Twice, the first episode of Marvel's Secret Invasion killed a character we knew (or thought we knew). Which is why folks who finished the 54-plus minute series premiere on Disney Plus may be wondering what the heck they just saw.
While one death is somewhat straightforward, the other is confusing enough to make you seriously scratch your head. Fortunately for fans of a certain character, though, we don't believe that both of these character deaths are final.
But, of course, we must precede any conversations about these deaths with a massive spoiler warning!
RIP Agent Maria Hill
Let's start with the clearer death, Cobie Smulders' Agent Maria Hill, died in the line of duty under obvious circumstances. Failing to stop the Skrull attack on Unity Day in Russia, Hill and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) are trying to find Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir).
Instead, Gravik finds Hill, though she doesn't know it as he's shape-shifted to look like Fury. He then shoots Hill in the stomach, and leaves. Fury finds Hill, wounded and in her final moments, where she tells him "It was you. Not me."
There is nothing suspicious about this death, since she didn't shape-shift afterwards. You know, unlike the first big death of Secret Invasion?
Did Everett Ross really die?
Secret Invasion episode 1 begins in Moscow, where we hear the paranoid-sounding rantings of Agent Prescod (Richard Dormer), as he yells at former CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) about the shape-shifting Skrull aliens. Ross doesn't seem that concerned, though, while Prescod yells at his wall of newspaper clippings doing a serious version of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia's Charlie Kelly.
Prescod, pressed to give evidence, hands Ross information about a potential attack that would "set the world on fire." Ross says he'll give the information to Fury, and that's when Prescod attacks everyone's favorite 'colonizer,' even strangling him. Ross kills Prescod in self-defense, and is immediately on the run, calling in an extraction from Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).
Then, Ross is chased down by men we do not know, until it's revealed that the Skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) was chasing him. Why? Because Ross (who dies as Hill and Talos talks) shifts into a Skrull, and dies.
This big mind-bending moment may have some wondering how long the Ross we know has actually just been a Skrull. And as much as this scene may have served as his death, something doesn't seem right. Ross, as you may remember, has been in hiding after Okoye (Danai Gurira) broke him out of custody in Wakanda Forever.
This is why I'll argue that the real Everett Ross probably didn't die. He's most likely still in Wakanda, since that Ross was able to not be noticed as a fraud by his ex-wife Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and all of the other character he's interacted with.
Is there a chance that a Skrull had been in Ross' shoes the whole time? Possibly. But that would rewrite an entire character's history — and for the worse.
Outlook: Secret Invasion threatens all of our assumptions
The fun thing about Secret Invasion's first episode is that it shows a willingness to break our brains in a good way. Nothing, clearly, is what it seems to be.
I look forward to watching Secret Invasion's next five episodes, and to finding out that the real Everett Ross is safe and sound in Wakanda.