Brief Thoughts On Inhumans Season 1, Episodes 3 & 4

by Erik Amaya

 

So how about that Mordis?

With its third and fourth episodes, Inhumans manages to create a couple of engaging storylines while still feeling rather incomplete. As discussed at length previously, this is down to a budget far below what the Jack Kirby and Stan Lee creations deserve. But it also suggests a lack of imagination as each member of the royal family finds an Earth-bound human to interact with. On the whole, those interactions hearken back to a very old style of television, which would work if the show was meant to evoke a retro feel. Sadly this is meant to be contemporary.

But let’s start with the good. Serinda Swan is the star player as Medusa. From her silent theft in episode three to her interactions with Louise (Ellen Woglom) in episode four, Swan is very much the anchor of the show. She comes across as the most understandable of the characters. Even if her stated goal of reuniting with her husband might seem regressive, her eventual bonding with Louise over a gourmet food truck lunch and a later argument by the docks made her the strongest Inhumans character by far. She also has the right amount of arrogance for the Queen of the Inhumans in the face of ATMs and people expecting a note of thanks for their assistance.

I wish Louise was better drawn, but her broad characterization does balance out Medusa’s determination. In short, their the best pair on the show.

Meanwhile, Ken Leung continues to be a strong actor working with very little. Between a kiss in the surf and a low-rent Liam Neeson aching to murderize him, his storyline is not terribly inspired. But its working in a generic primetime thriller sort of way. I suppose it helps that he’s so damned charismatic while Karnak learns about the one thing he cannot calculate: the forces of human attraction. And considering how much the show echos Lost, Karnak’s pot-farm locale feels the most like The Island.

Speaking of Lost, the inclusion of Henry Ian Cusick as a determined scientist in the Hawaiian islands only strengthens the connection between the two series. He’s doing the best he can do, but being tied to both the Black Bolt and Maximus’s plots means he’s definitely stuck in the lesser parts of Inhumans. That said, the interactions between Black Bolt and Sammy (Faleolo Alailima) definitely helped humanize the Inhuman ruler a little. But it also highlights the fact that Anson Mount needs a scene partner for the character to work in any way on television.

Elsewhere, Gorgon and his surfer pals’ attempt to deal with Auran’s group fails miserably. It would a completely uninspired sequence if not for the inclusion of Mordis (Bridger Zadina), the only villainous character to have any charm. And yeah, it’s an easy charm as he just quips his way through everything, but he also has a menace the other antagonist lack. Considering that he’s been positioned as the second most powerful Attilan Inhuman, I’m assuming we’ll see him and Black Bolt match powers before the season ends. Unfortunately, moving Mortis to Black Bolt’s plot means Gorgon is left with little to do by regret involving his friends in the battle. Like Leung, Eme Ikwuakor showed an earlier promise in the role, but is saddled with a plot that leaves him very much sidelined. Especially when Auran gives up the hunt to deal with other matters. But as each Inhuman seems to be learning something from their human interactions, I suppose Gorgon is being exposed to a different sort of loyalty. I just wish we knew more about the loyalty he commanded within the Royal Guard before they all betrayed him.

Also, Crystal teleported into a lukewarm teen drama. I can’t figure out if she’s supposed to hook up with hunky farmer or help him get back together with his vet-tech ex. Whatever the plot, it’s just another cover to keep Lockjaw off the board. He’s everyone’s favorite Inhuman character, but he’s just too expensive for this show to realize.

Which seems to hobble this show in every way except locations. Making this show in Hawaii was the smartest production decision as the show would be intolerable if it was completely set-bound and produced in Los Angeles. And while the show has made a few smart creative choices since, it seems the smartest thing to do will be to import Swan to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Medusa would fit in quite well there.

Inhumans airs Fridays on ABC.

Erik Amaya

Host of Tread Perilously and a Film/TV Writer at Comicon.com. A contributing writer at CBR, Fanbase Press, Monkeys Fighting Robots and Rotten Tomatoes. Voice of Puppet Tommy on The Room Responds. A seeker of the Seastone Chair and the owner of a Legion Flight Ring. Sorted into Gryffindor, which came as some surprise.