This week marks the sixth and closing episode of Secret Invasion. Three of the 5 episodes we’ve seen up to now ended with the (obvious) dying of a primary character – in case you haven’t been watching and need these identities to remain secret, cease studying now. I believe we will all agree that 60% of the episodes ending in a dying might be a bit an excessive amount of.
In a present that’s struggling for plausible and dramatic stakes, it looks like the one arrow the MCU has in its quiver is to spin the roulette wheel of dying and kill somebody. Broadly, no one has cared very a lot. None of those ostensibly stunning moments within the new Marvel sequence have raised as a lot as a flicker on the guts charge of Twitter – or X, or no matter we’re calling it at this time.
Frankly, this concern isn’t new to the MCU, and it’s partly our fault as followers. We’re a blood-thirsty lot, and there was loads of criticism that Marvel was shy about killing off the perfect MCU characters in its new motion pictures. The phrase “plot armor” is overused in fandom circles, however there was positively a sense that sure characters have been too huge to die.
This got here to a head earlier this 12 months when the Guardians of the Galaxy forged bought collectively for a closing time. We have been certain that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 would spell the tip for at the least a few of the key gamers. Many column inches have been dedicated to who would die – and we have been amongst these writing about it – as if that was extra essential than the satisfying story we in the end bought.
Whereas James Gunn in the end selected to maintain all of his misfit heroes alive, Secret Invasion has gone the opposite means, swinging the Grim Reaper’s scythe with merry abandon. Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), who has been a part of the MCU since 2012, was summarily dispatched on the finish of episode one, adopted in episode three by Emilia Clarke’s G’iah – subsequently resurrected – and her dad Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) in episode 4.
In itself, there’s nothing unsuitable with killing off characters. In truth, when the destiny of the planet is within the steadiness, there most likely ought to be some blood sloshing round. However the factor lacking from all of it is weight and heft. Dying is barely a helpful narrative instrument if it means one thing. In any other case, it’s all simply A-list items being moved round Kevin Feige’s multi-billion-dollar chess board.
In relation to this concern, Recreation of Thrones has rather a lot to reply for. Nonetheless, we’d watched 9 hours of narrative groundwork and character build-up earlier than Ned Stark misplaced his head in that first season.
It didn’t simply imply one thing; it meant every thing. Instantly, the entire thing went up a notch as King Joffrey’s insanity ensured no one was secure, and everybody wanted to be on their guard.
However by the ultimate seasons of Thrones, it had turn out to be the epitome of an impassive chess match. Characters died at random and by the rating as if the one factor that mattered was thinning down the ensemble so they might give the bizarre tree child the Iron Throne. Dying had simply turn out to be a factor the present did as a result of all of us anticipated it slightly than part of the story.
The MCU, as a kind of cinematic Pangea made up of various franchises drifting about, isn’t fairly as responsible as Thrones with regards to the inevitability of character dying. However, within the case of Secret Invasion, there was a touch of desperation about the entire thing. In lieu of the genuinely fascinating paranoid thriller narrative we hoped we’d be getting, we’ve as an alternative bought a barely tepid drama punctuated by occasional character deaths.
And did any of it matter? Cobie Smulders was at all times a welcome addition when she popped up in the perfect motion pictures of the MCU, however viewers members gained’t mourn Maria Hill an excessive amount of. We’d solely simply met G’iah – and she or he’s again anyway – and we hadn’t actually thought of Talos since Mendelsohn’s fulfilling flip in Captain Marvel. Killing them was fleetingly unhappy, but it surely felt extra mechanical than emotional. That’s fairly damning.
Hopefully, showrunner Kyle Bradstreet can pull a rabbit out of his hat this week and ship a satisfying conclusion to Secret Invasion. However to ensure that that to occur, we want extra than simply indiscriminate character slaughter. Storytelling wants emotion above all else, in any other case, what’s the purpose? Be extra Ned Stark and fewer Cersei and Jaime within the crumbling Purple Preserve.
To get your self prepared for the Secret Invasion finale, try our Secret Invasion episode 5 recap and familiarize your self with a few of the most essential particulars, together with Raava, The Harvest, and Flora Colossus. You can even examine how this Secret Invasion star couldn’t consider that stunning second didn’t leak. Shock, shock: they’re speaking about dying.
You can even look again by way of the franchise and watch the Marvel motion pictures so as, or head into Marvel’s Part 5 with The Marvels launch date and the Loki season 2 launch date. We’ve additionally penned an open letter to Kevin Feige concerning the upcoming Marvel motion pictures.