Secret Invasion Premiere Episode Review: Not Bad, Not Great, And Held Hostage By Its Premise

The Secret Invasion premiere episode has promise, but it's bogged down by the MCU's long history and the longer list of questions about the Skrulls.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

secret invasion premiere


After the announcement of a long list of Disney delays, the Secret Invasion premiere is here, and the verdict is that it’s, you know, pretty okay. It introduces an intriguing mystery involving the Skrulls, and it’s packed with outstanding talent. But it doesn’t inspire the kind of anticipation we’re used to from Marvel projects, and a big part of the problem is that ironically one of the miniseries’ selling points — that because of the shapeshifting abilities of the Skrulls, we never know who is who — makes everything murky, and raises so many questions it’s difficult to focus on the story.

The Secret Invasion premiere opens with a bang, with Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) meeting with the squirrelly Agent Prescod (Richard Dormer) who has seemingly uncovered key elements of a Skrull plot to overtake the Earth. The meeting goes sideways quickly, and Ross is backed into a corner. By the end of the opener we see the return of Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), and a recurring MCU character is revealed as a Skrull.

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A Skrull revealed in the Secret Invasion premiere.

The events of that opening scene force Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to return from his stay on the S.A.B.E.R. space station. We learn that a growing number of Skrulls, led by Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), would rather take over the Earth than continue to work with humans, and they’re close to hatching a plan meant to push the United States and Russia into a nuclear conflict. Immune to radiation, the Skrulls plan to take over the globe once humanity has wiped itself out.

In the meantime the Secret Invasion premiere reveals that one of the reasons Fury remained in space for so long is that the events of the Blip traumatized him. Talos is likewise hamstrung by his emotions to some extent. While he works to stop the splinter Skrull rebellion, he seems unwilling to use lethal force against them.

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Emilia Clarke as G’iah in the Secret Invasion premiere.

One of the rebellion members, G’iah (Emilia Clarke), is the daughter of Soren (played by Sharon Blynn in Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far from Home), who we learn is dead. Her manner of death isn’t revealed, but it’s strongly hinted the Skrull rebel leader Gravik had something to do with it. It’s also not explicitly stated, but strongly implied, that Talos could be G’iah’s father.

The biggest problem I had with the Secret Invasion premiere, “Resurrection,” is that the ever-present question of who is and is not a Skrull not only makes things confusing, but it pulled my focus away to previous MCU entries.

When the aforementioned MCU character is revealed to be a Skrull in the opening scene, all I could think was, “how long have they been a Skrull?” Have they been a Skrull the whole time, has it only been since the last movie they were in, did the actor know it in previous projects, etc.?

These same kind of questions swirled around my mind about Nick Fury as the Secret Invasion premiere unfolded. One popular fan theory is that it wasn’t Nick Fury who died in the end credits of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and some fans actually think we’ve been dealing with Talos — disguised as Nick Fury — as far back as 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

At least some of those theorists will be disappointed, since the premiere confirms that it is Fury who dies in Infinity War as part of the Blip.

So when was Fury a Skrull, and when was it someone else? Have Talos and Fury been switching back and forth for years, or did the Skrull’s time as the faux Fury begin with 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home?

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Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in the Secret Invasion premiere.

It’s questions like that that I was pondering for most of the Secret Invasion premiere, which made it difficult to actually concentrate on the story being told on the screen.

The end of the Secret Invasion premiere highlights another weakness of the whole “who is a Skrull” mystery — just plain old confusion. The episode ends with what appears to be the death of a recurring Marvel hero, but the entire scene becomes a nightmare of identity musical chairs.

When you finally figure things out and are left with the image of the Marvel hero dying in the street, the powerful emotion you’re meant to feel at their demise is replaced with, “okay, but is that really them?”

On the positive side of things, it’s refreshing to finally see Samuel L. Jackson get to play a bonafide character in the MCU rather than just an exposition machine. I found myself wanting to learn much more about his trauma in the wake of the Blip.

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Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn in the Secret Invasion premiere.

It’s also promising how the Secret Invasion premiere continues what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier began — Marvel dealing much more directly with the question of race. When Fury chooses to take a night time stroll, for example, there are quite a few mentions of how conspicuous a Black man will be at night in Moscow.

Later, after Fury causes a stir in a Russian bar simply by existing, he refers to himself jokingly using a racial derogatory term with a double meaning. Maria Hill reprimands him with, “You can’t say that.” Fury retorts, “No. You can’t say that.”

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Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in the Secret Invasion premiere.

It’s perhaps too early to tell, but it does make me wonder if race might become more of an issue in the miniseries, particularly when it comes to the Skrulls. After all, the villains of the show are people who are required to literally pretend to be something they’re not in order to exist among humans.

The Secret Invasion premiere shows this miniseries has a lot of potential, and I’ll certainly keep watching. But right now, I’m just trying to navigate all the theories popping up in my head and bracing for the tsunami of fan theories that are about to hit the Internet.