Secret Invasion season finale review: "One of Marvel’s biggest fumbled bags in recent memory"

Secret Invasion
(Image: © Marvel Studios)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Secret Invasion signs off in disappointing style. A seed of a compelling story has been sown, but it can’t mask what has been, by and large, one of the weakest MCU series in quite some time.

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Nick Fury is on the warpath in 'Home', a finale that occasionally threatens to cross the finish line with more goodwill than Secret Invasionthanks to the AI of it all – began with. Despite the good intentions of everyone involved, however, the Skrull-centric series ultimately falls flat – but not before leaving us with a glimmer of hope for the stories to come.

As Rhodey again prods and pulls at the President’s sense of duty to bomb Russia, Fury (The Harvest in hand) heads to a nuclear reactor to placate Gravik.

Kingsley Ben-Adir gives the show’s best performance in this scene, his unbridled rage spilling over and manifesting as a deeper sorrow. We also discover that the face Gravik took is that of the first human he killed – in a mission he was sent on by Fury.

It’s a pity that this wasn’t revealed earlier in the show’s run or litigated at any length here. It’s a compelling idea: Gravik is an alien on a foreign planet, chewed up and spit out by a secret government agency, but it’s instead painted more as a black-and-white, good versus evil dichotomy than in various shades of gray.

But the moments between the two are retroactively robbed of any intensity with the reveal that 'Fury' is actually the shapeshifting G’iah in disguise. At least it’s a cute misdirect that neatly ties up one plot thread as the real Fury helps Sonya neutralize Skrull-Rhodey and stops the President from starting World War 3. Once the talking is over, Gravik and G’iah decide to settle things the old-fashioned way.


Secret Invasion

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

If you’ve so much as glimpsed a Marvel Disney Plus show before, you probably knew where Gravik and G’iah’s battle was going before it even started. WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier started a trend of disappointing final clashes – and it’s one that continues here.

A gray, lifeless CGI battle, the tussle between the pair should have been a fascinating clash of ideologies. Instead, it devolves into each of them utilizing their newfound Super Skrull powers to channel the power of the Avengers.

If you were hoping for a spark of creativity – the creative team have, essentially, the power of every MCU hero at their disposal here – then you’d be sadly mistaken. G’iah’s use of Mantis’ abilities is fun, but the entire battle limps home and is cut way too short. Gravik – and the fight itself – is mercifully put out of his misery with a Captain Marvel-style energy blast to the body. Like the premise of the show itself, it ends up being one of Marvel’s biggest fumbled bags in recent memory.

In the aftermath of the invasion, the President makes a speech to his nation. In it, Ritson declares that "off-world born species" are deemed enemy combatants.

"We know who you are, we know how to find you, and we will kill every last one of you," the leader of the free world says. The effects are immediate  – and chilling.

The British Prime Minister – seemingly not a Skrull after G’iah rescues the captured humans, including Rhodey and Ross – is assassinated.

The President’s speech, it seems, has spread fear and mistrust, a surprisingly brave and timely avenue for Secret Invasion to go down given the current political climate. That, when coupled with G’iah and Sonya’s uneasy pact, could easily be picked up down the line in a stronger, more robust series. It’s just hard to have faith in a cinematic universe that, recently, has been so scattershot with setting plots up, only to let it all fall through the cracks.

Secret Invasion, then, finally has something meaningful to say. It’s just a shame it took too long to get there. The season finale wraps up Fury and Gravik’s plots in timid fashion – and disappoints with its major final showdown – but at least sets the tone for a genuinely terrifying invasion angle. It’s just one that should have been present in the show itself.

For more from the MCU, check out our guides on Marvel Phase 5, Marvel Phase 6, and how to watch the Marvel movies in order.

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Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.