Per review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Secret Invasion episode 6's horrendous 13% rating means it's far and away the lowest rated MCU episode ever.
Admittedly, that's only based on eight reviews from critics. And, even though the Marvel Phase 5 project is far from our favorite Marvel TV show – read our Secret Invasion review for more on why that's the case – it's not been a total disaster. Per Rotten Tomatoes, Secret Invasion was deemed good enough by general audiences to earn a 62% overall rating. Sure, that makes it the worst-rated MCU TV series of all-time, but that's nothing compared to the non-MCU show Inhumans (well, mostly non-MCU – it was referenced in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness) which originally aired on US network ABC and earned a terrible overall audience score of 43%.
Even so, Secret Invasion's finale episode now holds the record for the worst-rated episode in MCU history. In fact, none of the Disney Plus series' six entries secured a rating higher than 52% – review scores that cement it as the least enjoyable MCU TV show ever.
To make matters worse, before Secret Invasion began airing on June 21, the least well-received MCU episode was She-Hulk: Attorney at Law's sixth entry. However, even that episode earned a favorable 70% critical score. Given She-Hulk proved to be a divisive TV series among many MCU fans, the fact that every one of Secret Invasion's installments failed to earn a positive rating should make it (and Marvel Studios as a whole) hang its head in shame.
Full spoilers follow for Secret Invasion on Disney Plus.
A massive, inescapable blot on the MCU's copybook
Now, I know what you're thinking: Rotten Tomatoes' userbase – from critics and viewers' standpoints – doesn't full reflect the views of the entire MCU fanbase. There are millions of audience members worldwide who don't use that site, or perhaps even know it exists. Then there are Marvel fanatics whose opinions may be in stark contrast to those you read online. Hey, it's no secret that the internet is a sticky web of negativity at the best of times, especially if you dip your toes into the world of social media.
That all said, Secret Invasion's finale and the series as an overall package deserve the criticism that's come their way. From using artificial intelligence to create the show's opening title sequence – a highly controversial decision, given what Hollywood's actors and writers are currently striking about – to its jarring and baffling plot, Secret Invasion isn't a good TV show, Marvel-developed or otherwise.
And that's a crying shame. Samuel L Jackson deserved a better project than this to explore Nick Fury's complex, multifaceted persona. Other talented cast members who more than held their own despite the series' shoddy writing, such as Ben Mendelsohn and Olivia Colman, also warranted better scripts and character arcs than what they received. Considering Secret Invasion was positioned as a riveting, political paranoia-fuelled thriller in the mould of the stunning Captain America: The Winter Soldier, too, it didn't live up to the hype. It also made me look foolish for calling Secret Invasion "the reassuring win that Marvel needs right now" when its official trailer debuted in April.
So far in 2023, Marvel is one for three when it comes to releasing acclaimed productions. Secret Invasion and Ant-Man 3 have been trounced by critics and fans, leaving Guardians 3 as the only good MCU property to arrive this year. With Loki season 2, The Marvels, and Echo set to arrive before 2023 ends, Marvel still has a chance to turn its fortunes around and show fans that it's steering its flagship franchise back on track.
And, frankly, Marvel needs another big win. MCU Phase 4 proved divisive among its fanbase, and so far Phase 5 hasn't done much to alleviate concerns that the world's most profitable franchise is losing its way. Thanks to Secret Invasion's abject performance among critics (and some fans), though, the only way is up for Marvel. I just hope the studio's forthcoming line-up of films and TV show have enough about them to put Secret Invasion's devastatingly poor reception behind it.
For more MCU coverage, find out how to watch the Marvel movies in order. Additionally, see which Marvel TV series made it onto our best Disney Plus shows list, read our ranking of every Marvel movie so far, or get the lowdown on what Secret Invasion's ending means for the MCU's future.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.
Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.