While “Brief Thoughts” has become an increasingly misleading name for this look at Marvel’s Inhumans, this week will be brief as the return to Attilan failed give the show a satisfying narrative push or offer any compelling new mistakes.
As predicted, Gorgon returned thanks to Auran’s ability. Though, not in the way I suggested last week. Nevertheless, the obvious plot point meant all of the sadness around the character’s short demise never contained any weight. Perhaps if the show were longer — a terrifying prospect, I realize — the storyline may have worked more effectively; particularly with Karnak’s quest to revive him. Instead, I was left wondering if Inhumans decompose at a far slower rate than humans. No methods beyond a simple cloth wrap were used to preserve the body, so either there’s a silly pseudoscience explanation or the program’s shoddy construction wins the day again.
Considering the Triton ex Machina in the episode, I’m inclined to think it’s the latter.
Triton (Mike Moh) rejoined the series with triumphant fanfare and a poorly dubbed in exclamation from Crystal to remind you of his name. It’s amazing to think that just six weeks ago, he was the reason Gorgon came to Earth in the first place. But with Triton’s return came a new wrinkle: Black Bolt anticipated the eventuality of the coup and the two plotted for that unknown day when Maximus would strike. Unfortunately, they left the rest of the royal family out of the plan and that did not sit well with Medusa.
Well, little sits well with her at this point. Black Bolt’s contingency plan was to culminate in the death of his brother, but Medusa suggests — somewhat ironically considering the way Inhumans has played out — that nothing and no one is irredeemable. In her mind, a peaceful solution can be found if both Black Bolt and Maximus realize they have the same pain. It’s an interesting idea. It’s also backed up by Maximus’s lament later in the Terrigenesis chamber that his family is absent for his second transformation. But the character’s otherwise cartoonish madness, and the speed at which the series moves, seemingly prevents that peaceful solution from being found.
Of course to delay the resolution until next week’s finale, Maximus wired up a dead man switch. If he dies, Attilan’s protective dome goes bye-bye.
And maybe this is why, despite failing as a series, Inhumans has been so fascinating the last month and change. Its narrative choices are so nakedly moves of production expediency. Like cutting Medusa’s hair in the premiere to save on the FX budget, little of what the characters do ever feels organic. As I said last week, the show is more like an outline for an Inhumans series than an actual television program despite the expense of shooting in Hawaii and the money IMAX poured into it. That sense of the series being roughly sketched definitely comes across this week when Karnak, Medusa and Crystal talk about their time on Earth as being transformative.
All of their Earth-bound storylines featured close interactions with human characters — Karnak’s being the closest of interactions — and yet none of those stories feel as important as the characters suggest they were. Okay, Karnak’s story pushed the character forward as he learned to rely less on his abilities and the need for certainty. But since the show has no time to develop it properly, poor Ken Leung is forced to spell out the concept in dialogue.
Which suggests next week’s presumed series finale will no doubt feature Maximus and Black Bolt spelling out their pain as Attilan burns and the Inhumans are forced to move to Earth. I mean, that’s what the series feels like it’s been building toward the whole time. At least Crystal will get to reunite with hunky Dave, right?
Inhumans airs Fridays on ABC.