“Everybody gets one, nobody gets two.”
We are officially off to the races as we enter into a new era of Marvel television. Secret Invasion episode 1 is now streaming on Disney+, and director Ali Selim and co. deliver an outstanding premiere while establishing the stakes and foundations to build out the story going forward.
It’s been 10 months since fans enjoyed the latest Marvel TV show, She-Hulk. The obvious tonal shift from its predecessors alluded to in the show’s build-up has been highly anticipated, with fans craving the darker, spy-thriller undertones. Secret Invasion episode 1 provides a rousing introduction for new characters while planting the seeds for the start of an incredibly compelling story.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead for Secret Invasion episode 1*
Secret Invasion episode 1 review: The rousing return of Nick Fury
Part of what makes Secret Invasion unique is it follows characters who are not superheroes, but super spies. This is something the MCU has yet to tackle in a Disney+ show. Even The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Hawkeye still follow superheroes as their main protagonists, albeit not overwhelmingly powerful heroes.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) hasn’t headlined an MCU project in a leading capacity in some time, lastly doing so in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In projects past, he’s used more as a complementing character to the Avengers, but now it’s his time to step into the spotlight. When we pick up in Secret Invasion episode 1, it’s apparent the blip and his time on S.A.B.E.R. have dulled the former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director’s edge.
Fury still has the same aptitude for strategy, but his ability to execute is nothing like his earlier years. The Nick Fury of old was always three steps ahead, as Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) notes. Now he’s falling behind, putting himself and everyone else at risk. The fight against the Skrull invasion is sure to be dangerous, and humans need all hands on deck to operate at the sharpest mental and physical capacity.
The problems that brought about the invasion are born from Nick Fury, so it’s only right he’s tasked with fixing them. However, this fight needs the Nick Fury who rallied and fought with the Avengers—not this has-been, shell-of-a-man version.
Secret Invasion episode 1 establishes the Skrull invasion as a terrifying new reality in the MCU
The key to any good television show is to establish your threat early, so the stakes feel real. Secret Invasion episode 1 executes this concept to perfection, identifying the terrifying notion of Skrulls implanted in governments and terror organizations all over the world. Skrulls have been waiting years for their new world, and after Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Nick Fury have failed them, they’re no longer comfortable standing by and waiting for humans to find them a new home.
At the center of everything is Rebel Skrull leader Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and his refuge, New Skrullos. On the surface, New Skrullos seems like a beautiful place—a safe haven for displaced Skrulls all over the world. While this isn’t necessarily untrue, the sanctuary appears to be built on dead bodies, and riddled with terrifying practices. Everyone in New Skrullos has a “shell” and it seems unfathomable that they’d keep all the humans alive whose faces and personalities they’ve stolen once they’re of no further use to them.
G’iah (Emilia Clarke) is no innocent bystander to the atrocities happening at New Skrullos, either. Talos’ (Ben Mendelsohn) daughter spends the majority of her life waiting for this “better world” only to realize her best chance at it is to join the fight against the humans and usher it in herself. Being able to take the form of anyone at any time, Gravik and G’iah are a terrifying threat to all of humanity and are sure to cause problems for Fury going forward.
Secret Invasion episode 1 pairs crazy twists with a well-crafted story
Secret Invasion episode 1 successfully lives up to the show’s marketing as a dramatic thriller, delivering two ridiculous twists in the series premiere. Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) who was seen in the trailers and promotional material, is killed and revealed to be a Skrull in the opening minutes. Talos delivers a chilling line charged with foreshadowing when Maria Hill asks about Ross, “He was one of yours?” to which Talos replies, “No. He was one of theirs,” immediately establishing that not all Skrulls work in harmony.
The second twist, which comes as a massive shock, happens at the end when we say goodbye to Maria Hill in Secret Invasion episode 1. She falls victim to Gravik’s first on-screen Skrull attack; he takes her down with two shots while disguised as her longtime friend, Nick Fury. This develops high stakes for the overarching plot—killing off an 11-year MCU veteran—while quickly identifying Gravik as a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Secret Invasion episode 1 offers the perfect start for the newest MCU show
If you’re an MCU fan who’s also interested in quality television, you couldn’t ask for a better premiere than Secret Invasion episode 1. Fresh out of the gates, the stakes are established while catching up with some familiar characters and getting some chilling introductions to the major players moving forward.
There’s still a long way to go, but it’s undoubtedly better to start hot than to have to work your way back from a less-than-desirable opening. It feels apparent that there is care and thought put into this series, more so than some other MCU shows preceding it. If this trajectory continues, Secret Invasion could easily land as one of the higher-rated Marvel Disney+ shows.
Secret Invasion episode 1 is now streaming exclusively on Disney+. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest Secret Invasion news and editorial content.
'Secret Invasion' Episode 1 Review'Secret Invasion' Episode 1 Review
- Establishes high stakes
- Great character intros
- Outstanding twists
- Moves slow in spots
- Can be a touch hard to follow