Skrull and Groans: Secret Invasion Season 1 in 3 Shots

Julien Neaves, Editor

It’s been one week since you looked at me…Hold on. Wrong script. Here we go. It’s been one week since the finale of the latest Disney+ MCU series Secret Invasion which shockingly has been voted the lowest-rated Marvel title with a horrifying seven per cent critic score after 14 reviews. The overall critic score is 55 per cent and the audience score is even worse at 53 per cent. What in the what?!

Now, Secret Invasion, which follows former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) attempting to foil a nefarious plot by a faction of shapeshifting alien Skrulls, is not the best Disney+ series (that would be Moon Knight) but it is definitely not the worst (that would be She-Hulk: Attorney at Law). And yeah, the finale was somewhat disappointing, but it had its moments. So yeah, I don’t get where the audience and critical thrashing is coming from. With that said, it’s time for me to weigh on the season. With a mothership-sized SPOILER ALERT here’s Secret Invasion Season 1 in 3 Shots:

Shot #1 What Worked

I’m sure you can figure out where I’m going to stick this

I’m a spoonful-of-sugar-before-the-medicine kind of guy, so we shall start with the positives. First off, Secret Invasion has some of strongest performances in any MCU property, whether big or small screen. At the top of the heap is Olivia Colman as MI6 agent Sonya Falsworth. She lit up the screen every time she appeared, and each line was just dripping with wit and deliciously dark humour. I would be down for a spinoff with her, though I would settle for seeing her again in a potential Season 2 or elsewhere in the MCU.

We have never seen much of Nick Fury in the MCU outside of supporting roles and an awkward comedic role in Captain Marvel, and so I was glad to see Jackson hit it out of the park as the focus of his own series. I found this beleaguered, broken but defiant Fury completely fascinating and one of my favourite SamJack performances to date. I loved his chemistry with Skrull wife Priscilla/Varra (great work by Charlayne Woodward) and embattled Skrull ally Talos (a powerhouse performance by Ben Mendelsohn). They even had a great villain in rebel Skrull leader Gravik with star-on-the rise Kingsley Ben-Adir infusing the character with a bitterness and simmering menace.

I must also praise the series’ dark, spy intrigue tone. This was what I was hoping for from Black Widow but unfortunately, they unwisely stuck to the superhero formula. Other positives are the well-choreographed and brutal action sequences (outside of the superpowered finale, but we will get to that), the presentation of the Skrulls’ plight, and development of the Skrull storyline from Captain Marvel, giving it a redemption similar to what Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series did for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. And while some fans may be unhappy that the show’s adaptation of the eponymous comic book storyline did not include a plethora of superheroes, I liked the scaled-down concept. Not everything can be (nor should be) Infinity War.

Shot #2 What Didn’t Work

Skrull smash!

The show had several things that did not work, and these became more and more apparent as the season progressed. I found they overused the “death/apparent death of a major character” cliffhanger device. Once is fine, but thrice in six episodes? That’s ridiculous. And why would you kill Maria Hill (hey that rhymes) in the first episode instead of exploring this under-utilised agent? Speaking of under-utilised, I found Everett RossEmilia Clarke’s G’iah was more of a walking plot device than a fleshed-out character and douchey Skrull Rhodey felt wasted, with a reveal that landed with all the impact of a wet wipe. Coincidentally, Star Trek: Picard featured shapeshifting aliens in its third season, but the reveals were executed more impactfully.

The show also became less and less interesting the more they diverged from spy thriller and went flying into superheroics. I would have been fine if the only fantastical element was the Skrulls shapeshifting and they left the Super Skrull stuff for something else. And getting a bunch of superpowers from MCU heroes and villains? It’s a very comic book plotline but it did not work for the show’s bleak and mostly grounded tone.

And I will admit that I was surprised in the finale when it was revealed that it was not Fury trading words with Gravik but G’iah in disguise. But the climactic battle did not work because G’iah had been undeveloped and the emotional stakes of “You killed my parents” fell flatter that Hulk sitting on a whoopie cushion. And the fight itself was overblown with some rough-looking CGI. It was also impossible to keep track of all the powers and therefore no parameters for what could and could not be done. Just kind of weak. The hospital conflict, in contrast, was tense and riveting.

Shot #3 In Conclusion

Just tell me one thing. Is Michael Jackson still black?

Secret Invasion had the potential to be a top tier Disney+ series but its flaws dragged it down closer to mid-tier territory. And while I’m not interested in more of overpowered G’iah, the Kree peace summit and the President declaring war on all Skrulls are plotlines I definitely want to see continue.

And finally, I would like to chime in on the question internet is buzzing about, “When exactly did Rhodey become a Skrull?” There is talk that is what after Civil War, but for me that does not make sense plot-wise and removes too much character development. I think it should be after Endgame as that makes more sense and is way less messy. But I guess we may have to wait until Armor Wars for a definitive answer. You don’t have to wait, however, for my Secret Invasion Season 1 score as that is up next.

Editor Jules’ Score: 6.5 out of 10

Have you seen Secret Invasion Season 1? How would you rate it? And you can check out more MCU content below:


Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by the Cryptkeeper, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “13 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.

Leave a Reply