The mettle of a leader is tested in the toughest of times, and the penultimate episode of Disney+’s Secret Invasion highlights that through the roles of the now-deceased Talos, a determined Fury, and a restless, desperate Gravik. After the Skrull crisis reached its worst state in the previous episode, with the terrorist Skrull leader Gravik leading his operatives into an attack on the convoy of United States President Ritson while posing as Russians, the situation went haywire at both the Skrull and human fronts. Colonel James Rhodes, who was so far acting as P.O.T.U.S.’ Chief of Staff, is revealed to be a Skrull operative named Raava, whose deliberate inaction resulted in the ambush.
The arrival of Fury and Talos to aid the human forces spoils Gravik’s plan, and Talos sacrifices himself while saving the President’s life. In the previous episode, viewers also saw the final confrontation between Fury and his Skrull wife, Priscilla/Varra (Skrull name), who disobeyed Gravik’s direct order to kill Fury, after which the duo parted ways. Gravik’s plan regarding the creation of Super-Skrulls was also revealed, and it is shown that G’iah had survived the execution at Gravik’s hands, as she had used the Super-Skrull experiment on herself. In the latest episode of the series, “Harvest,” Gravik’s endgame takes a new, cruel twist, and Fury prepares himself for the final confrontation as the threat of extinction looms larger for both humans and Skrulls.
Monstrous Motivation: Why Does Gravik Want To Hold His Own People Hostage?
Right after the attack on President Ritson, Fury takes the unconscious President to the hospital, and up until the last minute of his entry into the emergency unit, he warns him not to trust Col. Rhodes. With no one trustworthy enough at his disposal, Fury stands guard outside of the President’s room.
After his return to New Skrullos, Gravik gathers all his operatives, and the conversation between him and his right-hand man, Pagon, takes a heated turn. According to Gravik, Pagon’s inability to secure the Harvest resulted in the failure of the mission to kill P.O.T.U.S., and on the other hand, Pagon states all of Gravik’s leads directed towards the Harvest, locations of which Fury had previously confided with the rebel Skrull leader, resulted in null. Pagon also questions Gravik’s motives for sparing Fury’s life time and again, straight up telling him that perhaps Fury didn’t trust him during his days as an infiltrator, and questions the leader’s allegiance, which leads to Gravik attacking and killing him. To the rest of the operatives, Gravik informs them of Varra’s betrayal and orders his underlings to carry out her execution.
However, the most surprising twist in the first half of the episode comes when Raava calls Gravik to inform him that he is going to take care of the unfinished business, i.e., kill the P.O.T.U.S. at the hospital, and Gravik orders him to spare his life instead. Gravik asks her to make the President believe that the Russians are in cahoots with Skrulls by showing him the satellite footage of New Skrullos. This will inevitably result in the United States conducting a strike on foreign soil (not an uncommon recurrence in real life) and, subsequently, the possibility of a third world war. Additionally, Gravik states he is willing to give his own people leverage to negotiate the transfer of ‘Harvest’ from Fury. When Raava asks Gravik the reason for such a drastic measure, he states he is willing to bet on Fury’s generosity for the Skrulls.
As Raava, impersonating Rhodes, arrives at the hospital, she faces a hostile Fury, who threatens that he will expose her secrets, only to learn that she has already released the clip from the Russian bombing online, which shows Fury (impersonated by Gravik) shooting agent Maria Hill to death. Disgruntled, Fury takes his leave, and as the video spreads like wildfire, the media connects Fury’s involvement with the alien (Skrull) invasion and murder attempt on P.O.T.U.S. as well.
The beginning of the episode shows how the death of the former Skrull leader Talos resulted in some degree of disgruntlement among the operatives, despite the antithetical stances of both Talos and Gravik’s approaches. And this uneasiness has been aggravated by all of Gravik’s acts of terrorism not resulting in a favorable outcome for Skrulls either, for the time being at least. The dissatisfaction turned to dissent, even from the closest of Gravik’s operatives, and his killing of Pagon will inevitably cause his comrades to look at his role in a new light.
What Does Sonya Falsworth Learn About Gravik’s Plans?
Previously, we saw Fury’s former MI6 associate, Sonya Falsworth, use her expertise to extract information from captive Skrull terrorists, and we came to know about a scientist named Dr. Rosa Dalton who developed the instrument to imbue the Skrulls with superpowers. She had also learned that a high-ranking official of British defense had been impersonated by the Skrulls, and as this episode showcases, she deduced the individual to be the S.I.S. director. Sonya apprehends the director, exposes him to the forces, and gains intel about Dr. Dalton. As Sonya, now assuming the position of the director herself, locates Dalton and torches her lab, a Skrull operative acting as Dalton’s assistant attacks the scientist, but he promptly meets his maker as Sonya shoots him. An appropriate, sassy remark by Sonya about Skrull and human males being alike in gaslighting and forcing their female counterparts follows thereafter.
Meanwhile, Fury meets with G’iah at the former S.H.I.E.L.D. H.Q. at Brixton and reminisces about the old days when the Skrull operatives used to work hand in hand with human agents there. Fury shares how Brixton holds a certain significance to the immigrant communities, as right after WWII, the oppressed West Indians sought it out as their second home, the inception of Windrush generation —a fact that strengthened Talos’ morale as a leader as well, just as it strengthens Fury’s. Their conversation drifted inevitably to the major talking point—the death of G’iah’s father, Talos—resulting in a grief-stricken G’iah questioning the purpose of him dying on foreign soil, protecting someone that is not his blood, and still remaining unrecognized. Fury tries to console her, stating Talos’ path of righteousness was fraught with struggle, but that never meant his purpose of striking harmony between the two species was a failure. From G’iah, Fury gets to know that Gravik stole that particular D.N.A. because he couldn’t get his hands on ‘Harvest,’ and it seems Fury was anticipating something like this. G’iah wishes to pay respect to her father by performing last rites, and Fury sends her to Priscilla, who will be able to guide her as he sets off on a journey to Finland.
The importance of Talos’ sacrifice isn’t lost on Fury. In his life, Talos thanklessly helped the humans by letting them use him and other Skrulls as shapeshifting infiltrators, gaining basically nothing in return. As he sacrificed his life for the cause of humans till the very end, he held on to the idea of mutual cooperation, showing goodwill to seek refuge on the planet as equals. As misplaced as his optimism might seem, the work of his entire life does not just become redundant with the machinations of an upstart like Gravik.
Did The Coup Attempt At New Skrullos Turn Out Successful?
Pagon’s death was already a warning sign, and Gravik’s plans of using his own people as leverage were perhaps overheard by some of his operatives, who attempted a coup led by the newest recruit Beto and tried to take Gravik out by ambushing him in unison. However, even after initially getting the upper hand, the operatives are beaten down by the Super Skrull rather easily. To instill fear in the eyes of other Skrulls and permanently eliminate any further chance of such dissent, Gravik kills Beto in front of numerous other Skrulls. Later, Raava, who is impersonating Rhodes, tries to rile up President Ritson about the Russians by concocting the story of their alliance with the Skrulls and showing him New Skrullos. Rhodes almost implores Ritson to call a strike on New Skrullos, stating NATO and England will support their action (given the fact the NATO secretary and British PM are actually Skrulls in disguise). The schematics Rhodes pulls to show Ritson his assessments are sent by an unaware Sonya Falsworth.
Talos had previously warned other Skrulls about Gravik’s plans to send the race hurtling towards extinction, a sentiment later shared by Giah, and by now, it’s clear as day to even the refugee Skrulls that Gravik never had any noble intention of providing his people with a home. His hatred against humanity and restlessness from getting exploited set him on a destructive path, where his entire species was dragged into it, and he is going to pay the price as well. While Talos guarded his people like a true leader, Gravik sought to exploit, destroy, and hold hostage his own people to ensure his success. In this sense, Gravik is almost comparable to Kathleen from The Last of Us, as both of these leaders have shown their horrible, selfish sides when things matter the most.
Will Fury Be Able To Stop Gravik’s Plan Of Total Annihilation?
G’iah goes to Priscilla/Varra, and the duo performs the last rites of Talos. As Priscilla reminisces about her love life with Fury, G’iah unwittingly offends her by asking her how her husband feels about letting her stay in her own skin instead of impersonating a human for the resemblance in appearance. This is a question Priscilla had asked Fury in the previous episode as well before the duo parted ways; hence, she is taken aback a bit. However, their conversation is interrupted by a bunch of Talos’ Skrull operatives sent there to kill Varra, whom G’iah and Varra easily take out. Later, G’iah takes Varra’s blessings and leaves.
Gravik calls Fury to let him know about the purge he has planned for both the humans and the Skrulls by initiating an attack on New Skrullos in Russia and, in turn, the possibility of a third world war, which he can still call off if Fury hands the Harvest over to him. Assisted by Sonya Falsworth, Fury goes to Finland. The Widow’s veil, which was used by Natasha Romanoff, is used by Fury to hide his identity as well. Later, Sonya asks Fury about the Harvest, which, as Fury states, is the collection of D.N.A. samples of all the heroes who took part in the “Battle of Earth” during Avengers: Endgame, including Captain Marvel. After the end of the battle, a number of Skrull were instructed to collect the D.N.A. samples of the heroes, and the leader of the collector team was Gravik, which is why the idea of Super Skrull possibly crossed his mind in the first place. Fury, feeling responsible for this, returned to Earth to rectify the situation. Fury also reveals Rhodey is being impersonated by a Skrull, which shocks the new S.I.S. director out of her wits.
As Fury arrives in front of his tomb in Finland and retrieves the Harvest, Sonya asks him why he chose this particular country to hide something so important, and Fury’s reply reveals Varra the Skrull to be his better half, once again shocking Sonya. She also asks why Fury is opting out of asking for help from his super-friends, to which Fury states that the ordeal is personal. The struggle he has been through to protect the planet will not be replicated by any of the supers; he acknowledges the women in his life—his mother and wife—and trusts whatever the contribution has turned him into so far to be enough to tackle the crisis at hand. Going to the mausoleum, Fury collects his weapon, signature eye patch, and trench coat as he suits up for the upcoming war and prepares for the final showdown with Gravik.
The first season of Secret Invasion has been as much about Nick Fury as it has concerned itself with the eponymous event. The role of Nick Fury as the spymaster, organizer, and mediator to strengthen Earth’s forces, shield the refugee Skrulls, and inability to contain the invasion have shown him from a thorough, scrutinizing angle, and it only affirmed his importance in the overarching narrative of the MCU. However, despite the reasoning stated by Fury, we can’t help but feel the absence of big-shot established heroes in the roster of Secret Invasion feels out of continuity and distracting, as it feels implausible to think a global crisis of this stature wouldn’t attract the attention of Earth’s mightiest heroes. As we wait for the final showdown, the anticipation for what might unfold in the finale gradually increases. Entrusting Gravik with something as powerful as Harvest will inevitably doom the planet, and the spymaster alone cannot handle a threat that significant. Perhaps G’iah will return to New Skrullos to lead an exodus before the air strike happens, or interference from superheroes, particularly Captain Marvel (given the fact she was mentioned the most number of times), will stop the situation from getting any worse? In any case, the political scenario of the world is about to get a serious makeover thanks to whatever the finale of Secret Invasion unfolds next week.