Beloved certainly couldn’t be accused of being a slow installment of Secret Invasion, but it didn’t do much in suggesting Nick Fury’s been 20 steps ahead of Gravik and his crew all along.
If anything, this episode made it seem like Fury is hopelessly, hilariously outgunned. while being outmaneuvered at every turn. Gravik is too savvy a thinker and strategist for the Secret Invasion writers to feel the need to make Fury look like a moron in order to make Gravik come off more formidable.
First, to immediately wipe away any lingering doubts after last episode’s cliffhanger. We get a quickie flashback showing G’iah giving herself Extremis abilities to save herself from getting killed. Smart thinking, but boy does the Skrull power generator work on a super easy setting for someone completely unfamiliar with the setup being able to come in and make themselves a Super Skrull.
Maybe G’iah wished she hadn’t bothered saving herself after hearing Talos’ plan of playing errand cleanup aliens for the US government and biding their time until they’re accepted. G’iah probably has watched the news 10 times since becoming an adult and already knows acceptance is a pipe dream. Clearly if Skrulls had to choose between Gravik and Talos’ vision for all of Skrull-dom, Gravik wins every time.
Next up is an older flashback with Fury meeting with Cilla in Paris following the formation of the Avengers. Part of the problem with this gap-filling storyline of Fury’s deep connection with the Skulls is that it’s feeling too forced. Again, if he had a secret clandestine group of shape shifting operatives, they would have been able to ferret out Hydra’s infiltration of SHIELD or not have briefed him at all about Thanos. Plus these continuity gymnastics is trying to plug in connections and bonds via flashback.
That approach could work in a movie setting like Captain Marvel, but the flashbacks are being used to connect this “new” past with the present. It’s not quite landing as effectively as the showrunners intend.
There’s some hope that Fury isn’t totally clueless as he bugged Cilla so he could listen in on her conversation with Skrull Rhodey. It stings for Fury to hear she was working him all along and essentially undercuts any drama with this relationship. That way when Secret Invasion is over and Fury is back in space working with The Marvels no one will think twice about the wife no one knew he had.
Fury doesn’t even bother with a pretense and called Cilla out for trying to kill him. There’s an emotional exchange about the woman who’s body Cilla took over. It’s decent enough backstory, but for a character operating on borrowed time, it feels pretty worthless. Both Fury and Cilla fail to take the kill shot. They both decide they can’t kill each other even if their marriage was built on a house of lies. Well, OK then…This felt like a Han shot first moment though the show probably couldn’t explain away the three main female characters getting shot and just one surviving.
Next up for Fury? Visiting Rhodey. Good thing the female Skrull Raava (Nisha Aaliya) impersonating Rhodey changed back to his form before coming into the bedroom area. This one was more of a performative bit as Fury opts not to try and kill this fraud wearing a friend’s body. Instead, he slips a liquid tracker in his drink. That proves only so effective as SR tells Gravik about President Ritson’s convoy for an ambush.
For whatever reason, I assumed Fury was ahead of Skrull Rhodey and Gravik on this one, but he and Talos are casually trailing until they see Gravik and his men upend Ritson’s car.
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It’s so weird watching the guy who had plans upon plans suddenly coming off so inept in countering a strike force he has spent 20+ years in a partnership. You’d think Fury would have some master reveal switch that turns any Skrull into their normal form or at least identify them ala some funky glasses FitzSimmons whipped up.
A long firefight breaks out that’s not as clearly staged as it could have been since Gravik and his men dress more like the good guys than the masked men in Ritson’s convoy. Gravik is trying to pin the attack on the Russians by speaking in Russian though among the explosions and bullets it seems like it’d be hard for Ritson’s men to make out what language they’re using.
Talos tries to free Ritson by very slowly smashing the window. Fury has a gun and it seems silly for him to not just use the butt to smash the window out. It’s not like we can fully appreciate Talos’ strength in this scenario. Gravik has Pagon shoot Talos while he takes out more of Ritson’s men using Groot’s powers. Fury drags Ritson out while one of Ritson’s convoy crew takes Talos to safety.
Just kidding, it’s that scamp Gravik again pulling his old fake out and guts Talos with a knife to ensure he’s dead. After last week’s fake out with G’iah, I’m not sure I’m buying it, which isn’t ideal in either scenario. Maybe Gravik could have “killed” G’iah two weeks earlier to provide some space between him taking out the family?
It just feels like Gravik shockingly killing someone to wrap the episode has been way overdone — that’s been the cliffhanger in three of the four episodes. At some point it starts to have diminishing returns and that’s not a good thing as the series nears its completion.
Beloved continues to paint Fury as out of his league and desperately in need of rediscovering his mojo before Gravik and his forces put the finishing touches on their invasion.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Disney