Inhumans Review 1.04: “Make Way…For Medusa!”

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We’re halfway through the 8 episode season of the Inhumans with the fourth episode of the series and the show has seemingly stalled again in favor of trying to get a little more earthbound for the Royal Family. This episode offers us our closest look at the humans that the royal family meets with. We finally get to sit with Ellen Woglom’s Louise and we get to see who Henry Ian Cusick is working for (spoilers no spoilers, it’s not particularly surprising) but after the setups of episode 3 things aren’t entirely clear for the Royal Family and the end game remains a bit stalled. As opposed to Louise and Medusa’s car which forms the core action of the story, if only the fourth episode had this level of speed.

The most compelling character is Maximus yet again, however. Admittedly it seems as if the show regrets making him totally human and is rushing around literally trying to have him reboot his own plotline while the rest of the Royal Family struggles to tread water. The plot of the series is getting clearer, each Inhuman needs to learn the strength of humanity before going on with their lives while Maximus, unaware of his own power as a totally human inhuman (man that feels weird to say) continues to struggle with his own hubris over his abilities, or lack thereof. Being a good king won’t matter until he can become inhuman which seems to be the only point of him becoming King in the first place.

Overall the point of episode 4 means that anyone who called Maximus as the villain of the show can cash in their chips so to speak. While his motives as a revolutionary were always kind of suspect (anyone who does what he did to Medusa doesn’t really deserve to call themselves a revolutionary) the inhuman’s “king” (temporary and I use the word loosely) seems ready to give it all up for the chance to become Inhuman at the earliest chance he’s got. I’m getting ahead of myself, however. For an episode seemingly all about Medusa’s arc, we’re not given a lot else to work with.

Someone is “Special”, But this time it’s not Desmond (Oops. Declan).

After Black Bolt and Sammy (the ultimate brotp right there) join up with Declan, the audience gets to see Declan’s lab and learns that he’s working with inhumans, be it medically, emotionally or spiritually. While it’s initially unclear if he’s trustworthy, he and Black Bolt bond over the notion of marriage and head off to his lab with Sammy in tow. The biggest strength so far for the show has been when the Royal Family interact with folks on earth, but humans don’t really make magic. That’s the biggest takeaway from this episode. It takes nuhumans, or ancient inhumans to make the magic work for the lost and post powerful super beings. Either the humans that they meet are rather bland or they’re out to kill them and harvest their organs.

It would be really great if during the episode there were more hints and clues as to where the inhumans fits on the timeline. It’s vague enough that the characters time on earth could conceivably be erased (not a wise idea Marvel) if the show doesn’t do well. Declan is working on inhumans, but is it after Agents of SHIELD season 3 or 4? Are inhumans hunted and feared thanks to Aida’s robot daisy army, or are they just being discovered thanks to Daisy Johnson dumping terrigen in the water supply (and speaking of which, where is Triton?) Declan’s not really up to giving anybody any answers. Henry Ian Cusick is giving his character Desmond Hume a run for his money by wanting to work on Black Bolt but not offering up any reason why. What he finds, however, leaves him shaken enough to dial somebody who nobody gets to see with a “major bombshell.”

The core of the plot, in an episode called “Make way…For Medusa!” once again returns to Black Bolt but that’s okay. The Inhuman king is a fascinating character. Apparently, while the last episode shared that Maximus was turned completely human by his terragenesis, Black Bolt is totally inhuman thanks to his terragenesis. Perfectly so. Declan thinks that he can use this to study terragenesis and apply it to others (SHIELD must be incredibly good at hiding people because one could swear that Holden Radcliffe got the formula directly from Hive about how to make Inhumans but…). Someone wants it applied directly to themselves however first and foremost.

All we have to say is, dude. Maximus. Catch up on SHIELD season 3 and find out just what happened to the HYDRA executives who got injected with Hive’s serum AND the SHIELD agents who ended up becoming Daisy and Hive’s “children”. Anytime someone tries to artificially re-create this, it does not go well for all concerned.

It’s “Medusa and Louise” meets “Rosencranz and Guildenstern”

If you were live tweeting the east coast version of Marvel’s Inhumans and you happened to catch actress Serinda Swan’s great joke you’ve really got to appreciate her timing. Thelma and Louise, the story of two women on the run from a collection of guys across the country. Medusa and Louise manage to do the same with Medusa showing that she knows how to use a gun (where does a queen pick up skills like that?) and interacting with the character who has been consistently referred to as “the audience’s eyes” throughout the entire saga. Louise is the character that had everybody guessing throughout the inhumans promotional material. Is she human, is she inhuman, who is she, what is she capable of. It turns out she’s a scientist who loved her father, a little girl inspired by him to reach for the stars. When he failed (and that was a genuinely human moment I’ll give them that much) she’s succeeding, but just WHO she works for needs to be explained further.

(Although, I’m going to throw a nugget at the wall and see if it sticks. Louise is working for the space agency which is an arm of the guys who took the Agents of SHIELD group at the end of season 4. I’m probably going to be Jossed so bad that my butt is going to hurt when it’s bounced across the pavement – or worse, but it’d be a nice connection and explain my frustrating timing issues.)

For an episode that’s got Medusa in the title, however, we do find out where some of the other characters are heading. Gorgon is half frustrated and a half in mourning thanks to his surfer friends (who are these guys? One wonders if they have connections to SHIELD too) giving us a bit of backstory for the former Captain of the Royal Guard. Meanwhile, both Karnak and Crystal meet other humans who are potential love interests (Everything about this new guy comes off a bit bland but hey, he and Crystal might match) and while Crystal worries about Lockjaw Karnak gets a little closer to letting loose and letting go of some of his inhuman hang-ups. Pretty much subtitled “Karnak’s Excellent Adventure” and “Thank God Lockjaw is Okay.”

Continuing to put Lockjaw out of commission is a major mistake but he’s apparently going to be fine (thanks, Audrey. Lot of Audrey’s in the MCU huh?) and Medusa and Louise’s roaring rampage ends with Louise connecting to Black Bolt and the disappearance of Sammy (thanks a lot, nasty rotten inhuman lab, killing my brotp before it becomes an actual full-on spin-off show and letting Sammy meet Daisy.) Black Bolt and Medusa are reunited and you’d honestly hope that Black Bolt might let loose a giant angry roar at his wife’s hair because he fully knows what it means, he restrains himself. Good for him. Hopefully, the series ends with he and Maximus having a nice chat.

It should actually be called “Make way…For Maximus!”

So, Maximus continues to be the most developed character in the show and the decision to put a Loki-like character at the head of his own series might make sense, but it doesn’t. Not particularly. In this case there should be a bit more backstory for Auran who seems blindly willing to follow Maximus (are we sure he doesn’t have any powers?) while he enacts operation “Make myself Awesome” and uses everyone else in Attilan to do it (again, sure he doesn’t have any powers?) She makes a bit of a boneheaded call however when she summons Mordis of the broken voice box to battle Black Bolt.

Mordis was a stand out in episode 3 with some actual big league abilities. It’s a let down that while he gets to use them, Black Bolt doesn’t. Either Black Bolt is so empowered that literally laughing at his predicament would cause the entire MCU to explode. Or they’re stalling. You’re stalling series, you’re stalling and his trick for getting Mordis to blow up the gas line was pretty cool. It’s easy to buy that maybe Black Bolt is aware that he could blow up the entire MCU so that’s why he’s being careful with his abilities. Mordis and Auran live to battle another day and Maximus meanwhile is unleashing his plan on the Genetic Council.

You have to wonder about how deeply entrenched the ideals of the Inhumans are in their citizens. The fourth episode of the series is literally the one where Maximus loses all credibility as a revolutionary and a hero. He just wants to be Inhuman, all of his motives are to try and become inhuman and get powers, he literally is paying people like Declan on earth to figure out the secret formula for being inhuman, and SHIELD is literally more powerful then an ancient inhuman race because they have the secret (or do they?) and Maximus doesn’t know it, or at least is starting to guess it. One wonders why he didn’t team up with Hive (now that would have been great to see.) instead he, like the audience, is getting half the information from a secondhand source. There’s no deeper connection to the MCU at large beyond some interesting Easter Eggs.

Maximus, however, will have this information no matter what the cost and takes his potential plan to the Genetic Council who promptly metaphorically (not literally, but metaphorically) laugh in his face so to speak. Maximus must truly be mad because he’s so corrupted by the eugenics based ideals of a corrupt regime that he wants to literally re-write his DNA to better participate in it. Yes of course. Absolutely.  His friend on the council, Tibor, disagrees and Maximus whose world is literally titled by the abuse he endured takes him out and banishes the entire genetic council. Hooray.

Overall the fourth episode, which has some REALLY great dialogue fails to further deliver on anything new for the series beyond finally resolving Maximus’s ultimate goal. To comic fans it’s unsurprising, he was always a little mad. To MCU fans who have never read the comics however the series might be a little stagnant. Hopefully, things pick up as the series heads forward Tune in Next Friday, October 20th for the next episode, “Something Inhuman this way comes…”

Final Thoughts

  • The dialogue and scenes between Ellen Woglom and Serinda Swan were REALLY funny. It seems like the series is putting people in strange places who have unique skills both on and off camera. Whoever wrote Medusa and Louise for the screen as well as Maximus’s slow descent into psychosis needs a medal. Can they work with the director of episode 3?
  • No one is talking to anyone else at Marvel Television and that needs to stop. Yes, it’s not all connected to the point that you’re going to see people on the show from other shows (although Daisy making an appearance on the show is one of this recapper’s favorite personal theories) but damn it we could get the mythos straight. Why DID Maximus literally not go and talk to Hive?
  • Timeline. Need Timeline. Must know. When the show takes place?
  • It seems like Declan is the on-earth big bad. Fingers crossed at somewhere in the next four episodes we get to Make Way…For Backstory!
  • Iwan Rheon is a consummate thespian and I really wish he and Brett Dalton’s Hive could have teamed up
  • The most important part of the show. LOCKJAW. WILL LIVE.

 

 

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