REVIEW: ‘Secret Invasion’ Episode 4’s Big Moments Were Ultimately Too Tropey to Be Impactful

Representing the 2/3 marker of their 6-episode series, the fourth episodes of Marvel Studios Disney Plus streaming series have routinely served as pivot points for the shows. Episode 4 of Marvel Studios’ latest streaming series, Secret Invasion, kept that trend alive with multiple big moments that will change the course of the show as it heads into its final act; however, none of those big moments really felt impactful as they were ultimately far too predictable. At the end of the day, though, ” Beloved” gave Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury the final push he needed to bring back that Old Nick Fury we’ve heard so much about.

As was widely speculated–and indeed given away by promotional footage–Emilia Clarke‘s G’iah was not only NOT dead but also now a Super Skrull herself, powered up with Extremis at the least and who knows what else at the most. G’iah’s brief reunion with her father, Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, didn’t really have the emotional kick the writers’ room probably intended for it to have (due in part to the lack of screen time the characters shared up to this point) but it did all too easily clue engaged fans into the fact that Talos wasn’t going to survive the episode. As a series intended to be full of twists and turns, Talos’ death was another example of a “twist” that was far too foreshadowed by a trope audiences have seen far too many times to miss. Just like Fury and his Skrull wife weren’t going to shoot one another and Rhodey was the most obvious Skrull plant well before the series ever aired, the paranoia and suspense that the audience is supposed to be feeling just isn’t there.

Emilia Clarke as G’iah in Marvel Studios’ SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

Outside of the less-than-impactful “twists” in Episode 4, “Beloved” also took away one of the series greatest strengths to date: the chemistry between series leads Jackson and Mendelsohn (it’s also probably one of the last times fans will be treated to the great chemistry between Don Cheadle and Jackson as well). While Jackson’s charisma and talent makes him a surefire match for any talented actor with whom he’s sharing scenes, he and Mendelsohn had something special and it’s more of a gut punch to know we won’t see that again than it is to know Talos is dead (or “dead’?). Talos’ death does, however, open the door for Fury to need a new ally in his fight against the Skrulls which may just lead him back to the absolutely wonderful Olivia Colman whose character has, to date, been greatly underused.

Whatever the case, it does seem clear that Talos’ death will be the final push needed to help Fury find his way back to the bad mother fucker that Secret Invasion has reminded us of so frequently. One of the most frequently seen clips from the promotional footage for series saw Fury putting on an eye patch and a trench coat in a cemetery and savvy fans are well aware that’s not happened yet. As Secret Invasion enters its third and final act in next week’s Episode 5, that moment is likely just around the corner and two episodes of a vengeful Fury turned loose on Gravik’s Skrulls puts the conclusion of the series in the hands of its surest bet: Jackson’s enormous talent. So while Episode 4 was a bit of a downshift, there’s plenty of hope for the series to end in high gear, letting Jackson open it up on a long straightaway.

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