It’s hard to believe that, after this episode, we’re halfway through this season. HOW?!
Last week’s Secret Invasion ended with the revelation that Nick Fury, former commander of S.H.I.E.L.D., is married to a Skrull! We didn’t even know that he was capable of love, never mind marriage, and to an alien at that! He’s been holding out on us!
The climate is getting increasingly precarious for our heroes, Talos and Fury. Gravik has taken control of the Skrull Council and is building some kind of Frankenstein device to “make Skrulls stronger.” Ominous.
What surprises does Episode 3 have in store for us? Let’s find out!
Who wants an assignment? Three rebel Skrulls, that’s who. Two are Red Shirts, for sure, but one is the Skrull, Beto. He was the guy from episode one that G’iah (Emilia Clarke) welcomed to New Skrullos. Each of the Skrull fodder is handed a dossier for their new identities, members of The Royal Navy. Despite Beto’s trepidation, he is convinced that it’s for a noble cause. For “all faith is built on risk.”
Meanwhile, Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) welcomes the members of the Skrull Council to see his new wonder machine. It’s a stereotypical villain monologue if I’ve ever heard one. Blah blah blah instruments of their own destruction blah blah blah EXTINCTION OF HUMANITY. The usual.
Oh, but one last thing: when the Avengers come a-calling, they’ll be ready. They’ll have an army of Super Skrulls to combat Earth’s mightiest heroes. Insert MWHAHAHAHA here. Come on, Gravik, you’re better than this.
New York City, 1998. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) meets with Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard), a Skrull operative. It’s the first time Fury has seen Priscilla take this specific human form, and he likes what he sees. Cilla hands Fury intel her cell has gathered about General Dreykov (the man in charge of the Red Room and the main villain in Black Widow). It’s obvious these two have chemistry, and they will evidently act on it!
Back in the present, Fury and Cilla greet each other happily. At least we know that Fury knew that his wife was a Skrull all along! Over breakfast, they discuss his return, which he says is for revenge. Cilla is hurt that he has had so little contact, especially after she was effectively widowed during the Blip (I still hate that term). I’m with her, to be honest. Make time for the people you love, guys!
To exacerbate the situation, Fury asks his wife if she has had any contact with big bad Gravik. She dodges the question, takes a mysterious phone call, gives generic answers, and then leaves. It’s the worst spycraft that I’ve ever seen. She’s shifty AF.
Gravik asks G’iah about what happened in Moscow. There’s a bunch of unconvincing lying in this episode as she points the finger at the now-executed rebel they rescued from torture in the last episode. Gravik chooses to believe her… or makes her feel that way, for now.
Onto London for the parlez with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). G’iah is definitely up to shenanigans, sending coordinates in secret via an untraceable cell phone. She is posted on getaway driver duty. How has she become the “wait in the car” person from buddy cop shows?!
Gravik waits for Talos inside a museum, perusing a painting of a World War II war room. He holds disdain for the powerful men in that painting, identifying instead as a soldier who wants to get his hands dirty. Talos is unimpressed.
Gravik goads Talos into losing his temper by mentioning his daughter, prompting everyone else in the room to transform into Gravik clones. This place was not as public as Talos had hoped for. Gravik wants war with the humans, and the humans won’t stand a chance. Talos, however, threatens to reveal to the world the Skrulls’ existence, diminishing their tactical advantage. Gravik again mentions G’iah.
KEEP HER NAME OUT OF YOUR F**KING MOUTH! Talos stabs Gravik’s hand with a knife and makes a hasty retreat.
But, hang on, Gravik’s hand healed up nice and quick. It kinda looks like he is coursing with extremis. Oh, this is bad.
Fury seeks out Talos for help. He has a lead on a rebel Skrull masquerading as a high-ranking US Government official. Talos wants an apology, or at least a recognition of his worth, before he goes with Fury. The best Fury can muster is to admit that he needs Talos and can’t complete his mission without him. Good enough for now.
Talos reveals that G’iah had passed him intel about a compromised British submarine. Fury phones Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman), warning her that the submarine will launch a strike on a UN delegation, meaning World War III! Sonya knows of a Skrull in her midst who just so happens to have authority over that submarine. Fury and Talos have a new target: Bob.
As they drive to their destination, Talos and Fury have a disagreement. Fury says that for twenty-five years, he’s been cleaning up Skrull messes. Talos refutes that, positing that his spy network is responsible for Fury’s meteoric career trajectory and he is underappreciated.
They’ve arrived at Casa de Bob. Talos tries to enter the compound covertly, taking Bob’s visage as a disguise. It almost immediately fails, and they have to fight their way in. Once inside, Talos attempts stealthy infiltration again, briefly pausing outside a child’s room before moving on to the study. Fury follows at the request of Talos on comms.
But he called him Nick. Nobody calls him Nick. That’s why Fury enters the study with the aforementioned child held at gunpoint. This cancels out Talos’ capture and then some as Bob surrenders. Bob has been monitoring the sub. They may be too late.
The crew on the submarine have received the orders to launch a strike on a flight carrying the UN delegation. The non-Skrull crewmates are horrified, but orders are orders. After the shock has subsided, they start the procedure to start the launch.
The interrogation of Bob isn’t going well. Talos’ morality speech falls on deaf ears, and Fury’s pistol bullet to the leg doesn’t help either. Talos is running out of time, so he calls the only person he can trust. G’iah.
G’iah obliterates her cover, knocking out two guards as she enters a human storage facility. She finds human Bob and searches his mind data to find the key phrase to make the sub stand down. Phew! Just in time!
RUN G’IAH! Her cover blown; she needs to exfiltrate New Skrullos. Locating a stashed motorcycle, she escapes the compound into the woods.
Fury has a heartfelt moment with Talos, asking him why he hadn’t betrayed Earth and sided with Gravik. Talos says that he’s not with Gravik because he’s with Fury. He’ll always be with Fury. Awwwwwwwww.
G’iah is home free! Whoops, I spoke too soon. Headlights stop her in her tracks. It’s Gravik, and he’s more cheery than you’d expect for a man who has just had his master plan spoiled. He states that, although it’s disappointing, it’s gratifying to identify the mole: G’iah.
Gravik shoots her point blank, and she crumbles to the ground, reverting to Skrull form. NOOOOOOO! Not another death! Talos is going to be pissed!
We catch up with Cilla, who has been covertly directed to a safety deposit box. It contains a gun. She receives a phone call from her handler setting up a meeting, but she wants to speak to Gravik (she is a traitor!). The voice refuses the request.
Oh yeah, the voice? It’s Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle). AARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!
I said in my summary for episode one that this is Andor-lite set in the MCU, and I’m sticking to that statement. This isn’t as gritty, tense or quite as engaging as Andor, but it’s doing a great job nonetheless.
Like Andor, nobody in this show is squeaky clean. Nobody is as heroic as Thor or Captain Marvel. They all work in shades of gray, doing what needs to be done for the greater good. And that’s so refreshing for the MCU! Gravik, however, is as nasty as they come. I’m sure there’s nuance with how he got to this point, but he’s basically a supervillain caricature.
Also, unfortunately, some of the characters are unconvincing spies. I mean, they’re all terrible liars. Rhodey didn’t feel like Rhodey; G’iah is an unconvincing sleeper agent; Cilla outright avoids every question; and Talos has failed numerous times with other Skrull disguises. I fall short of calling it incompetence, but it’s mighty close!
But Episode 3, the midpoint in the season, is still a banger. It sets the scene for an epic showdown between a superpowered Gravik and our heroes. A fight that Gravik will surely win if there are no powered folk on Fury’s side, right? Who could we see join the fold in the coming weeks?
*cough* please be Quake *cough*
And you can’t take G’iah and Maria Hill from us within the first three episodes! Undo it! Undo it! You know you want to! Deaths are hardly even final for the MCU, so why start now?