Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Episodes 1-5 of Secret Invasion.
- A secret invasionn lacks scale and depth to explore the astonishing statistic that there are approximately 1 million Skrulls on Earth, leaving the Skrulls as mere plot devices to serve Nick Fury’s story.
- Killing Talos, who had a deep bond with Fury, served no purpose in the story and undermined the Skrulls’ importance.
- The series prioritized shocking character deaths over exploring the complexities and motivations of the Skrulls, reducing them to mere background actors.
We have only one week ago A secret invasion Ending its six-episode run, there are many loose ends to tie up. While this isn’t an unusual flaw for a Marvel project, it feels more urgent considering the story the series is adapting. Based on the 2008 comic event written by Brian Michael Bendis, A secret invasion Covers eight issues and finds Marvel’s heroes questioning even their closest allies. Of course, the MCU adaptation is a bit different, the most obvious change being the total absence of the Avengers as it makes its way into the spy side of things with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to accept the head as the protagonist. This change actually works in favor of the series because the political thriller vibe allows the dialogue and action to live in a more mature voice. But by elevating its content, the series fails to answer the questions it presents and shows the main focus of the show, the Skrulls, as nothing more than plot devices.
So what about the alarming Skrull population?
As established in Captain Marvel, Skrulls are no different from us. Most of the species are kind and humble people who lost their home planet during the brutal war against the Kree. Seeking refuge, they found the world and became fond of it, mingling among humans for fear of not being accepted in their natural form. After the event of Captain MarvelUnable to find a new planet to live on, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), the general of the Skrull Council and a small group of Skrulls returned to Earth and worked closely with Nick Fury carrying out various missions and stings for SHIELD with the ability to change their shape since the late 90s.
As Fury rose through the ranks of SHIELD as director, thanks to the help of Talos and his council, the Skrulls were wary of his promise to find their new home. The tension continues to rise and finally boils between Talos and Fury in the second part of the A secret invasion. Amidst a tense conversation about broken promises and secrets, Talos tells Fury that there are more Skrulls in the world than the former SHIELD director knew – about 1 million.
This is a staggering statistic that dramatically changes the MCU as we know it, but the series lacks the scale or depth to expand on the title. Instead, most of the Skrulls shown on screen are in human form and don’t get a second notice before they are shot by Fury, Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman), or even another Skrull. And despite living in human skin, since they’re technically aliens, the normal range of MCU violence is cranked to 11, meaning they can be brutally tortured or shot in the head. As long as it’s purple, blood can flow like never before in an MCU project And also fit the TV-14 parameters of the program.
Losing Talos is not intended to be a ‘secret invasion’ story
Episode 4, “Beloved,” leaves us on a cliffhanger as Fury has no choice but to look at Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) brutally murdering Talos, perhaps his closest friend and confidante. Mortified, Fury left his friend behind, dead on the ground. Heartbreaking for sure, but it feels familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because the exact same situation went down in Episode 1 with Fury’s close friend and MCU veteran, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). Maria’s death at the beginning of the series, while unexpected, served a purpose as it was truly shocking and immediately set up the stakes Fury and company would have to deal with. It also lit a fire under Fury that prompted him to investigate Gravik and his plans.
But what was the motive behind killing Talos? The last four episodes of A secret invasion Did an excellent job of peeling back the layers between Fury and Talos’ relationship that started when they first met Captain Marvel And confirmed that the pair supposedly have some of the best chemistry in the entire MCU. Their brother-like bond combined with the fact that they have the ability to be vulnerable in front of others speaks volumes for their relationship, especially when it comes to the hard-boiled Nick Fury who doesn’t let anyone know how he feels.
So again, the question arises to itself: why kill Talos? The only answer seems to be motivation for Fury, but does poor Nick really need more motivation to stop Gravik? Having lost his job to a Skrull disguised as Rhodey, he tries to reconcile his troubled marriage with his Skrull wife, Priscilla / Varra (Charlayne Woodard), and tried to clear his name for the death of Maria Hill. Additionally, Talos is our biggest connection to the Skrulls and their culture as well as an MCU character that has been around for a few years now. If he can be distracted as quickly as he is, it begs the question – are the Skrulls just expendable?
‘Secret Invasion’ Value Fury over Skulls
A secret invasion It seems to attract the idea of shocking the audience, because three of the five released episodes ended in the death of the character (G’iah (Emilia Clarke) survived because of Extremis) But the more we reach into the death of the character, we are still away from the Skrulls cause that is the basis of the series to begin with. Talos spoke with great enthusiasm about the importance of finding the Skrulls’ home. Gravik’s anger towards Fury and humans stems from not being comfortable in his own skin. Again, we are reminded of this conflict, but instead of expanding on this idea, the series chooses to use violence as a high-ranking Skrull is killed, or an explosion is set off.
The Skrulls are broken bones and non-human hybrids living in a nuclear power plant deep in Russia at the behest of Gravik (everyone who isn’t already living in their own Skrull skin). When Gravik unexpectedly killed his right-hand man, his followers watched in horror. A few scenes later and the Skrulls decided to stage a pointless coup to destroy and eliminate Gravik. As expected, their attack was unsuccessful, but what is more complicated is that we don’t see any talk of a coup now – it happened. We are led to believe that they have discussed Gravik’s actions and decided that he needs to stop, but instead of giving screen time to the show, we get another scene with Fury.
This thoughtless on-screen decision to assassinate Gravik reveals another problem the show has with the Skrulls. In comparison to the detailed backstory that the MCU has established for them, the complexity of the Skrulls pales in comparison. The only two Skrulls we’ve recognized (besides G’iah) in Gravik’s inner circle, Pagan (Killian Scott) and Beto (Samuel Adewami), was instantly killed by him, leaving the other Skrulls to be just a nameless and stringless group of background actors. We don’t get a chance to learn or care about them, and it seems like he’s fighting for a reason, Gravik doesn’t care much about them.
Gravik’s master plan in the final episode is the opposite of his alleged cause and the reason all the Skrulls supported his efforts in the first place. Gravik orders Raava (Nisha Aaliya), a Skrull disguised as Rhodey (Don Cheadle), to advise the President (Dermot Mulroney) to nuke the Skrulls to start World War III with Russia. If enforced, this would result in the genocide of the Skrulls, all to serve Gravik’s agenda. Yes, Gravik has proven to be fundamentally evil and innocent at this point, but bombing the makeshift home of his fellow Skrulls doesn’t add up. However, it creates an end point for our characters. Gravik has left the fate of the New Skrullos in Fury’s hands: he will cancel the bombing as long as Fury retrieves a MacGuffin of Avengers DNA called “The Harvest.” again, A secret invasion Take the injuries and fatigue of the Skrulls and only use them to continue the fury.
While learning more about Nick Fury and his complicated past is a long-lasting pleasure, it frustratingly overshadows the larger plot of the series and turns the Skrulls from complicated characters to pawns. Despite speculation that “Rhodey is a Skrull” reveals and summarizes Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) during the premiere, A secret invasion There are scratches from the surface of mind-twisting, shape-shifting characters like the Skrulls allow. And with only one episode to go, Fury may get some closure for his story, but there’s no way to wrap up all the questions raised about the Skrulls from politics to ethics and beyond. It’s a shame that the show is classified as a “limited series” because the secret invasion won’t end for a long time.