Secret Invasion season 1 episode 6 review: The conspiracy ends with a whimper (Image Credit: Space.com)
Secret Invasion hasn’t been a bumpy ride, but it’s been a disappointing one nonetheless. Instead of falling off a cliff past a certain point, the show simply orbits around a certain level of what we’d like to call “safe mediocrity.” It’s definitely not as bad as some fans are suggesting, but it’s completely disposable Marvel fare that won’t have a noticeable impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). We don’t know for sure what happened behind the scenes with the reportedly sizable rewrites and reshoots, but the limited series fails to impress and lacks a distinct style.
In ‘Home,’ our heroes find the courage to face Gravik head-on and thwart his global takeover plans. It’s all rather limited in scope and quite straightforward, though there’s one big swing that could pay off later down the line. More surprising is the fact Marvel has left so many doors open and entire plot threads unresolved. If we didn’t know this was a limited series, we’d think season 2 was coming sooner rather than later.
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Spoilers ahead for Secret Invasion episode 6: ‘Home’
The last scene of episode 5 promised us Nick Fury had a plan to end Gravik’s reign of terror once and for all, and the finale gets straight to the point after a short “just in case” goodbye to Varra. He gets into the villain’s irradiated compound taking no prisoners, but resistance seems to be minimal, as the Skrull refugees and most of the remaining soldiers have been moved elsewhere. This is a sign of things to come: a very restrained final episode that made us question more than once how much had been lost throughout the series’ troubled development.
Back in London, fake Rhodey is still trying to convince President Ritson to attack New Skrullos and kickstart World War III. He then gets a call from Sonya Falsworth – who was already informed of James Rhodes’ true colors – to move the POTUS to a new location, since Fury is coming for them. We know that’s a lie, and therein lie many of the show’s problems: it lacks the proper writing to become a truly tense and surprising spy thriller.
We had already mentioned this before, but it’s an issue that kept popping up throughout the season. Secret Invasion plays things too safe to ever become a compelling action thriller, and the information is constantly laid out in the most straightforward way possible. As a direct result, cooking up surprises and “gotcha” moments worthy of 007 and Mission: Impossible flicks is impossible. In this case, we know Fury can’t be in two places at the same time, and it’s only logical that he’s not facing Gravik on his own due to radiation problems, plus the fact he doesn’t have any powers.
Any remaining attempts to play things out in spy thriller fashion also stop there. After what might be Kingsley Ben-Adir’s finest moment on the show – finally allowed to go truly raw and passionate – Gravik gets his hands on the Harvest and boots up the “super Skrull” machine to go next level, all while Fury is inside and almost dying because of the strong radiation levels. But, of course, that’s not Fury.
Meanwhile, the real Fury arrives at the London hospital where the POTUS is kept, and everyone starts pointing fingers at each other. In spite of the world-threatening stuff going down, the entire scene, which includes President Ritson sitting on a bed in the middle of a hallway, comes off as funny, especially when we cut back to what’s going down in Russia.
Gravik now has access to the Avengers and other mighty beings’ powers, but so does G’iah, who we all knew was the only character in the show with a chance at beating the Skrull tyrant. Their final duel had been set up perfectly after she was shot and her father died, too. At this point, the finale embraces the punchy and flashy Marvel DNA we’ve come to expect from traditional projects. Here, we were definitely hoping for a different resolution, but with how the writers have mishandled the show’s core premise, a good ol’ smackdown at least gives us some satisfaction.
The scene has a couple of neat tricks though. With all the powers that both Skrulls now have access to, we get to see several special moves from past Marvel entries thanks to the aliens shapeshifting their limbs, often with cheesy results. Regardless, it’s arguably the most exciting part of the episode, and Emilia Clarke looks really good powered-up and kicking ass.
Eventually, Gravik is killed by a clean shot of energy through the chest which not even Extremis can repair. Though it’s heavily implied the “super Skrull juice” made them very powerful and capable of harnessing a multitude of powers at once, those abilities seem diluted, so multi-powered G’iah isn’t suddenly becoming one of the strongest MCU characters around.
As for the situation with President Ritson and the missiles that could start WW3, fake Rhodey is outplayed and promptly shot in the head by Fury, which instantly reveals he was telling the truth about the Skrull conspiracy. A new global crisis is deactivated… for now.
The final stretch of the episode is head-scratching to say the least. While all the high-ranking members of governments and organizations are freed from captivity as their Skrull counterparts are discovered, we also learn that (unsurprisingly) many of the millions of Skrull refugees on Earth have replaced countless citizens, effectively kickstarting a new age of social paranoia and xenophobia. The U.S. government condemns Gravik’s actions while also turning its back on the entire Skrull species, making deranged groups rise up in arms against anyone who might be a Skrull.
On top of that, Sonya Falsworth seems to have a plan for G’iah and the Skrulls who just want to find a new home and stop messing with Earth. A second season could hold all the answers we need, yet it seems that these Skrull-centric plot threads will be resolved elsewhere. For a show that’s been marketed from the very beginning as an event series, this feels like a restrained season 1, so we don’t really know what the plan is with this side of the MCU moving forward. Recent rumors pointed to Skrulls playing a big role in the upcoming Armor Wars show-turned-movie, and that might be our best bet, since The Marvels is dealing with a different cosmic threat even though it’s the next stop for Nick Fury.
On a final note, it must be said that Secret Invasion regains the little voice it has with its ending scene, which shows us Fury finally embracing Varra wearing her real skin and embarking on a diplomatic mission (the Kree Empire may be willing to make amends with the Skrulls) alongside her. That wasn’t the plan, but it’s become abundantly clear we’re stronger together than split apart, no matter our differences. We think this couple will be okay.