Last week I binge-watched the first—and hopefully only—season of Marvel’s The Inhumans and having done so, I question the decision to keep this series part of the TV MCU but also separate from it, in the sense that it tells its own story without including any other characters from established series, even though it keeps consistent with the Inhuman portrayal on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, down to the look and colour of the Terrigen crystals. If there is one series that could’ve used a tie-in to launch its own series, this was definitely the one.
The reason for this is that while Inhumans are certainly an interesting subject in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we’ve seen some really cool ones on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the ones living on the moon under the rule of Black Bolt just aren’t that compelling, least of all the ruling family, who are sadly the central characters of this trainwreck of a show.
Let’s go over these characters and their issues:
Black Bolt cannot speak, because his voice sends destructive shockwaves that well, just obliterate everything. The problem is only two characters in the show can interpret his sign language, so for at least half a season he has nothing interesting to say and depends exclusively on bland or intense looks and body language, and there are only so many ways you can express “dumbfounded.” By the end, he has almost the same expression for every situation, making Black Bolt feel a bit like Zoolander.
Medusa has superpowered hair that can lift people and do some amazing things. The hair does its thing twice in the first episode, the first one some playfulness in bed with Black Bolt and the 2nd as she almost strangles Black Bolt’s little brother for being a bit of a creep.
She then gets her hair shaved off, leaving her powerless for the entire season. The only thing this character had going for her that made her interesting was the wild red hair, so take that away and you’re only left with her personality, and it’s an annoying one. She’s the queen so of course there’s an air of superiority and infallibility about her, one that doesn’t change at all. Every character learns something on Earth, some humility and understanding that maybe they’re not as perfect as they thought…except Medusa and Black Bolt.
Karnak sees the flaw in everything, meaning he can see where your plan is faulty, where you need to hit that wall over there to take it down with one hit and so on. When I’ve seen Karnak in the past, he’s always shown as confident, as he can see the way out of every situation by knowing just how to destabilize opponents and their tactics.
Much like Medusa, he loses his powers, a blow to the head taking them out, which is profoundly stupid and is only there to make him accept doubt and take risks. But he’s about as charismatic as rotten wooden chair, making every scene with him extremely dull.
Gorgon is the big stupid muscle guy, leaping before he looks and landing in a heap of trouble. Of all, the characters he’s maybe one who grows and learns, so of course, the writers found a way to regress him by the end of the series. I won’t tell you how, if you want to watch this show, but it’s quite stupid.
I wanted to like Crystal, I really did, but she’s a stuck up, pretentious bimbo and her story arc is the most uninteresting thing in the season. In fact, her only contribution to the story is that she commands the only likable character, Lockjaw, the teleporting giant CGI dog.
And then there’s Maximus, the villain of the story and the guy who was right all along. I mean by the end he’s unhinged, true, but he’s the one with the original idea of going to Earth, an idea the rest of his family dismiss, just as they do anything he says or wants. The way the protagonists treat him is disgusting.
The only one who considers that maybe they shouldn’t have treated him as inferior for being human is Gorgon, but as I said, they regress him to the point where any character growth goes away, because the series needs Black Bolt and Medusa to be infallible.
The main cast in unbearably unappealing and the secondary cast has no depth, from the honourable yet misguided Max followers to the quirky government agent that helps Medusa and the hippie soldiers Gorgon meets, they’re all stereotypes or tired clichés.
Marvel’s Inhumans has only eight episodes and each goes by at a slog. The character personalities are uninteresting, their growth is non-existent and thus their personal story arcs are pointless, especially because in at least two instances, the writers decided to use the same trope, that of taking the character’s special abilities to show them humility, only it backfires.
Black Bolt is such a nice guy, leaving his brother to suffocate.
Also, 2nd time Black Bolt uses his powers in the entire season!
By the end of the very messy season, filled with plotlines that could have been left out to properly explore the character’s psyches and maybe attempt to make them relatable, you’re left wit the Inhumans on Earth, still led by Black Bolt and Medusa, the status quo restored to how it was before the start of the series, just on a different place. The characters are once again in control, infallible as ever, superior to everyone.
With such an uninteresting crowd and such a bland story to tell, this is definitely a series that could’ve used some Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. crossover, with the established characters helping to make the story compelling and the stakes as high as possible, something that is clearly missing from the season. Hell, mix them with Hawaii 5-0 even, get some cool scenes out of it!
Besides, while I can accept that budgets are always an issue, what is the point of having a show about the Inhumans when you take all their powers away? Instead of this slow-burn nonsense season, they could’ve gone for something high-octane with lots of superpowered action. Marvel has given superpowered people compelling stories and chances to grow for decades, you don’t need to take their powers away to do that, least of all when the powers are the most interesting part about your unlikeable cast!
2 thoughts on “Television Train-wrecks – Marvel’s The Inhumans”
My “favorite” part was Medusa talking into an ATM and trying to convince it of the urgency of the situation by telling it that she was the queen of Atillan, even though they had just established that no one on Earth knows Attilan exists. Just awful writing. Couldn’t make it past the 4th episode.
I was going to comment on that, on how despite knowing so much about humanity, down to the tiniest conflict, they suffer from those moments of cliche technological and cultural ignorance. I agree, it’s awful writing.
If this series gets a 2nd season it will be genuinely shocking!
The series that is doing much better, in my eyes, is Marvel’s Runaways