Inhumans: Divide and Conquer
October 6, 2017 8:22 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

The Inhumans desperately search for each other after fleeing their home in the wake of Maximus' coup, and they have to learn whom they can trust on Earth.
posted by oh yeah! (9 comments total)
 
Minor improvement over the pilot, but emphasis on 'minor.'

* Medusa's stuff:

Medusa attempts to demand money from an ATM as 'Queen of Attilan' even though she is personally one of the people who decided Attilan should be kept secret from Earth. We then watch her break into someone's house and steal their stuff, and take a hostage at gunpoint.

I have no idea why I'm supposed to root for her. I mean, Maximus seems worse, but her behavior here isn't really selling 'these people should be in charge.' She's all about taking what she wants instead of attempting to ask someone for help, explain her situation, anything. Everything's always 'do as I say because I am queen and I will murder you if you refuse.'

* Gorgon:

We have a defense of the monarchy, (with buy-in by his new human buddies), him comparing humans to ants and claiming to be a superior being, and them just going ahead and being willing to die for him.

Big old meh here, even though the fight stuff was okay-ish. (Mortis was inadvertently/campy hilarious - I especially liked his whole 'I didn't even want to be here' attitude.)

* Karnak:

Their best warrior gives up, because a concussion has incapacitated him. Now, he is planning to settle into a life of... pot farming?

* Crystal:

All we ever see her doing is flopping in bed listening to music. On the one hand, she's a prisoner. On the other hand, it's the same thing she was doing before she was a prisoner. I get no sense she has any sort of job or responsibilities she's chomping at the bit to get back to. She seems like an idle rich person, which is, again, not very sympathetic.

* Maximus:

Last time, I went on at some length about how I don't like the message here, and it gets extra stomach-churning this time: the bad guy is all about smashing down the caste system, but only because he's a mustache-twirling villain. So the only hope the humans in the mines - the characters we, the audience, might reasonably be expected to empathize with - is Space Ramsay. If the 'heroes' were back in power, humans would just be relegated to breaking rocks for sure... but if Maximus wins, we can be sure horrible things will still happen to them, just different horrible things.

We also learn in flashbacks that Black Bolt doesn't want to be king, but it absolutely has to be him because of tradition, which makes me question why we should have any investment in the royal family getting back to power.

* Black Bolt:

Okay, I admit it: I sort of liked Black Bolt. His plot is baffling: as he cannot speak without killing everybody, I don't really get why he's playing along right now. I have no idea why he doesn't just knock over a wall and stroll out. Is he trying to keep Attilan secret? They already saw him use powers. Does he feel for humans? Who knows. Not the writers though, that much I'm sure of.

However, leaving that aside for a moment: I like how he's forced to emote instead of speak, and I really enjoyed the prisoners giving him props for beating up police officers, when the cop expected them to treat him like fresh meat. The fistbump, hug and riot were all hilarious. So that's progress of a sort.

* Lockjaw.

Go into the light, Lockjaw! You can be free of this show!

tl;dr: I am baffled that this show got made, but it did make me laugh a few times tonight.
posted by mordax at 11:13 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]


tl;dr: I am baffled that this show got made, but it did make me laugh a few times tonight.

The prison stuff made me laugh the most -- is he in a full-on prison? Shouldn't he be in holding/county lock-up awaiting arraignment/trial? Why is this bizarro jail having prisoners exercise in the yard at nighttime? Just because they wanted to do the helicopter escape as a night scene?

I sort of like Black Bolt too. Probably because his not being saddled with any of the garbage dialogue, so I can imagine he's not as awful a character as the rest of them. And I'm curious to see if we'll ever find out why/how he yelled his parents to oblivion if he already knew his power was so deadly. Did Maximus trick him into it somehow, or did he just fuck up because teenagers?
posted by oh yeah! at 6:00 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Why is this bizarro jail having prisoners exercise in the yard at nighttime? Just because they wanted to do the helicopter escape as a night scene?

In the moment, I assumed they let the prisoners go out onto the yard because they thought the rest of the prisoners would wreck his shit - at least, the guard seems to think they will. But you're right, doing it at night is weird.

I'm not sure why any of them would draw that conclusion after watching him destroy a police car either. I mean, they know he has some sort of energy blast power, and they're acting like he isn't armed and dangerous.

Probably because his not being saddled with any of the garbage dialogue, so I can imagine he's not as awful a character as the rest of them.

This is a very good point, haha! :)

And I'm curious to see if we'll ever find out why/how he yelled his parents to oblivion if he already knew his power was so deadly. Did Maximus trick him into it somehow, or did he just fuck up because teenagers?

Right? The weirdest part there for me is, he's still king. He killed his parents, which is also an act of regicide, and he's still the boss because he's legally untouchable in Attilan, apparently. Because of his genes.

Inhumans is like everything the Sentinel guys are worried will happen if mutants don't get killed off by giant robots: it's a grim dystopian land where humans slave in the mines, super people use them as slaves and there's a rigid, power based caste system.

Superhero stories are almost always inherently authoritarian - the basic premise of even something as lighthearted as Supergirl is that there are people who are better than the rest of us, who can act as extrajudicial agents to stop crime without going through due process.

A lot of them - the ones I tend to like better - tamp that down in a number of ways: Batman has terrible psychological scars, and also donates to charity. Supergirl's TV version has DEO oversight. Superman is typically portrayed as approaching sainthood - using his powers for the common good rather than to feed his own ego. Etc. Most stories portray having powers as a tradeoff.

It's so bizarre to see one that just embraces the whole thing so deeply. Like, 'yep, these are dirtbag celebrities who could crush you like an ant. Aren't they cool?'

Gah. The more I think about this, the less sense it makes.
posted by mordax at 11:38 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


On the one hand, she's a prisoner. On the other hand, it's the same thing she was doing before she was a prisoner.

She's a prisoner who can control elemental powers and was a temporary member of the Fantastic Four. She has powers. And she's just... sitting... there.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:35 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


There's no way they will do this, but I'd be really entertained by a long drawn-out subplot (or spinoff, for that matter!) about Karnak pulling a Breaking Bad and going from lowly pot farmer to drug lord and crime boss. Karnak the Kingpin!

I sort of like Black Bolt too. Probably because his not being saddled with any of the garbage dialogue, so I can imagine he's not as awful a character as the rest of them.

I am really enjoying Anson Mount's performance. Not having to deliver crappy dialogue is definitely a blessing, though. I got a kick out of Mortis's snarky sarcasm but even that was in spite of the cringeworthy dialogue, and the less said about literally any line of dialogue spoken by Gorgon and his wildly improbably monarchist-surfer-militia-buddies, the better. (I kind of forgive that he happened to stumble across wildly improbably ex-military surfer bros in the first place, because that is 100% pure comic book right there, but I will not forgive their awful hamfisted dialogue.)

Okay, I admit it: I sort of liked Black Bolt. His plot is baffling: as he cannot speak without killing everybody, I don't really get why he's playing along right now. I have no idea why he doesn't just knock over a wall and stroll out. Is he trying to keep Attilan secret? They already saw him use powers. Does he feel for humans? Who knows. Not the writers though, that much I'm sure of.

The sense I get of Black Bolt is that, on the one hand, he's this ultra-privileged, super-powered being accustomed to being Supreme Ruler of all he surveys. And on the other hand...he realizes that all the privileges he's accustomed to don't apply down here and that he's not familiar with Earth's ways, so he's just trying to go along and get along when possible. He's got a kind of self-awareness of his position and his power that Medusa seems to completely lack (if I'm being charitable, I'd hope she's too wrapped up in her own self-pity over her abrupt haircut and equally abrupt exile to worry about the humans, and it's not just she's a completely self-centered jerk). Plus, since he knows he could just walk out the jail at any time, what's the harm, from his perspective, of letting them put him in jail? It's what they really seemed to want to do, after all! So basically, he's just trying to be nice.

My biggest gripe, besides the dialogue, is the totally insane lack of world-building logic. How the fuck does Attilan even work, you guys? Maximus hands Crystal a piece of paper with a speech on it. Where does paper come from on the MOON? And if paper is a thing on the moon, why doesn't Black Bolt carry a little pad of paper and a pencil with him at all times? Why do they all speak English just fine, while understanding literally nothing else about Earth society? It's all very vague and handwavey. And that's without undercutting the incomplete world-building for the sake of stupid jokes like Medusa ranting at an ATM about how she's the queen of someplace she's goddamn sure has been carefully kept secret from Earth.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:14 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


So basically, he's just trying to be nice.

He clearly is, but he was such an asshole in the clothing store, so it feels weird to me.

How the fuck does Attilan even work, you guys?

Goes past paper. I was going to post about this, but I already feel like I'm monopolizing the thread. This episode, we hear that there's about 1400 people in Attilan. No bets on how many of them are slaves, but even if they were all high tech workers... who's building those bracelet-phones? Energy pistols? I mean, physically, who's assembling and maintaining that tech infrastructure? Who designs stuff? That's a really low population - doesn't even sound viable, long term.

Also, if they can do that, why can't they expand Attilan's borders? Why's Earth even an issue?

The worst part is, this is supposed to be MCU canon now, right?
posted by mordax at 9:27 PM on October 7


He clearly is, but he was such an asshole in the clothing store, so it feels weird to me.

See, I don't think he was deliberately being an asshole in the clothing store, I think he literally didn't understand how stuff like "stores" and "money" works. I mean, the guy's surely never had to pay for anything before in his life; the whole concept of money seems foreign to them, on top of which he's used to being the king. I'm sure walking into the "Attilan extra clothes repository" or whatever it's called, getting the clothes you want, putting them on and walking out with them is exactly what he's used to doing.

Goes past paper. I was going to post about this, but I already feel like I'm monopolizing the thread. This episode, we hear that there's about 1400 people in Attilan. No bets on how many of them are slaves, but even if they were all high tech workers... who's building those bracelet-phones? Energy pistols? I mean, physically, who's assembling and maintaining that tech infrastructure? Who designs stuff? That's a really low population - doesn't even sound viable, long term.

Also, if they can do that, why can't they expand Attilan's borders? Why's Earth even an issue?


In the comics, Maximus is totally an Inhuman and his specific gift is the ability to make crazy tech like energy pistols/bracelet phones/insane diabolical doomsday devices. Maybe even though Maximus is human in the show, there's still an Inhuman dude working as their tech production line? Anyways, I can live with energy pistols - I can buy that you can make those with materials found/mined on the moon, if somebody knows how - and more baffled by stuff like...well, food? Do they have a farm on the moon? Some Inhuman whose ability is to create food out of thin air? Some teleporting Inhuman who's just constantly doing grocery runs?

As for expanding the city, well, I'm still waiting for an explanation on how they got a city built on the moon in the first place, which is not a small logistical feat especially given how shitty and unreliable their teleportation abilities seem to be. I'm guessing it's one of those "this was built for us by the Ancient Ones/Kree/somebody else" and they just moved into it and don't really have building-additional-moon-city capabilities.

The worst part is, this is supposed to be MCU canon now, right?

Well, the movies will no doubt continue to ignore the TV shows, as they have been. And the Netflix shows will keep being their own isolated thing, as they have been. So the only real question is whether Agents of SHIELD will embrace this show or avoid it...
posted by mstokes650 at 10:21 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Oh, I hadn't considered the ties to AoS. When Agent Carter was around, there were some connections between the shows, and inhumans were first mentioned in AoS. They're a big part of the AoS plotline. And the prison guy did mention to Black Bolt about the whole "encased in rock" metamorphosis thing, so it's clear the humans know about the inhumans, presumably through the events in AoS. I can't see any ties to the Netflix shows, but AoS at least references the big screen events (and shares some actors) so there could be some references or easter eggs regarding Kree/Ms Marvel and other Infinity War elements.

Which means... the SHIELD technology used to discover, capture, and contain super-powered inhumans exists, and the agency is actively interested in them (and other groups are actively trying to kill them). So when SHIELD hears about some dude who can knock over police cars with a whisper, they would have to suspect he's an inhuman and come calling, right? So the two have to eventually connect.

The next season of AoS heads to space, from the teasers that have dropped. So maybe this is all planned. But something makes me doubt that. They originally announced this as a theatrical movie, much later down the line, before pushing it up and on to TV. I thought the change was due to them needing to set some concept up for Infinity Wars or Ms. Marvel, that there was some better idea they had in mind for the overall MCU storyline. Instead, I think they needed a filler when Agent Carter stumbled and someone convinced them to do this one. It definitely feels like it wasn't properly thought out, and without significant purpose.

Oh, well. I don't have Netflix and don't get to the movies much (still haven't seen Ultron or any film after that), so this is the only bit besides AoS I get to watch. As a big fan of the F4 it's very bittersweet.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:40 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Wow, the guard escorting BB through the prison... he says something like "One of those cops you beat up is my brother in law. He's going to be eating all his meals through a straw for the next six months." Just ham-fisted, crappy writing right there. I feel so bad for the actors.

The opening credits with the different Inhumans' symbols seems pretty cartoony to me but not too bad. Until they show the little cartoon Lockjaw, then I just lose it. It looks like a bad imitation Jacquie Lawson e-card animation.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:49 AM on October 17


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