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That Secret Invasion Death Was the Worst Kind of Cheap Storytelling Trick


Marvel shocked fans with the ending of Secret Invasion episode one. Was it worth it?

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill in Marvel Studios' SECRET INVASION
Photo: Marvel/Des Willie

This article contains spoilers

The premiere of Marvel’s latest Disney+ series Secret Invasion asks us to believe that this is going to be a different kind of Marvel Cinematic Universe property. Ostensibly a darker, grittier tale focused on grizzled ex-SHIELD leader Nick Fury, the story requires him to face his own complicity in creating the very Skrull crisis he’s now rushing to solve. There are real life or death stakes with genuine consequences attached, and the motivations of the Skrull rebel faction aiming to wipe out humanity are certainly understandable if not particularly commendable ones. (Fury and Carol Danvers promised to find the displaced aliens a new home back in Captain Marvel but conveniently forgot their plight as soon as other villains and bigger problems came calling.)

It’s pretty clear that this is a show that’s meant to do for the MCU what Andor did for Star Wars: tell a heightened political story that proves this is a franchise worthy of being taken seriously, using a prestige-style drama format that’s as much about more complex thematic and real-world issues than we’re used to seeing from this universe. But after its first episode, it’s pretty difficult to believe that the franchise learned any of the right lessons from Andor’s success. As set-up episodes go, “Resurrection” is pretty disappointing—it repeatedly tells us how changed a man Fury is without showing us any sign that’s actually true, the screen is often so dark it’s difficult to tell what’s going on, and it may actually have a worse grasp on issues like terrorism and geopolitics than The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did. (The implication that even the most sympathetic refugees will ultimately turn evil and try to steal your house is…certainly a choice!)

But perhaps its most disappointing element is the “shock” death that closes its premiere, a twist that not only killed off a long-running supporting character but made it clear that her death is more about establishing high-stakes consequences and making the fight against the Skrull radicals personal for Fury than about any sort of concrete end to her story.

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