After a rather timid third episode that mainly acted as a filler, exposing the traitors from both sides of Fury/Talos’ resistance and Gravik-led rebel Skrulls, the fourth one once again addresses the threat to the sovereignty of the world governments that the Skrulls represent. The hierarchy of the United States government suffers a major setback as even more shocking revelations are made about the Skrull infiltration, but somehow the feeling is bound to creep up in fans’ minds that the event could have taken advantage of a big-budget movie adaptation instead of basically being a Nick Fury show. In the previous episode of Secret Invasion, Nick Fury’s Skrull wife, Priscilla/Varra, turned out to be in cahoots with Gravik, something Fury has started suspecting.
While helping her father, Talos, stop the attack on the U.N. envoy, G’iah’s treachery gets exposed to Gravik, who shoots her to death. Previously, it was also revealed that Gravik has been planning to turn the Skrull population into power-adapting Super Skrulls, which would accelerate his plans of seizing the world from humanity, and a glimpse of the vicious conspiracy is showcased in this eventful episode.
How Did G’iah Survive?
The beginning of the episode takes viewers to the outskirts of New Skrullos, where Gravik gunned down G’iah after learning of her betrayal. In a flashback sequence, it is shown that before fleeing the Skrull colony, G’iah went to Gravik’s covert experiment lab and used the Super Skrull experiment on herself to imbue her body with the Extremis endoarmor. To jog viewers memory a little, the first and last time we saw this enhanced genetic modification, ‘Extremis,’ being used on human beings was in Iron Man 3, where C.E.O. of A.I.M., the villainous Aldrich Killian, tried to use the exothermic power-laced, nanobot-activated self-healing mod to lay waste to the United States government. The same enhancement was used by Gravik himself in the previous episode, and as revealed at the beginning of the episode, G’iah took it as well. As a result, sometime after Gravik leaves the scene, G’iah is revived. To battle evil, even the righteous ones sometimes choose the darker paths, and G’iah, who is far from being righteous, took the chance to live and fight another day.
No Love Lost: What Happened Between Fury And Varra?
As planned during her conversation with Gravik’s Skrull agents, Varra goes to meet with the rebel Skrull leader in a church. Ironic how a place of acknowledging one’s faith symbolizes the lack of it in this context, as Varra’s role in Gravik’s nefarious plan, which seeks the end of humanity, is going to be the topic of discussion. As Varra contemplates her betrayal, a past memory fleet through her mind. In 2012, right after the battle of New York, where the Avengers assembled for the first time to defeat trickster Norse god Loki and the army of Chitauri—all thanks to Nick Fury, who banded the team together—the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. went to Paris to celebrate this victory with his wife. Varra acknowledges and appreciates Fury’s sense of righteousness and responsible outlook, and the couple renews their vows over Raymond Carver’s “Late Fragment.” The brief, four-line poem can be interpreted in a number of ways, but in this context, it works as an allusion to the Fury couple’s married life and Varra’s place on earth as a displaced alien.
Back in the present, Varra is visited by one of Gravik’s trusted allies, who has been posing as Colonel James Rhodes all along, staying close to President Ritson and representing him in front of the international press, firing Fury. The Skrull operative has been the one behind everything. The operative orders Varra to kill Fury, and as the latter hesitates, stating that in his current condition, Fury is counting down his days, the Skrull operative threatens her with consequences. Their entire conversation is heard by Fury, who is tapping Varra’s phone.
At the Fury household, the couple doesn’t waste much time pretending to be ignorant much longer. The wall at the entry gate of their country house displays a number of masks, indicative of the theme and characterization of the series. The ugly side of the couple’s marriage shows itself. Bereft of any trust for his wife, Fury regrets ever getting into a relationship with a Skrull while also wondering if he would have done the same if given another chance to redo everything for the love he still has for his wife, despite knowing full well that Varra has brought her pistol to eliminate Fury once and for all. Before they get down to business, Fury asks Varra, whose form did she steal in the first place to become Priscilla Fury, to which she recapitulates about Dr. Priscilla Davis, with whom she became quite close in the past. The real Priscilla had very few days to live due to congenital heart disease, and on her final day, Varra came clean about her motivation for taking her identity, which she wanted to do to make Fury trust her. Priscilla had asked for three things in return: burying her in the sea, taking care of her parents as her own, and, as a remorseful Varra recalls, never hurting the person with whom Varra intends to fall in love using her identity.
The couple once again recites the lines of Raymond Carver, perhaps this time with deception mixed with honesty and fire at each other with the closing of the last line. Neither of them has aimed at the other, which only means Gravik’s operatives will come after Varra. Before Fury departs, Varra can’t help but ask him whether he’d have fallen in love with her had she never changed. Although Fury’s silence could have added poignancy to the moment, he chooses to say what viewers would have gotten without the utterance of any sentence: “Guess we’ll never know.”
Did Either Talos Or President Ritson Survive At The End?
Meanwhile, Gravik once again plans for some nefarious political conspiracy, his most desperate one yet, and this time he and his operatives are posing as Russians.
At London, Talos meets with his daughter G’iah and apologizes for ever bringing her into this mess after learning about her gaining Extremis powers and surviving getting shot by Gravik. G’iah takes responsibility for it and instead asks Talos what his endgame is after neutralizing Gravik’s threat. Talos maintains his position about showing the Skrulls’ goodwill to humans and waiting for them to arrange for their home in return; despite seeing the ugly, manipulative side of humans through all these years, Talos hasn’t changed a bit. Disenchanted at her father’s foolish optimism, G’iah leaves him once again.
Fury, on the other hand, meets with the Skrull operative still impersonating Col. Rhodes and makes him drink the liquid location tracker during their conversation. Later, Talos and Fury tail the Skrull Rhodes as the latter goes to welcome the U.S President Ritson to London in a convoy. Gravik and his Russian-posing rebel Skrulls arrive at the scene in a military helicopter, and Skrull Rhodes pinpoints the exact location of the President’s vehicle. The rebel Skrulls start attacking and knocks down the President’s vehicle. Fury and Talos arrive at the scene and join the U.S. military and British forces to lay waste to the Skrulls, but they barely succeed, as the Skrulls are already physically augmented. Talos uses his super strength to break an unconscious Ritson out of the vehicle but gets fatally shot by Pagon, Gravik’s right-hand man. However, the combined forces push the rebel Skrulls to retreat; a wounded Talos succeeds in finally rescuing the President before succumbing to his wounds, and a remorseful Fury promises to return for his friend after getting the President to emergency care.
The final moments of the fourth episode are going to have a huge impact on MCU Prime Earth, as an attack on one of the major superpower’s prime representatives, that too by a rival nation on foreign soil, is bound to entail severe consequences. Whether Talos breathed his last or, like G’iah in the previous episode, his death was faked as well, that remains to be seen. But it’s unlikely that his heroic sacrifice to save the President is going to change the situation for the refugee aliens because the xenophobia against Skrulls that is about to break out after the expose of the Skrull invasion is going to overcome the instance of his goodwill, just like Fury covered up the Skrulls’ assistance in the State’s foreign policy for years. However, the most distracting aspect once again remains the MCU’s expansive world-building, as the very question of how come the prime earth, which harbors 100+ superpowered beings, remains so unprotected during an Avengers-level crisis remains unanswered. Perhaps making the series a pre-superhero period piece would have served the thriller treatment a lot better than it does right now.