We’re down to the wire folks. The last 3 episodes of the season begin with “The gentleman’s name is Gorgon” and while things have been getting hot for the royal family, they’re starting to get hotter thanks to Maximus and the forces conspiring against them. It’s ironic that the show seems to be finally finding some footing within the last episode of the series, this one is more action packed, it delivers some more solid character moments and we get to see Medusa and Maximus really come into their own. They’re ghosts of the characters we know from the comics who, with time and development could become the King and her brother-in-law that fans have come to know and love, and in Maximus’s case, know and loathe.
It’s worth noting that the last episode, directed by the amazing Kevin Tanchareon, hooked me in and this one drew me closer. The stakes have become real (painfully, horrifically real) and the one thing that everyone who is spending time watching Marvel’s The Inhumans can say so far is that they’re not pulling any punches in this corner of the MCU. These characters, to the unending frustration of all concerned (myself mostly), can do everything from suffering and falling in love, to meeting their very very very untimely demise. This show isn’t perfect by a long shot, but credit where credit is due when people are trying to build up a product and a brand like Inhumans – killing a character takes guts.
That doesn’t make it right or fair. The show is pushing this reviewer’s buttons in a big way and while commending the show for its guts, it’s disconcerting to see the character who dies tonight, because yes there is a death, make an exit. Just when Marvel seems ready to pull the series from the gutter it spirals back into it with a sad gurgling gasp. There’s emotional payoff in it, yes, but one wonders if there could have been other options. The creativity in the other Marvel and ABC series seems to be sadly lacking and while the actors are doing their best, the material, At last, we have our footing, but at the cost of a character with a long history who deserved a lot better from the house of ideas that created them.
Maximus is coming apart at the seams
The episode opens with Maximus versus the Royal family. No really. They arrive in short order and fight him – and it turns out to be a dream sequence. As much as many people might have hoped this was the end, it’s slipping and we realize – point blank – that Maximus is an unreliable narrator in a lot of ways. According to these flashbacks, he somehow arranged for his parent’s deaths (that’s comic book canon) even though the first episode directly shows that Black Bolt used his voice on them and obliterated them (that’s not comic book canon). Making a guy notoriously known for being “The mad” into a so-called “protagonist” was a tough sell from the get-go, but as noble as the idea of Maximus tearing down Attilan from the ground up seemed to be, there’s not a whole heck of a lot to it. He summons a brand new army of inhumans including many who have worked in the mines of Attilan. He also conscripts young people and while his advisors warn him that the people won’t like it if he does that, he insists that the people will love him anyway. There are a lot of Kings in the Marvel universe, and as rotten as the Inhuman society on the moon seems to be, Black Bolt seems to have been doing the best he could. Maximus is doing anything but.
Maximus’s plans motivate the majority of the team throughout the rest of the episode. Auran (who deserves so much better than a leader like Maximus). Sets a trap for the Royal Family. Declan has gone from being a person experimenting on the inhumans (for the moment) to being their captive. She and Gorgon square off in a battle royale which sets the stage for heartache and horror. Their fight raises the stakes for all concerned and while Auran lives to fight another day, the Royals suddenly find themselves buried deep in a real battle for survival, one that they should have been aware of since the beginning.
This brings to mind the whereabouts of Mike Moh’s Triton, who disappeared after being shot in the first episode. While so much was made of the aquatic inhuman and his abilities, it seems prudent to note that he has yet to return. If there’s one collection of people who could pull it off it’s the Inhumans, but they seem bound to Maximus’s histrionics. Iwan Rheon delivers a spectacular performance, truly selling the psychosis at the heart of the character. By the end of the episode, the coup that was planned against him (presumably to reinstate the royal family) has been overthrown and he is fully prepared to give into his insecurities. He wants to be Inhuman, no matter what the cost, or who he has to kill to get there.
Medusa becomes the Queen she was born to be, Crytal gets Kissed
In the comics, it’s worth noting that Medusa does most of the thinking, planning, and strategy for the Inhumans. She’s the literal power behind the throne and since Black Bolt can’t talk, she oversees ruling their city and the collection of Inhumans on earth after the event that triggers the birth of so many. She’s both mother of their people and primary protector. Tonight, Serinda Swan embodied that role. Standing up to Gorgon and Black Bolt, she ends up taking charge. Sammy and the other humans become pawns in Auran’s game and it’s ultimately Medusa who takes charge. There’s a nice connection between Auran and the members of her team before there’s a big ad for Hawaii.
She’s new to it, however, but with time hopefully, she could develop into an incredible leader. The same can’t be said for Crystal who continues to be stuck in her Kirby era guise. In the comics, she’s a diplomat and a skilled fighter and she could develop into that in time, but in this episode and the past few at least we’ve seen very little beyond the literal princess that she was in the comics. She’s powerful. Louise has more of a character in the episode then she does, although who she works for remains a mystery (though one that I would bet has something to do with Agents of SHIELD season 5.)
There’s a lot to be said about how the Inhumans interact with each other and there’s plenty that the series could dig into. The inhumans get together, the royals square off against Auran, but it ends with a loss that is a surprise. It’s a gutsy move, an incredible one that really raises the stakes for the Royals and Maximus, but it’s one that has some real-world implications that can’t be ignored.
The gentleman’s name was Gorgon
This gets the last paragraph because I’m is absolutely furious and it needs to be discussed. In the comics, Gorgon’s character is a mentor figure for several other Nuhumans including one of the best ones, Dante. Gorgon’s military bearing and strict nature, not to mention the fact that he has kids and he ends up going through a secondary terragenesis is a nice commentary on how terragenesis works. He becomes, in essence, a character disabled by his abilities like Black Bolt. It’s a nice thing to see. While it’s unlikely that Gorgon would end up getting a chance to work with younger inhumans (or at the very least that we’d get to see his Son who also has this problem.) the potential was there and it made investing time in the show worthwhile.
Then, in a bold move (a gutsy move indeed) Inhumans killed off its second major member of the royal family. Gorgon, in an effort to take down Mordis, sacrifices himself to kill the inhuman. It’s a two-fold stroke, it underscores the depth of the genetic meritocracy that the inhumans live under. I’m in the minority, I liked Mordis as a character. After trying to convince him that he was worthwhile, Karnak has laid a trap for the second most powerful Inhuman in Attilan. Mordis refuses to go back to prison, fires off one finale cyclops like blast to save himself, and Gorgon pulls a Patriot, he pulls a Coulson, he sacrifices himself.
I knew I liked him for a reason.
When attending San Diego Comic Con 2016, Eme Ikwuakor was the only cast member to make direct eye contact and offer a salute, a friendly sort of wave to me as I tried unsuccessfully to cover the booth signing. I can only imagine just how excited everybody is to be a part of the Marvel series, and how excited everyone was. They’re inhumans, there’s always a chance that they could come back somehow (if anyone can it’s the inhumans) but the fact is that this show, this show in the same vein as the powerfully diverse and forward thinking Agents of SHIELD fell into the most tired trope in existence. The black person dies first.
It’s always worth discussing whenever minority groups fighting for representation end up leaving shows far sooner then they should and there are a number of great resources that discuss it from perspectives relating to persons of color. As for me, speaking personally, I was frustrated simply because the actor put forth a gregarious presence. Granted that’s the guy’s job but it’s those things that endear you to the fans. Second, because Gorgon was a fun character and while he’s just as guilty of the sins of the society that he came from, there were a number of places he could have gone and a number of storylines he could have had. Plus, there is the overwhelming fault that apart from Karnak (and I’m keeping an eye on you Karnak) the only members of the royal family left are Crystal, Medusa, and Black Bolt. I will be blunt. Losing Mike Moh’s Triton so early on along with Gorgon tonight isn’t a good look for a show in a time when people are paying attention to the dynamics on their TV screen. It’s a tired and sad trope in science fiction. One that many, when they read this, will probably shake their heads and say “I expected something like that.”
Imagine for a moment if Crystal had died. If she’d saved Lockjaw (as you should) and Medusa was forced to deal with the death of her sister. Take a moment to picture the visceral heartbreak and need for revenge from the Attilan Queen. Medusa in the comics is a force of nature, she’s incredibly powerful and an imposing and impressive leader. Imagine if they’d made such a bold standpoint and her death could easily have been videotaped or filmed to sway the inhumans on Attilan to either side. Human history has taught us that people love a princess, and if a princess dies then she stays immortal and beautiful forever. While I look forward to seeing where Crystal goes, it’s going to take a lot for her to get somewhere. Meanwhile Gorgon was going places. Even if Gorgon’s death was meant to deliver emotional pathos (and it did. oh boy did it.)
Gorgon’s death was a huge letdown and while I have to credit the series for its boldness, killing a main cast member in the first season like that (fingers crossed he makes a comeback but I’m nowhere near hopeful) it’s a rehash of a tired and sad trope when the series had a chance to do something different. If anything it makes Maximus’s final fate all the more interesting. Marvel upped the stakes in a huge way by taking Gorgon out of the game. Whatever happens to Maximus will clearly be far different than Loki’s final fate(s).
- Karnak knows the Vulcan neck pinch.
- Sonya Balmores as Auran delivers a stand out performance. I’m seriously hoping she keeps going.
- Karnak is basically in his comic costume, and that deserves a degree of respect.
- MedusaBolt remains the ship to beat.
- Just who is Louise? Who’s Declan? We need to figure out who they are and how they’re connected to the MCU.
- I’ll be following Eme Ikwuakor’s career for the forseeable future. The man earned a fan.
Tune in to Havoc in a Hidden Land next Friday, November 3rd, 2017.
- Tags: Inhumans