Secret Invasion Episode 3 confirms this might be the worst-written series from the MCU. The dialogue is often mind-numbingly bad, with cringe-inducing lines including “I invite you to join me in the extinction of the human race” to Fury passing up golf as a retirement hobby, instead saying “I might take up revenge.” Despite one standout sequence that cleverly depicts the real threat the Skrulls present and the ongoing charm of watching Fury and Talos bicker like an old married couple, “Betrayal” is the weakest installment yet.
That weakness all boils down to the writing, which neither tarnishes the dialogue nor muddies up the narrative. Few things frustrate me as much as when dumb stories are rendered incomprehensible. At the very least, if we’re going to endure a lower-tier Marvel excursion, we should be able to do so with the relative peace of following along with the simplest story beats. Instead, since the series is so enraptured by the idea of being Marvel’s “serious” espionage story, things get messy and quick. From the time that has passed since the start of the series, to Gravik’s main objective and characterization, to Talos and Fury’s main mission to stop a nuclear attack, every story beat necessitated a trimming down.
Secret Invasion Episode 3 burns through the plot. From a flashback where we see Fury interact with his now wife, a Skrull who may be betraying him, to a major standoff between Talos and Gravick, the reconciliation of Talos and Fury, and maybe the death of G’iah, the series is covering a lot of ground and fast. That it can tackle so much yet remain so dull remains a mystery, itself a more intriguing mystery than whatever the series is drumming up.
All of which demonstrates the damning nature of the MCU. With only three episodes left, the series will both have to close the loop on the story it’s telling as Gravick seeks the mass extinction of the human race for the Skrull to be able to take over the earth while also setting up the next film in the studio’s lineup. All the while, it’s attempting to tell a more grounded, human story that works off the considerable efforts that Samuel L. Jackson is putting in. The best scenes are where Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn are allowed room to bounce off of one another, their chemistry palpable as longtime friends who still can tick each other off. But their work only reminds us of the lesser quality of the rest of the series.
Kingsley Ben-Adir is a tremendous actor who delivered a formidable performance in One Night In Miami. Yet he’s given so little to chew on as Gavrik that it begs the question if the series might’ve performed better if the threat in question couldn’t all be linked back to the one mastermind behind it all. There’s a version of Secret Invasion that focuses on the unknown nature of the Skrull and the Invasion of the Body Snatchers threat they pose. Instead, Marvel has written another version of their standard go-to baddie whose motivations are understandable (being abandoned after having endured war that left his people without a home) even though his execution (mass murder) is objectively wrong.
Secret Invasion Episode 3 is a frustrating watch. With little character development and reliance on exposition, the episode fails to incite any intrigue or engagement. “Betrayal” comes at a pinnacle midway point for the series. Yet, the story is as gray and gloomy as the direction, lacking a spark that would make it a worthwhile adaptation of an immensely popular comic series.
Secret Invasion Episode 3
Secret Invasion Episode 3 is a frustrating watch. With little character development and reliance on exposition, the episode fails to incite any intrigue or engagement.