We keep letting you guys choose what we’ll watch in the fall, and here we are.
Behold… The Inhumans
Marines: Marvel Logo, a long shot of the Moon from space and then to the Earth. We cut to the island of Oahu. It’s raining, and we watch in close-up, slow motion as someone runs through mud. We pull back enough to see that it’s a girl. She looks back and in another close-up, slow-motion shot, we see a gun pointed at her. She’s being chased by a group of men in camo. Just assume that the rest of this scene happens with these inter-cut slowed down v dramatic shots okay? The girl looks back at the camera and we see that she’s wearing Edward-Cullen-just-after-eating-mountain-goat contacts.
Jessica: I believe he ate endangered polar bears, being the literal worst.
So, this could become a Lost crossover? No, sorry. Backing away from the tangent.
Mari: It’s for the best.
A green man in a black hood grabs the girl. For someone being chased by men with guns, Cullen is awfully calm and accepting when this stranger grabs her. And then, I swear to God this is the first dialogue of the episode:
Green Man: Shh, shh. You’re safe!
Cullen: Who are you?
Green Man: My name is Triton. I’ve been looking for you. You’re one of us.
Cullen: What are you?
Green Man: [pulls down hood] We are Inhumans.
Mari: Triton says Cullen has now been exposed to Terrigen and is now, in her own words, a freak. Triton says that there is a city where everyone is Inhuman. The city of Attilan. Before Cullen agrees to go there with him, she hears the camo men.
Jessica: I feel like the long explanation could have waited for a more suitable, non-chased-by-gunmen time.
Sweeney: But then Cullen wouldn’t get to carry out the heavy-handed exposition for which she was written into existence.
Mari: They run together for a bit, but then Cullen takes a wrong turn (?) and gets shot. (S: RIP and thanks for the exposition.) Triton keeps running, and also gets shot in the side, but manages to keep running. Unfortunately, he makes it to the edge of a cliff and belly flops off. The camo men look down into the water and the one in charge calls this mission accomplished, presuming that Triton is dead. We get a long pan across the water, and the blood-stained portion of it FADES TO MEDUSA’S HAIR.
WHAT A CHOICE.
Medusa is in bed Black Bolt, kissing and stuff. The closed captioning tells me that something called a comlink starts beeping. He reaches for it, but Medusa grabs it with her hair (it made me slightly nauseous?) (S: same; picking shit up with your slithery hair can definitely be filed under “the unsexiest”) and moves it to the other night stand? I mean, she moves it “out of reach” but 1- it was already out of reach, as we know since we saw Black Bolt struggling to reach it and 2- she could’ve just pushed it further and we would’ve gotten the point. Her hair moves.
Sweeney: Well, yeah, but, like, now they have the added step of ignoring people in order for their schedules to be undisturbed. Duh.
Dani: Are we supposed to feel sympathy for them? Or was this just more clunky exposition?
Mari: I think we all know the answer to that.
Later, Medusa and Black Bolt stand at the balcony of their blocky castle, mostly so we can get a long look at it. A title card tells us this is the City of Attilan, in case we are stupid. And then we pull out further and see we are on the moon. That would’ve been surprising, say, if we didn’t start the episode with a long establishing shot of the Moon.
Title card. It’s symbols and a dog.
Moon. A moon rover gives whoever is controlling it an impending impact warning. And then something lands on it and takes it offline. Everyone at whatever command center this is is very upset.
Medusa and Black Bolt walk out amongst their people. Everyone is happy to see them. We see Iwan Rheon aka Simon Bellamy bka Ramsay Bolton out in the crowd. Imagine having been on Game of Thrones, thinking you landed a sweet Marvel gig, and being on this show. I love Iwan, too, so I feel extra bad.
Dani: I’ve only ever seen him as sweet-but-daft Ash on Vicious, so I also have the sads for him.
Jessica: I knew nothing of Iwan before Game of Thrones so my reaction was one of fear and run-away-edness. Apparently the intense murderous Ramsay gaze is also his general acting gaze. I’m afraid.
Sweeney: He does have very intense murder eyes. It’s like the opposite of a smize.
Mari: Black Bolt points at Iwan (Maximus) and signals him to walk with him. Iwan asks why, but doesn’t get an answer.
In a room somewhere, Ken Leung with face tattoos (Karnak) asks where Triton is. Black Bolt signs and Medusa translates that they shouldn’t waste time.
Jessica: Does no one else speak the king’s sign language? That seems… ill-planned.
Sweeney: And like maybe these people are bad at their jobs if they aren’t even trying to learn it???
Mari: Both ill-planned and everyone is bad at their job, yes.
In the middle of the room, two people in white sit in black water and between them is the footage the rover was broadcasting. (D: Whenever you hate your job, just think of these women sitting in black water all day.) It’s very Minority Report-esque.
Karnak explains the footage they are looking at when we hear hooves in the background. Eme Ikwaukor (Gorgon) stomps in with the destroyed rover. Karnak plays back the footage for him and asks what exactly is coming down on the rover in the footage. Gorgon is like, “uh, my hoof” and doesn’t really see anything wrong with having his hoof on camera. He doesn’t think anyone will be able to tell.
Of course, we cut to unidentified command center where a woman is looking at the footage, saying that it looks like a hoof.
Back on Attilan, Karnak asks what they are going to do about this. Black Bolt signs and Medusa translates: nothing. Maximus says that’s what his brother always wants to do. He thinks the humans will eventually find them. Gorgon asks if he knows this because he’s human. Maximus says NUH-UH he ISN’T, whatever his genes say. He’s INHUMAN like all of them, thank you. Gorgon snorts.
What is Max, a squib?
Sweeney: I was trying to figure this out, too, but because there appears to be no good acting in this episode, I think the problem is terrible directing and a mediocre script.
Dani: It’s such a low bar that it’s really hard to tell.
Mari: Medusa says they are not going to Earth any time soon because it would only lead to war. Max snarkily asks if she’s speaking for herself or for the king. Medusa says she’s speaking for herself. Max asks what the king thinks. Black Bolt steps forward, places a hand on Max’s chest and after a second, a subdued Max says he trusts his king.
Dani: So… he can speak with his mind? But only when touching someone? That’s… cumbersome.
Mari: We don’t see this again this episode or in episode two so IDK what just happened.
Callisto Aerospace Control Center, California. Command Man says that he’s looked at the footage a bunch of times and still has no idea what it means. Command Woman says that it means that they just wasted millions of dollars. Command Man is like PFFT, you were at the controls… Wow. Way to bail. Command Man tells her to figure out what happened. Command Woman looks like Felicity Smoak’s older cousin.
Back to the moon. Some kind of ceremony called terrigenesis is happening for a young boy and girl, presumably siblings. Thankfully, we don’t actually have to wonder about it for too long because, from the audience, Karnak literally whispers to himself a definition of terrigenesis.
“Terrigenesis simply provides our species with what it needs– an evolutionary direction forward. Flawless genetics.”
Wow. Thank you Karnak.
Sweeney: We’ve only just started this episode and the show has already insulted my intelligence at least half a dozen times. It is infuriating how useless this line is.
Mari: Max whispers back that it’s all luck of the draw. Gorgon calls him on his sour grapes. Karnak starts babbling about how everyone is going to die anyway and black holes will eat everything. He goes on until Black Bolt turns around and gives him a look. Gorgon steps forward and asks Medusa where her sister is. Medusa sighs.
And the man conducting this ceremony probably wants to punch them all.
We cut to Isabelle Cornish with spray-painted hair (Crystal). (D: Why did they make her hair look like a Pokemon ball?) Some Inhuamns bow as they walk by and one of the extras helpfully whispers, “princess!” in case we didn’t notice the cut right after “where is your sister” and the bowing. (S: I wonder if “drink every time the show assumed you were an idiot” would eventually get you to a leveling off point – like, “yes, now I am so drunk that I have reached my assumed capacity for comprehension.”) (D: I think our livers would stage a revolt first.) Crystal calls out for Lockjaw and a big CGI bulldog comes bounding towards her. He’s as tall as she is. Crystal gets a call on her comlink. After she answers it, she tells Lockjaw to take her to the Grand Hall and he mists them away.
Crystal arrives late to the ceremony with the big dog so talk about a disruption. But she’s just in time because her role is to wait for the man presididing over the ceremony to open a box, pick a crystal and hand it to her. The sibling’s father hopes out loud that their terrigenesis will go better than his own.
Dani: He seems to have slug arms and lobster hands, so… legit.
Mari: Black Bolt signals for the young people to step into some chambers. They do, the chambers are loaded with the blue crystals and the young people are exposed to some crystal mist. It all takes a few seconds and then ceremony man tells then to step out and reveal themselves. The girl steps out and she’s got butterfly wings. Everyone is very happy about this because, as Gorgon says, “flyers are awesome.” The boy steps out looking the same, and we cut to Maximus making pained faces because being a Squib is the worst.
Sweeney: I am annoyed with this show outright for its disinterest in the Inhumans already introduced over on SHIELD – particularly since pulling them into their own spinoff so that show could just be a spy show would likely help some of its major flaws – but this terrigenesis is also totally inconsistent with what was presented over there, which annoys me all the more, since Marvel is so into its EXTENDED UNIVERSE shit. The selectivity of that is obnoxious.
Mari: Young Man says he feels the same and everyone is making “….awkward!” faces. Maximus steps up and comfortingly says that sometimes one’s terrigenesis takes a while to fully manifest. He places a comforting hand on Young Man, who then immediately starts convulsing. When he stops, Young Man tells Max that he saw him, presumably in a premonition. He was surrounded, a mysterious “they” threw him up against a wall and snakes were all over him. Max tells the young man it’s okay and that they’ll talk later. His parents grab him and Max gives the camera a long, worried look.
Dani: So… dude goes through terrigenisis and has a vision, and NO ONE stops to wonder if maybe having visions is his superpower? Maybe”figuring simple stuff out” should be someone’s superpower here.
Mari: After a not!break, people are gathered outside when the brother and sister walk out of their ceremony. The crowd asks the girl what she got, and she shows off her butterfly wings. Everyone claps. They ask the boy what he got and he replies honestly, that all he got was a seizure. A growly extra says it’ll be down to the mines with him. Maximus speaks up for the boy and says he has yet to undergo genetic testing and they may yet find something wonderful about him. Growly Extra says they didn’t find anything in Maximus and yet he isn’t a lowly mine worker. Max gives a speech basically about how he’s lucky to be the king’s brother and not poor and also about how their little city forces them into a caste system. But if they were on Earth, they’d have an entire planet to thrive on. (J: Subtle.)
Max’s moment is ended with a comlink beep. He looks kind of worried about it and leaves.
Dinner. A servant is making eyes at Karnak. He puts a quick end to that by telling her it would last 2 1/2 days. The first day would be great and by the second day, he’d want to kill her because she’d annoy him by being a servant and also chewing with her mouth open. (J: Rude.) I think it’s supposed to be funny but I’m already numb to any attempts by the show to entertain me.
Sweeney: “Ha ha, he’s such an asshole!” is also just not a good joke, so.
Mari: Maximus walks in with the sad news that Triton is dead. Everyone bad acts their way through shock and disbelief. Luckily, they have a guy named Duodon who has movie projector eyes. (D: These superpowers are getting lamer.) Duodon plays Triton’s last moments and everyone bad acts their way through watching him die.
As we are learning is his brand, Max takes this moment to stir some shit and asks Black Bolt why he sent Triton on a secret mission anyway. Oh, God, I just realized that part of what’s coming off as bad acting is this… “American…” accent Iwan is trying. WOW. I just pulled up a random interview with Iwan and now I can’t unhear his beautiful, actual voice compared to whatever he’s doing here. (S: WHICH DOESN’T EVEN SOUND AMERICAN & ALSO THEY LIVE ON THE FUCKING MOON SO WHY ARE THEY MAKING HIM DO THIS????)
Anyway, Black Bolt signs and Medusa translates: They don’t know that Triton is dead and the reason he was on Earth was because of the recent spread of Terrigen. Karnak helpfully adds, “the contamination of the water supply,” but with a ! at the end to help it sound less like exposition and more like exclamation. It doesn’t work.
Jessica: Is this water contamination reference in relation to other Marvel Universe stuff, or something they’re adding in just to this show for exposition reason? Asking because I’m not sure I’m current on all Marvel stuff.
Sweeney: Yes. Again, selective! But, yeah, a previous season finale on SHIELD involved the crystals getting into the water supply, causing widespread terrigenesis, and since then, a significant plot point has been finding and recruiting new Inhumans as they turn.
Mari: Black Bolt continues that when people who are part Inhuman, descendants of those left behind when they all packed their bags and moved to the Moon, are exposed to the Terrigen, they change. Because they no longer appear human, they are being imprisoned. That’s why Triton was on Earth. Max asks if it’s really in Attilan’s best interest to increase their population, what with their low supplies. If you haven’t heard yet, Max wants to go to Earth.
Jessica: Yeah but like, this one point seemed kinda valid. You live in a tiny moon base where a seemingly large part of the population is forced to vaguely “mine” for things.
Dani: Also, maybe grabbing someone who lived the entirety of their life on Earth, as a human, and whisking them to the moon isn’t the best solution to the problem?
Mari: Black Bolt tells Max to trust him again. Max stands up and Karnak and Gorgon do as well, but menacingly. Max looks around with some kind of look and then leaves. Karnak tells Black Bolt that he’s blind to Max’s intentions, which is dangerous, since Max has the ear of the people. Karnak leaves. Gorgon waits until Karnak clears the scene and then a few more moments while the Strings of TENSION! play before he bangs on the table and yells that BB should’ve sent him and not Triton. He stomps out and snaps at Crystal to follow him. She leaves too. Finally, it’s just Black Bolt, Medusa and those Strings left at the table.
Black Bolt and Medusa meet Anarak, Gorgon and Crystal back in the Minority Report Room. Black Bolt confiscates Gorgon’s gun and tells him that this is a rescue mission, not a revenge one. (D: Right… send someone to retrieve a guy who was MURDERED, but by all means… take away his weapon. This king is a dumbass.) Crystal orders Lockjaw to take Gorgon to exactly where Triton was. Lockjaw mists them away. Medusa and Black Bolt look at the screen for a hot second before leaving the room.
After a break, Medusa and Black Bolt are walking together. She echoes Karnak’s sentiments: Max can’t be trusted. BB tells her he needs to be alone to think. She gives a deep sigh but understands. Black Bolt very dramatically walks into some kind of chamber. Like a Fortress of Solitude, but less icy. Medusa watches him and then heads into a flashback. It’s a young her walking into a Young Black Bolt’s Fortress with the amazing dialogue: Hello, I’m Medusa. I know everyone’s afraid of you, but I’m not.
Dani: Young Medusa had the same crappy acting skills as adult Medusa, so yay consistent casting?
After her flash, Medusa walks away from the Fortress and we see Max was creeping around the corner, waiting to stir more shit. He lays it on thick from “he shouldn’t have sent Triton” to “I would never treat you the way he does,” to “we are all subject to his will,” and more that we’ve already been treated to multiple times in 20 minutes because they are going ham on setting Maximus up as a villain.
If this moment seems ill-thought out, however, it is significant because of Young Man’s premonition! We get a flashback of it to confirm that indeed Max was just thrown up against a wall and covered in hair snakes.
Dani: Also, he repeats it aloud, because anyone still watching at this point is either drunk or very, very not smart.
Mari: Later, Max meets with the head of the genetic counsel, Kitang, and a woman named Auora. I think Kitang was the man conducting the telegenesis ceremony. I’d confirm, but I like to match my efforts to the level of the show writers’. I think it’s only fair.
Jessica: Meanwhile, I’m glad you have all these names written down because I only caught like, 3 of them, maximum, by the end of the episode.
Mari: Yeah, that was my effort.
Max tells Kitang his plan of going to Earth. He wants the Genetic Council on his side. Kitang is shocked! SHOCKED! and tries to talk Max down from treason. It doesn’t work, so he tells Auran to arrest Max. But SAY WUH! Auran is on Max’s side and instead kills Kitang. Max tells Auran they have to keep moving and asks if she understands what that means. She does and address him as king.
Minority Report Room. Karnak is taking apart the rover when some soldiers with guns drawn announce that they are here under the order of King Maximus. Karnak is like “…really?”
Auran gives Max a comlink. The camo guys are his, see, and they’ve got Gorgon in shooting distance. Max gives them the order to take him out. We see them approaching intercut with the soldiers threatening Karnak, telling him it’s his choice whether they capture or kill. Gorgon and Karnak both best the men attacking them.
Dani: Because “take him out” apparently means approach slowly on foot and give yourself away. Earlier the camo guys shot at anything that moved, but now suddenly they decide to creep up on Gorgon? That makes sense.
Mari: At the end of Karnak’s fight, he’s shot, and we see him fall into the black Minority Report water. Except another version of him is outside of his body, evaluating the situation. He says to himself he should try that again. Time rewinds a couple of seconds and the same sequence is played out, except this time, Karnak shoots his attacker before he gets shot. (J: Um. That is an awesome power.) Karnak sends an alert to Crystal, Medusa and Black Bolt.
Karnak receives a call from Gorgon and tries to quickly explain that Max has staged a coup. He doesn’t have time to give details and tells Gorgon to just stay where he is.
Crystal is listening to music and misses her comlink beeping. (J: Darn millennial. Moon millennial?) Karnak enters her room and tells her about the coup saying she needs to get out of there. Crystal doesn’t listen and instead orders Lockjaw to take Karnak to Gorgon and come right back. Lockjaw obeys.
Dani: Karnak argues but for some reason doesn’t use his Magic Re-do Superpower to keep from being transported away.
Mari: It must have to reload. *cough*
After the final break, Medusa leaves a message on Black Bolt’s comlink. She’s cornered by Max and lots of soldiers. She takes out three with her hair easily, and it’s about as badass as slow motion hair-punches would be expected to be, which is not at all. I guess the decision to make it slow-mo was meant to highlight the hair action, but it was the wrong decision. Max sighs and tells her to stop. Someone sneaks up on her and uses hand electricity to stop her. More soldiers grab her arms, which seems an inefficient way to hold someone with super hair, but okay.
Max says he wishes Medusa had chosen him and now he’s left with no choice. Someone hands him some shears and I start laughing so much oh my god. The dramatic shear hand-off was TOO MUCH. Medusa says she’ll never forgive him for this, but Max does it anyway. And this is also done in slow motion, for maximum exposure to the WTF faces everyone is making in this scene as Medusa’s hair falls dramatically around her.
Jessica: Yeah this scene… I don’t… I mean, so many questions. I’m assuming maybe her hair doesn’t grow back? Or that she just really doesn’t want a crazy-Britney-Spears hairdo and is mad about how long it will take her hair to get back to fighting length? How did someone with this lame power get to be queen?
Sweeney: Because she has great lines about not being afraid of people or whatever! Duh. But also, I just… I get the idea behind why this would be dramatic and I can even imagine a version in which she is cool and impressive, but all of these characters are such weak little sock puppets, that the intended DRAMA! of this moment just wasn’t earned.
Dani: My favorite part is that amid all this advanced tech and inhuman superpowers, the writers chose some $20 Wahl trimmers from Wal-Mart as the Object of Terror.
Mari: Max goes for Black Bolt next in the Fortress of Solitude. He speechifies that BB should’ve seen this coming (TRUE) and he’s so smart and Medusa is writhing on the floor and it’s over ha ha ha! Black Bolt struggles with what looks like gas, honestly, but it’s just him trying not to speak. Max asks if BB is going to kill him like he killed their parents. A flashback shows us baby BB asking his parents “why?” but his voice comes out in a BOOM that obliterates them. Whoops.
Jessica: Is that seriously his power? Like, all of it? And he is king because…? I’m just not buying it, show.
Sweeney: My assumption is that this is basic lineage thing – that he’s king because his parents were king and queen, though I really have no idea.
Dani: I’m sure you’re right, and it’s hilarious how no one ever thought ‘hmm, maybe the son who can’t speak without pulverizing people isn’t the best choice for the throne?’
Mari: No one has that figuring simple things out power, remember?
Meanwhile, Crystal has found Medusa and sends her with Lockjaw to Earth.
BB takes a deep breath but before he can put us out of our misery and kill Max now please and thank you, Lockjaw appears and mists BB away.
Jessica: Yeah, if the dog had just not done that, this would all be over. I mean, what danger was this dude really in if he can just, like, burp at his brother and take him out? Agh.
Dani: And knowing he can do that, what exactly was Max’s plan to take him out? Was he hoping he’d surrender just because?
Mari: In the hall, Max finds Crystal and orders her apprehended. She’s grabbed before she can defend herself. Max projects himself to everyone on Attilan, Hunger Games style, and tells them that the genetic council guy was found murdered and the royal family has fled. He promises to get to the bottom of this.
Lockjaw drops Black Bolt in the middle of a street, decidedly not with the others. I’d give him shit, but he’s a good dog and he’s done a lot already. And the episode is over.
Sweeney: A VERY GOOD DOG. Lockjaw is the best & most important character on this show, and my solution to everything is to just make it about him, the end.
Mari: That was a clunky pilot further weighed down by weak acting. Anson Mount has like one facial expression and he used it for every situation in this episode. It doesn’t bode well for the future when you consider that this character cannot be vocally expressive. I can’t take Serinda Swan seriously with that hair. That’s probably a cheap sentiment, but it’s honest. The only bright spots for me, in terms of acting at least, were Ikwuakor, Leung and the CGI dog.
There was a ton of exposition and it was in the wrong places. You could’ve cut like half of Iwan Rheon’s scene and still gotten the full Max story. Beyond him, we got odd bits of the story: we’re on the moon, but you no one tells you why! There’s this mist thing, but no one tells you how! There’s a caste system and very unhappy people, and yet that doesn’t seem to jive with anything we are shown about BB or Medusa. What little we are shown of them, I should say, as there is so little personality on display here, for any of the characters. It makes it impossible to care about them or the fact that they were just overthrown. If Max had been even halfway entertaining, I would’ve been rooting for him, honestly. But he wasn’t, so here we are, rooting for nothing but the end.
The poor acting, exposition and repetition lead to poor pacing and we were left with something that was both ridiculous and boring to watch.
Jessica: I concur with a lot of your comments above. I felt like they really hammered a very small handful of things home, but it was all stuff that anyone who has watched any TV ever could have guessed. All our questions about the universe and the things that make it unique are left unsatisfyingly ignored. No one stood out, either, as someone I’d like, except maybe Karnak because of his awesome powers. I even asked my sister halfway through, who was watching it with me, which one was her favorite character so far. She replied, “I don’t know if I have one yet. Maybe, the dog?” And that’s probably only partially because it’s still unclear what everyone’s name is. I actually did find myself agreeing with Max on things, despite his terrifying murder eyes, but he just wasn’t charismatic enough for me to like his villain character. And yeah, despite all the “action” that happened, it was, as Mari says, boring to watch. We’ll see if the next episodes can be any more convincing/interesting.
Sweeney: Cosign to everything that’s been said, and I think I am particularly frustrated by a plot that hinges on palace intrigue without ever explaining anything about how that works – a failing made all the more egregious by all the time they found to explain useless shit.
Also, yes, your sister is correct: the dog is the best one.
Dani: Bad acting, bad writing, bad pacing: it’s just bad. That said, it did make me laugh… just not in the places I was probably supposed to.
Next time on Inhumans: The royals try to find each other in S01 E02 – Those Who Would Destroy Us.