Secret Invasion: Resurrection
June 21, 2023 10:52 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Nick Fury learns of a clandestine invasion of Earth by Skrulls

Secret Invasion Series-Premiere Recap: The New Old Nick Fury [Vulture / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Seems like they've just given up on luring in the casual fan and then providing any exposition that can't be provided by having watched every previous movie, TV series, cartoon, and trailer.
posted by Etrigan at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]

Which movie was it the end of that had Skrulls covering for Nick and Maria? Does it _at all_ tie in to the Secret Invasion or did that go down with the blip as well?
posted by Kyol at 11:58 AM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

Talos and Soren appeared at the end of Spider-Man: Far from Home, which took place after the blip.

I was too busy looking for Martin Freeman‘s name in the opening credits, wondering if he would be a series regular, that I didn’t notice that Cobie Smothers’ name was missing too.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:17 PM on June 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

"Seems like they've just given up on luring in the casual fan and then providing any exposition that can't be provided by having watched every previous movie, TV series, cartoon, and trailer."

Apparently the Flash movie currently in theaters suffers from this - to paraphrase the reviewer I heard the other day, most people (i.e. not comic-book fans), do not want to do "homework" to enjoy a movie.
posted by rozcakj at 12:49 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

I do agree that the MCU has become rather freighted with its own mythos. That happened in the comics as well, of course: it's just far easier to retcon everything when it's all on paper. Having seen the vast majority of the extended franchise, I didn't have too much trouble catching up, but this is definitely not entry-level material: in my mind Infinity War, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far from Home would be the minimal required viewing to make sense of what's going on here (and each of those probably have dependencies as well).

I do fear that the Skrull's face-morphing will potentially lead to more confusion in this series if it's not handled with care.

Olivia Coleman was a delight, as always. I thought the line "Large black man, Moscow: well, it could either be Nick Fury or the ghost of Paul Robeson" was particularly clever.

I'm intrigued by where they might take Fury's evident post-Blip PTSD and the impact of Maria Hill's (presumed) death. Fury has always been hyper-competent and commanding - always several moves ahead, as Hill says - and it's interesting to see him weakened and tired, with most everyone telling him that he's too old for this game.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:40 PM on June 21, 2023

I think it’s the wrong approach to tug dubiously at one’s collar and say that it does not offer up enough introductory exposition so that newcomers can grasp everything at once. It is the fifty-fourth instalment of a famously (or infamously) sprawling franchise that has been in production for a couple of decades now.

The Vulture piece in the FPP compares it in passing with Andor, likewise a relatively grounded piece of a fantastical setting (while admitting this is a little more lightweight). Andor is viewed by many to be a pretty superior take on franchise likewise known for excess. I can’t recall many complaints that viewers had no idea what this big spherical space station being built was.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:55 PM on June 21, 2023 [5 favorites]

I think it’s the wrong approach to tug dubiously at one’s collar and say that it does not offer up enough introductory exposition so that newcomers can grasp everything at once.

I mean, I am the casual fan I was talking about there, and I honestly don't know what I'm supposed to recognize at this point. I'm sorry that Talos hasn't reached the cultural saturation of the Death Star, but I don't think that's my fault. So far -- and yes, I realize that we're only one episode in -- I can't tell the difference between "We haven't told you about SABER yet, don't worry, that's all part of the mystery, trust us, all will be revealed..." and "Duh, you fucking idiot, this is Talos, don't you remember him from those two movies that came out four years ago?"

I didn't feel like I needed to check the Wikipedia page for any of the previous MCU shows. This one, I do. I apologize for my incorrect approach.
posted by Etrigan at 8:20 PM on June 21, 2023 [6 favorites]

There's a little more to all of these characters, but I feel like the pilot established everything important about them.

Fury used to be the best spy ever, then he semi-retired to space. The extra information you get from doing all the homework is seeing him yell at the avengers, then seeing him pretending to be on a beach while in space for a thirty second scene.

The blip was when Fury dissolved, but then he got better. You can do a lot of homework to see other people dissolve and get better, and why they dissolved and got better, but the only important thing was Fury dissolved, was gone a while, and got better. It doesn't matter than Yelena dissolved.

Talos is a good skrull. The extra information you get from doing the homework is seeing him fight some aliens with Fury (and Captain Marvel).

The villain wasn't in any previous stuff, I don't think? He might've been in a crowd shot in Captain Marvel.

Gi'ah is Talos' daughter. The extra information you get from doing the homework is seeing some kid dressed in skrull makeup for one scene.

Maria Hill is a spy who used to work for Fury but didn't go to space to retire. The extra information you get from doing the homework is she used to work with Fury and she was in a couple episodes of the TV show that's not even canon I think?

Rhodey is politically connected, and yeah they didn't explain yet that he's War Machine, Iron Man's Best Friend, but they'll probably explain that Rhodey has an Iron Man suit because he knew Iron Man and used to punch bad guys with Fury and Iron Man and that's all that matters.

Mainstream comics and comics TV are light entertainment. They make the good guy obvious, they make the bad guy obvious, and if you genuinely don't want to do the homework you're not missing anything important, but I like it because if you do want to, there's a little spark for a fanfic and silly arguments about nonsense in there.
posted by fomhar at 8:58 PM on June 21, 2023 [14 favorites]

This is basically a sequel to Captain Marvel; I'm not sure if this was supposed to originally come before or after The Marvels, which is the movie sequel to CM. (I think that The Marvels has been delayed at least once, and both this and that movie have undergone significant reshoots. I would also caution that the Wikipedia article for The Marvels has a bit of information that is either a spoiler for something in this series, or is no longer going to be part of that movie.) Also, expect more delays because of the writers' strike.

I liked it pretty much; I did appreciate that this episode set some levels of realism, in that a) Fury couldn't just go off for a few years--in his case, to space--and then just pop down to Earth and be the same superspy that we knew before; he's older, and doesn't have all his contacts and resources (let alone what he had access to as head of SHIELD), and b) except for their memory extractor (which was also in CM), the Skrulls don't seem to have much in the way of advanced alien tech. (At least at this point.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:05 PM on June 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

he's older

And how - jumping over to the FFH bumper, those years on the virtual beach up in SABER were apparently some rough years, it looks like Fury aged about 20 years. I mean, I know the blip did some weird timey-wimey things, and real world it's been 4 years and Samuel Jackson is somehow 75 and they're making some definite choices to make him look less super-spy Nick Fury and more Semi-retired Spy Nick Fury.

Honestly I don't disagree with Etrigan, but I'm coming at it from the other direction - over 600 hours of media, and some slight timeline changes, there's a lot to remember and a bunch that doesn't apply or only applies in comic book fashion. (Don't ask about the Celestial from the Eternals, it's only a massive change to the planet...) Like, I remember a lot of it, but I can't remember what is or isn't current any more, post blip. It probably doesn't help that the Skrulls have been kind of poorly written as an antagonist - we've seen bits and pieces of them in other movies and like all of Captain Marvel, but it doesn't have the clean through line of the infinity stone arc. And, I mean, it's going to, it's the multiverse saga, anything can happen.

Anywho, the Ryan North penned Secret Invasion mini was unrelated. Fun - it's Ryan North, but unrelated.
posted by Kyol at 7:06 AM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]

(Don't ask about the Celestial from the Eternals, it's only a massive change to the planet...)

I'd love it if the next season of She-Hulk has a passing mention of someone building a resort hotel on the stillborn Celestial.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:33 AM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

I can’t recall many complaints that viewers had no idea what this big spherical space station being built was.

That "big spherical space station" made a 2-3 second appearance in a post-credits scene in the final episode, and even then it served the story in exactly the same way ("oh shit they were making parts for a sinister space station in prison!") even if Andor informed 110% of the viewer's knowledge of the Star Wars universe.
posted by Back At It Again At Krispy Kreme at 8:59 AM on June 22, 2023

As far as I can tell, the dark shadowy *everything* early on was intentional; it was like that on two screens I tried.

I look forward to reading the Ryan North Secret Invasion, but it's not at my public library or preferred ebook provider yet.

I'll be bummed if Maria Hill's death isn't avoided somehow. She feels more like the future of SHIELD than Nick Fury. On the one hand, the point of this show is that you shouldn't believe your eyes, and on the other hand, it plays up how serious the threat is.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:10 AM on June 22, 2023 [3 favorites]

Also this seemed like a perfect series to get more time with her!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:35 AM on June 22, 2023 [7 favorites]

So, like, to my earlier point: "Wait, didn't SHIELD get broken up during Winter Soldier? Y'know, all Hail Hydra and shit, right?" and ... oh right Coulson revived it during Civil War.

Also, wait, public libraries get comics? Otherwise it's probably stuck in Marvel Unlimited, only $9.99 a month! foreeeeeverrrrrrr.
posted by Kyol at 2:02 PM on June 22, 2023

Had an oddly gritty realistic-ish visual, textual, audio tone, but a very cartoonish plot and theme.
posted by sammyo at 2:35 PM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

The homework for MCU shows doesn't bother me so much. But then Olivia Colman shows up and talks to Nick Fury as if they are long time colleagues and referencing previous events. I need some sort of editor's note to confirm this is all in-show storytelling and I haven't totally blanked on the 10 minutes Olivia Colman was in Age of Ultron or some Disney+ bonus feature I missed.
posted by Gary at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

The title sequence was really ugly; I think it was unskippable this week? I remember thinking, wow, I can’t wait to skip this next week. Anyway, the other stuff - the actual show - was fine, but I felt like Cobie Smulders being killed off was a waste. Also the main bad guy seemed like a graduate from the handsome boy modelling school, rather than the sort of actor you want facing off against Jackson or Ben Mendelsohn.
posted by The River Ivel at 3:13 PM on June 22, 2023

> Also, wait, public libraries get comics? Otherwise it's probably stuck in Marvel Unlimited, only $9.99 a month! foreeeeeverrrrrrr.

My local library does carry trade paperbacks! But also they offer Hoopla, which offers a decent selection of comic ebooks, and I've been happy reading on a tablet.

(Hoopla just got the 2011 Secret Invasion series, not the Ryan North one, so, not holding my breath there.)
posted by Pronoiac at 11:23 PM on June 22, 2023

I think this definitely showed promise. It remains to be seen if Nick Fury can carry a series. He has always been a bit of a blank slate in the Marble universe. I guess we also have Talos and the family connection.

Small thing that amused me, is that while I understand not wanting to film in Moscow, it really was obviously London with some CGI signs...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:52 AM on June 23, 2023

I haven't really seen any positive reviews of this.

Is this the most unliked first episode of all the MCU Disney+ shows?
posted by Faintdreams at 1:59 PM on June 23, 2023

I can't say I really enjoyed it. "Our Hero Is Old And Tired And Not Good At His Job Any More" is not something I particularly want to see, and killing Maria Hill out of nowhere was a giant WTF. I was fairly confused and "enemy who can take on looking like anybody with no limitations" is frustrating to say the least.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:36 AM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

I have to say, even as someone who is pretty up to date with MCU content (mostly), Secret Invasion still feels like it requires homework. I just barely remembered Talos from Captain Marvel, completely forgot he was in Spider-Man: Far From Home disguised as Nick Fury, I legit don't know who Maria Hill was referencing when she asked if he's doing this in memory/honor of someone (Steve Rogers? Tony Stark? An extra from six MCU entries ago that somehow has special significance GIVE ME A CLUE HERE), and while I get the threat of everyone could be your enemy you just don't know, it's gonna get real old in a few episodes. And Shepherd does not need me yelling "She's a Skrull! No wait, that guy is! No, she is! Wait, maybe they all are!" in his ear every week.

Also, if every single person Nick encounters tells him he's changed, am I supposed to start thinking is the twist he's a Skrull and is still checked the fuck out up in space oh god I will murder if this is true
posted by Kitteh at 6:10 PM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

Thinking about it, I believe that the MCU is running into trouble because it broke an unspoken rule of a comic book universe: superheroes defend the status quo. This makes sense because if you want your superhero world to resemble the world outside your window, every story has to end with everything put back the way it was.

You can't have Superman fly over to Nazi Germany and punch Hitler in the nose; that changes the world forever. So instead you to need to have Himmler seize control of the Spear of Destiny so that superhero Allies remain on their own side of the Atlantic.

Likewise, Tony Stark (in the movies) might talk a good game about his arc reactor and clean energy, but if he actually did the thing, he could end climate change and upend the global economic/political structure and we can't let that happen, can we?

But the MCU has allowed the world to change. Loki's destruction of a small town in New Mexico. The Chitauri Invasion. The devastation of Sokovia. The Blip. The exposure of Wakanda. The stillborn Eternal. The weirdnesses have piled up and up and every step forward drags all that baggage with it, like a comic book fan that insists that every Silver Age villain be accounted for. (Oh look, it's Mysterio attacking London. Why? Well, he hates Tony Stark. What another villain that hates Tony?!)

If there's a future for the MCU, it's probably in acknowledging that everything happens everywhere all at once. The multiverse is a way for the MCU (and, over on the DCEU side, Flashpoint) to just reset the world without abandoning everything. You want the X-Men? Fine, they're over here on Earth-314, next door to Earth-313 where the Spider-Friends "go for it!" If you want to visit, check with Dr. Strange or America Chavez; they can get you there.

As far as Secret Invasion goes, I think fretting about the "homework" is pointless, like wondering why Daredevil doesn't ask Jessica Jones to help out, or why you never see Bruce Banner and Reed Richards in the same science conference. Accept that the story in front of you is what's happening and trust the writers to fill you in on what you need to know. (And if the writers fail to keep that trust, then that's bad writing.)
posted by SPrintF at 8:43 AM on June 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

One thing that doesn't work for me is that they seem to be trying to use John le Carréish spy thriller tropes in a cartoony superhero world.

So they're in Moscow. But who runs Russia in this reality? Putin? A Putin analogue? Someone very different? A democracy or a dictatorship or something in between?

In a normal spy thriller if they're in Moscow in a particular year, you know this stuff. But it's a mystery here. The Moscow setting just becomes purely a matter of set dressing.

In a real world spy thriller, you can have sympathy for people on the other side. You can see how they might be torn between patriotism or ideology. But here the baddies are genocides wanting to exterminate humanity. I can't really feel sympathy with them or even see how they can be morally torn.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:21 PM on June 25, 2023 [5 favorites]

Watched this just now and the opening title that says Moscow, Present Day, feels very different after the events of this weekend.

I don't think Maria is dead, I suspect she and Fury were play acting to try and draw out more evil Skrulls.

Remember, G'iah told Talos that there were three bombs. Yet Hill, Fury, and Talos only spotted two bags and that phased none of them. That's either some incredibly sloppy writing or a very pointed narrative note.

That also explains Fury wandering off to follow the creepy school girl with the colorful beach ball. He's seen her before and realizes someone is toying with him. He suspects the bags are decoys and has trusted people checking them out.

So either G'iah is playing Talos, her father, or Gravik knows enough to use use G'iah to play Talos (and therefore Fury). I'm betting on the latter, since Gravik was cocky enough to show up and mess with Fury.

I loved the AI generated titles, gave a spooky surreal feel, which fits the series.

Hill better not be dead dead, 'cause that would be some serious bullshit, especially for a first episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on June 26, 2023 [3 favorites]

Hill better not be dead dead, 'cause that would be some serious bullshit, especially for a first episode.

My sentiments exactly. I'm willing to extend them the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn't just fridge Maria Hill in the first episode...but this was kind of a rough start even without that and it really put a damper on my enthusiasm to end the episode that way.
posted by mstokes650 at 6:51 PM on June 26, 2023

Unfortunately I saw some interview somewhere (didn't save the link) and sounds like she's dead. Cobie Smulders had YEARS of notice about it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:45 PM on June 26, 2023

If Maria Hill is dead, then the narrative that lead up to her death is incredibly lazy writing. There's zero reason skilled agents wouldn't have code system for verifying they are who they say they are when they know there's shapeshifting aliens around. Or that they wouldn't have some sort of body vest armor. Then there's the fridging aspect which any modern storyteller shouldn't be avoiding in most cases.

To me, the only thing that makes sense is Cobie Smulders playing along with the idea of the character's death. But even that feels lazy, especially after the Jon Snow "death" in Game of Thrones.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:38 AM on June 27, 2023 [4 favorites]

> Unfortunately I saw some interview somewhere (didn't save the link) and sounds like she's dead.

Possibly this article from Vanity Fair, archive.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:06 AM on June 27, 2023

To read the episode generously, I think the idea here is very focused on Fury's experience of Thanos and "the Blip."

The episode seems to be at pains to emphasize that Nick Fury was traumatized by both his "death" and by the way even he -- having met aliens, wrangled superheroes, and held the world back from the brink -- was not merely ineffectual, but utterly powerless in the face of an unanticipated threat.

The episode is at pains to show how much Fury withdrew from everything without considering the consequences to others. So now he comes back to a reality he can't recognize or trust....and that no longer trusts or recognizes him.

The downside here is that it reduces almost everyone else in the series to props in Fury's psychodrama: Hill is killed off mostly to underline the theme (and probably to finish out Cobie Smulders's contract).

Ben Mendelssohn, as Talos, has a bit of an emotional arc to play out with Emilia Clarke's G'hia, of course, but even that strikes me as a parallel to Fury's story. And it's dependent on the Fury stuff, since much of Talos's problem is arguably because Fury failed to come through.

A lot of Marvel's recent projects, especially the streaming miniseries, have tried to make "the Blip" a central story element, and I think it's proving to be a poorly considered plot point, something the characters can't logically ignore, but also something that confounds solid plotting and characterization.

The Blips is both something that would be extremely traumatizing for everyone, whether they were "dusted" or had to live through the five-year gap, but at the same time the series want to take place in a recognizable world. And those two concepts are just incompatible. I think that's a major source of some of the problems you all have stated above.

It also doesn't help that this is all very, very close to the plot of a Peter Capaldi-era Doctor Who story featuring the Doctor's own shapeshifting alien foes, the Zygons, and their almost identical dilemma, right down to the intergenerational strife. But Doctor Who was a lot more interested in the complexities of the aliens' situation than this show seems to be thus far.

Again, I think this is mostly about Nick Fury dealing with his hangups, with most of the plot and characters there to help play out that theme.
posted by kewb at 8:34 AM on June 27, 2023 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Maria's death was cheap and stupid and adds to the large number of dead Marvel women for no reason.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:02 AM on June 27, 2023 [8 favorites]

The comic I mentioned above, the Ryan North comic, Secret Invasion: Mission Earth, is on Hoopla now, and it was smarter and funner than this series so far.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:06 PM on July 17, 2023

I gotta say, the vibe of this felt really off to me. The Russians are currently invading one of our allies, Marvel. And now they’re trying to make this feel like a Cold War spy thriller but the bad guys aren’t the Russians, they can’t be the Russians, because the bad guys have to be the aliens. And then having a giant set piece in the Russian version of a 4th of July parade? Unironically? This should have been like when Indiana Jones was sneaking around in a Nazi rally. And it super was not that.
posted by bq at 7:42 PM on July 22, 2023

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