Have you recovered from the shock of seeing decorated former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) being murdered in the last episode? After seeing the look of betrayal on her face as she died to the visage of her friend and mentor Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), I am spent. Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), the leader of a resistance of Skrulls, focused on cleansing the Earth of humans and making it their new homeworld, was the actual triggerman, but Hill believed otherwise.
But how could this be? The Skrulls were our friends, right? One thing’s for sure; nothing is what it seems! So without further ado, let’s get on with the show!
The episode opens with a flashback to Captain Marvel, a brief history of how the Skrulls came to be on Earth and how Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and Fury became comrades-in-arms. In the aftermath of the battle with the Kree, Talos led the Skrulls on a search for a new homeworld, but, as we now know, their search was unsuccessful. Talos and the rest of Skrullkind returned to this world to settle.
Two years after the battle with the Kree, Talos introduces Fury to Gravik, a boy orphaned by the war, a smart and capable warrior and an extremely talented pilot, despite his adolescent appearance. Fury welcomes the boy to the summit.
Fury is introduced to the Skrull community by Talos, vouching for him as a friend and someone they can trust. The weight of that word rings through the room like someone had just spoken the name Voldemort in the early Harry Potter books. Fury gives a rousing speech, stating that he and Carol Danvers have not given up on finding the Skrulls a new homeworld away from Earth. For now, though, he needs their help to keep his planet safe from impending threats.
As long as the Skrulls work to keep Earth safe, then Fury and Carol will keep searching for a new home.
*Grimace Face* That’s something that has taken a backseat since the Blip and since Fury fled to the fortress in the sky. A broken promise is dangerous.
You can tell that to Maria Hill… no, wait, you can’t. She’s the one who has paid the ultimate price for the broken pledge. Back in Russia, in the aftermath of the explosions, Fury holds the dead body of his protege before he is bundled into a van for a swift getaway.
Fleeing Moscow, Talos and Fury play a game of secrets. Based on Fury’s wiley mother’s game of the same name, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know About…” is exactly what it says on the tin. One person asks the other to divulge a secret and the other answers. Either truthfully or untruthfully, the answer reveals something.
In the midst of that game, Talos says that ONE MILLION SKRULLS have settled on Earth since he sent the call out to the scattered population of Skrullos. That’s a population the size of Rhode Island! Fury is enraged. How could this happen, and why wasn’t he told? Talos claps back, saying he would have known if he had been here and hadn’t abandoned them. Fair point.
Fury kicks Talos off the train, needing to cool off.
Sometime later, Hill’s body has been recovered and is loaded on a plane back to the US from London. Nick Fury expresses his condolences to Maria’s mother and indicates that it was all his fault. She rubs salt into the wound before telling him to ensure that her death isn’t for nothing. One hundred percent agree.
NEWSFLASH. MONTAGE (even Rocky had a montage). The world is in turmoil after the attack that killed over 2000 innocent people. An American extremist (but, as we know, a Skrull in disguise) is in custody, and the US is on the hook. A world war could be on the horizon!
G’iah (Emilia Clarke) and Gravik enter the Skrull Council building, although G’iah is not welcomed into the council chambers. The council is made up of the UK Prime Minister, the Secretary General of NATO and a prominent American newscaster (Christopher McDonald), among others. Gravik enters and sits nonchalantly at the table.
Shirley (Seeta Indrani), the speaker for the council, admonishes Gravik, stating that the council is peaceful and he will be punished for his actions. Gravik rebuts that, after thirty years, they’re no closer to finding a new homeworld, and it’s time to take this one. They’re at war and this calls for wartime strategies. Fury broke his promise, and it’s time to follow suit.
The UK prime minister agrees, calling for Gravik to become the General of the Skrull council. With almost no persuasion needed and a punch to the throat of the Secretary General, all but Shirley vote to appoint Gravik as their General. Shirley exits without harm and warns Talos of the change in leadership.
The wheels are in motion for a Gravik-Talos showdown!
Gravik and G’iah are greeted by New Skrullos with adoration for their actions in Moscow and the Skrull Council. G’iah, increasingly distrusting of Gravik, follows one of his lackeys into a laboratory. The scientist isn’t happy due to a poor harvest (whatever that means). There’s some weird sciencey stuff going down.
Col. Rhodes (Don Cheadle) faces questions regarding the terrorist attack on Moscow from a committee of heads of state. The UK Prime Minister and Secretary General of NATO are amongst the most hostile. Pictures have emerged of Fury at the scene, which looks damning on the American government. Rhodey answers their questions respectfully without confirming Fury was at the scene, stressing the word “allegedly” on multiple occasions.
Rhodes classified Fury and Hill as AWOL in the first episode, so any action undertaken from that point would have been as a private citizen. Slovakia wasn’t buying it, but he controlled the message very well. Afterwards, Fury reached out to set up a meeting.
Two spies walk into a bar; it sounds like the start of a joke. But it’s not. It’s deadly serious.
Rhodey reprimands Fury, revealing that he almost handed him over to the Russians. Fury tells him about the impending Skrull threat, a shapeshifting alien race that could have already started to invade. Rhodes takes it in his stride, already knowing of their existence.
An argument ensues about how to best protect the planet, but Rhodey is laser-focused on the protection of the US and how to keep its power at the head of the table. Fury tries to appeal to Rhodes’ socio-economic background, but it’s fruitless.
*Vince McMahon impression* YOU’RE FIRED! Rhodes fires Fury and, in fact, relishes in it! He wanted to be the one to fire a man he describes as MEDIOCRE(?!). Who is this man, and what has he done with Col. James Rhodes? He’s like a different person…He’s an asshole!
Fury, of course, doesn’t come quietly and escapes custody. “Even when I’m out, I’m IN.” A parting shot to Rhodes.
MI6 Agent Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman) enters the butcher shop front where the FSB is interrogating the American (Skrull) terrorist. She waltzes through security and into the walk-in freezer, where it’s all going down. She tells the Russian interrogators that she’s taking over and instructs them to leave the room.
She immediately picks up some clippers and removes a finger from the prisoner. Ok, soooo that’s not strictly legal, but it does the trick. The severed appendage transforms into the familiar shade of green we expected. Skrull: confirmed.
Meanwhile, at New Skrullos, G’iah is snooping at a computer terminal, trying to find out what the scientists are doing. She finds data on samples from Groot, Cull Obsidian and Iron Man’s Extremis technology. Feels like the scientist lady is trying to build a Frankenstein weapon!
Following painful injections, Sonya’s interrogation takes a turn for the better. Not for the prisoner. He’s in searing pain. It’s better for the good(ish) guys! Sonya is told that there’s a scientist named Dalton attempting to make Skrulls stronger.
At that moment, Gravik’s strike team arrives to rescue the prisoner. G’iah is told to wait in the car. Rude. Gravik and his men enter the facility and massacre everyone inside. Sonya, thankfully, is able to make her escape before she suffers the same fate.
The Skrulls, captive rescued, return to their safehouse, but it’s burned. The cops are everywhere! Maybe this has something to do with the sneaky phone call that G’iah made while the strike team did their murder business in the butcher shop? Hmm.
Gravik has the prisoner, the one they just rescued, executed! He was compromised, and then he lied to Gravik about it. He could no longer be trusted. G’iah looks nervous…
Fury drives to a nice house in the country and enters without announcing himself. A Skrull is inside preparing dinner. Fury approaches the Skrull, now in human form, who greets him happily before reminding him about something missing. Nick Fury, former Head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a man we’ve known on screen for FIFTEEN years, picks up his wedding band on the sideboard and kisses his wife.
What the WHAT?!
The ending of this episode hurt my brain! In a good way! What a cliffhanger! Fury is married to a Skrull, and none of us knew about it for this long? Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn, Marvel. You got us good!
Episode 2 of Secret Invasion brilliantly built on the foundations of the first. It had intrigue, betrayal, classic spycraft, torture, and, crucially, some cool revelations that may have lasting effects on the MCU. You’re telling me there is the possibility that there’s going to be some kind of Super Soldier Skrull with Extremis and Groot powers and can shapeshift? That’s a force to be reckoned with.
I also liked, although may not agree with, Fury’s reasoning behind not involving the Avengers in this crisis. Show, don’t tell. And they did just that in the first episode. Skrulls used Fury’s face to kill Hill. Imagine the reputation of Thor or Dr. Strange being destroyed by a Skrull in disguise and how that would have a detrimental effect on the public’s perceived safety. Their heroes would become villains. Panic, chaos, dogs and cats living together.
There aren’t many negatives. There were two montages: one recap of Captain Marvel and one newsreel exposition. The first was probably needed more in the first episode, although the shock factor of seeing Ross turn into a Skrull after his death may have been lost. The newsreel trope is played out, but I can’t think of a better way to introduce three of the Skrull Council and convey how powerful they have become. It’s more of a meh.
The portrayal of Fury is also a bit problematic. At every turn, he is being made to feel or look washed-up and inadequate. Rhodey called him mediocre! Talos, Hill and Sonya have all questioned him since his return. But this old dog has got life in him yet. And this is just a tactic to make you underestimate the big man.
Just you wait.