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‘Secret Invasion’ Episode Three Review: “Betrayed”

*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode three of Secret Invasion*

We are halfway through Secret Invasion, which has been largely enjoyable. After a pretty mediocre first impression, the series has gracefully picked up the pace in the second episode and has solidified it in this week’s episode, Betrayed, where Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) attempt to stop the strike of a United Nations plane that could trigger the beginning of World War III. Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) is looking for the Skrull feeding information to the two and sets up a plan to bring them out in the forefront. He suspects Gi’ah (Emilia Clarke) to be the mole, but she assures him that it was Brogan, who was killed off last week after telling Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman) of Gravik’s plan to build an army of Super Skrulls, which he confirms to the council this week.

And it looks like Gravik has been experimented on. During a tense restaurant conversation between him and Talos, the former Skrull General stabs Gravik in the arm, which magically heals with Extremis powers after he takes the knife off. Time will tell how significant the Super Skrull powers are, but I appreciate Secret Invasion’s purposefully slow burn, with each of the episode’s strongest moments focusing on the main characters rather than the larger-than-life threat. And while I assume that there will be elaborate action in the latter half of the show, it was great to see Talos confront Gravik in another situation than a badly-edited action scene.

Ben-Adir, once again, proves to be a highly menacing antagonist, though his motivations still feel a tad half-baked. Still, the scene he shares with Mendelsohn is one of the episode’s best moments. The episode also deepens Nick’s relationship with Talos, which feels like “more of a friendship,” but an actual bond between the two that solidifies itself as they attempt to stop the strike from happening. The two have a terrific scene in a pub, where they reaffirm what they mean to each other, and get to expand on this exchange through a poignant conversation about Fury abandoning the Skrulls to themselves on their way to meet the captain orchestrating the strike who, predictably, turns out to be a Skrull.

That segment of the episode is arguably its weakest moment, as it treads in pitifully predictable character and story arcs. We know they’re going to stop the strike and that the mole will be found out. And the confrontation between Fury/Talos and the captain isn’t as inspired as the previous episode’s action scenes. Even the flourishes of action we have in this episode are virtually unimpressive, even if Remi Adefarasin’s shot composition remains semi-thoughtful. It feels evident that director Ali Selim isn’t accustomed to directing a big-budget production of this ilk and shoots the action here in a way that feels stale and lacking energy. We spend too much time in clichés, which hinders most of the first act’s emotional investment.

And then we get to the plot twists. Sorry, but I’m not buying Gi’ah dying one second. Yes, I said that with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), but the difference between that moment and Gi’ah’s death is…there were more scenes with her in the trailer. If you rewatch it, you’ll notice that every Maria Hill moment is plucked out of the first episode, whereas Gi’ah is everywhere. Perhaps if Marvel had been more cautious about what to put in the trailer, Gi’ah’s death might have had an impact, but it did very little for me, knowing that she’s likely going to return and absolutely transformed into a Super Skrull off-screen, gaining some helpful powers. I also hope that, when we do see more of Gi’ah, her arc will be less predictable than it is now. Clarke desperately tries to make her character unique, but she can’t overcome how poorly-written her arc has been so far.

Lastly, it’s revealed that Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard) is more than likely working for Gravik. We don’t know about the full scope of her arc yet, but we do find out that Nick Fury has known she was a Skrull all along, with another de-aged flashback in 1998 giving the insight on how they met. The two have had a relationship since, which has faltered after Fury disappeared during Thanos’ snap and returned to go to Space and never cared about Earth’s problems again…or so he thought. That will surely expand in the last three episodes, but what drew my attention the most is how Priscilla receives a phone call from…Rhodey (Don Cheadle) tells her: “Yeah, well, you’re talking to me.” after she requests to speak to Gravik. Is Rhodey a Skrull? I guess that confirms it…but I sincerely hope to Christ he hasn’t been one all along…

The third episode of Secret Invasion is now streaming on Disney+.

About Post Author

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal, with a specialization in Video Game Studies. He is now currently enrolled in a graduate diploma in Journalism.

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