REVIEW: Secret Invasion – Season 1, Episode 5, “Harvest”

“Harvest” is the point in a story where you kind of just want it to end. I enjoyed most of Secret Invasion in the beginning, but this episode makes it clear that the setup is not going to have a satisfying payoff. There are too many story strands to tie up in a week, too many characters to fully develop, and a plot so loaded with “twists” and added threads that it’s buckling under its own weight. It still has some good moments, and it’s far from the worst show (or movie) Marvel has produced, but it’s not what it could have been.

After saving the President’s life, Nick Fury goes after Gravik to end his plot for good. Gravik’s ultimate plan is revealed. G’iah wrestles with her complex feelings for her father after learning of his death. Sonya Falsworth hunts down the Skrulls that have infiltrated her agency.

What Secret Invasion has devolved into is effectively demonstrated in the opening sequence of “Harvest.” Fury is kept out of the operating room when he brings the President to the hospital; he waits outside the room with a gun in his hand, prepared for anything, ever the spy despite being left in the cold. It’s a great image of Fury and a terrific lead-in to the last couple of episodes, with Fury alone, desperate, but never surrendering. Then, Rhodey – or the Skrull masquerading as Rhodey – strolls in, and Fury suddenly becomes impetuous and stupid, walking up to a high-ranking government official and putting a gun to his head in front of the Secret Service. We’ve seen Fury being smart for the entire series, outwitting his opponents, feigning feebleness while being one step ahead of everyone. Now, he throws that away and almost gets himself killed because he sees Fake Rhodey. He gains nothing from this, and it’s hard to believe he wasn’t gunned down immediately; all it does is goad Rhodey into releasing the tape of Gravik disguised as Fury shooting Maria Hill. In one scene, the show’s strengths and weaknesses are on full display, and the rest of the episode follows suit.


Secret Invasion Harvest

The rest of “Harvest” feels like an obligatory exposition dump mixed with filler. I’ve said this a few times over the past several years, but these Marvel shows are simultaneously too long and too short. They pack so many characters and plotlines into them that the small episode count is too little to explore them all fully, but they also dawdle for an episode or two instead of pushing any of these forward, so you’re checking your watch waiting for it to either pick up or end. If they’d choose just a few and fully explore them, the shows would be much more successful. And they’ve got a lot to pick from with Secret Invasion: Fury’s guilt, the Skrulls splintering into factions, the infiltration of world governments, the friction between an idealistic father and a daughter taken in by fanatics, an attempt to start a new World War, a plot to create Super Skrulls, Fury’s marriage, Falsworth’s separate Skrull investigation, a new Gravik recruit growing disillusioned, and how anyone thought Dermot Mulroney was charismatic enough to be elected President. Leaving off that last one, those are all good plots; maybe that’s the problem, because Secret Invasion has used all of them, and as of now, it doesn’t look like any of them will be worthwhile by the end.

Take the main players, Nick Fury and the Skrulls. What is Gravik’s ultimate plan? Does he want to trigger a world war and wipe out humanity, or does he want to create an army of Super Skrulls using the Avengers’ DNA so he can conquer us himself? Is one a contingency plan for the other? At times, each one looks like his main goal. Either one would work, but with the series divided between them, neither has time to hold the weight necessary to feel like a real, visceral threat. Look at the way the Avengers DNA plot point is revealed; it’s tossed out in the middle of a rant by Gravik’s second-in-command, much like the repeal of the Sokovia Accords was in She-Hulk. When Fury finds out about it, he acts like he’s known all along, and this leads to a problem with him. He’s been wracked with guilt, blaming himself for the Skrull plot, but until “Harvest,” it was clearly because he hadn’t found the Skrulls a new planet. Now, that’s suddenly flipped, and he blames himself for harvesting the Avengers’ DNA. The plot and character arcs are morphing seemingly whenever the writers get a new idea, which indicates that the show wasn’t planned out properly.

Secret Invasion Harvest

And even with the new revelation about the Avengers’ DNA, “Harvest” clings to the previous source of Fury’s guilt in the scene between him and G’iah. In isolation, it’s a good scene, and Samuel L. Jackson and Emilia Clarke play it well, but it rests on Fury not finding the Skrulls a real home, the effect it’s had on G’iah and others like her, and Fury’s growing realization that maybe Talos was right and they should stay on Earth. (It’s dumb, but at least it’s something.) This also informs G’iah’s actions in the episode, unsure of how she feels about her father and humans, questioning Fury and Priscilla’s mixed marriage. If Secret Invasion had stuck with this and saved Super Skrull for later (like a Fantastic Four movie), it would have been more focused; but the writers act like they can’t help themselves, so instead of playing the long game – which the MCU was supposed to be all about originally – they’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink into six episodes. The scene between G’iah and Priscilla also suffers because of how quickly we’ve had to accept and roll with the changes in Priscilla’s marriage to Fury. It’s another interesting subplot, but there isn’t nearly enough time to develop it, so it should have been cut. The conversation between Priscilla and G’iah is good, and again, the actresses are great, but it’s another scene that’s effective in isolation, and the shootout that is supposed to serve as the conclusion isn’t satisfying, so it feels like a waste of time in the bigger picture.

So does the mini-insurrection attempt against Gravik. First, his lieutenant is insubordinate, and then that new guy organizes an assassination attempt that fails and gets him and several other Skrulls killed. The idea of Gravik’s minions losing faith in him is good, but it’s so sudden and comes to so little that it feels meaningless. The new guy has been sidelined since his introduction, so his turn doesn’t have any impact, like G’iah’s did. In fact, the whole thing seems like a retread of G’iah’s arc (which, itself, is buried under so much else that it doesn’t resonate as it should), so this is more wheel-spinning before the finale. So, too, is Falsworth’s investigation into the Skrulls that have infiltrated British Intelligence. Sure, it’s cool to see Olivia Colman taking out the traitors in her midst, but how did she find them? What led her to Tony Curran in the first place? (And how do you waste an actor like Tony Curran in a nothing role like this?) We don’t know because she’s barely been around; you’d think watching a spymaster smoke out the moles in her agency would be a cool subplot in a spy show. Instead, she just pops up every so often so Fury can use her as an asset.

Secret Invasion Harvest

“Harvest” is full of dopey plot points, too. When Falsworth asks why Fury won’t call on any of the Avengers for help, he gives her a ludicrous speech about how people will never learn self-reliance if they keep depending on superheroes to rescue them. I assume this is a ham-handed attempt to explain why the obvious answer to this entire storyline can’t happen, but it’s worse than simply ignoring it. Remember the last time there was an alien invasion of Earth led by a guy with superpowers? I’m pretty sure Fury called in the Avengers. If he were around when Thanos arrived, would he have given a “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” speech? How many people is he ready to damn to avoid looking needy? Worse still, this and the whole DNA subplot negate an earlier episode where Fury said he didn’t want to bring in the Avengers specifically because he feared Gravik getting their DNA. Now, that’s a moot point. And speaking of Super Skrulls, isn’t G’iah one? I seem to remember that being the reason she survived Gravik shooting her. So, when the Skrull assassins show up at Priscilla’s house, why doesn’t she use her powers to take them out? Did she forget she has them, despite using them to save her life? And, regardless of the mechanics of it, was anyone bursting at the seams to see that nobody from Black Widow again? Is this their idea of an Easter egg for fans? They brought back this doof of a character so he could take shots at Fury, but they didn’t put the Pulp Fiction Bible verse on Fury’s tombstone? I know they explain it, but if you’re going to call back to something, at least make it something cool. And, of course, they had to have Falsworth insult men in general, because they can’t stop insulting their audience any more than a dog can stop barking.

“Harvest” is the epitome of the Marvel Disney+ shows, both too much and too little, laden with plots and subplots but wasting so much time that it feels like filler. This is a shame; I started off really enjoying Secret Invasion, but now, I’m ready for it to go away.

Secret Invasion "Harvest"

Plot - 5
Acting - 8
Progression - 5
Production Design - 7
Themes - 4



“Harvest” is a boring, messy episode that wastes time before the finale while reminding us of all the plot points that will never get a satisfactory resolution.

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