Want to find out what you missed on Inhumans? Checking to see if it’s as bad as people say? Need a recap before you see episode 3? Read on.
Now, I will be recapping and reviewing the first two episodes together, as they aired together and it is unclear where one episode ends and the other starts. Before we start, it’s fun to note that both episodes are named after Stan Lee-era coming books: “Behold… The Inhumans” is similar to Fantastic Four #45‘s “Among Us Hide… The Inhumans” (which was adapted as an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. title) while “Those Would Would Destroy Us” is directly from Fantastic Four #46, two of the first appearances of the Royal Family.
The episode starts on Oahu, where a woman is being hunted by heavily armed people – possibly the military. We quickly see why; she has cat-like eyes and is not entirely human. She runs into a hooded man, who tells her that there is a whole city with people like her called Attilan, and he can take her there. He removes his hood and we see he is entirely green and has a ribbed fin on his head. In fact, he is Lord Triton Mandur-Azur of the Inhuman Royal Family (We just don’t know that yet). They are spotted, and the pair continue to run. The girl is shot to death, and in his moment of hesitation Triton is shot too. Given no choice, he jumps from the cliff into the Pacific Ocean, leaving a trail of blood. The man who tagged him reports that the target has been neutralized.
Now, I’ve heard from a few folks that this is the worst scene in the show and I would be okay with that. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by how gorgeous the camerawork is. The acting, however, leaves much to be desired – that’s what happens when you cast Katara from M. Night Shymalan’s The Last Airbender – and though it appears to have taken a lot of effort, I would not argue with the many memes comparing Triton’s prosthetic makeup to “Handsome Squidward”.
Elsewhere, two characters we will come to know as Triton’s cousins, the silent King Blackagar “Black Bolt” Boltagon and Queen Medusalith “Medusa” Amaquelin, are making love in their bedroom. Black Bolt’s communicator watch (called a com-link) goes off, so Medusa uses her long, prehensile red hair to move it away from him so he can’t reach. This scene is sort of a sweet moment between the two. Realizing they can’t avoid the com-link any longer, they get up to observe the city and we learn that they are on the impressive city of Attilan, located behind an invisible force field on the moon. Then we get the title card.
Medusa looks a lot better than promo photos would have you believe. The title card is really dumb. Moving on.
On the moon, a rover hits an invisible wall. (Presumably the invisible wall of the city.) It stalls as scientists at Callisto Aerospace Control Center watch. Suddenly it is crushed and goes offline, to the confusion of scientist Louise Fisher.
Back on Attilan, the king and queen are led through the admiring crowd by a member their Royal Guard, a no-nonsense woman named Auran. Using sign language, Black Bolt signals for his brother Maximus, who is standing in the crowd, to follow them. In the meeting room, Triton’s tattooed brother Karnak is already waiting and wonders where his brother is, but Black Bolt signals for them to start. They talk about how the humans are trying to find them when their cousin, Royal Guard commander Gorgon Petragon enters with the moon rover and throws it on a pile. Gorgon has cloven hooves, and Karnak points out that Gorgon’s hoof is visible on the rover camera, but Gorgon argues that no one would know it’s a hoof.
As they bicker, on Earth, Louise tells her superior George Atland that she thinks it’s a hoof.
Black Bolt signals that they do nothing about this, and Maximus angrily says that all they ever do is nothing. The humans are going to find them and destroy them. Gorgon makes fun of Maximus saying that he knows this because he is a human, and Maximus argues that even though he has no powers, he is an Inhuman. Maximus proposes taking back Earth, but Medusa refuses to go to war. Maximus asks if she is speaking for herself or Black Bolt, and she says herself. Maximus asks what Black Bolt thinks, and Black Bolt stares into Maximus’ eyes. Looking genuinely scared, he backs off.
On Earth, Louise is upset that they just wasted $80m, but George tells her to investigate and find out what destroyed their rover.
Later, in Attilan’s Grand Hall, the Head of the Genetic Council Kitang welcomes the royal family to a Terrigenesis ceremony of two teenagers: siblings Eridia and Bronaja. As a large box is brought with the Words of Creation (Coulson’s scribblings, for all you Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans), Black Bolt wears traditional tuning-fork-like headgear that makes him look a bit more comic accurate. Karnak remarks that Terrigenesis is what makes Inhumans superior, but Maximus says that it’s just luck of the draw and a useless, archaic system. Gorgon insinuates that he’s just bitter. Karnak waxes poetic about how everything is ultimately useless, but Gorgon just jokes that this is why no one invites him to give speeches at birthdays. The ceremony is ready to proceed, but they are missing one royal: Medusa’s sister, Princess Crystalia “Crystal” Amaquelin.
In the city of Attilan, Crystal gleefully walks among the people and calls over her bounding gigantic, seven-foot-tall bulldog Lockjaw and pets him. Medusa angrily reminds her of the ceremony on her com-link bracelet, so she asks Lockjaw to take her to the Grand Hall. The tuning-fork-like pattern on Lockjaw’s forehead glows, and the pair teleport to the ceremony. The box is opened to reveal Terrigen crystals, as Eridia and Bronaja’s parents Paripan and (the partially-reptilian) Loyolis pray that the ceremony goes better than theirs did. Counciller Kitang locks the scared teens into Terrigenesis chambers and drops the crystals in, clouding them with smoke. He then asks them to exit the chambers and reveal themselves.
(Small note: The crystal and mist is the same, but the effect for Terrigenesis is different from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in that no cocoon is formed. Is this an effect of pure Inhuman blood? The Terrigenesis chamber? An oversight by the showrunner Scott Buck?)
Eridia exits her chamber and begins to fly with large blue, butterfly wings (“A flyer”, much to the excitement of Crystal and Gorgon). Bronaja exits his and admits that he feels the same. Feeling his pain, Maximus reassures him that it can tak time for powers to manifest when Bronaja immediately drops to his knees and tells Maximus that he saw him in a vision; snakes were all over him and threw him against the wall. This perplexes Maximus and the ceremony ends.
In the lower caste slums, the commonfolk want to see what powers Eridia and Bronaja received. Eridia shows off her new wings, while Bronaja admits he just fell down. An outspoken man orders him to work in the mines, but Maximus intervenes and says that the Genetic Council still needs to test Bronaja to find his true powers. The man heckles Maximus for having none, and Maximus admits that his Terrigenesis rendered him human, but that his privilege as prince is what kept him from the mines. He says that this is only because of their caste system from being confined on Attilan; he promises that if they returned to Earth, they’d each have a kingdom. The people like the sound of that. Suddenly, Maximus’ com-link watch goes off.
As the family eats dinner, a serving lady gives Karnak a seductive look. He gives her two and a half days: The first day he would be captivated by her beauty, second day he would be bothered that she is a servant and that she chews with her mouth open, third day her dependency issues would drive him to want to kill her by noon. Gorgon laughs and says that he is his own worst enemy as the servant leaves, offended. Maximus enters the dining room and tells his family that Triton is dead. He has Auran bring in Duodon, a man with really gross projector eyes, to show them Triton’s so-called last moments. Maximus blames Black Bolt for sending Triton on a secret mission to investigate the Inhuman outbreak on Earth, and storms out. Karnak warns Black Bolt about Maximus and reasserts his own loyalty, while Gorgon angrily storms out, commanding Crystal with him. Black Bolt and Medusa find Gorgon stocking up on weapons, and take his gun away, agreeing to send him on a rescue mission only. Crystal orders Lockjaw to take Gorgon to where Triton last was. If anyone can do it, Gorgon can.
Black Bolt and Medusa leave, but Black Bolt dismisses his queen to think alone and locks himself in an isolation chamber. Medusa remembers when she was younger and introduced herself to a young Black Bolt. (Fire young Medusa’s actress ASAP). She leaves, and Maximus stops her and starts trying to seduce her, making Black Bolt seem like a tyrant and Maximus as a good guy who would treat Medusa better. He reminisces about their time as childhood friends and tries to make her imagine life with him. She angrily grabs him with her hair and slams him against the wall before leaving. He remembers Bronaja’s vision about snakes throwing him against the wall.
Later, Auran brings Kitang to meet with Maximus. Maximus asks about the teenager’s Terrigenesis, and Kitang says that Iridia is fantastic at flying and that Bronaja’s visions are curious but they don’t know what they mean; he saw Kitang resting in a river, but there are no rivers in Attilan. Maximus cuts to the chase and tries to get the Genetic Council’s backing to invade Earth, but Kitang considers it treason and orders Auran to arrest Maximus. She kills Kitang instead, pledging her allegiance to “King” Maximus. Maximus notes that Kitang is face-down, “resting in a river” of his own blood.
On Oahu, Gorgon is attempting to track Triton. The same squad that shot Triton spots Gorgon. They radio their superior – revealed to be Maximus – and he orders them to shoot to kill. Using his powerful hooves, Gorgon kicks the soldiers and knocks them back with shockwaves from his stomps.
On Attilan, Karnak is apprehended by rogue Royal Guards on the order of “King” Maximus. He tries fighting them, but is shot and falls into a fountain, dead. As time freezes, another Karnak analyzes the situation and decides to “try again”. He successfully kills the guards this time.
(The show doesn’t do a fantastic job of representing it, but Karnak is able to foresee the possible outcomes, which is what happened when he ‘died’.)
Karnak tries to page Crystal, Black Bolt and Medusa when Gorgon tries to page Karnak. He tells him to stay there as they are in a coup organized by Maximus, and leaves to find Crystal. Crystal is in her room, ignoring her com-link bracelet as she rocks out to music through headphones and idly freezing things using her elemental powers. Karnak finds her and explains what is happening, and she sends Lockjaw to teleport Karnak to Gorgon (against his will) and then takes Lockjaw to find Medusa.
Medusa is trying to reach Black Bolt via his com-link, but he won’t answer. (Possibly because he can’t talk.) Suddenly, Maximus and the Royal Guard stop her in the hallway. Maximus sadly orders the guards to seize her, but she fights them off using her hair. An Inhuman named Pulsus sneaks up behind her and zaps her, paralyzing her and bringing her to her knees. Maximus apologizes, and as Auran holds her down, Maximus shaves Medusa’s head bald. She tearfully vows to never forgive him. Maximus leaves to find the king.
As Black Bolt meditates, Maximus and the guards enter his isolation chamber. Maximus tells him that this day was always coming. As he explains his plot to the king, Crystal and Lockjaw find Medusa and Lockjaw teleports her to to the others. Maximus is clearly pushing Black Bolt’s buttons, and asks if he is going to speak and kill his only brother like he killed their parents. In a brief (and dumb, not-emotional-at-all) flashback, a seemingly grounded teenage Black Bolt accidentally disintegrates his parents Agon and Rynda by uttering the word “Why?”. Black Bolt opens his mouth to speak, terrifying Maximus, when Lockjaw teleports in and takes Black Bolt with him. Maximus leaves and orders Auran to catch Crystal right as she is about to use her elemental fire to burn him.
A bald Medusa snaps out of her daze on Earth, noticing that she is in the Diamond Head Crater on Oahu and not where Gorgon is on Makapu’u Beach. Karnak is on Haloa Ridge, also nowhere near Gorgon. He calls Lockjaw a stupid dog. Meanwhile, Lockjaw teleports Black Bolt to the middle of a busy street in downtown Honolulu. Cars swerve around him, causing an accident. Lockjaw then teleports away, leaving Black Bolt alone. Confused by the police sirens and people taking photos of him, Black Bolt runs off.
On Attilan, Crystal is held in the isolation chamber but refuses to tell Maximus where the family is. Lockjaw teleports in, and Crystal quickly orders him to take her to the others, when a woman from the guard uses her powers to put Lockjaw to sleep. (Literally, not permanently.) As Crystal begs Lockjaw to wake up, she is taken from the room and warns Maximus not to hurt him. Maximus then projects a message to the citizens, saying that the royal family has fled the city.
Medusa uses her com-link to contact Black Bolt, and she tells him that she is safe on Earth. She asks if he can hear her and if he’s okay, and Black Bolt puts his com-link to his heart. Medusa hears his heartbeat and tearfully thanks him. It’s sweet. She hears cars, and knows he is here. She vows to find him. She finds a tourist bus and boards it back to the city. Meanwhile, Karnak tries climbing down the cliff and falls, knocking himself out. So much for analyzing all possibilities.
Maximus orders Auran to put Royal Guards on every corner, to frighten people so he appears as the calming voice of reason. Crystal is brought in before him, and Maximus tries to manipulate her into pledging allegiance to him and announcing this to the people. She says she will never side with him or accept a human as her king. He considers this a shame, as being a princess doesn’t prevent tragedy from befalling her. The guards take her away.
Gorgon dredges through the waters, calling for Triton, when a large wave takes him out. (What the hell did he think he was doing?) A few surfers take him to shore. He sits and has a beer with them, and the surfers introduce themselves. The one named Makani recognizes Gorgon as an Inhuman (the hooves gave it away), and Gorgon said his cousin fell off the cliff after being chased by humans with guns. He tells them that now that Triton is likely dead, he has no choice but to wait until he is brought back to the moon. (One surfer thinks that this is cool.)
At Callisto, Louise is studying Lockjaw’s energy signals radiating off the moon. George reminds her that she should be investigating the rover, but she says that there were four things that “teleported” from the moon to Hawaii. George jokes that it is her “hoofed creature and three buddies”, not knowing how close he is. He takes her off the case, and Louise instead offers to take some time off. She packs some stuff up as she heads out her office. Judging by the decor, she really loves the moon.
Isolated to her room, Crystal stands on her balcony. Auran enters with food, and Crystal blasts her with fire, causing her to duck for cover. Auran pulls a gun and warns Crystal there are nine more guards outside, so Crystal drops her fire. Auran suggests she accept Maximus as her king, telling Crystal that her family isn’t coming back. She leaves. Crystal grabs Auran’s dropped com-link and contacts Medusa on the tour bus. The sisters confirm they are safe, and Crystal tells Medusa that Maximus has taken over Attilan but Karnak and Black Bolt are on Earth. She is locked in her apartment, but stole Auran’s com-link. Medusa realizes that it’s a trap, as Auran is too smart to drop it, and hangs up, breaking her own bracelet and getting off the bus.
Gorgon is tired of sitting and waiting, so Makani suggests he brings the fight to him. Gorgon pages Maximus on the com-link and asks where his family is. Maximus doesn’t know, but hopes he and Gorgon can come to an agreement. Gorgon tells him he will see the bottom of his hoof before that happens, and informs him that he is leaving his com-link GPS on in case Maximus hopes to find him. He calls Maximus a traitor and hangs up. He warns the surfers to leave, but Makani is down for a little trouble.
At the bottom of the cliff, Karnak wakes up with a bloody head and sets out to continue looking for Black Bolt. Deciding to finally use his powers, he analyzes the best path to choose. He wanders the wilderness, drinking from puddles. He finds he has been walking in circles, and his analysis mental compass is off, presumably from the fall from the cliff. He wonders what has happened to him.
Maximus summons Auran and orders her to assemble a team and go to Earth to kill Black Bolt and Gorgon, and to retrieve or kill Medusa. Auran decides she only needs herself, so Maximus sends her to Eldrac for transport.
Eldrac the Living Door? ELDRAC THE LIVING DOOR!?
Auran approaches a black wall and calls out for Eldrac. A stone-like face pushes itself from the wall, and Auran demands teleportation. Eldrac refuses, but Auran threatens to kill his family if he doesn’t comply, or if he hurts her in any way. He turns part of the wall to a black liquid (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans, remember the Monolith?) and allows Auran to pass, smiling to himself as she does.
While Eldrac wasn’t comic-accurate at all, I really appreciate his inclusion. The last character I ever expected to see. Also, how cool was it tying him to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Noticing he isn’t dressed like anyone else, Black Bolt decides to duck into a men’s clothing store in Honolulu. He is confused by cleats and Hawaiian shirts, but is unable to answer the attendant as to if he needs help. She realizes he doesn’t talk and helps him try on a suit. She goes to ring him up and he leaves without paying, injuring security on the way out for touching him. He is stopped by the police while walking in the middle of the street, and is confused and amused by the process of being arrested. The cop touches him, so he takes him out and handcuffs him with his own handcuffs. Many more police arrive, and he runs away. They surround him with cars and the officers begin beating him with billy clubs. He starts fighting back, and is tazed. He lets out a small grunt that sends a car flying, and the cops beat him to submission, arresting him. As he is taken to the station, Louise watches on the news.
Maximus invites Bronaja to see him and asks if he has had any more visions, and Bronaja says he hasn’t. He touches him and Bronaja says people in silver robes want to kill him. Maximus realizes the Genetic Council is planning his death. He dismisses Bronaja and thanks him. He finds the Genetic Council in session, and menacingly reminds them that the Genetic Council is supposed to tell the Royal Family when they are meeting. He strongly implies that he killed Kitang, and asks them to keep Kitang’s death in mind going forward. He leaves and finds Crystal in her room. Again, he asks her to side with him. He threatens Lockjaw, and reminds Crystal that her parents were killed by his for trying to overthrow the Boltagon family. He asks how they would feel that she is fighting to protect what they fought against, and leaves her to think about it – “but not too long”.
Auran teleports to Earth, half of her body encased in the ruins of a stone building. Annoyed at Eldrac, she shoots her way out. She pulls out her com-link and begins tracking. She finds Medusa’s empty tour bus. The bus driver tries to stop her from boarding, but she snaps his neck for touching her. She finds Medusa’s broken com-link under the bus seat. She leaves, and Medusa tackles her from behind the bus. They fight in the parking lot, breaking a few cars, but Medusa is no match for Auran without her hair. Auran tries to take Medusa back to Attilan, Medusa pulls out a switchblade she swiped from a nearby bus passenger and stabs Auran to death, declaring that she queen of Attilan and no one tells her what to do. As she dies, Auran says that Maximus will find her.
In the station, Black Bolt is being booked in but the cops mistake his silence for lack of cooperation and waiting for a lawyer. Confused, he breaks his way out of handcuffs. The police pull their guns on him. The chief tells him they need to take his picture and book him in, and Black Bolt cooperates. As he is against the height chart to get his picture taken, Medusa calls him with Auran’s com-link. She vows that they will never be defeated, and they will hang Maximus from the highest building in the city. She covers Auran’s body with a tarp, and Black Bolt is photographed and booked.
Maximus finds Bronaja and Loyolis working in the mines, and tells them that their suffering is over, because Black Bolt’s reign is coming to an end. They will build a new future and Bronaja will help shape that. As he gives a passionate speech to rally the people and ask for them to accept his as king, we see a montage of Crystal looking at a photo of her parents Ambur and Quelin, Lockjaw sleeping in the isolation chamber, Gorgon sitting with surfers, Karnak trying to sleep in the wilderness, Medusa sitting in a park, and Black Bolt in orange being led to his cell. He stares at the moon as the lower caste of Attilan applaud Maximus.
In the car park near the tour bus, Auran awakens and pulls the blade from herself. She then heals her own wounds. She contacts Maximus for back-up.
Huh. Just when I thought she couldn’t get any different from comic Auran.
Now the part you’re all waiting for. What did I think? Was it as bad as people are saying? Honestly, no. I don’t think so. It was rushed, and you can definitely feel that. It feels cheap, and some of the acting feels very stilted (even from royal family members like Crystal and Triton). But a lot of acting and special effects were really good too. The problem was inconsistency. You can really feel where the corners were cut. But was it boring? No. Was it stupid? Not really. It got campy at times, and there was a lot of room for improvement, but it was fine. I think it was probably more engaging than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s pilot, and that’s going into it’s fifth season.
I felt the coup was very strangely fast in the first episode and they ignored some established MCU lore, which set that at a 5.5/10. The second episode felt like it had already started to find it’s feet however, and would receive a 6.5/10. This may be controversial, but I’ll give the first two episodes a combined 6/10. I am interested in seeing where things are going and what these characters have in store, and isn’t that all the show set out to do?
I do feel bad, however, for those who were able to see it in IMAX and were expecting something more. If anything can be said of this show, it was very, very painfully “television”. If one was expecting a movie or something more epic or cinematic only to get an average TV pilot, they would be very disappointed. But taken for what it is, I personally think the critics may have been a bit harsh. If it’s all uphill from here, I will be very happy. If it’s not… well, we’ll see.
Tune in next week, when we cover the third episode, “Divide and Conquer”.