It was tragic and unexpected. Hill deserves better, as does Cobie Smulders, for giving 11 years to Hill’s character only to get a few lines in MCU films. I thought it was finally time for Hill to shine alongside Fury, but they axe her after the first episode. That sucks.
The first episode of Secret Invasion was intense, thrilling, and everything I expected from a Fury-led MCU project. Those expecting a comedy-filled show don’t know Nick Fury very well. It set up a solid storyline for the next episodes and a significant change of pace from all the superheroes that have been getting the spotlight in the recent Marvel Studios films. Secret Invasion’s opening credits and music are worth a mention because it is so mesmerizing you get lost in the art and don’t want it to end. It’s just too bad it’s made by AI and not a real artist.