INHUMANS Episode 3 Review: Divide and Conquer

If I were an Inhuman on Earth, scared of what the world thinks about me and my powers, and then all of a sudden the Inhuman Royal Family walked up to me and asked me if I wanted to come to a secret base on the moon with them. Is it bad that I feel like I’d laugh? 

INHUMANS continues its story with almost zero progression, almost to the point where it seems counterintuitive to even say that it continued. With ample opportunity to do something with the characters, INHUMANS decides to keep them all in essentially their same position for the entire episode. The Royal Family is just as split up as they were at the end of the second episode, leaving the audience to bask in an episode that feels almost like it’s killing time more than it is progressing this already short miniseries. 

To help explain, each character’s story for this episode can essentially be summed up in a single paragraph. Black Bolt, now in prison, befriends another Inhuman who helps him escape into the custody of Dr. Evan Declan, a mysterious man who seems to know something about the Inhumans. Gorgon, waiting for an attack, is confronted by Auran, who brings along Morbis, an Inhuman known for the deadly ray he can create with his vision. Karnak is captured, only to be given a job and shelter at the end of the episode. Medusa, after breaking into a home and reading about Black Bolt’s imprisonment in a newspaper, travels to the prison, only to see Black Bolt fly away in a helicopter with Dr. Declan. While all of this is happening, Maximus continues to struggle to maintain authority in Attilan, only to end up using the absence of the Royal Family as an advantage among the other Inhumans. 

Fans were not introduced to Inhumans through the first episode alone, but rather as the first two episodes as a singular product, one that’s meant to be viewed as a whole instead of two individual episodes. The third episode of INHUMANS, because of this, seemed like it was a promise that the series was being made. One where if audiences could deal with the extraordinarily long introduction with little progression that is the first two episodes, then the third episode would finally start expanding the world. However, instead of delving any deeper into the characters or widening their story, we’ve been dealt an almost carbon copy of the pilot. Not a carbon copy in the sense of plot, but of explanation because of the intentions and emotions that surround each character. INHUMANS doesn’t take any time to expand on them or give them any more context or reason, but rather only show them in the same exact light they’ve been shown before.

With each character’s intentions more laid out than their own names, there is a slew of questions that immediately follows. For one, it’s become obvious that Maximus, once he has complete control over the throne, will attempt to dismantle the organization of “purpose” that each citizen of Attilan seems to blindly follow. In this classist-type society, the extent of your powers determines your place in the Inhumans’ city, with those who are determined to not possess powers, considered human, taken to the mines to work. 

Maximus, being a member of the Royal Family despite having no abilities, sees this as a disastrous system, one that tortures those who still see themselves as an Inhuman. What I don’t understand about this is why this idea is seen as a travesty in the Inhuman society. Maximus is an obviously sinister and selfish human amongst Inhumans, but this plan of his has merit. It serves a purpose, one that would better the lives of everyone on Attilan instead of banishing those who aren’t as gifted when it comes to abilities. 

Also, just a side note, shouldn’t those with powers that are relevant to mining be working in the mines? If I have the ability to moves rocks with my mind, shouldn’t I be helping in the mines rather than serving Black Bolt his nightly herbal tea? 

INHUMANS is making itself to be a very stagnate type of show. Each member of the Royal Family is trapped and unable to move out of the same position they found themselves in the moment they were taken to Earth. Black Bolt was in jail the entire episode, and was forced to rely on the good deeds of the somehow adorable prisoners who surrounded him. Gorgon was just standing around and talking about his strength, only to get beaten by Cyclops… oops... I mean Morbis. Karnak was, just like Black Bolt, captured. Except this time, instead of being in a Hawaiian prison, he’s kidnapped, and then employed, by a bunch of marijuana farmers. Honestly, it feels like these members of the Royal Family are going to be reunited again, just for them to simultaneously say, “Boy, do I have a story for you!” and then an 1980s style freeze frame of them all laughing together. 

Just as I talked about in my previous review, the only character taking charge is Medusa. Though she has been stripped of her powers, she is still the only one who is fully trying to reunite the family and save Attilan from its new angsty 14-year-old-like King Maximus. Though she is continuously put in silly situations, ones that seem like unnecessary attempts to make the audience laugh, she is still the only character who isn’t stuck or too stubborn to do anything. 

Also, how dare INHUMANS include the best dog in all of comic book history, a giant dog that can do essentially anything, only to drug him and lock him away the entire time? He was in two scenes this episode, one in which he was sleeping and the other where he’s HIT BY AN ATV? Granted he’s a giant dog so he’s fine, but IT’S LOCKJAW WE’RE TALKING ABOUT! I mean… alright, I’m getting a little too heated about the disappointing inclusion of this fictional dog. 

INHUMANS worries me. Not because I’m necessarily afraid that it’s doomed, rather I’m worried that it won’t progress. I’m worried that it’s going to stay in the same place it’s in right now for the rest of the season, only to have the final episode feature a confrontation unworthy of the amount of effort that has been put into the show up until now. This effort I’m referring to isn’t of the show either, but it’s of the viewers to keep watching. Now, just three episodes in, that effort is being stretched and beaten. My hope is that next week there will be some progression, a kind of step forward that’s worth three episodes of stagnant awkwardness.

Written by William Staton, INHUMANS Beat Writer

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