Dave Crystal

Source: ABC Studios/IMAX (Press Release). Marvel’s Inhumans. Isabelle Cornish as Crystal, Chad Buchanon as Dave.

We are over halfway done Inhumans. Will the fifth episode “Something Inhuman This Way Comes…” blow us out of the water, or are we going to follow the trend with another mediocre episode?

As usual, this episode title is taken from a classic comic – namely, the story in Avengers #95 titled “Something Inhuman This Way Comes…!”. This was later reprinted alongside Amazing Adventures #5 – 10 in the anthology comic Black Bolt: Something Inhuman This Way Comes.

Our episode starts in the morning on beautiful Oahu, in an illegal marijuana field. Karnak wakes up in Jen’s tent with her sleeping on his chest, and he is confused; she is still there, and he is happy that she is still there. This isn’t post-conjugal endorphins, it’s a feeling he hasn’t felt before. He wants to be around her all day – even if she snores and her toes are kind of crooked. (Thanks, Karnak). They get dressed and leave the tent for food, when their inexplicably insane boss Reno fires a revolver them. Karnak analyzes the situation using his powers, and chops the bullet in half in slow motion with his hand.

Well, that’s a good start to an episode.

One of the bullet fragments hits Jen, but there is no time. The duo run, and Reno fires five more shots after them, stopping to reload before firing more (good attention to detail). They fall into Ted’s makeshift grave, and Reno hunts for them, saying he doesn’t like to share. I guess he and Jen had a thing. Karnak quiets Jen and throws a rock, throwing Reno off their trail. The dealer gets a call from a client, showing up for a deal early, and agrees to meet. They’re off the hook for now.

As Louise drives down the highway, Black Bolt and Medusa make up for lost time. Using sign language, he tries to ask Medusa about her shaved head but she doesn’t want to talk about it. Yes, it hurt. Yes, it feels like part of her is missing. But she’s okay. Locus knocks on the inside of the trunk again, and Louise decides to pull over and let her out. She uses her echolocation and tells Medusa where Karnak is. She complains about riding in the trunk, but decides it is no worse than the Royal Family usually treats her. Medusa makes her walk through the woods to find Karnak. Louise is appalled that Medusa apparently treats everyone like dirt.

As they make their way through the woods, Medusa details their plan to extract Karnak and Gorgon and return to Attilan. Louise offers to see if she can get the Royal Family on their next moon expedition. Suddenly, Locus gets a page on her com-link. Realizing she is hiding something from them, Medusa takes it. It’s Maximus wanting to know why Auran isn’t answering, and he is certainly surprised to hear Medusa. She says that when Black Bolt gets home, he would like a few words with Maximus. Maximus says he looks forward to the family reunion. Black Bolt crushes the com-link and Maximus calls for Tibor.

Two scenes, two bad-ass moments. Good. Good, good.

An aside, I still hate the title credits sequence. The theme song isn’t terrible, but the animation is so bad. I am starting to think that the retro 70’s look is entirely on purpose, but it still is too cheaply made to sit well with me.

In Dave’s barn, Lockjaw is mostly healed and his swelling is going down, but Audrey doesn’t think he’s running any time soon. Good thing Crystal doesn’t want to run, she wants to teleport. Audrey calls bullshit on this, but Crystal says that’s how she got here from the moon. (Audrey calls bullshit on this too.) Dave wants to play along, so Crystal has Dave touch Lockjaw and she orders him to take them where he took Medusa. Lockjaw teleports the two away, surprising the hell out of Audrey.

At Dr. Declan’s research lab, he is experimenting on the corpses of Sakas and the heavily burned Auran (the latter of whom we all know ain’t really dead). He extracts a venom gland from Sakas’ neck and cuts into it, but it sprays his glove with the acidic venom. They prepare to run a DNA test on Auran, expecting their new toys have a lot in common with Black Bolt.

Elsewhere, Gorgon goes looking for Karnak. In a flashback, Gorgon finds Karnak in the meditation chamber playing chess with himself. Gorgon is holding the flag from the Apollo 11 mission, which he found and thinks will look good in his room. He asks if Karnak wants to play catch. Karnak tells him to put the flag back, because in 22 minutes a satellite will fly over that spot, see the flag isn’t there and is surrounded by hoof-prints. Gorgon is confused and Karnak tells him to go put it back, swearing that Attilan would be destroyed by Gorgon without him. Back on Earth, he finds blood and realizes Karnak was hurt. (But how did he know it was Karnak’s?)

At the plantation, Reno pulls a gun on someone before realizing it’s his client, Tua, and some men. A little jumpy. Tua asks where his partners are. Reno (kind of) tells the truth, and says that Ted had an accident and is buried out back, and that Jen met an Asian guy with face tattoos and ran off with him when they saw the body. He’s afraid they’re gonna go to the cops, and could use help finding them. Tua asks to see Ted’s body. Reno takes him to the gravesite, and Tua shoots him dead, saying he doesn’t trust someone who murders their partner. He sees a trail of Jen’s blood, and orders his men to find them. As Karnak and Jen run, Jen begins to pass out from blood loss.

On Attilan, Maximus has a task for Tibor. First off, he demands he stop calling him “My king” – they were childhood friends. Secondly, since Auran has failed yet again, Tibor is to look through their database of Inhumans and decide who to send to Auran to help; if the Royal Family returns, the lower caste will be forced back into the mines and their freedom will be taken away. Tibor points out that this is forced conscription, and not the freedom they had in mind. Maximus angrily says that freedom isn’t granted, it is earned, and orders Tibor to comply – and to stop calling him “Maximus” and call him “my king” instead. Dude’s losing his marbles.

Assessing the situation, Karnak decides that they need to get the bullet out of Jen before they can proceed, or she will die from the internal damage. However, extracting the bullet from the front would cause infection, and extracting from the back would cause another open wound. He asks if Jen trusts him and then ONE-INCH-PUNCHES THE BULLET OUT OF THE WOUND LIKE A BAD-ASS. He then grabs some leaves and begins to improvise a suture, but Jen has a sewing kit because their tents were always ripping. Jen wants to find the police, but Karnak refuses, as they don’t like Inhumans. He decides to confront Reno directly. They hear a rustle and are on the move again.

At Declan’s lab, his assistant asks what would happen if the Inhumans stopped fighting each other and came after them. Declan says this is all the more reason to help them. Suddenly, Auran starts to stir. Declan believes this to be a post-mortem spasm, but she opens her eyes, sits up and begins to heal herself. She grabs Declan by the neck and asks where Black Bolt, the silent one, is. He croaks out that he has been helping him. Auran notices Sakas’ corpse, and asks what he did to him. He says that they both died in the explosion, and he was performing an autopsy. To save his boss, Declan’s assistant grabs a scalpel and runs at Auran, but she disarms him and stabs him through the eye, killing him. She realizes that Black Bolt owes Declan a favor and decides to use this.

They arrive back at the plantation, but Karnak doesn’t want to proceed – he doesn’t see a clear solution to this path. Jen convinces him that sometimes you just have to go. Karnak wonders how he can proceed with all this doubt, and Jen says that doubt is our friend – it forces us to look at new solutions. Karnak complains that his cousin Gorgon is only right 62% of the time, and the remaining 38% he has to make it right. Jen says she has his back, which has to count for 14% or something. She kisses him and he flashes back.

Karnak, learning life lessons and stuff. How sweet.

In his memory, Gorgon re-enters the meditation chamber and tells Karnak that he returned the flag and cleaned his hoof-prints, just like Karnak would have. Karnak tells him that he could never do something like he could, just like Karnak would never do anything as dumbly as Gorgon. Because of Terrigenesis, Gorgon will always make mistakes and Karnak will always clean them up. Gorgon says that at least he will have fun doing it; even when Karnak plays games he does nothing. He looks down and hasn’t moved his first chess piece.

In the present, they decide to go.

Maximus pages Auran and tells her he is working with Declan and she is not to harm him. She doesn’t like the idea of working with a human and doesn’t understand why Maximus had Black Bolt and let him live. He says she doesn’t need to – just find the Royal Family and complete her mission. Help is on the way. She asks who, and he asks whatever happened to “Yes, my king.” She responds with “Yes, my king.” It seems like she is getting less and less enthused with Maximus’ rule.

Elsewhere, Flora and Mordis make their way through the underbrush with Sammy, wrapped up in vines. He uses his heat powers to burn the vines and try to escape, but Flora captures him again. Auran pages Mordis, and Mordis tells her that they were on the trail of Black Bolt but lost him, finding Sammy instead. He tells her that he has abilities, which she was unaware of. She asks them to bring him to her.

Confident that Reno isn’t at the plantation, Karnak starts looking for weapons that could stand up against Reno’s gun. He eventually decides on a bamboo stick to use as a staff, and Jen watches impressed as he practices with it. He notices some crates that weren’t there before, and they hide as Tua’s men return and load up the packages. Jen realizes that Reno cut a deal on the side. Karnak asks Jen to leave and hide while he takes them down. She kisses him and tells him to be careful. He grips his staff.

Dave and Crystal teleport to the beach, and Dave is having the time of his life. Crystal is upset that they have searched what felt like the whole island with no sign of her family, but Dave tells her that she is worrying too much; this is incredible. He teaches her the hand symbol for “hang loose” and says sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. She is amused – she didn’t think she would ever feel this safe around a human. All she knows of humanity is terrorism and war. He admits there are bad humans, but most are safe. He runs into the water and asks her to join him. They’ll look for her family later.

Okay, as much as I don’t care about this relationship, this scene is kind of cute. Even if it’s the same damn scene as Jen and Karnak’s from last episode.

Speaking of Karnak, at the plantation, he is silently approaching with his staff as the goons load crates onto the truck. Suddenly Locus’ echolocation cry in the distance alerts them to his presence. He fights them with his staff, which is broken in two, and fights them with the pieces – and then finally his bare hands. Jen approaches with a lantern and threatens to burn their goods if they don’t let him go. Karnak tells her to do it, and she does. They run; the thugs will care more about their goods than their enemies. As they try to escape, Tua knocks Karnak out.

Elsewhere, Locus uses her power and deduces that Karnak is close. Louise asks a bunch of questions about Locus, and discovers that she wanted to be a healer – Attilan’s caste system decided that she must locate things because her powers dictated it. Louise doesn’t like that idea, and Medusa and Black Bolt defend the caste system, saying it’s how it has always been. Locus reminds her that Medusa’s parents were exiled for trying to change it, and Louise realizes for the first time that Medusa married the son of the guy who exiled her parents. Locus says that Maximus actually cares about changing things. Medusa points out that Maximus forced Locus to go to Earth to find them. She storms off. Black Bolt complains to Medusa with sign language, and Medusa says that it’s because he is so guarded. It’s the time everyone knows him like she does.

On Attilan, Tibor provides presents Maximus with a list of lower-caste citizens to be drafted. Only one, Bronaja and Iridia’s father Loyolis, is willing to participate on his own free will. Maximus reiterates that freedom must be earned. He asks if Tibor thinks that he wanted to lose him family, that he wanted to hunt down his own flesh and blood. He sacrificed everything for Attilan. Tibor carefully says that some Inhumans might wonder if he is doing it for Attilan or for himself. This infuriates Maximus and he sends Tibor away – he doesn’t need friends that tear down his plans. He approaches the statue of his father Agon and complains to it, trying really hard to rationalize what he is doing as for the greater good of Attilan.

On Earth, Gorgon is making no progress in finding Karnak and is getting frustrated. He thinks: WWKD? Nearby, Karnak is tied upside-down and being beaten – Tua thinks his story is a lie. Gorgon silently approaches and stomps, sending the thugs flying with a shockwave. Karnak falls from the tree and dodges the falling branch, but is unable to free himself. This perplexes Gorgon, who leans to help, but Karnak orders him to save Jen. Gorgon introduces himself to Jen, and she says he talks about him a lot. This pleases Gorgon. Gorgon pre-emptively tries to explain himself before Karnak complains about how stupid his plan was, but Karnak instead thanks him and says they need to go. They run.

The gang is almost all back together!

At Declan’s lab, Mordis and Flora arrive and Mordis apologizes for losing Black Bolt. Auran tells him that their days of looking for Black Bolt are over: They are going to force him to come to them.

Meanwhile, as Karnak, Gorgon and Jen run, Jen’s injury prevents her from running too far and they stop. Karnak says it’s good to have Gorgon back, and Gorgon asks if he is okay. Karnak is not sure, but he means what he says. They hear gunshots, and the cousins (technically cousins-of-cousins) prepare for a fight. Instead, Black Bolt, Medusa, Locus and Louise show up. They have a happy family reunion (and Gorgon starts flirting with Louise) before Jen reminds them that she needs to call the police. Karnak asks her to stay, but she refuses and goes. She kisses him and tells him that this is where they part ways. She leaves and Karnak idly says “One day, six hours and 42 minutes”. Gorgon congratulates Karnak, but Locus suddenly collapses, fatally shot by something. As she dies, she uses her last breaths to tell Black Bolt that he can still be the king they deserve. She tells Medusa that Crystal is on the island, but dies before she can tell Medusa where.

On Attilan, a paranoid Tibor makes his way through the hallway, looking over his shoulder as he hears whispers. Suddenly, he is stopped by men in black robes. Tibor begs for his life, as one of the hooded men takes off his hood to reveal a Klingon-like ridged forehead. He asks if Tibor defied King Maximus. Blubbering, Tibor says he merely pointed out that some Inhumans may not be happy with his rule. The man tells him that they are among those Inhumans. He asks for Tibor’s help in taking down Maximus.

Now for my thoughts. Again, a promising end to an episode. It’s also nice seeing the Royal Family mostly together again, and there were some good fight scenes here. Still, it feels strange how things are happening but it still feels like everything is moving so slowly that nothing is happening at all. Also, Locus’ death was not nearly as poignant as I think they hoped it to be – we didn’t know her that well at all. I imagine most casual fans didn’t bother to learn her name.

While this episode was better than last week, I have to say that overall the show doesn’t appear to be significantly improving. I still have high hopes for the finale, but it’s hovering at a stagnant… okay. Just okay. I don’t hate the show, but a lot of fans demand better from Marvel – and can you blame them? It’s a shame that the show is unlikely to get a season 2, as I would love to see what these characters could do under a new showrunner and with a decent amount of time to prepare a season.

Saved by a few awesome lines and really cool moments, I give this episode a 6/10.

Stay tuned for next week as I tackle episode 6: “The Gentleman’s Name is Gorgon”.