Immoral, Beloved? Invasion’s bullets and betrayals devastate diplomacy…

Battlelines are drawn between factions - but who will be the next casualty of the 'Invasion' plan?

Gravik believes he’s eliminated the mole in his terrorist network and decides to further his plan with more offensives to draw the world into more conflict and political as well as radioactive fallout. Believing G’iah to be dead, he moves his attention to Nick Fury, passing on the order for his other agents to kill him. The deed will fall to Fury’s wife who is given a gun and ordered to kill Nick. However he’s aware of the orders given and makes sure he is armed as well when they finally confront each other.

Gravik also plans to attack the US president’s motorcade as it arrives in Europe, but can the forces opposed to his Skrull initiative stop him – and at what cost?



Okay, let’s get this out of the way first – just as the episodes itself does. As many suspected, G’iah isn’t dead – somewhat given away by the fact we’ve seen far more scenes involving her in the trailer that have yet to appear in the episodes and deaths of two prominent female characters would be seen as notable examples of fridging. How did she survive? G’iah smartly, if rather conveniently, managed to quickly zap herself with the ‘extremis’ powers (originally seen as a failsafe in Iron Man 3 and which Gravik was demonstrating last week) that knits her back together once Gravik has left her for dead and she immediately seeks out her father, Talos, to pledge her allegiance against Gravik. However she’s quite obviously disappointed in Talos’ masterplan being essentially ‘Do whatever the humans want and I’m sure they’ll het their act together after three decades and support us‘.

It does seem that many of the Secret Invasion episodes are contractually pressed to end with a surprise. The unexpected demise of Colbie Smulders’ Maria Hill at the end of the first episode, Fury having a wife at the end of the second, and the G’iah death fake-outlast week. This week’ is no exception. It does look for a second as if Nick Fury will kill his wife Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard)… and to be fair, it’s been revealed she’s been a long-time agent for Gravik and has just been instructed to kill Nick. There follows an intense scene over the dinner table, heavy with regret and recriminations but though they both draw and fire, there’s enough baggage between them that when they both inevitably fire their weapons, they both deliberately miss. Score one for holy matrimony even if it’s the end of the affair, so to speak. (Yes, logically, it doesn’t make much sense as they could have had the conversation without the fire-arms, but that wouldn’t have been as dramatic). Sadly, Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos isn’t so lucky, giving his life to protect the US president. Unlike the fake demise of G’iah, this doesn’t seem like a sleight of hand and perhaps we should have seen it coming after Talos gave that plea for tolerance and trust in humanity (one that did border on the idealistically naive) and therefore was doomed to end in tragedy. So, on the ‘surprise’ front on the strength of four episodes, we’ve essentially now had the appearance of three funerals and a wedding.

There’s still plenty of talking going on – the Patricia/Rhodey meeting in the church is cold and intimidating, that Fury/Priscilla kitchen conversation works well with its notions of loss and the Fury/Rhodey sit-down drips with contempt even as we know that ‘Rhodey is already a Skrull (and a female one, it seems). There’s strong acting and there’s no denying that this Marvel series in particular is giving its cast room to show how good they can be in a minimalist way with decent material. (Sadly, there’s not even a glimpse of usual scene-stealer Olivia Colman this time around, so hopefully the last two episodes will make up for that heinous oversight).

There’s certainly an upturn in action this week, even if it feels disjointed and less intensely choreographed than we’ve seen elsewhere – as if an editorial note has said ‘People may be finding this a bit slow, insert a big set-piece…‘. That major set-piece is the attack on the Presidential motorcade with plenty of gunfire, explosions, crashes and even some helicopters thrown into the mix – and it’s clear where last week’s budgetary savings eventually went. However, there is a feeling of choreography rather than urgency here  – all obliquely contained in an isolated hundred yard stretch of road for filming purposes… and while some feature films would likely make an attack on the US President a major part of their narrative, the truth is we’ve only glimpsed Dermot Mulroney so far so the threat to his life by the duplicitous ‘Rhodey’ doesn’t have the weight it might have had. Equally, if it’s true that Harrison Ford’s role as General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross might actually be in a Presidential role, then it could be that Mulroney is a one-and-out role for him. Also, it does seem that Gravik’s supposed superior strategy for taking the Earth by placing his agents in places 9and personas) of power has now simply devolved into random atrocities he can blame on others – thus a ‘evil mission of the week’ scenario that doesn’t feel co-ordinated.

Opinion on Secret Invasion remains divided. For what it’s worth, I like the slower pacing and some of the strong, less kinetic but quieter moments, but this is still a Disney+/Marvel show and however it may want to lean into the cold war spy and sinister betrayals of the old-school genre, there’s the undeniable sense of continuous course-correction to remind us of its zap-pow mandate as well. So far this is all good, rather than excellent and this is a case, yet again, of wondering if Marvel can and will deliver a series endgame to match its promising set-up.


'Secret Invasion  EP04:  Beloved'  (Disney+ review)
'Secret Invasion EP04: Beloved' (Disney+ review)
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