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Secret Invasion Recap Episode Two – No One Has More Fun Than Olivia Colman

The following recap contains spoilers for Secret Invasion. Please do not read unless you have seen episodes one and two.

Space and timeWe opened in 1995 with a highlights reel of Captain Marvel and saw Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) in all his digitally de-aged glory. Next, we skipped ahead two years to Brixton, London, in 1997, with Fury meeting a group of Skrull survivors, reiterating his promise to find a home for the refugees. We met a young Gravik (Lucas Persaud), traumatised by the deaths of his parents during the last stand against the Kree, and heard from Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) as he told his people to trust Fury.

There was something about Fury’s plea – “The world is facing a new threat” – that reminded me of the “There was an idea” speech from Avengers Assemble. “While you work to keep my home safe, Carol Danvers and I will find you a new one,” he continued.

It’s a big promise, and he meant it, but it’s not hard to see why there might be some dissatisfaction among the Skrulls, still refugees in hiding almost 30 years later.

The aftermathBack in the present day, grownup Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) was looking mightily pleased with himself for the destruction in Vossoyedineniye Square (filmed outside the Piece Hall in Halifax, no less), as Fury took one last look at Maria Hill’s body and was wrestled into a van by Talos.

On the train, Talos heard about Fury’s time growing up in segregated Alabama; as is always the case with spies, there was a reason for sharing that went beyond exposition. He was leading to a game of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, just like he used to play with his mum on train journeys, only Talos wasn’t particularly keen to join in. He did, however, drop the bombshell that there are 1m Skrulls on Earth, at which point an incredulous Fury – “Have you lost your reptilian-assed mind?” – advised him to get off the train.

And then, after a quick change of hat, Fury’s day went from bad to worse, watching Hill’s coffin being loaded on to a plane and having to explain himself to her mum. Is that all we’re going to get from Juliet Stevenson? A brief showing as a grieving mother? I suppose it demonstrates Marvel’s draw, that it can get an award-winning stage and screen actor on board for about 90 seconds. Given the modern trend for exploring every detail of every character in an expanded universe, we should expect Elizabeth Hill’s spin-off series to drop in 2026.

News of the worldA quick roundup of TV news from around the world gave us a flavour of things after the Moscow bomb. We learned that Russia wants to retaliate against the US, the US is claiming it was a false-flag operation and the UK prime minister and Nato’s secretary general are keeping their options open. But as we found out, those individuals are members of the Skrull resistance, doing their best to turn humans against one another – “we’re only hastening the inevitable”, said Gravik, adding that he had a plan in place should the Avengers join the fight. Whatever could he mean? Are some of the Avengers already Skrulls in disguise?

After a quick vote, Gravik was made Skrull General, but the disharmony among the council will surely help Talos and Fury down the line. Shirley Sagar (Seeta Indrani), for one, was straight on the phone after the meeting, expressing her fears to Talos.

Covert operations … Emilia Clarke as G’iah in Secret Invasion. Photograph: Gareth GatrellGoing nuclearBack at the abandoned facility, G’iah (Emilia Clarke) started spying and saw Pagon (Killian Scott) enter a closed-off lab containing a dangerous-looking contraption. Is this the machine the captured Skrull spoke of later while being interrogated by Falsworth (Olivia Colman)? How will it make the Skrulls stronger? And what is G’iah going to do about it? She later found records of DNA samples belonging to Groot, Frost Beast (one of which was killed by Thor on Jotunheim) and Cull Obsidian (one of the Children of Thanos). Does that mean those characters have been captured and replicated? Or merely that the Skrulls could mimic them if they so wished? The fourth record pertained to Extremis, the technology developed by Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3. Is a version of that technology how Gravik plans to make the Skrulls stronger?

Where we’re going, we don’t need RhodesCol James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) has been a solid presence in the MCU since Iron Man, back when he was played by Terrence Howard. He has seen enough of Fury to know he can be trusted. Of course, what happened in Moscow in episode one was devastating – a series of explosions killing at least 2,000 people. Plus, Hill is dead and the US’s allies are now pro-Russia. But I don’t buy the glee with which he sacked Fury, even if he did find being grilled at that hearing totally galling.

Don Cheadle as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes. Photograph: Marvel Studios/Courtesy of Marvel StudiosNevertheless, the scene in the restaurant was fantastic. Just as Jackson sparring with Colman in the series opener was a treat, seeing Jackson and Cheadle, a serious actor vastly underused in his Marvel role, go at it was a minor thrill. Their verbal jousting had it all: race politics, history, anger, aliens, friendship and swagger (“I’m Nick Fury. Even when I’m out, I’m in”). Surely it won’t be the last time they interact in this series. I predict a Rhodey mea culpa. Let’s hope he gets to suit-up.

A trip to the butchersColman continued to have the most fun, injecting a healthy amount of jolliness into the episode, as well as a dose of a nasty chemical into the arse of the Skrull she was torturing. She is ruthless and violent, but also seems as if she would be great company on a night out. What a woman.

Gravik, on the other hand, is ruthless and violent, but zero laughs. G’iah is going to have to control her facial expressions better than she did unless she, too, wants to end up shot in the forest.

Mrs FuryWell, hello, Mrs Fury! How long has this been going on? (Surely Fury wasn’t telling Cap the truth all the way back in The Winter Soldier, when he turned up in his apartment saying his wife had kicked him out?!) Nice to finally meet you, Priscilla, (Charlayne Woodard). No wonder Nick has been so keen to help the Skrulls – they’re quite literally family. And when he promised to find the Skrulls a permanent home, did he mean in a beautiful Bauhaus-y gaff like his? Not sure about the colour-matched books, mind. Could this newfound domestic bliss explain why Fury has been off the boil of late? He hasn’t had a Snap-induced crisis of faith at all – he has just discovered cosy nights in, Grand Designs and smooching to Otis Redding.

OverallA packed episode that ripped along. I enjoyed it, more so than the slightly plodding opener. So far, there is a quality to Secret Invasion missing from much of Marvel’s recent output. There is a solid plot developing, plus genuine villains, jeopardy and high stakes, which is more than you could say about, say, She-Hulk. Onwards.

Notes and observations Always lovely to see Christopher McDonald in anything, although I immediately think of Shooter McGavin whenever I see him and disappear down a YouTube rabbit hole of his best moments. “This guy spends more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff!”

Also nice to see Seeta Indrani, here playing Shirley Sagar alongside McDonald’s Chris Stean on the secret Skrull council. She is perhaps best known to UK viewers for playing WPC Norika Datta in The Bill between 1989 and 1998.

I do like Fury’s outfits in this series. His peacoat and beanie getup was stylish, but the suit and fedora he was wearing on the train was particularly elegant. Jackson has spoken in the past about having a clause in his contract on any film that allows him to keep any items of clothing worn by his characters. I wonder if he still has that clause and, if so, what he kept here?

I wonder how Rhodey got the swanky Berners Tavern to himself at such short notice. I went there for breakfast once – I had to book months in advance and it was rammed.

I made two sloppy mistakes in last week’s recap. Erin Kellyman is from Tamworth in Staffordshire, not Nottingham. Fury was, as revealed in a postcredit scene, Talos in disguise throughout Spider-Man: Far from Home, which slightly simplifies his timeline. Apologies – and thanks to the commenter Annnndy for correcting me. I’m off to watch a Thor: The Dark World and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania double-bill as punishment.

What did you think to episode two? Where would you like the series to go from here? Have your say below …

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