Secret Invasion Season 1 Review – Marvel needs introspection after yet another underwhelming offering


Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 1.5/5


Marvel’s Phase V begins with Secret Invasion. With each episode running for around 35 minutes, season 1 is more like a three-and-a-half-hour Marvel movie, albeit without any direction and well-defined intentions.

Secret Invasion isn’t a satisfying television series with its own special arcs and purpose. Instead, it serves as a springboard for The Marvels and other Marvel projects in the next two years. At least that is the disappointing conclusion to take away as this limiting reality is one that the creators couldn’t navigate well enough. Viewers may be left with a bitter taste as season 1 ends as it undoes all the promise it offered in the first two episodes.

The fall from grace isn’t a new thing for Marvel. Ever since Avengers: Endgame, the studio has made one mistake after the other in its attempts to kickstart its new phase. Its focus on television has been wayward with exceptions like Moon Knight and Loki. The latter will be returning for a second season in the official Phase V. But Secret Invasion must give the studio an opportunity to introspect the conception of such shows. If they are meant to be introductory, without creative intent, and merely setups to crossover films, then what is the point?

Secret Invasion begins with the ominous suggestion of an alien invasion of Earth by Skrulls. These are shape-shifting creatures whose own planet became a victim of in-fighting, causing many to desert it. The new faction of Skrulls is led by Gravik. Their base is settled in the abandoned area of Chernobyl in Russia. Nick Fury comes back from his deep space exploration to join hands with Talos, another Skrull who wants to protect Earth from this planned invasion.

Gravik’s plan is simple: pit the superpowers of the world against each other so that the Skrulls can take advantage of their vulnerability. G’iah, Talos’ daughter, is initially on Gravik’s side but changes her loyalties once she discovers his ruthlessness and disregard for Skrull life. Sonya Falsworth, a high-ranking British intelligence officer, keenly tracks the plan and Fury’s attempts to prevent it. But the task is harder as world governments are unimaginably infested by Skrulls.

While the anticipation was that Secret Invasion would take the MCU into a darker, more mature direction, that has failed to materialize. All marketing efforts before the release heavily billed this as Fury’s truthful portrait. Beneath his harsh, heroic exteriors, the makers seemed intent to delve deeper into a defeated, worn out, and guilty man filled with regrets.

In Gravik, Marvel had found an imposing villain that would be hard to stop. And in G’iah, a worthy nemesis who was fueled to be pitted against him. Even Talos and Sonya Falsworth (played by elite artists Ben Mendelsohn and Olivia Coleman) had the trappings of decent additions. But how satisfying was the end result? Hardly at all, as the finale is living evidence of the disappointment.

All went downhill after the strong opening in the first two episodes. Although it shouldn’t matter as much, the time frame for each episode had a significant bearing on creative limitations. It is difficult to cram everything in short episodes when the nature of the story is introductory. Many of these characters were being seen on the screen for the first time. And that demanded better planning and writing to spread out the plot proportionately. The lineage of episodes has a visible disconnect that you instantly feel when you watch them one after the other. 

The limited time ensured that many arcs remained stunted. Gravik’s motivations were related to a measly 5-minute flashback. His journey had somewhat of a head and tail but no in-between. The same goes for G’iah and Sonya, both of whom were used sparingly. The former was especially ill-served as she was not established as a significant character that the viewers could invest in.

Fury and Priscilla’s relationship was also grounded in a hollow structure wherein it couldn’t be developed into anything meaningful. Not just the writers but the entire technical team should take the blame for this one. Even though the show’s vision was dubious, the final execution is at best subpar.  Secret Invasion leaves a lot to be desired, ending up becoming a sum of its parts rather than a satisfying whole. 

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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