Secret Invasion made it clear it was Nick Fury’s final fight, his moment in the spotlight to fight evil without the Avengers behind him. Over the course of six episodes, we saw drama build from the loss of his colleagues Maria Hill and Talos to the reveal that his best friend, James Rhodes, was a Skrull the entire time.
But the main threat to Fury was always Gravik, the leader of the Skrull rebellion. In Episode 6, we finally got to see them face off… but the scene soon came to a screeching halt because of an issue that haunted the entire series.
When Nick Fury finally enters the reactor where Gravik has been running his operations, the two have a tense conversation about Fury’s failure to keep up his end of his bargain with the Skrulls. He gets vulnerable, even admitting that when he started to be Blipped away, the only thing he felt was relief. This is a man with major survivor’s guilt, who feels so responsible for so many people that he felt relief at disintegrating.
But that vulnerability is instantly negated by the reveal that Nick Fury wasn’t even Nick Fury, but G’iah disguised as him, faking her way through radiation sickness and that emotional monologue.
The moment is what’s wrong with the entire show: every scene that could be emotionally genuine is immediately undone with a gotcha reveal. Nick Fury’s tense relationship with his wife? He’s not a distant husband worn down by the stress of his job; it’s because she’s a Skrull. His touching conversation with Rhodey about what it’s like to be a Black man fighting for justice? Meaningless to Rhodey, who’s actually a female Skrull.
Now, in what should have been the final showdown between Fury and Gravik, Fury’s not even there. Instead, he’s busy stopping a missile strike on Russia, a job Sonya had in hand. What should have been Nick Fury’s compelling solo story became a cheap bait-and-switch that turned good character moments and tense, paranoid scenes into lazy plot twists that served no greater purpose. Fury, the man who gave us the Avengers, deserved better.