Inhumans: ...And Finally: Black Bolt
November 11, 2017 4:53 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Wow, what an epic final battle. Really displayed the powers of all the Inhumans - Medusa's hair, Triton's water abilities, Karnak's pinpoint fighting efficiency, Gorgon's mighty stomping, Crystal's elemental powers, with Black Bolt flying in - against the hordes of Maximus the Mad. The wild Kirby aesthetic was on full display with the set designs, too. Loved how it tied to everything that was set up over the past few seasons of Agents of SHIELD, a few hints of the interstellar stuff from Avengers, Thor, and Guardians movies, and I suspect some of the touches that weren't fully explained will be explored further in Captain Marvel. And what a way to bring the Fantastic Four back into the MCU with that Fox/Disney deal. Really justified the IMAX launch. Epic.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:15 AM on November 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

(a couple of the recaps start bringing up comparisons between the finale ending and the Thor Ragnarok ending, but, I haven't seen Thor yet, so, can we keep this thread Thor-spoiler-free? Bad enough that I sat through this whole garbage season without letting it spoil something about a movie I'm looking forward to watching.)
posted by oh yeah! at 5:17 AM on November 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

So, the one thing I'd actually been curious about - how did Maximus manipulate Black Bolt into killing their parents - turned out to be as stupid a reveal as anything else in this series. That Black Bolt was manipulated into his feelings doesn't make me feel any more sympathetic towards him for murdering his parents, less so, if anything. And, it's been stupid all along that only Medusa knows his sign language, but, this episode really brought it home.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:36 AM on November 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can I skip all the other episodes and just watch this one? I lost interest around episode 3.
posted by Catblack at 6:04 AM on November 11, 2017

Why break your winning streak? There's nothing interesting in this episode either. (GhostintheMachine's is pure sarcasm, there's no epic battle or anything that ties in to the greater MCU/Agents of SHIELD continuity, just another episode of lousy writing & cheap effects, and actors struggling to make it watchable.)
posted by oh yeah! at 6:55 AM on November 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

What was up with the scene escorting Maximus through Attilan? They hear a shout behind them, and Triton hangs back to take care of it. He quickly kills four of the, what, 600 surviving Inhumans, further demonstrating the great value the Royal Family places on the lives of their subjects, and then... nothing? Bolt and Maximus are maybe thirty seconds ahead, but Triton either doesn't or can't find them again, letting Bolt fall into a trap and Maximus is rescued. That's some good work, Triton.

That's just a typical example of this show. They needed an excuse to give Moh another fight scene, so they shoehorn it in a spot that doesn't serve the story, that's disconnected to anything else, and that isn't really any good, but it ticks the checklist (Moh fight scene? got it. Sure, it's two seconds and might as well have been Lebron dunking on a junior high team, but it's technically there). I had hopes the finale would... well, no. I think the best I was hoping was the finale might have something interesting, but even there it failed.

Did they ever get anything right?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:45 AM on November 11, 2017

The sixty second promo for the new season of Agents of SHIELD is better than the entirety of the 8-episode season of Inhumans.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:00 AM on November 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

This would have been better if Karnak had stayed a drug farmer and it just focused on that for 7 episodes. Inhumans: Breaking Bad. If they did it right it could be good, certainly not worse than this.

(Notice how surfer dudes and the drug farm were never mentioned again and had no relevance to the plot after they suddenly vanished?)

So is the 'greater enemy' Thanos? Or is there some Inhuman foe that they were hoping to turn into a plot for season 2?
posted by FallowKing at 9:27 AM on November 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Well... I don't want to spend more time thinking about my response to this shitshow than the writers did while making it up, but there's so much wrong with everything about this show. To be fair, I think a lot of the actors did a really great job trying to make something out of the pure garbage they were given to work with.

This is a show about super-powered beings, and yet two of the leads are deprived of their powers at the beginning, and the others only rarely use their powers (and only in the most meaningless ways).

It's a show about entitled royalty badly ruling over a city-state with a population no greater than a mid-sized US high school, enforcing a strict caste system and forcing classes of people into slavery. They are justifiably overthrown by someone who unfortunately turns out to be the most cliche megalomaniacal tyrant one could imagine.

They demonstrate little regard for any people who are the victims of their actions. They indiscriminately exploit and endanger people they meet and then discard them once their utility has run out.

And yet their return to status is meant to be portrayed as a positive thing for their subjects based on their having learned their lesson about how to treat people, although there is absolutely no evidence that they have reformed their thinking in any way except for a couple of sad looks.

Now I need a little help here. This goes back into some of the stuff from some earlier episodes but I'm putting it here because it perfectly encapsulates the show for me.

When Triton reappeared we were told it was part of Black Bolt's plan. I'm just baffled by what that plan was supposed to be. It's possible I missed some critical information (I was usually doing chores while I had this on), but here's my understanding of it.

Presumably the general outline of the plan was "When we're stranded on Earth we would benefit from having someone available whom our enemies believe to be dead. So I'll have Triton fake his death, and then at just the right moment he will appear and tip the scales in our favor."

But Triton's (fake) death happened at the very beginning of the show, before the coup. He was on a mission to rescue a newly terrigenized inhuman who was confused and terrified, and he abandoned her, as part of this plan. She was presumably captured by their pursuers and likely tortured, experimented on or killed. We never heard of her again. I guess she was an acceptable tactical loss.

Now, maybe Karnak had divined that there was going to be a coup, and maybe he was on comms helping set up the conditions for Triton to fake his death, but given how surprised they all were by the coup and its outcome that seems really implausible.

And then when this cunning plan reaches its climax, that climax is... the dude just reappears and joins his sad-sack comrades on the beach wondering what the fuck to do next.

So to recap, you've got someone implausibly faking their death in service of a plan that's being carried out before any events occur that would necessitate such a plan, abandoning a vulnerable person to a horrific fate in the process, which all provides absolutely zero benefit to the parties involved.

Great plan! Brilliant outcome! Excellent writing!

That plan is the show in a microcosm: Pointless, illogical, misconceived, without benefit.

Looking forward to season 2!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:01 AM on November 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Just how did you people manage to get through eight episodes of this show? It's an astonishing display of endurance. I couldn't make it to the second half of hour one.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:43 AM on November 11, 2017

Endurance? Wow that sounds almost noble. Yeah, it was a feat of endurance. Not stupidity at all.

It's really a best-of-times, worst-of-times situation for me. As a 40 year fan of Marvel comics this is an amazing time. When I was a kid I didn't even get to see the Ferrigno Hulk series on TV because CBS wasn't one of the 13 channels in our region, so this is more than I could have dreamed. But my favourite comic is the F4, of which the Inhumans were a significant part, and not only are they the worst of both TV and movies, they're not even being published anymore. So I'll take whatever pathetic scraps I can.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:20 PM on November 11, 2017

They demonstrate little regard for any people who are the victims of their actions.

Victims? Remember Crystal's human boy toy who showed her the meaning of true love and is her eternal soulmate (despite nearly killing her dog). Did she even mention him after professing her feelings to Medusa, or think about giving him a call once they moved to Earth?

And why exactly couldn't they bring Louise to the moon? What precisely was stopping them?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:26 PM on November 11, 2017

Not to derail the thread, but the decision to dump the F4 really said a lot to me about where Marvel's priorities were, and not in a particularly good way. Trying to do an Inhumans series without it coming from a perspective that includes the F4 or what they represented to Marvel was almost certainly a bad choice for reasons discussed in some of these threads.

The Fantastic Four, their human qualities, love of science and exploration, and deep familial connections balanced the Inhumans' own royalty based family structure and provided the needed tension between the potentially harmful elements from each society. Inhumans as heroes without that tension doesn't work well as their culture isn't heroic even if some of their people can be. To capture the ambiguity around the Inhumans there needs to be a opposing point of view that has some ambiguity or ambivalence of its own and that worked best with the F4. (Though one could see a version of the X-Men perhaps capturing some of that need as well.)
posted by gusottertrout at 12:36 PM on November 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

GhostintheMachine, you forgot the hamburger tag in your first comment :-)
posted by Pendragon at 1:14 PM on November 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just how did you people manage to get through eight episodes of this show?

I sometimes need shows when my SO is out of town that she won't be interested in. And sometimes I want something on in the background when I'm doing chores that doesn't really require full attention.

After a while though it was just rubbernecking. I wanted to see if it would become good-bad or just remain bad-bad.

It did not become good-bad.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:27 PM on November 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sorry, Pendragon, but I really wasn't expecting very many people to be reading these recaps.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 2:09 PM on November 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

While I didn't read the responses to every episode, I did read many of them and enjoyed getting a filtered version the experience by proxy, so my thanks to all who did make it through for the entertaining conversations.

Fanfare's been a pleasing help in getting enjoyment out of shows I'll likely never watch, adding some interest to shows I may have otherwise skipped, and in finding different perspectives in the various discussions of stuff I have seen whether I join in the conversations or not. Long story short, there are lurkers like me who appreciate the recaps even for shows that aren't any good.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:37 PM on November 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

Do the people born on third base deserve to rule?

The Royal Family has been watching the terrigenesis events details on Agents of SHIELD with concern. Crystal in particular is advocating protecting these new Inhumans, but the family is concerned about revealing themselves. A group of the new inhumans is in danger, so there's some urgency.

It turns out Crystal has become infatuated with one particular new inhuman, a hunky young male, but her sister Medusa says it's beneath a member of the Royal Household. Maximus overhears, and plants the suggestion that Crystal could save him, earning the hunky guy's admiration. Crystal takes Lockjaw and sneaks off on a rescue mission.

In the morning the rest of the family learns of Crystal's actions, and are determined to follow and bring her back. Maximus, since's he's powerless, is to stay behind. Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, Triton, and Gorgon all head through the black portal. But Maximus has rigged the portal, and they're scattered across the earth with no way back.

Maximus uses his chance to free the slaves and seize power. Without the Royal Family, the loyal Attilans aren't strong enough to oppose his forces, and he launches his plan to go through terrigenesis again.

Each of the members of the Royal Family are faced with a problem getting back together (Medusa's entitlement, Gorgon's lack of planning, Karnak's need for certainty before acting, Triton's in an area of polluted waters, and Black Bolt's inability to communicate and trust), but they slowly free themselves from these issues in order and converge on Crystal's location as she's helping the new inhumans battle outside forces.

Defeating the earth opponents, they take Lockjaw back to Attilan, where they find a newly re-terrigen'd Maximus is now truly Mad and has total control. The regular Attilans think the family had abandoned them, not realizing they were unable to return due to Maximus's schemes, but they really don't see any difference between the family and Max's minions. They have to convince the people they've changed in order to overcome Maximus, who triggers a collapse of the protective shield around their moon base from his bunker rather than admit defeat.

The Royal Family leads an exodus to earth as Attilan crumbles around Maximus, promising a new order in a new land (although they'll still be in charge). They might not deserve to rule, but being born on third does have the advantage of already being in position to score. Besides, they can't win without the rest of the team bringing them home.

OK, that's the best I could do trying to take the same basic ideas and turning them into something viewable. Conflicts, action, purpose, a sense of direction... everyone with their powers but limited in their usefulness. It doesn't take much to take the exact same story ideas and turn them into something interesting.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:23 PM on November 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

So is the 'greater enemy' Thanos? Or is there some Inhuman foe that they were hoping to turn into a plot for season 2?

I'm guessing that it's the Kree.

The only way for Marvel to make things right is to forget these inhumans but have Lockjaw appear in every Marvel movie and show from here on.
posted by homunculus at 7:47 PM on November 12, 2017

I thought they did some strong Kree hinting in this episode. I was bored with the dialog and started to notice the symbols around the throne to were the same Kree symbols from Shield. I'm pretty sure they weren't there in previous episodes, especially not when I saw the opening episodes in imax.
posted by toomanycurls at 10:35 PM on November 12, 2017

Remember, we got this, and not a Ms Marvel serious. Just think about that.
posted by happyroach at 3:32 PM on November 13, 2017

Remember, we got this, and not a Ms Marvel serious. Just think about that.

But would it have been Ike Perlmutter's Ms. Marvel? Because if it was a choice between having him devalue Inhumans as a property versus Ms. Marvel, I'm fine with this being the garbage show. Someone may take another crack at Inhumans someday since it has dude heroes, but if a Ms. Marvel show/movie became the next Halle Berry's Catwoman it could be decades if ever before it got another go.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:55 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's not as snarky as it could be, but for anyone who couldn't make it through but it's still curious, there's this.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:01 PM on November 14, 2017

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