“BETRAYED” is the third episode of the SECRET INVASION series by Disney+. The premise of Secret Invasion is the Skrulls from Captain Marvel have elected a new leader in Gravik. Gravik is a former child soldier of the Skrull resistance who worked under Nick Fury before deciding that he’d been betrayed. Now Gravik believes the best solution to their lack of a homeworld is to kill everyone on Earth but for Skrulls. This is a plan that is missing a few steps.
Indeed, a large part of Secret Invasion’s problems as a series stem from the fact that the series is not nearly complex enough to justify its spy thriller nature. The Skrulls are almost comically evil with their decision to kill all of humanity being poorly motivated, poorly thought out, and far over the top for their needs. A million Skrulls could fit into one city after all. There’s also the fact that the show keeps on resembling David Icke’s Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories regarding alien lizard men.
There’s also the not ridiculous idea that David Icke plagiarized Skrulls when he created his reptilian shapeshifters since so much of his hate-filled bile is from the collective unconsciousness of science fiction, conspiracy theories, and so on. After all, the theories that he created for this nonsense were in the Nineties and the Skrulls were created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in 1962.
The centerpiece of this episode, for me at least, is that Nick Fury confronts his Skrull wife about her possible involvement with Gravik. Mrs. Fury confronts Nick with the fact that he was dead for the Blip (five years) but also that upon his return from the dead, pretty much retreated to himself. It’s a harsh and interesting depiction of a relationship that has a lot of similarity to couples waiting for their loved ones to come back from war.
Another good moment is that we do get some more information on how Nick Fury ascended to become the head of SHIELD. Twenty Skrull agents were lent from the refugees to gather information for him. I like the number they chose because it is large enough that you can believe Nick got a lot of benefit from them but not so much that it makes no sense that they didn’t detect Hydra or other threats we know secretly existed.
Most of the episode is an attempt to prevent Gravik from starting World War 3 by having his agent provocateurs launch an unprovoked attack on the UN. This is one of those situations where you note that there are plenty of defenses in place to avoid “orders so crazy that they wouldn’t fit in Doctor Strangelove.” Fury and Talos successfully prevent the attack but only with the help of G’iah. This, of course, exposes her as a double agent.
Honestly, I’m not sure if I like or dislike the fact that Gravik is such a whiny poseur. His arguments are basic, he doesn’t appear to be nearly as intelligent as he seems, and his supposed genius comes off like all of the adults in the room are manipulating him. I don’t know if this is deliberate or not but I don’t think that he’s remotely as effective a villain as the show is presenting him as. In simple terms, he talks a big game but I don’t buy him as the Big Bad.