An inconsistent six-episode run of Marvel’s Secret Invasion comes to an end with a middling finale, one that featured no shocks, a disappointing battle with the villain Gravik, but some encouraging developments for Fury, Rhodey, and Sonya Falsworth.
Clocking in at just 38 minutes, the episode 6 finale, titled “Home”, doesn’t waste any time. Rhodey (Don Cheadle), who we know is really a Skrull, is doing his best to convince the bed-ridden President Ritson (Dermot Mulroney) to nuke the Skrull outpost in Russia, still believing it was the Russians who attacked him. This would, of course, start WWIII which is exactly what Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) wants. Rhodey is kinda being a dickhead about the whole situation, too, especially when he gets a phone call from Falsworth (Olivia Colman) telling him that Fury is on his way there to kill the President. Rhodey starts to freak out a little bit and gets his men together to mount a defense.
The problem is that Fury is also in Russia at New Skrullos, confronting Gravik. The radiation there is slowly killing him, and while he downs mouthfuls of pills to counteract it, nothing seems to be working. Fury, in his weakened state, admits to Gravik that he failed the Skrulls in finding them a safe harbor there on Earth. Gravik reminds Fury that he’s actually wearing the face of the first man he ever killed for Fury, a man with a family who probably didn’t need to die just because he made some mistakes.
Fury then does the unthinkable. He hands over to Gravik exactly what he wants; the Harvest, the collection of super-powered DNA harvested from Captain Marvel and the Avengers. Gravik takes it and activates the machine that will upgrade his Super-Skrull powers. Fury remains inside with him, and while we think it’ll kill him, he remains alive. Gravik, now fully souped-up with new powers, goes to finish Fury once and for all. But Fury shocks him by stopping the killing punch, revealing that he too is a shapeshifting Skrull using Hulk powers. We then come to realize it’s not actually Fury, but Gi’ah (Emilia Clarke) who has been impersonating. The fight begins!
That can only mean the real Fury is there at the hospital. After knocking out the guards, Fury and Falsworth try to convince the President of who Rhodey actually is. Ultimately, Fury just shoots the phoney Rhodey and the President calls off the nuclear strike, just in time.
There’s a problem that emerges from this, though. Now radicalized by what he’s been through, Ritson demands that all extraterrestrial species on Earth to be humanity’s enemies, and they will be hunted down and killed. This inspires armed vigilante groups to start acting on their own, killing off-worlders and humans alike with no regard. Oops!
The fight between Gravik and Gi’ah finds both using all of their Super-Skrull powers in a scene that Marvel was clearly saving up the visual effects budget for. The Hulk, Groot, Ghost, a frost giant, Captain Marvel, Mantis, Korg, and more all have their abilities utilized in a brief battle until Gi’ah finally has enough and blasts a hole right through Gravik’s heart. Presumably he’s dead but with this show one never can tell.
So where are all of the folks who have been replaced, anyway? Well, Sonya finds them in an underground bunker under New Skrullos. Dozens of world leaders are there, including the real Rhodey, and also Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), who pointedly asks Rhodey how long he’s been captive. Because Ross doesn’t seem to give a shit about how long he himself was there, or anybody else for that matter, we can surmise this was a way of setting up Rhodey for the upcoming Armor Wars movie on Disney+.
Fury meets with his wife Varra/Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard) and tells her that he’s leaving soon. She knows who she is without him, and intends to let him go without her. However, when the moment finally does come, Varra arrives to join him but not before Fury accepts being with her in her true Skrull form. Oh, and Fury gives Ritson shit for being a dumbass who has inspired violence around the globe. Fury also tells Varra that the Skrulls and the Kree are going to enter peace talks, and things could be looking up for once.
Secret Invasion was a project I was really looking forward to, being that it was in the espionage thriller space which is a personal favorite. Marvel has done this sort of thing very well before. After a slow but promising start, the series struggled to build tension and mystery, which is really the main thing it needed to accomplish. Fury was haphazardly characterized until the final two episodes, while the use of an amazing actress like Olivia Colman in a fun role was too infrequent. Gravik wasn’t the most compelling villain, even if Ben-Adir did a good job of capturing his desperation and menace.
I think I expected more from Secret Invasion than Marvel was ever prepared to deliver on. I should’ve known when they made this a TV show, a six episode one at that, rather than a pair of major Avengers crossover movies. That’s what a story of this scope really needed.