This week, the long-missing Captain America strikes against his Skrull captors with the help of some unexpected allies, as the Secret Invasion gets underway.

(Also: if you’re wondering where last week’s episode, which was supposed to feature the debut of Red Hulk, went? You aren’t alone.)

On a Skrull Ship, an AIM scientist is taken hostage. He fearfully asks what they want and what they’re going to do with him. Without saying a word, the Skrull uses an energy field to take the man’s appearance. Once he is fully transformed, he approaches his human doppelganger. “My name is Dr. Lyle Getz. I’m a high-ranking member of the Advanced Idea Mechanics, and I’m in line to become the next Scientist Supreme.” The man screams in terror, while several decks below, Captain America, the real Cap looks up from his push-ups. He’s clearly been there for months.

We go to a flashback in the Avengers Mansion, with the unseen parts of the scene that closed season one. The team had just returned from saving Asgard, and Cap looks down at the shattered pieces of his old shield. He is incapacitated by a Skrull and then joined by three more infiltrators, disguised as pigeons. The Skrull takes Steve’s essence, using the same energy field. Once the transformation is complete, Skrull-Cap is given his assignment: he will be put in contact with the Skrull Queen, but first, he must disassemble the Avengers.

Back on the ship, the Skrulls try once again to get information out of Cap. “Little green men.” he smirks. “You speak pretty good English for a Martian.” Oh Steve. Like a trained soldier, he only gives name, rank and serial number, and refuses to tell them anything. This concerns the Skrulls. They’ve been trying to get Cap to talk for two months, using all manners of tortures that no normal human being should be able to withstand. They decide to try a new method. Cap is taken back to his cell, and moments later, the Avengers seemingly break into Cap’s cell. “You’re a difficult man to find, Steven Rogers.” says T’Challa. But Cap won’t be fooled, he punches Iron man square in the jaw, and he reverts back to a Skrull. He grabs the Skrull interrogator and fights his way out of the room. But the rest of the Skrulls seem unconcerned. “There is nothing special about Captain America. And besides, where is he going to go?” Cap tries to get the interrogator to tell him how to get out. “There is no way out.” Cap looks to see that he’s trapped on a spaceship, somewhere near Saturn.

In another cell, Madame Viper is chiseling tally marks into the wall with a shard of stone. Cap busts in with the interrogator still in hand and Viper naturally thinks he’s a Skrull imposter, even though Cap insists they met and fought.”If I fought Captain America, then Captain America would be dead. He figures she must have been replaced by then. Cap and Viper have this really, dare I say it, sexy kind of frenemies tension going on through a lot of this episode. Cap and Viper ask the interrogator (or Exposition-Skrull, I should probably say) about the infiltration. “You won’t hurt me, we know you.” the interrogator claims. Cap just shrugs. “True. But I can’t be responsible for what she may do.” And the Skrull seems much more afraid of Madame Viper. He starts to tell them about the Skrull Prophecy; Their homeworld was destined to die, only for another one to reveal itself. The prophecy began when Galactus destroyed the Skrull homeworld and the survivors scattered throughout space. But when the Skrulls found Earth to be a suitable place to colonize, they quickly and quietly began their infiltration. “We have Skrulls in every organization on Earth.” he tells them.

Cap releases all the other prisoners on the ship, and the claims of infiltration definitely seem to be true: they’ve also kidnapped Agent Quartermain of SHIELD, Henry Gyrich of SWORD, Dr. Getz from AIM, as well as Cobra, also from HYDRA. And of course, Mockingbird, who was infiltrated by the Skrull Queen. They all immediately distrust each other, thinking that they’re all Skrulls, but Cap manages to convince all these warring organizations to trust each other for the short term. In another cell, they find Sue Storm locked in some sort of orb. She’s being kept sedated because she’s the only one there with real superpowers. (If they had a member of the X-Men, they would have had a full house.) Viper doesn’t want to be responsible for Sue’s dead weight but Cap insists that no one be left behind. They all learn eachother’s identities. When Gyrich boasts that he’s from the agency “in charge of dealing with alien threats”, everyone just glares at him, and Getz deadpans “I hope they fire you.”

Cap and Viper realize that there’s no guards, and she says it’s a trap. Cap notices deep scarring on her face and asks what happened to her. “What happened was I was given a reason to hate people like you.” He has nothing to say to that. They get to the flight deck to see just one Skrull waiting for them. But when they try to attack, they realize that this one Skrull has the powers of at least three of the Fantastic Four, using flaming rock-hard fists to pummel them. Cap tells Quartermain to get everyone on board a ship and tells Getz to figure out how to pilot it. Viper, Mockingbird, Cobra and Cap try to fend off the Super-Skrull. At some point, Viper becomes trapped and is about to be killed by the Super-Skrull but Cap uses  a piece of wreckage as a shield. “Get away from her, you filthy Skrull!” Oh Cap.

On board one of the ships, Getz is trying to figure out how to work the spaceship. “I once built a weapon capable of destroying every single human on the planet simultaneously. There’s no science I can’t master.” Methinks that weapon might be important later. They get it flying and access the weapons, shooting the Skrulls. When Getz tries to take out Cap and Viper to leave them behind, Quartermain knocks him out and takes over. Back on deck, the remaining heroes make a break for it. “Come on! Let’s…go.” Bobbi turns to see everyone else already running. “Supervillains.” she grumbles. The ship begins to take off and Viper runs after it, trying to grab Cap’s hand. The Super-Skrull takes her down from below and Cap immediately jumps after her. “What is he doing?!” Gyrich asks. “He’s being Captain America.” Bobbi says in a tone that implies “Duh.” Cap tells them to launch without him.

“You’re too dangerous to leave alive.” The Super-Skrull says before preparing to lay down a finishing blow when he’s fended off. Cap looks up to see Sue using her powers and is able to run after the ship. He leaps up, grabbing Viper’s arms. He tells Quartermain to launch. “HIT THE THRUSTERS OR SOMETHING.” Gyrich yells. Quartermain, I kid you not, basically just smashes his fists on the dashboard and hopes for the best. Luckily for him, it works. “Hi Cap. I’m gonna sleep now.” Sue says before passing out on the bench.

“You saved my life.” he says to Viper. But she bristles at the suggestion of anything other than hatred. “I don’t like being in my enemy’s debts. Once the Skrull threat is over, we will be enemies again.” Cap nods. “Understood.” They pilot the ship back towards Earth. Back on the Skrull ship, an ambassador grovels to the Queen for losing the prisoners and inciting damage to the ship, but the Queen seems unbothered. Apparently watching Captain America lead a bunch of enemies to escape was the key to learning how to subjugate the humans- they listen to him because he’s an inspirational leader. Skrull-Cap appears behind her. “Begin the Wakandan infiltration. And send the rest of the forces to New York and Washington DC.”

A welcome return to ‘Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’! Okay, first of all, is this show cancelled or not? Awhile ago, we received the sad news that Marvel had plans to scrap the show in favor of something a little more MCU-flavored, using the Avengers film lineup, but THEN we heard that it might just be a crazy rumor, but no one can say for sure. (Although, most sources, including us, are willing to go with the “yeah probably canceled” rumor, sadly.) But for now, let’s just love what we have.

Man, it was nice to see the real Cap after watching Skrull-Cap tear apart the team from the inside. Especially with the emotional ending to the (weirdly unaired) “Nightmare in Red” episode, in which, by the end. Skrull-Cap turns Bruce Banner over to the Hulkbuster Squad, in order to neutralize him for the invasion. Skrull-Cap must be stopped. Admittedly, this episode is kind of a bridge-gapper for the Secret Invasion episodes to come. But the weird chemistry between Cap and Viper was fascinating (and, yes, sexy) and I loved watching all the enemy organizations rub off on each other. It was fun to see who had really been a Skrull since the start of the season, other than just Cap and Mockingbird. Agents Quartermain and Gyrich were also Skrulls – it’s an awesome touch of what’s to come when the Skrulls kick things into high gear. It won’t just be tough for the Avengers, but also SHIELD, SWORD, and the rest of the planet.