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‘Secret Invasion’s’ finale highlights the need for Disney to retool and revamp Marvel’s limited series presentation

“Home,” the final episode of ‘Secret Invasion’ gives Nick Fury a happily ever after, but is confuddling in how it races to leave things unattended.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

One question popped up in my head after watching the finale of Secret Invasion. Would this show have played better if released right after Captain Marvel? The next MCU project was 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, and Disney+ shows weren’t a thing yet. So, that’s implausible from a planning standpoint. However, it still racks my brain that a show like this which has a fantastic ensemble of talent, excellent delivery, and some good concepts, can feel so... flat. A spy-level Allen invasion on paper concerning a Marvel creative entity looking to expand itself outside the conventional superhero viewpoint.

But “Home” highlights a consistent issue in recent Disney+ shows that can’t quite find their footing within a six-episode structure. It didn’t help that the remaining three episodes of Secret Invasion were 30+ minutes long – so the ways viewers may want a particular plot point to be expanded upon, it can’t for the sake of the show's speed. In the way “Harvest” ended, we all perceived the final battle against Nick Fury and Gravik. Given their history, we don’t learn until Gravik’s explanation before the last fight; a conventional arch would have Fury sacrifice himself to absolve his failures. He broke his promise to the Skrulls – leading to a more violent future for them on Earth.

When Gi’ah is revealed as the Fury decoy, you realize the admission of wrongness that should have come for Fury would never happen. I know he’s working on the Kree and Skrull peace treaty, but essentially, the disarray on Earth is because of his inaction. When Gi’ah’s version of Fury says to Gravik, “It’s easier to save the lives of eight billion people rather than change their minds and hearts,” it might as well have been Fury. The series places Fury’s character on the course of showing the world he hasn’t lost a step – despite him still having a trick or two up his sleeve.

Perhaps in the totality of things, Fury was meant to rectify his relationship with Priscilla/Varra – which, because of the acting of Samuel L. Jackson and Charlayne Woodard, feels so right. The revelation that Fury accepts Varra in her skin should be a celebratory footnote going into The Marvels. However, it comes at a time when both of them leave on S.A.B.E.R. and Skrulls are being executed by vigilantes at the behest of the President.

Furthermore, identity was a pivotal component of Gi’ah’s story. She brings up wanting to not be in hiding to both Talos and Varra. However, Gi’ah’s utilization as the person to eventually kill Gravik by taking The Harvest serum is indicative of how her character has been used for much of Secret Invasion. She’s just a person meant to facilitate things from different points – it’s a shame, and given her new power set, I hope this gets explored in another project.

We all know Skrull Rhodey would bite the bullet, but a new mystery emerges as the Rhodey is recovered. He’s found in a hospital gown, so would that mean Skull Rhodey has been hanging out with the Avengers since the end of Civil War? President Ritson’s “off-world born” order is terrible, but what does that mean for anybody past the Skrulls? The blanket decree feels very open-ended. In the big fight scene of Avengers/Mega-Man power switches, how did Gi’ah know how to use Mantis’ powers?

Ultimately, we have an advertisement to see how this continues with The Marvels in November. Still, there’s little anticipation for that to happen – more so, Secret Invasion’s job to entice you with a surface-level story is hindered by continual bad habits. Many of these shows feel like a film that is chopped up into segments. For Disney+ projects to succeed, they must provide episode room for these deeper themes to take hold.