The Clue That Confirms [REDACTED] Is A Skrull In Secret Invasion


It's hard to know who to trust these days — and if you're Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), you don't trust anyone. The former S.H.I.E.L.D. director does have a tight circle of friends and allies, but in "Secret Invasion" they're rapidly vanishing — either through death or replacement with Skrull doppelgangers. In episode 3, "Betrayed," Fury demonstrates that he's gotten pretty good at Skrull-spotting, and in doing so clues the audience into the fact that someone else isn't who they appear to be.

While infiltrating the home of top-ranking military official Bob Fairbanks (David Bark-Jones), Fury checks in with his old Skrull buddy Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) over the radio, who replies, "Sorry, Nick, I was busy kicking Bob's arse. Second floor. Last door down the hall." When Fury arrives through said door, however, he has a gun to the head of Fairbanks' son, and finds "Bob" with Talos in a similar situation. 

How did Fury know that he was heading into a trap? "Nobody calls me Nick, Bob," he explains. 

As we've previously seen in "Secret Invasion," there are typically two steps involved when Skrulls replace someone. First, they transform themselves into a perfect copy of the person, and then they place them into a machine that raids their mind so that the Skrull can take that as well. The doppelganger will have all of the knowledge and memories of the person they're impersonating, making them very hard to detect. In this scene, however, "Bob" hasn't had a chance to steal Talos' mind, so he doesn't know that Talos never calls his old friend "Nick." (It also sounds like Mendelsohn is deliberately doing a bad version of his real Australian accent). 

So, where else have we heard Fury addressed as "Nick" recently?

That's Mister Fury to you

I'm not going to go back through the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and fact-check the "nobody calls me Nick" thing, but there is one character we've heard use that name very recently: Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle). During Fury's tête-à-tête with Rhodey in "Secret Invasion" episode 2, "Promises," the good colonel refers to him as "Fury" for most of their conversation, but slips up towards the end and calls him "Nick" just before firing him. The dismissal provides a handy explanation for Fury's stunned reaction, and when the episode first aired fans had no reason to suspect that he was reacting to anything other than being fired. Now, though, we can safely assume that Fury realized his former ally had been replaced with a Skrull. Either that or he's just noticed that Rhodey got recast after the first "Iron Man" movie.

This slip-up confirms that the "Man on Phone" (as he's called in the subtitles) who speaks to Varra/Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard) at the end of episode 3 is Rhodey, as does the fact that Cheadle is credited at the end of the episode. Rhodey being replaced is bad news for the world: he's currently working a desk job where he reports directly to President Ritson (Dermot Mulroney), which means he has the potential to do a lot of damage — including replacing President Ritson with another Skrull, if that hasn't happened already.

The reveal also explains some of Rhodey's behavior during the meeting — not just firing Fury, but inquiring about calling the Avengers, whom Gravik wants to lure in so he can steal their superpowers for the Skrulls. Rhodey also arranged for a car to transport Fury at the end of their meeting, which probably would have meant taking him straight to the Skrull compound to be replaced. 

Scary times. At least you can still trust us, Nick.

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