Let’s Talk about Secret Invasion Episode 1-4
At the end of episode three of Secret Invasion, Scilla aka Varra spoke with someone on the phone.
She sure seemed like she was ready to run, but a James Rhodes-like voice instructed her to meet him at a church that day.
Is James Rhodes a Skrull? I mean, somebody big has to be a Skrull, right?
Let’s talk about Secret Invasion episode 1-4, the one where we learn which MCU Avenger has been taken by Gravik’s Skrulls.
The Super Skrull Who Cheated the System
As a reminder, we learned last week that Gravik intends to turn all his followers into Super Skrulls.
This army intends to destroy humanity and take over the planet. Given global warming, maybe we should let them and find a new place.
Some of the residents of the MCU obviously don’t like this idea, as this is the point in the story where the heroes begin to fight back.
Specifically, we start with G’iah, last seen dying and reverting to her Skrull form. Her final question was: “Are you a leader of Skrulls or our worst enemy?”
Since he answered by assassinating her, I’m guessing it’s the latter. But G’iah ain’t dead yet!
At the start of episode four, we watch a flashback to the moments before she fled the compound.
Sure enough, G’iah performed some mad science on herself and thereby added Extremis healing ability. She’s nigh invulnerable now.
G’iah waits until Gravik leaves her for dead. Then, she returns to her human form and seeks out her father.
Importantly, we now know of two Super Skrulls: Gravik and G’iah. There are probably more, but Secret Invasion has explicitly confirmed those two.
Just as importantly, Gravik only knows about one. This surprise will catch him off-guard later.
Soon afterward, G’iah meets her father and discusses his plan for saving his people.
Talos disappoints her by providing a hopeful response about trusting humans.
He believes everything will work out if “we just keep contributing, show them our hearts.”
The daughter gazes at her father in pity, realizing he’s not a pragmatist.
Perhaps Talos has witnessed too much war and needs a peaceful resolution.
G’iah ain’t having it.
“That’s not who we are. And that is not who I’ve become.”
A warrior has raised a warrior. So, even though he’s chosen a pacifist’s path, she makes it clear that she won’t.
G’iah leaves her father, a decision she’ll soon regret.
We experience another flashback, this time during the aftermath of The Battle of New York.
According to the official MCU timeline, this would place the date in 2012…and date has two meanings here.
Nick Fury meets Priscilla Fury at a nice restaurant, and they bond.
First, Mrs. Fury wants to know whether Nick is responsible for assembling the Avengers. He’s not afraid to take credit for this one, which delights her.
The Skrull describes her husband as possessing a “powerful sense of righteousness.”
She chooses carefully measured words to drive home the point, stating that Fury believes “home is worth fighting for and that the weak or worth protecting.”
Yes, Varra is talking just as much about her people, the Skrulls, who – in 2012 — still lack a new home after more than 15 years of trusting Fury.
Then, because it’s a romantic dinner, they quote poetry, which sets up their next encounter on the show.
Soon afterward, we cut to the church, where Secret Invasion is ready to rip our hearts out with no further delay.
James Rhodes meets Priscilla in a church and tells her that Gravik expects her to kill Nick Fury.
In stating this, we learn that Rhodes is undoubtedly a Skrull. Also, Varra maintains ties with Gravik and may kill her husband.
Since Nick Fury is the best spy alive, he’s obviously listening to the call from a nearby location.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith…Err, Fury
After Varra exits the church, she returns home, where her husband is waiting for her.
Symbolically, the Skrull notices that Fury has chosen not to wear his wedding ring.
This scene, like the War Machine Skrull reveal, doesn’t cloak its purpose.
Varra knows she needs to kill Nick Fury and points a gun at him from under the table.
Fury knows that Varra is holding the gun and tells her as much. He also indicates that he ignored his “head, heart, and body” in falling for her.
Fury describes his falling in love with her as the worst mistake of his life…and adds that he would probably do it all over again.
So, we have a married couple discussing their feelings while knowing that one of them is likely to kill the other.
I’ve seen this movie, and it starred Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Fury moves first by placing his gun on the table, allowing the Skrull to kill him without incident if she is so inclined.
Varra/Scilla returns the favor by placing her gun on the table.
When Varra Meet Scilla
At this point, Varra explains how she became Dr. Priscilla Davis. It turns out that the good doctor suffered from a congenital heart defect.
Varra befriended her in the hospital and…didn’t do what you’d expect. The Skrull never killed the woman and replaced her.
Instead, Varra asked Scilla if she could live the dying woman’s life after the day when the doctor passed away. And the doctor agreed.
While never explicitly stated, Varra must have fallen in love with Fury before then, decided he would never love her as a Skrull, and took on a human form.
Did Fury know this? We have no idea.
What the series confirms is that Varra made three promises to the dying woman.
One was that Varra would bury the real Priscilla at sea. The second was that she would take care of Priscilla’s parents, which Varra did.
Finally, Varra promised Scilla that the Skrull would never hurt Nick Fury.
That last point is the fly in the ointment here. To follow Gravik’s bidding, Varra must break her vow. Will she, or does she love Fury?
We get a hint to the answer when Fury quotes the poem they’d discussed in 2012. She replies in kind.
Then, the camera cuts away as both of them reach for their guns and draw.
The intent is to build a mystery about who survived, but it’s a swerve. They both did.
The husband and wife intentionally shot beside one another rather than kill their lover.
Fury dryly states, “I’m not sure if this means we should get divorced or renew our vows.”
This is good television.
Fury leaves, but before he goes, Varra asks if he’d have loved her “if I’d been my true self.”
His answer is ambiguous: “I guess we’ll never know.” Oof.
We stop pulling punches with the next scene. We cut to a Skrull taking a shower. When this being looks in the mirror, it’s James Rhodes.
So, yeah. This one’s definitive. War Machine is a Skrull and probably has been for a while.
When the Skrull exits the bathroom, he discovers that Fury has broken into his home to make amends.
Fury offers to share a drink of a super-expensive bottle of whisky with Rhodes.
During this conversation, the Skrull again screws up and calls him Nick. It doesn’t matter, though. Fury already knew.
What follows is a purposeful discussion about the existence of Skrulls inside the United States government.
Rhodes cuts off Fury by threatening him with blackmail. He has a video – and several copies – of Fury killing Maria Hill in Russia.
So, that’s part of the reason why Gravik took Fury’s form. The main part was to hurt Fury, though.
Fury and Rhodes do NOT depart as friends.
Rhodes quickly heads to a meeting with the President of the United States and offers advice.
The President isn’t paying attention because all he notices is that Rhodes reeks of bourbon. They drive in different cars, which proves significant.
That’s because Gravik plans to attack the Secret Service convoy and frame Russia for the crime.
The Terrorist Attack
Fury and Talos are aware of Gravik’s plan. They’re following behind the convoy when a helicopter launches a missile.
The target of that missile is the President’s vehicle, which tips over and lands on its roof. The President lives, but he’s unconscious and upside down.
A battle ensues between Gravik’s troops, the secret service, and some backup American soldiers.
Rhodes waits patiently in his car while all Hell breaks loose around him. Gravik rappels down from the helicopter to finish the job.
Fury arrives on the scene and takes charge. The whole planet knows who he is by this point, which makes his value as a spy questionable to me.
Anyway, even though Fury faces terrorist charges for a Russian murder, he barks orders at the troops, who follow the instructions.
Gravik starts Skrull-killing people, while Talos tries to save the President. He takes a bullet in the process, which causes him to revert to partial Skrull form.
An agent notices and screams in terror that an alien has invaded.
Fury dismisses the concern, and the soldiers apparently just say, “Fine, if that alien is with Nick Fury…”
Talos manages to free the President, who awakens right as Gravik advances.
Fury rescues the President, but the person assisting Talos proves to be a Skrull. Fury shoots the alien…but it’s Gravik.
The Super Skrull heals immediately, stabs and kills Talos, and then glares at Fury. That’s how the episode ends.
So, we’ve had three straight episodes of cliffhangers, plus the murder of Maria Hill at the end of the season premiere.
Where Things Stand
As we exit the fourth episode, Fury has saved the day for the President. And Gravik has left the scene, satisfied with the murder of Talos.
The ramifications here are intriguing in that Fury can tell the President about Gravik and the Skrulls.
Meanwhile, G’iah will hate her fellow Super Skrull even more.
Talos does NOT have Extremis tech, so he appears to be real dead, not television show fake dead.
Also, the Skrulls have War Machine working for them, which means they have Tony Stark’s other tech, his Iron Man armor.
I suspect we just got the plot for the upcoming Disney+ series, Armor Wars.
Of course, presuming that’s true, the real James Rhodes must still be alive, which also raises hope for Agent Everett Ross.
New Skrullos showed the location of many human test subjects whose memories the Skrulls stole.
Since Rhodes and Ross weren’t among them, I’m thinking the Skrulls keep their most important prisoners at a different, undisclosed location.
If so, Gravik is probably one of the very few who know where that is.
For his part, Gravik has now killed two MCU characters in Maria Hill and Talos. So, he’s a serious villain.
As for us as viewers, we’ll spend the next few days trying to spot when Rhodes became a Skrull in the MCU.
Kevin Feige himself has said, “We like the idea of fans going back and watching some of the other appearances of Rhodey and realizing that that wasn’t him.”
I’m here for the mystery and the drama.
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