‘Secret Invasion’ Episode 1 Review: What Shouldn’t Have Happened

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury looking out a balcony in SECRET INVASION Episode 1.
Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

Secret Invasion Episode 1 Spoilers Ahead

Note from Marvelous Geeks’ Team: With the ongoing WGA strike, it’s imperative that we state we stand in solidarity with all writers asking for better wages and the respect they deserve in this industry. No story comes to fruition without the idea born and nurtured inside a writer’s head. Writers are the beating hearts of everything we love — we stand with and for them. 

Secret Invasion is Nick Fury’s story, and foremost—there’s no denying as much. It’s his arc, his character’s point of view, and everything we get otherwise is a bonus. Still, Maria Hill is a colossal part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In a world with multiverses and uncertainties regarding Skrull identities, the final bombshell in Secret Invasion Episode 1 might not even stand.

However, if killing Maria Hill is an irreversible decision, then the loss we experience in this episode is as horrible as Tony Stark’s. (If not more.) As a whole, the series feels as bleak as Avengers: Endgame, but with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 subverting expectations by allowing viewers to experience hope amidst the haunting perils we prepared for, it’s challenging to see Secret Invasion pull such a thoughtless twist. 

Secret Invasion Episode 1 Forgets Maria Hill’s Significance

(L-R): Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury sitting together in SECRET INVASION Episode 1.
Photo by Des Willie. © 2023 MARVEL.

Outside the Avengers, Nick Fury and Maria Hill are the characters audiences have known the longest. We’ve been with them from the start, and when we’ve had few women on screen calling the shots, we had Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill. Thereby, it’s an insult to both the audience and the character to kill her so haphazardly to serve a man’s arc. It’s also a tremendous disservice to their friendship. While this certainly heightens the stakes and enunciates the fact that Secret Invasion is a spy thriller, such plot points still matter in the world of fiction. We could see the depth and realism of these outcomes without taking out the character who’s a cornerstone for leadership and honor.

From the moment we first meet Hill, she’s a character who exudes comfort and strength. She’s intelligent and brave, and in a space full of men, she commands the scene with an honor that’s hard to come by. When we could trust only a few characters, we could trust Maria Hill. Audiences knew that they could not only count on her, but the characters could too. Where there’d be betrayals, she’d stand square and fight through anything to ensure that she protects those under her command. Wherever she showed up, circumstances felt right again. We could breathe a little easier knowing she’s around.

It’s rare for a character to hold such a space like this when they aren’t a superhero in a film full of them, but Maria Hill does this almost effortlessly. She’s easily the best part of Avengers: Age of Ultron, noting the absence of women in the films. Her “testosterone” comment still reigns as one of the greatest scenes in the otherwise lackluster film. Or, there’s even “Congress is like kindergarten.” There’s a reason Fury chooses her as his second—there’s a reason she’s the one who keeps him anchored. The range of her abilities and her unmatched wit make her an incredible asset to keep around, but still, it’s her loyalty that stands out.

Now, what ultimately feels worse beyond the death is that if it’s real, it’s an incredibly anticlimactic way for such an important character to go. As realistic as this is and as grounded as Secret Invasion Episode 1 is, leaving her in the middle of bloodshed as it does is both heartbreaking and harrowing. Maria Hill deserves far more than what she got and far more development as an integral part of the universe to see her time end like this. Perhaps this is a fake-out, which one can hope will lead to more character development and screen time. If not, we need to have a different conversation about how the MCU’s been handling its female characters lately.

Now streaming on Disney+: What are your thoughts on Secret Invasion Episode 1? Let us know in the comments below. 


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