Six Down. Two to go. The Royal Family reunite just in time for tragedy to strike. Well… when we say “tragedy”, we mean a tragedy of writing and unfortunate implications. Read on and prepare for spoilers!
Ken: Robbie, Karnak said “bejesus”. Now, I know there is more that happened in this episode that we will have to get to because our editors hate us, but I got fixated on this because could you ever imagine Karnark — that Karnak — use the word “bejesus”?
Robbie: Y’know, I think it’s nice how, in the middle of all the many things wrong with his show, we can still appreciate the little things… that are still horribly wrong.
That said, I’d like to say that this was one of the better episodes in some ways, but I recognize that that’s a worthless statement, given the quality of the show overall. It’s like saying getting needles through my face was one of the less unpleasant tortures. Still, I like to give credit where credit is due, and in spite of Karnak saying “bejesus,” I’ll at least say that I liked some things.
Specifically, I enjoyed Karnak’s bluff when he walked right up to the enemy stronghold. Auran saying “He wants me to shoot him, it must be a trick,” contrasted with Karnak whispering “Please don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me” was actually funny.
And there was also… umm… okay, so that was it, but it’s something!
The rest was just more of the same. Characters only developing in ways that barely feel natural to the progression of their arcs, people making decisions without clear motivations (oh hi, suddenly antagonistic vet lady), and fight scenes that could be good shot in total darkness. Yay.
Ken: This, comparatively, was a better episode… until the ending, which we’re gonna have to talk about.
We do get some good banter with Karnak in that scene you were talking about. Even though I think the show’s attempts to inject “humor” have been more misses than hits (I’m really hoping this is the last we see of science lady, Crystal’s brotoy and vet lady). There were some moments where Medusa had some good showings (like cutting off science lady when she was about to get technobabbly again). But it is as you said, we’re in the home stretch now and it is very much same old-same old.
We do get another flashback with Maximus, further informing on his insecurities with being a regular human and not even an adapt warrior like the rest of the royal family. It serves as foreshadowing for when he finally goes full Caligula and executes Tibor and the others that were conspiring against him.
Robbie: Thus continuing the tendency for Maximus’s subplot to be the most interesting by far. Tibor’s idea to use his paranoia to turn him against his own guards was almost a good idea, except for the fact that it’s both predictable and he literally whispered “Maximus must die” to his co-conspirator (whose name I don’t think we even got) not thirty feet away from Maximus himself.
Tibor is not very smart.
Ken: I said the exact same thing on twitter when that scene popped up! Literally, the worst spot you could pick to talk about this! This is the worst adaptation of Valkyrie I’ve ever seen! So it really doesn’t make Maximus look all the clever (something else that flashback was supposed to inform, despite Maximus’s cleverness being “attack a dude with his back to you”) when he figures out Tibor is part of the plot.
But let’s move on. I’m sure Crystal was doing stuff this episode too.
Robbie: Y’know, I try to keep my language clean during my reviews, but for the sake of accuracy, I feel like I should state that I wrote “shut the fuck up, Dave” in my notes no less than three times during the course of the episode.
And of course they kiss, because she’s a princess from space and he’s a surfer dude who taught her… something about life. Hakuna matata? Whatever. Shut the fuck up, Dave.
Then we have Audrey the vet and ex. Where to begin with her? So there’s baggage, whatever, and Crystal is annoying, sure. So suddenly she goes “shouldn’t you be on a registry?” and takes a picture of Crystal right to her face, literally telling the girl who controls the elements that she’s going to turn her in.Continued below
Audrey isn’t very smart either. But at least we get a little continuity with the rest of the Marvel television universe, what with the Sokovia Accords including Inhumans and similarly powered individuals.
Ken: Speaking of continuity, you catch Dave calling crystal “a god of thunder”?
Shut the fuck up, Dave.
Now, the comic fan in me (also the “I need to talk about something with this show!” person in me) cocked an eyebrow at Crystal using lightning to signal her location. In the comics, Crystal can control the four basic elements, fire, water, earth, air. She’s never created lightning in the comics before. It’s just stretching the limits of what we’ve seen. On the plus side, I can’t make a Todoroki comparison?
Robbie: I mean, in Avatar, Firebenders can… Nope, can’t even go there, I can’t even begin to bring up a show of such infinitely better quality in a review about Inhumans, especially not in reference to Crystal. Instead, I’m going to go the MST3K reference route and say “They just didn’t care!”
And I think that’s the overall problem with this show. They just don’t care. They don’t care enough to make characters relatable or even likable, they don’t care enough to get the most out of their powers (I think Crystal is the only one we’ve seen use powers more than twice), they don’t care about the comics, or plot progression, or character development. They’re just taking a paint-by-the-numbers plot and then not even caring enough to fully color inside the lines, metaphorically speaking.
Speaking of metaphors, did it annoy anyone else when Maximus used “literally” instead of “metaphorically” while talking to Bronaja about his father? Maximus of all people should know the difference.
But that’s just me being pedantic. Let’s talk about the rescue mission. When we last saw Sammy, he was being marched off through the jungle by Mordis and some other Inhumans. Now they’re all back in the lab, and he’s held captive. And so is Declan, who’s also described as “Black Bolt’s friend,” in spite of the fact that Black Bolt knew he was trying to trap them and they tried to escape before anything close to “friendship” could be formed.
Ken: Yeah, it’s the same thing with Medusa and Louise: they’re friends because Medusa said so at the end of the episode, showing that Not All Humans Are Bastards I suppose.
But it is the raid against Auran that does bring us that scene.
So, each episode is titled after an Inhumans story from the comics. In this episode’s case: “The Gentleman’s Name is Gorgon”, named after… well… Gorgon’s debut in the comics. And we see near the end of this episode why it’s called that…
He dies sacrificing himself to stop Mordis and… man… Well, I guess we can talk about the big elephant in the room: it being an egregious use of the Black Dude Dies First trope. On top of that, we’ve talked about these characters being a bit insufferable, but at the very best, Gorgon was the least insufferable character. It’s just…really?
Robbie: Yep, first thing I thought when Gorgon did his somewhat-heroic sacrifice. Of course it’s the black Inhuman that dies.
It wasn’t even that dramatic a moment. I mean, they tie up Mordis’s hands, but do nothing to prevent him from reaching his mask, treat the guy who can blow up things with his face like crap after clearly establishing how he’s been emotionally devastated by being locked up his whole life for how his terrigenesis happened to go, so then Gorgon holds him back and everything collapses.
What a pointless way to send off the closest thing they had to a likable character. It doesn’t even serve a purpose for the team – compare to The Avengers, where Coulson’s death serves as the catalyst to really bring the team together from their point of collapse: unexpected, dramatic, and gives him a good send off even if it doesn’t stop Loki. So what exactly does Gorgon’s death do for the team? They’re already a freaking family, they already want revenge on Maximus, what else is there?
Ken: Like, I honestly felt more bad for Mordis. He was a victim of this shit system Attilan has (to the point that Karnak’s story about him pleading to the Council to spare Mordis post-terrigenesis was a fabrication) and the show does a decent (I see “decent” but it’s in comparison to everything else) of showing that. On top of that, Mordis’ snark throughout the series was a few-and-far-in-between light. Both characters deserved better.Continued below
Do you have anything else to add?
Robbie: Let’s talk about Bronaja and his father for a bit. His dad’s powers seem to be lizard arms and presumably extra strength, and he’s the only one into the whole “serve Maximus to earn your freedom” thing. (I was also getting a bit of a Starship Troopers vibe from Maximus’s “fight to earn citizenship” spiel.)
But while the father seems to be taking the “unquestioning loyalty” path, Bronaja is… frankly, I’m not sure if he is trying to give vague or inaccurate descriptions of his visions to resist Maximus, or if he’s just not very good at using his powers. The show wasn’t too clear on it; what did you get from those moments?
Ken: I think it’s more on the later. Bronaja doesn’t seem to have the cunning to pull off such a resistance, and if he actually is, then it’s incredibly subtle and let’s face it… this show and “subtlety” have a turbulent relationship. Maybe if we had a chance for us to know him, to see him grow because we’ve only got two episodes now. As it is, he’s just shown up as being a meek dude way over his head, but no growth has come out of it.
Robbie: Yeah, his reaction is more like a kid trying to hide a bad report card from his parents. “Umm… it’s mostly A’s, and you can trust Tibor, I think.”
But hey, as long as all the future-predicting Inhumans are up on the moon, that’ll keep them safely away from where they can create a cinematic “Civil War II.”
At this point I feel like we’re just repeating ourselves, because the show keeps repeating the same things we’re complaining about. Lack of character direction and organic growth, a failure for us to connect with them, Maximus being the only actually compelling one, and so on and so forth.
I mean, is there anything left to talk about that we haven’t already complained about repeatedly? Because we’ve reached the part in my notes where the thoughts just become “why, oh god, why?” repeatedly, so I think I’m out.
Ken: Same. Bits and pieces do glimmer and under a creative team that gave a damn could work, but it’s marred by all the nonsense, the death of Gorgon being the top of that pile now.
Robbie: And as October draws to a close, we see the true horror: wasted potential in the Marvel universe.
Better luck next week.