Inhumans S01 E02 – Ambiguous political systems

Previously: Ramsay Spaceton was v bad news.

Those Who Would Destroy Us

Marines: Medusa is in a field somewhere. She touches her head tentatively and we flashback to Maximus shearing off her hair. I really don’t mean to make light of that because it gives me flashbacks to the Hearst rapes in Veronica Mars and was clearly very upsetting for Medusa… however. That hair was awful looking and I’m stunned at how different she looks without it. That’s all I’ll say.

Dani: I just cannot bring myself to care about a pampered queen who lost her magic hair when there are so many other things to cry about IRL this week. Maybe just be glad you and your family are still alive, and you weren’t forced to become Space-Ramsay’s sex slave?

Mari: I don’t feel for her as a character, either. I more feel for the general idea of losing your hair against your will.

Medusa stands and looks around. A title card tells us that she’s in Diamond Head Crater right before she whispers to herself, wondering where Lockjaw left her.

Karnak is looking around and also having a unnecessary flashback to Max’s betrayal. He’s been left on Haloa Ridge. He calls Lockjaw a stupid dog and LIKE, NO. HE’S A GOOD DOG, BRENT.

Sweeney: HE’S THE BEST OF YOU, LOSER, AND I’LL FIGHT YOU ALL IN THE NAME OF THIS GOOD CGI DOG. (Sorry, this show hasn’t given me much to hold onto, so…)

Jessica: Justice for Barb Lockjaw! 

Dani: Dammit, I guess I am Team Heartless Cow now, because I don’t really like the dog. The CGI is bad, and the whole thing just feels gimmicky to me. Sorry!

Mari: You leave the only decent thing we have alone, Dani!

Gorgon is on Makapu’u Beach having his unnecessary flashback. He stands at the edge of the ocean and yells for Triton. I hope that works out well for him.

Black Bolt and Lockjaw are still standing in the middle of a street in downtown Honolulu and guess what he has? Yes, the same stupid facial expression but guess what else. (D: LOL.) Yes, an unnecessary flashback to Max’s betrayal. His just standing there causes a car accident. Lockjaw mists away and this gets the attention of random passersbyers, including a woman who starts snapping cell phone pics. He finally decides it’s time to run when the police arrive.

Crystal is in Black Bolt’s Fortress. Max and his minions enter and he demands to know where the others are. Crystal won’t tell. Lockjaw mists in, but before she can instruct him to take her away, one of the minions with the hand electricity zaps Lockjaw. Crystal bad acts her worry, and it makes me want to get out of this scene immediately.

Dani: The competition is fierce, but Crystal has my vote for Worst Acting thus far.


Medusa uses her comlink to call Black Bolt, who answers, but can’t verbally answer. (J: Worst. Power. Ever. Except maybe hair power.) (D: Your king and queen, ladies and gentleman. These two were just asking to be coup-ed.) She assures him that she’s okay, just stranded in a crater somewhere. She asks Black Bolt to just let her know he’s okay. BB presses the comlink to his heart and she apparently hears the beating. He lifts the comlink and she hears cars and city noise. Medusa spots a tourist bus nearby and tells BB she’s got to go, but she’ll find him. BB gives us his one facial expression.

Down by the bus, a helpful tourist tells Medusa that they are headed back to the city. Medusa looks very sketchily around but then boards the bus.

Karnak whispers to himself that he needs to find his king. He starts climbing down the ridge and promptly loses his footing and falls off of it. Bro. Do-over time. Except that he’s knocked unconscious.

Dani: Yeah, but he was DEAD in episode 1 and still managed it. I get the feeling this is going to be one of those things the writers completely ignore until they need it because plot.

Mari: Absolutely. It’s a very big power, which means they either need to explain its limitation yesterday or just send it off to the land of forever contrivance.

Attilan. Max is on the throne. Auran reports that people are talking about the disappearance of the royal family but no one knows what to make of it yet. Max tells her to put guards all over the city and scare people a bit. Then, when the time is right, he’ll step out and provide some calm. Nothing about your murder eyes is calming, Max, but whatever you say.

Crystal is brought in before Max in handcuffs. Max gives her a whole mind-fuck of a speech about how the way she views the world is totes wrong and how much things changed when Medusa married into the family their parents detested. He asks her to open her mind and join hands with him, speaking favorably about him to the people. Crystal says she never will because he makes her sick. He’s just a Squib.

Dani: He’s probably not a dog lover, either:

Related image
Mari: A+

Max says that’s too bad because the fact that she’s young, pretty and a princess will not stop horrible things from happening to her. (S: Classic Ramsay Bolton, which now makes me wish for his demise to involve being eaten by The Good Dog.) (M: And a 1430 for you.) She’s lead away by guards from the throne room.

Back from break, Gorgon is still yelling for Triton. He takes a few steps out into the water and promptly gets bitch slapped by a wave. He can’t swim, see, probably because of his hooves and because of living on the Moon and all. I guess it makes sense why he was just standing there yelling earlier, but now it doesn’t make sense why he just walked out into the water. Thankfully for him, he’s rescued from drowning by some friendly local surfers.

Later, he’s sitting on the beach with a whole group of locals. They’ve heard of Inhumans and faced with the evidence of Gorgon, they are super chill and accepting as Gorgon tells the story of why he’s here and how he has to wait until someone brings him back to the Moon. Considering that his last call was from Karnak like COUP! COUP! COUP! GOTTA LEAVE THE MOON! I’m not sure why Gorgon is expecting to go back. He probably should’ve had an unnecessary flashback to that moment. (D: They never happen when you need ’em, though.)

Callisto Aerospace Control Center. Fauxlicity Smoak is babbling about all the investigating that she’s done that basically is pointing her to some weird energy signals over Hawaii. Skeptical Boss is there to be skeptical about her theories and also to give her the name Louise. Skeptical Boss takes her off the Moon assignment. She ups his ante and suggests she take some time off. Feels like someone is going to Hawaii to me.

Karnak wakes up. His head is bloody, but he’s still on that one-track finding his king mission.

Medusa is still on the tourist bus, eyeing the man next to her who has a pocket knife. She catches a reflection of herself in the bus window and she gets all teary-eyed again about her lack of hair. I’ve mentioned the bad acting so much I feel like I owe this: it was not bad acting.

Crystal is in her room. Auran brings her a tray of food, but Crystal blasts her with fire. Auran pulls out a gun, which Crystal says is no match for her. Auran says maybe not but there are 9 guards outside. Crystal backs down, which makes me wonder what her plan was here? If it was just to blast Auran because she’s annoying… okay fine. I accept that.

Auran tells her to give up and accept Max as her king because her family may never come back. Auran leaves with a smug smile.

After she’s gone, Crystal notices Auran she dropped her comlink. She promptly calls Medusa, who cottons on pretty quickly that Auran must’ve left the comlink as a trap. (D: This seemed like a pretty big leap, but whatever show.) Crystal looks deflated and apologizes. Medusa says it’s okay and tells her to be careful and remember what she was taught. Medusa hangs up the comlink, removes it and smashes it.

Dani: You’d think these high-tech slap bracelets would have like an airplane mode or something. Seems dumb to destroy the only link she has to Attilan.

Mari: Especially since we later see that Medusa just lets Auran find her…

Beach. Gorgon is sick of waiting for Lockjaw. One of the local bros asks if he isn’t a fighter. If he is, he should bring the fight to him. Gorgon takes that advice and calls Maximus. He calls him a traitor and otherwise baits Max by saying he’ll leave his comlink on. Max can come and face him if he wants. Max considers this and hangs the comlink up. Gorgon tells his new local bros to skedaddle before the fight arrives. They are too cool for school, though, and would rather stick around their beach for the showdown.

Sweeney: Look, I get that you’re all tough, but the superpowered dude from THE MOON is telling you other superpowered dudes from the moon are coming and I love the beach, but there is no beach in this world I love enough to stick around for that.

Jessica: I also found it kind of funny that Gorgon was like “I’m calling down the bad guys so, you’d better leave.” Like, maybe move away from your new friends to not get them killed immediately? 

Mari: That would be true friendship.

Karnak walks on. He finds a stream to drink from. He then finds that he’s back exactly where he started. He’s sits down in disbelief and wonders out loud what’s happened to him.

Jessica: This was the first time I actually cared about one of the characters (besides the dog, obviously). Poor Karnak. He’s trying.

Dani: Haha… I was just thinking about how little I cared about this character or anything that happens to him. Oops.

Mari: Auran tells Max that she’s found Medusa. He asks her to gather whatever she needs and go take care of the royal family, meaning definitely kill Black Bolt and Gorgon, and bring the others back if she can. Auran says she’ll go alone to be discreet.

Auran sees Eldrac for transportation, but he refuses to help her at first because transporting people is painful. Auran threatens his entire family so he gives in, but I guess gets his shits and giggles by transporting Auran into a wall. She has to blast her legs free.

The tourist bus arrives to the drop-off spot. Medusa hurries off the bus and then stands around looking confused.

Black Bolt is walking around and realizes he looks out of place with his black leather moon clothes. He walks into a store and a clerk helps him, figuring he doesn’t speak any English. She gets him set up with an outfit, and he just walks out of the store without paying, assaulting a security guard on the way. The store clerk calls the police. (D: I get that he’s a king, but surely even on the caste-system moon people can’t just take whatever they want and walk away with it, right??) An officer stops Black Bolt out on the street. Since I’ve mentioned his lack of facial expressions, I have to say that this little exchange where the officer is telling him to put his hands behind his head and he’s like, “really? WHY?” all over his face is good.

Sweeney: This scene was pretty fun. It’s a little late in the game for “the first time I have cared about Black Bolt” tbh, but it was still pretty fun. It reinforces my belief that the problem is not acting, but larger producing/showrunning failures. The actors can only give as much as they’re being asked for, and this feels like a pretty top-down mess.

Mari: More cops are quickly on the scene. BB tries to run from them, but obviously, they catch him easily. They start to beat on him with batons. Black Bolt defends himself. Another cop tazes him and it makes his breath catch. That exhale sends a cop car flying. This somehow convinces the officers the best course of action is to keep beating the shit of of him. They eventually get him into a cop car and one of the officers calls him a freak for good measure.

On the Moon, Bronaja, the young man who got visions last episode, is brought to Maximus. Bronaja claims he hasn’t had any more visions and, on a hunch, Max touches him. Sure enough, this throws him into a seizure-vision. Bronaja saw that a bunch of people in silver robes, the Genetic Council, want to kill Max.

Louise (Fauxlicity) arrives in Honolulu. In her taxi cab, she watches news coverage of Black Bolt.

Max confronts the Genetic Council with a bunch of guards and guns. He basically confesses to killing their late leader, Kitang, and threatens that the same could happen to them. To me, that sounds like more motive to murder him, but we’ll see what the Genetic Council thinks, I guess.

Max visits Crystal to mess with her some more. He brings up her parents’ murder again and threatens her little dog, too!

Auran tracks Medusa’s comlink and an innocent bus driver gets his neck snapped in the process. Medusa is waiting for Auran and they fight. Auran is the better fighter, but Medusa stole the pocket knife from the random tourist and stabs Auran in the gut. Yay! Bye Auran!

Jessica: I was pretty surprised by this. I thought Auran was going to be a recurring character. 

Mari: SHHH, NO. Let her be dead!

Black Bolt is brought to the police station. Everyone is very upset at him for being a menace and also a silent one. He proves to them that he’s cooperating by getting out of his handcuffs and peacefully standing for his picture.

Medusa uses Auran’s comlink to call Black Bolt. She tells him that she’s near the city and they will be reunited soon. She promises that they will return to Attilan and kill Maximus. She drops the comlink, badly hides Auran’s body and runs. At the station, Black Bolt has his comlink confiscated.

Dani: I love how the violent criminal is just allowed to casually reach into his suit and pull out a device without any cops noticing or caring.

Mari: Dani, he’s cooperating now, duh.

Max visits Bronaja down in the unidentified mines of caste systems and poor people, or whatever.

Jessica: And it looks like they’re– mining with their hands? No tools? No wonder they are ready to revolt and follow Max!

Dani: Seriously! Black Bolt could probably just whisper one damned word down there and do like a year’s worth of mining.

Mari: Excellent point.

Max tells everyone down there that the days of meritocracy are coming to an end. Soon, but like, not now. Keep mining. He tells Bronaja that he will play a big role in their society, what with his awesome visions.

Sweeney: I mentioned this in the last episode and it’s worth repeating again here: you cannot tell a political power struggle story without ever defining how your fucking government actually works. All of this is utterly meaningless because we have no real context for this society – just a lot of vague hand-waivey discussions of castes and genetics and whatnot. Probably this is because examining it too closely makes our heroes look… not very heroic, but still. The problem persists.

Mari: And persists and persists.

We cut to Max broadcasting Hunger-Games-style to everyone in the city. He talks about the words of a great Inhuman, but he pronounces it ain-human. Oh, Iwan.

He gives a big speech, basically about how the future is theirs and Black Bolt is gone so he wants to be the new king. His speechifying goes to voice over as we watch the following: Crystal in her room being sad over a picture of her parents; Lockjaw still unconscious; Gorgon not enjoying a beach bonfire; Medusa being sad in the dark on a park bench; Karnak still in the woods, confused; Black Bolt being locked in a cell. Black Bolt is back to making his one growly face. Max finishes his speech and closed captioning tells me that “cheering intensifies.”

I agree, but only because that is the end of the episode.

Jessica: Don’t forget when Auran suddenly heals herself and jumps up! That happened right at the end of this episode, right? I just remember being surprised and somewhat pleased since I was right about her so far. Plus, surprise healing powers are the best.

Dani: Yes! You’re very good at TV!

Mari: Um, I didn’t ignore that on purpose. I just literally turned off the episode like DONE! after “cheering intensifies.” Whoops. What bad news. I hate it.

In all, this was less bad than the pilot, I think. It just fails overall because I don’t care about the characters. I can’t care about them being all sad and stranded on Earth when all we’ve seen of them suggests they are spoiled, classist assholes. I mean, Max is awful, but the part about it being really rude having a slave/caste system is TRUE. Especially when we see that the royal family was living in grand style. I have no investment in their woes as they all cry on Earth after one day and look up at the Moon.

Sweeney: And this, again, is all tied up in the problem of how ambiguous the actual political system is. Like, all we’ve seen so far is castes and slavery which seems solidly bad and the only person who seems to agree that this is bad is the person the show is telling us is a villain? And it doesn’t seem like the show understands the political system or any of its characters’ motivations. (Which, again, is a showrunning issue; if the creators of the show don’t understand what your character wants, how the fuck can the actor really know – at least in any cohesive, meaningful way?) It seems like they just blew past all of that in their rush to tell the story of how the moon!Inhumans will come to be on Earth, but I really wish they had opted to tell the story of the dang moon!Inhumans first and then move on to the story of them coming to Earth and whatnot.

But mostly, I agree that this episode was mostly better than the pilot except for its tragic lack of Good Dog time.

Jessica: This still was just so much set up. I feel like the show hasn’t really started yet, as far as what it will be like for its long haul. I’m firmly in wait-and-see mode.

Dani: Maybe it’s because I watched both episodes back-to-back, but I didn’t find this one better than the first. Although to be fair they labelled them as Part 1 and 2, so technically this is just an extension of the first episode? I think it was a poor choice to split the pilot up and spread it over two weeks, especially when soooooo much of it was repetitive, redundant, and tedious. They could have easily cut all the unnecessary flashbacks and Max repeating himself bits, not to mention every scene with Fauxlicity/Louise without losing anything of the plot. I try to be patient with pilots, since they have to accomplish so much in so little time. But so far this show has accomplished very little in a very long timeframe. After spending nearly two hours with these characters, I feel like I should care about someone, but other than the ultra-chill surfer bros I’m drawing a blank. Here’s hoping the next episode can shake the pilot problems.

Mari: This absolutely could’ve been condensed, in terms of what they showed us, and yet so much was missing.

On a more superficial note, I was real happy when they got Black Bolt out of his clothing because the costumes on this show are… less than good, and Black Bolt’s is probably one of the better ones. When all of them get to wear Earth clothes? Oh, happy day.


Next time on Inhumans: Everyone keeps looking for each other in S01 E03 – Divide and Conquer. 


Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I spend too much time on YouTube. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

Dani (all posts)

I’m a serial procrastinator with mild OCD, so instead of writing my next novel I’m probably counting the ice cubes in my drink to make sure it’s an even number. I am also low-key obsessed with Dutch painters, Norse mythology, and Canadian bacon.

Jessica (all posts)

I'm a chronic book nerd and love storytelling in all forms. I'm particularly excited by the rise of the television show as an art form with long, cinematically beautiful plots and complex character arcs (I also watch cartoons). My travels in the past handful of years have led me through three continents and most recently landed me among the majestic mountains of Colorado. Some day I will compile all my travel journals/blogs into one place. Some day. Until then, you can find me with craft beer in hand, ready at any moment to deeply and passionately discuss survival tactics for the zombie apocalypse.

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  • Blinvy .

    Oof, this sounds terrible. It wasn’t something that interested me in the least so I’m definitely not watching and these recaps are confirming that I’ve made the right decision. Watch The Good Place instead, it’s awesome. Your review of this show is amusing though, it’s always fun to watch someone else suffer through something so bad. Sorry.
    It really bugs me that there is a character named Medusa and a character named Gorgon because in Greek mythology, Medusa was a gorgon. Does Gorgon have stone powers? He should because it would fit nicely with the name since Medusa only seems to have weak ass hair power, it stands to reason Gorgon should have the ability to turn things to stone which is much handier.
    Most of the inhumans have shit powers though. You’re supposed to want to live vicariously through these characters and yet, they are all off-putting in some way. Either their powers are shit, or they’re inconsistent, or they’re cool but the character sucks and has awful hair (Crystal, seriously, what is with that unflattering weird stripe in her hair?)

    • Samantha

      I am only reading too and also keep getting confused by Medusa/Gorgon. Major name fail, in my nerd opinion.

    • Andrew Alonso-Emanuel

      So I have no problem with the inhumans having less than phenomenal powers, they are for the most part faithful to the original characters excluding minor changes usually to improve the power ie. Crystal can only use power over the “elements” once an hour and Maximus is not a squib (hopefully this will actually end up being a really fun plot twist because of what is power is). As far as Medusa and Blackbolt’s respective powers CGI is limiting the former and plot the latter’s. Medusa not only has controllable hair but could also alter its length and use it to fend of many enemies (I will say they did remove her hair’s extreme durability, an important aspect in making the power more relevant). Blackbolt’s however is quite spot on and one of the most interesting aspects of his leadership is how he manages while holding his voice.

      All that said and done this show has so hard let me down because it has none of the build up required to make this story work. I don’t know why the hell they jumped into the coup arc right away instead of actually developing the status quo first to rupture. Blackbolt’s silence rather than inhibiting his communication actually just makes him quite patient. Between him writing, sign language and having Medusa translate allows him to convey actual leadership not just constipation. Medusa translating for him also creates a phenomenal dynamic between the two, Medusa being a former villain, who while she truly loves Blackbolt, causes her to butt heads with his ideology. This leads to a further butting of heads with Max whose ideology is similar enough in respect to wanting to be proactive. The debate of action vs inaction is supposed to develop and be interesting not just all put together in 40 minutes. Also as far as comics are concerned it is a royal family, but blackbolt encourages a more meritocracy based government.

      Final piece, while I love that they had the idea to be faithful to the original costumes but I don’t deny more updates could have been used moving from cartoon to live action for those curious here are the originals as well as the current comic designs (and yes she has always had those black streaks)

  • Karen

    Wait, the cops just started beating him in the middle of the street? A white guy? Okay, show.

    I bet Serinda Swan is super glad she got rid of that fucking wig.

    My favorite part of this recap was Mari missing an important plot point because she was so done with the episode. I don’t blame you in the slightest, girl.

    • This is another piece of ambiguous crossover fail. If the show is really trying to build off of SHIELD’s introduction of Inhumans, that makes a certain kind of sense – there is plenty of “rah rah we hate Inhumans” over there (there’s a whole separate conversation about how this and other universes use that as a stand-in for racism without ever grappling with actual racism, BUT I DIGRESS) – but do to the selectivity with which they borrow from that show and the failures of world building on this one… it just doesn’t play the way they want it to.

      That is also my favorite part of the recap.

      • Karen

        And these shows are supposed to be in the same universe as the Netflix ones, right? And they’re all supposed to be the same world as the MCU? I literally can’t keep track. The canon has clearly gotten too big for them to handle, but they keep building.

        • So, the Netflix shows did a really great job of giving very casual nods to the movie universe, but otherwise keeping their stories as localized to New York City as possible, so as to never feel like there was any strain there. (Notable exception in Defenders, because while we wouldn’t call up The Avengers to deal with a city crime boss, we maybe would if the most populous city in the US was about to be leveled???) SHIELD has always struggled with its one-way relationship with the cinematic universe – things happen in the movies that the show has to abide, but for some reason nobody decides Quake might be super fucking useful / the Avengers are never called in to deal with significant issues happening on the show universe.

          My assumption is that as another ABC show, this is operating in the same way? ABC is doing this essentially because Disney says they have to (it’s the only reason SHIELD is still on the air, tbh). If so, it’s going to be constrained and not constrained in seemingly arbitrary ways.

          tl;dr do they all exist in the same universe??? EH.

    • Jessica_antiscian

      The non-mention of Auran’s recovery definitely threw me for a loop. I started wondering if I had actually seen what I’d thought I’d seen, or if my brain had just decided to create its own ending scene. So far so good, but it’s only episode 2, so…

  • TayciBear
    • That Crystal wig. Beautiful.