Secret Invasion Proves Marvel Doesn't Know How to Use Female Characters
Episode 3 ends with another shock twist... but why?
Secret Invasion promised a reckoning for the Marvel cinematic universe, and three weeks in, the miniseries has delivered a few worthy bombshells. Episode 3, “Betrayal,” puts Secret Invasion at the halfway mark, which means the series now has to deliver on the thrills it’s been teasing. In some ways, it feels like more of the same, but the series functions best when it’s peeling away at Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his fraught web of relationships, and there’s plenty of that on display.
Fans were naturally left with a lot of questions after Episode 2 — namely, “Nick Fury has a wife?!” — and Episode 3 wastes little time filling in the blanks of his mysterious relationship. “Betrayal” also doubles down on the twists and turns its shifting alliances generate, especially where Skrulls like Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and his daughter G’iah (Emilia Clarke) are concerned. The episode serves as another worthy showcase for the former, but delivers a shocking fate for the latter, which plays into a frustrating trend for Marvel. Spoilers ahead!
In Episode 3, Fury and Talos are working hard to prevent the latest terrorist attack by Gravik’s (Kingsley Ben-Adir) Skrull insurgence. The Skrull General has sent three agents to infiltrate a British nuclear submarine, Neptune, and plans to launch an attack on a United Nations airliner. Though Fury and Talos try their best, it’s G’iah who provides the information necessary to stop the nuclear strike.
Though Secret Invasion introduced G’iah as one of Gravik’s loyal agents, her strained relationship with her dad has tested her loyalties at every turn. Episode 3 sees her alliances shifting. She becomes a double agent for Talos and Fury, but she doesn’t get much of a chance to atone for her work by Gravik’s side.
While G’iah’s change of heart is admirable, it’s soured by a gut-twisting reveal. Gravik, once again, has been pulling the strings. He knew he had a weak link in his ranks, and sacrificed his latest plot to sus out his betrayer. G’iah can only feed Talos and Fury intel because Gravik allows it. Her fate has always been in his hands: he’s even waiting for her when she tries to escape, and he promptly shoots her down.
Like most Skrull casualties we’ve seen, G’iah returns to her true form once shot, which strongly suggests she’s been killed. Her apparent demise leaves a bad taste, not only because it disposes of the talented Emilia Clarke, but because of the pattern Secret Invasion seems to be following. Episode 1 culminated in a death meant to light a fire under Nick Fury; it didn’t exactly work. G’iah’s death seems to be repeating that cycle, and while it’ll definitely affect Talos, Secret Invasion can’t afford to kill off yet another character we’re only just getting to know.
“Betrayal” also highlights a concerning pattern for the series’ female characters: G’iah is defined by her connection to one of Secret Invasion’s two male leads. The series wants us to care about those Fury and Talos care about, but they haven’t done the work to establish their motivations, or even who they are as individuals. Until Secret Invasion does that, each twist will ring hollow, and the series will continue to waste the potential of its characters.
Given G’iah’s role in so many of Secret Invasion’s promos, it’s possible her fate isn’t sealed just yet. This could be one of the series’ many fake-outs, but given how little we know about G’iah so far, her “death” doesn’t carry the weight it’s clearly meant to. Either way, Marvel’s painted itself into a corner. Will it be able to get out of it, or will yet another MCU show sputter to a limp conclusion?