‘Secret Invasion’ Episode 4 Recap & Review: Diminishing Returns

The shock value is starting to wear thin as Secret Invasion episode four, titled “Beloved”, ends the way practically every episode has ended, with an unexpected death. So far, only one of them has actually stuck. Why is that? Well…

This week’s episode begins where the last one left off, with G’iah’s (Emilia Clarke) dead body laying where Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) left it after shooting her. Of course, this already tells us that she ain’t really dead. Flashbacks reveal that G’iah, before going to meet Gravik, infused herself with the Extremis virus, making her a Super-Skrull with incredible healing powers. The gaping wound to her chest begins to heal itself, and soon she’s up and about; no muss no fuss.

Another flashback takes us back to Paris 2012…hey, that was the year the Avengers formed, wasn’t it? Yep, and this scene shows Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard) meeting Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in a restaurant. The Battle of New York is on the news reports in the background, and Priscilla suggests that she knows it was Fury who brought the Avengers together to save all of humanity. She also introduces him to her favorite poem by Robert Carver, titled “Late Fragment.” It’ll come up again later in a fateful showdown, but it’s also the poem that gives this episode its title.

A hilarious scene follows next. Remember how Priscilla got a phone call from someone who sounded like Rhodey (Don Cheadle), telling her to meet him at a church? She came armed, so obviously she doesn’t trust what might happen next. Well, it is definitely Rhodey. She tells him that Fury just got fired. Of course, Rhodey knew this because he did it. He says he “DDT’ed him off the top rope” like the Undertaker. Cheadle says it much cooler than I ever could.  Basically, this Rhodey, who is clearly a Skrull, orders Priscilla to kill Fury…or he’ll kill her. She tries to convince him that Fury is no threat, but Rhodey ain’t havin’ it. Neither knows that Fury is outside eavesdropping on the convo.

Next, we see Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) on a park bench apologizing to his very-not-dead daughter G’iah for putting her in such a situation, revealing that her alignment with Gravik was all part of a larger plan. But now G’iah needs to know how Talos plans to actually find the Skrulls a new home. His plan, which is basically to just be really good and ask the President for help, does not please her one bit and she walks off. At least Gravik is doing something and his plan seems to be working.

Fury finally confronts Priscilla in their home. He asks her to tell the story of how she adopted her human form, and she reveals she asked the permission of a woman dying of a terminal illness. The dying woman made her keep three promises, all of which she has kept…but can she keep the last one which was to NEVER hurt Fury? Fury and Priscilla recite the previous Carver poem to one another than point their guns at one another and fire, intentionally missing. They patch things up, and Fury warns her that Gravik will be coming for her.

As if it wasn’t obvious at this point, the next scene makes it clear that Rhody is a Skrull. Actually, it seems that it’s a female Skrull playing Rhodey. He’s met by Fury, who has broken in and is enjoying a really expensive bottle of bourbon. Neat thing about this bourbon, it’s Pappy Van Winkle, which Paul Newman’s Henry Gondorff drank in the ultimate con artist film, The Sting. Isn’t Secret Invasion just one long con game?  Anyway, Fury tells Rhodey that there are Skrulls inside the U.S. government, very high up to the President. He asks for his old job back, and Rhodey just laughs it off and shows a video of Granik murdering Maria Hill…except in this footage Gravik looks like Fury. He threatens to release all of these tapes if Fury keeps talking about Skrull infiltration. Before he leaves, Fury drops a tracker inside Rhodey’s glass of bourbon whiskey.

Rhodey must’ve downed quite a few because President Ritson (Dermot Mulroney) can smell it on his breath. Oops. Do Skrulls register on a breathalyzer? Anyway, their cavalcade is attacked by Gravik’s forces, blowing the President’s vehicle right off the road. The Secret Service are getting shredded by the Skrulls, with Gravik showing off his stolen Groot powers until Fury and Talos show up. Fury takes charge and the start to beat back the Skrulls. Talos gets shot while trying to save the President, revealing his Skrull identity. He rescues Ritson, but is stabbed and apparently killed by Gravik while Fury watches in horror. Fury shoots Gravik but…well, Extremis! Gravik and his crew escape, after one last look at the fallen Talos.

This episode didn’t do much for me. As I said in the beginning, I’m tiring of the “shocking death” cliffhangers, leaving us to ponder for a week whether this death will actually stick. And while I appreciate all of the character work with Fury, something doesn’t feel right about him. It was cool to see him in action, but that’s not the Fury I want to see. Fury is a planner, a big ideas guy who moves people around like chess pieces. What is he REALLY doing in this show? It proves to me that Fury is best in a supporting role and not as a driver of the narrative. Also, where was Olivia Colman? She was nowhere to be found and her role in this feels more unnecessary by the week. I still like the show overall, but this episode was disappointing.


Secret Invasion Episode 4
Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.
secret-invasion-episode-4-recap-review-diminishing-returnsThe shock value is starting to wear thin as Secret Invasion episode four, titled "Beloved", ends the way practically every episode has ended, with an unexpected death. So far, only one of them has actually stuck. Why is that? Well... This week's episode begins where the...