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Secret Invasion Episode 4's Raymond Carver Poem 'Late Fragment' Explained

Contains spoilers for "Secret Invasion" Episode 4 — "Beloved"

Even before "Secret Invasion" came out on Disney+, it was billed as a more "serious" Marvel project. This would be a tense political thriller honing in on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and in that vein, it makes sense there would be a scene where two characters talk about poetry.

In the latest episode, titled "Beloved," there's a flashback scene with Fury and his wife, Priscilla (Charlayne Woodard). She has a book of poetry and talks about one that resonated with her — "Late Fragment" by Raymond Carver. The poem can be read here from Natalie Busarello Poetry and includes an analysis of the piece. As mentioned in the episode, it's a conversation between two people, with one person asking the other if they're ultimately satisfied with how they lived their life. And the other person responds, "I did." Because all they wanted was to be loved and to love others. It's where the episode gets its title — "Beloved."

The poem is so significant it's engraved on Raymond Carver's tombstone. It's the last poem in Carver's final book, so it can almost be read as self-reflection upon his life, realizing he's enjoyed his time because he genuinely felt beloved. To love others and be capable of giving love in return is the most precious thing to the author. Carver also died at the age of 50, still relatively young. The fact the poem is called "Late Fragment" suggests he viewed it as a simple fragment of his life; it ends too soon. Even without the added context, it's a powerful piece, and it opens up intriguing interpretations of the latest "Secret Invasion" episode. 

What does it mean for Nick Fury and the Skrulls to be beloved?

No TV show will include a poem in the plot without relating to the greater themes. It's easy to see how "Late Fragment" ties into the relationship between Nick Fury and Priscilla, especially with her being a Skrull in disguise. As revealed in Episode 3, Priscilla has been working with Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) for some time, and Rhodey (Don Cheadle) instructs her to kill Fury. However, when the time comes to pull the trigger, she can't. She loves her husband, despite him going away even after coming back from the Blip. And that connection was the most important thing to Raymond Carver and apparently for Fury and Priscilla. Looking back upon their lives, they'll cherish the time spent with each other, not everything else.

The ideas of identity and living out in the open fruitfully can also tie into the Skrulls. They ultimately wanted a new planet to call their own. They've had to exist on Earth wearing other people's faces for decades. It's hard to feel beloved when no one knows what you look like. Priscilla was obviously fed up with Fury's inability to find them a new planet, which is why she sided with Gravik. But that relationship, especially Fury knowing she's a Skrull, centered her, and it's what she chose in the end. 

This need to find love and acceptance is exemplified later in the episode when Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) is shot and reverts slightly to his Skrull form. A soldier points out how he's an alien, and Fury responds that he's one of them. Fury might accept the Skrulls, but it's clear the world isn't ready yet (despite knowing a cybernetic raccoon helped save the planet at one point). The Skrulls deserve to live authentically as themselves, to forge relationships with people who accept them for who they are. It's one of the most exciting subtexts from a Marvel show, and hopefully, the remaining episodes capitalize on that idea.