Secret Invasion – Episode 3

Jul 5, 2023 | Posted by in TV
Secret Invasion


Secret Invasion puts Earth on the brink of War as Gravik tries to ignite a conflict and Fury works to stop him with his limited resources.

There’s a dissonance between the perceived smaller scale of this show and the gravity of the events it depicts. Gravik’s movement represents an existential threat to humanity because they have infiltrated high-level positions and have a great deal of control because of who they have chosen to duplicate. That runs counter to them still having to take steps to achieve their goal as they already seem to rule the world so it’s unclear what is standing in the way of them accelerating their extinction plan. It’s possible that the different systems in the various countries and their governments are set up so that a few individuals couldn’t abuse their power to the extent that they wipe out the human race. That would make sense but the fact that a million Skrulls exist on Earth with a large number of them apparently radicalised and following Gravik suggests that they should have more than enough resources to have already achieved victory. It doesn’t appear that this numbers disparity will ever be addressed which is an unfortunate flaw in the storytelling.


Coffee and a threat

Regardless of what should be addressed, the fact is that Gravik and his followers are relatively early in the campaign to claim Earth as their own. His current plan is twofold; one objective is to ignite a global conflict that will result in humanity massively contributing to their own extinction. The other is to give all of his followers powers to compete with the superhero response that will inevitably follow. This episode focuses more on the first objective and Fury’s attempt to stop Gravik from making his move.

The plan involves staging a nuclear attack using a replaced submarine captain. Talos gets wind of the plan thanks to G’iah feeding him information and Fury tracks down the culprit thanks to Sonya giving him the name he needs while making him aware that she discovered his bug. Disappointingly this is Olivia Colman’s only contribution to the episode. It reinforces how connected she is and finding Fury’s bug redeems her intelligence to some degree after failing to notice it or predict that he would do something like that. Despite that, it’s still a strong interaction brought to life by two excellent performers. Once again, there’s a sense of history to their interplay that is a lot of fun to witness.

There’s also a strong sense of history in Fury and Talos’ back and forth though the show is far more explicit about it. The Fury/Talos dynamic is so far the core relationship in the show so the fact that it receives more focus than others is understandable. It’s a fascinating friendship that has been forged over decades of working together and is currently strained because Talos feels that Fury takes him for granted. He is visibly affronted when Fury comes to him for help after treating him the way he did in the previous episode and demands that Fury show him respect before they take any sort of action together. He makes Fury say “Help me, Talos, ’cause I’m useless without you” and he really needs him to mean it. Fury swallows his pride and says the words while appearing sincere which is enough for Talos to agree to work with him.


Help me Talos, you’re my only hope!

Later they discuss how Talos and his people contributed massively to Fury’s success in his spy career. It’s another example of Talos wanting Fury to recognise his value and be treated with the respect he feels he deserves. One interesting detail is that he doesn’t ask for Fury to thank him for his help because it was his pleasure to provide it but he does want Fury to recognise his contribution rather than peddle the erroneous narrative that nothing more than hard work and skill facilitated his rise through the ranks. The vibe to Talos and Fury’s relationship is akin to a married couple where one party takes the other for granted and they have become tired of it. Talos calling Fury out on his behaviour makes for compelling conversations as few have been shown to put Fury in his place.

Fury’s actual wife, Priscilla/Varra is far less understanding. A flashback shows the early days of their courtship and establishes that she was one of Fury’s Skrull agents that were so instrumental in aiding his rise through the ranks. In 1998, she provides Fury with information and they flirt to show the beginnings of their relationship and provide an idea of what brought them together. Their conversation in the present day is about how Fury’s choices have put a strain on their relationship. She talks about mourning him when he was blipped and then having to do so all over again when he went into space upon his return. Fury has been absent from her life for years and she’s more than a little tired of it, particularly when some of those years were a choice he made. She mentions that she has “become herself” again as a result of his extended absence. It’s a clear coping mechanism to deal with abandonment and it seems that Fury’s choices have pushed her into working with Gravik.

This raises the personal stakes for Fury as his wife has turned away from him as a direct result of his choices. Whether she is fully committed to Gravik’s cause or partially affiliated with him as a result of her feeling isolated is currently unknown but it’s another example of Fury’s mistakes costing him his allies and resources. It’s a far more personal loss for him because Priscilla/Varra is his wife and taking for granted has pushed her in a dangerous direction. It’s linked to his friendship with Talos but the difference is that Talos is willing to work with Fury to resolve it. This is perhaps down to him having different priorities and being committed to being a leader to his people whereas Priscilla/Varra felt actively betrayed by her husband. There’s a lot to interrogate in the differences between Talos and Priscilla/Varra’s reactions to Fury’s behaviour that will hopefully come into play in the remaining episodes.


Saving the world

Personal stakes also exist for Talos in that his daughter is right in the middle of this conflict. Gravik accuses her of being a mole early in the episode and stages the submarine attack in order to test her loyalty. She is sending information to Talos throughout the episode and Gravik’s plan being foiled combined with catching G’iah fleeing the scene tells him all he needs to know and he guns her down. In theory, this is a shocking development as G’iah’s working to bring Gravik down from within has taken her to a bad end.

In practice, this doesn’t really work as the show hasn’t featured G’iah prominently enough for the audience to properly invest in her as a character. She is Talos’ daughter and Talos cares deeply about her but as a presence on her own, she is a woefully underdeveloped one. Almost no time has been put into exploring her loyalties and what motivates her so any action she takes has very little supporting it. Her death fails to be a shock because so little is known about the character to assign the necessary tragedy to her loss. Her actually being dead is doubtful for that reason and it’s unlikely that Emilia Clarke was brought in to play a background role for three episodes before being killed off to further motivate Talos. It’s more likely that she will be revealed to be very much alive and have Super Skrull powers just as Gravik does. An opportunity may still exist to do something with the estranged relationship between her and Talos.

Gravik is certainly very well performed but the character is currently very thin. His parlay with Talos makes for an engaging scene because it’s once again two talented performances working together. The purpose of it is to show their differing stances on what it will take to ensure the survival of their race. Talos remains optimistic and is convinced that a peaceful resolution is possible. He threatens to expose his forces to every army on Earth because he’s confident that Humans will know the difference between the Skrulls trying to kill them and the Skrulls who want to coexist with them. Gravik doesn’t share that outlook and sees humanity as something that deserves to be wiped out.

It’s an interesting perspective especially when considering Gravik’s history as a spy for Fury. This will have exposed him to the very worst that humanity has to offer. When coupled with him being brought into the job at a very young age it’s easy to see how he would reach the conclusion that humanity is a species unworthy of existence. An interesting detail is that Gravik sees himself as more of a soldier than a leader and likes to get his hands dirty in pursuit of an objective. This suggests that he holds himself accountable for his actions and doesn’t send anyone in to do things he wouldn’t do himself. Such an approach could command respect but there has so far been very little exploration of why his followers rally behind him. It’s unfortunate that there is so much potential behind this character that the show is presently doing nothing with. He’s a strong onscreen presence but from a characterisation point of view, he’s mostly shallow and superficial which is an accurate descriptor for the show as a whole much of the time.


This is a development!


A good episode that makes great use of the Fury/Talos connection while raising the personal stakes for Fury in interesting ways.

  • 7/10
    "Betrayed" - 7/10


Kneel Before…

  • Talos and Fury’s constantly engaging back and forth
  • Talos progressing to the point where he demands respect and recognition from Fury
  • Fury’s choices and mistakes pushing his wife towards Gravik and
  • increasing the personal stakes by having Priscilla/Varra siding with Gravik as she copes with abandonment
  • highlighting the differences in perspective between Gravik and Talos
  • lots of potential in Gravik’s implied background


Rise Against…

  • G’iah’s death failing to deliver the intended shock because of the lack of character work in the prior episodes
  • not capitalising on Gravik’s potential meaning that the character remains thin


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User Review
5.33/10 (3 votes)

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