It’s been a few weeks since the first few episodes of Inhumans aired and while I considered writing a review for each episode, school demands and time got away from me. So here is a review 3/4 of the way through the season. As before, *spoilers lie ahead*.
It sounds worse than it is, being 75% of the way through the show and just now reviewing the past few episodes, but the entire season will only have 8 episodes total. My plan was also to continue covering Black Bolt’s signing but after episode one he does not use any of his ‘formal’ signs until being reunited with his wife once again, so there was nothing there to review.
After finishing up episode five, I will say up front that I maintain my rating of four stars, but it is certainly a weak four stars. There are still scenes with silly dialogue, and one awful mistake the editors should’ve caught in which wires used to pull back plants were visible. But for every cringe moment or flub, there are scenes that are equally as interesting, funny, or surprising.
To quickly catch up, after Maximus (Iwan Rheon) separates the royal family on the island Oahu, Hawaii, the family members attempt to find each other in their own ways. For every family member, there is a “sidekick” that they meet: Medusa and Louise, Black Bolt and Sammy, Karnak and Jen, Gorgon and Holo, Crystal and Dave. For the most part, each sidekick shows the character that it’s okay to be a spoiled princess at times or to want to have 100% certainty before making a decision, but it’s impossible to live in such a way without being unhappy. The sidekicks bring balance, and they’re likable characters.
Maximus is also slowly coming undone, and the statesman from episode one is not the same bitter would-be king in episode five. He’s frustrated, and it may be a testament to this actor but I legitimately felt frustrated for him at all of his plans being derailed. Both he and Black Bolt (Anson Mount) have flashback scenes that so far are very disjointed and out of order, but it does allow the viewer to see where some of Maximus’ feelings stem. He screams at a statue of his and Black Bolt’s father after yet another setback, and it’s those scenes where he is by himself that he shows a lot of pain.
I was also pleasantly surprised at the portrayal of the former king and queen of Attilan, Agon and Rynda (Michael Buie and Tanya Clarke). The comics consistently showed Agon and Rynda as cold and uninvolved in their sons’ lives (they seemed to have no qualms about locking their newborn baby in a soundproof chamber for his entire life and called Maximus “Subject Two” right up until his birth). In the show they are caring and loving parents, at least to their own children. The show has dropped hints that Agon and Rynda were at odds with the parents of Medusa and Crystal (Serinda Swan and Isabelle Cornish), but all of the details are yet to be revealed.
Apart from Lockjaw, who is the true star of the show, the breakout character for me is Louise, a scientist played by Ellen Woglum. She is silly but not over the top, with lots of one-liners that put Medusa in her place. Louise points out when Medusa’s royally condescending attitude doesn’t work, and Medusa appears to respect her for doing so.
Even the bad guys get a sarcastic crony in that of Mordis (Bridger Zadina). Although he’s been described as Discount Cyclops, he likes to complain and point out the flaws in Maximus’ schemes. He is built up to be the second-strongest Inhuman in Attilan, whose power is kept in check only by what looks like a welder’s mask, but then spends most of his time in Oahu cracking one-liners at the expense of the other baddies.
Eventually we arrive at episode five, which sees Black Bolt and Medusa reunited and Black Bolt able to sign once again. I do believe that some of the best scenes are of Black Bolt and Medusa together; their relationship is one of the strongest points of the show. A cute moment that I really appreciated is when they’re sitting in a car, and Black Bolt has his arm around Medusa. Some of his signs involve touching her, which I found to be very sweet. That is something some couples who can sign actually do, maybe not frequently since it is a very personal interaction, but even though it was millisecond long it was great to see. Black Bolt threatening Maximus over a commlink (with the help of Medusa) was the highlight of the episode for me, because it was something of a welcome departure from the comics. For a character who is rarely anything but stoic in the comics, seeing him get frustrated and stomp away for a moment to settle himself really showed how he felt in that moment and made him relatable.
With the Royal Family almost entirely reunited, and only a few episodes left of the season, I’m sure the pace of the show will speed up especially when they finally confront Maximus. I’m interested in seeing how some of the flashbacks coincide, since thus far they have been shown largely out of order. Also, I really need someone on this show to point out the fact that Black Bolt’s full name is ridiculous.