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Inhumans Muddles with Morals

“Somthing Inhuman This Way Comes..” is the 5th epsiode of Marvel’s The Inhumans. Things finally picked up last week, so let’s see if the show can keep it up.

Recap

Karnak and Jen reminisce about the night before. As they exit their tent, Reno shoots at them. Karnak blocks the bullet, but Jen gets hit. They run away, and hide in a ditch with Reno in pursuit. Reno receives a call and heads back to the pot farm to meet the caller.

Louise is driving while Medusa and Black Bolt cuddle in the backseat. Black Bolt asks Medusa about what happened to her hair. Reluctantly she opens up, but states it doesn’t change anything and that finding their family is more important. A banging is heard from the truck. Louise pulls over to let Locus out. Locus uses her powers to locate Karnak in the jungle. She makes a comment about the Royal Family’s behavior towards their people, and Medusa commands her to do her job. Louise objects to her treatment of Locus; Medusa replies that she was sent to kill them.

As they trek through the jungle, Locus’s communication device goes off and Medusa takes it from her. Maximus is on the other end. He lies to Medusa about Crystal’s locations. Black Bolt has Medusa tell Maximus that when they get back they will have words, and Maximus says he looks forward to the family reunion. Black Bolt then crushes the communication device, much to Louise’s dismay. Maximus summons Tibor.

On Dave’s farm, Audrey observes that Lockjaw is doing better. Revealed, Crystal is ready to find her family. Audrey protests, saying Lockjaw isn’t ready to run around. Crystal says that’s okay, they’ll just transport. Audrey doesn’t believe any of Crystal’s story until she and Dave are transported away.

At his lab, Declan performs an autopsy on Sakas (Matt Perfetuo), who died in the explosion caused by Mordis. Declan notes that he has a venom gland in his neck. Declan’s Assistant (Joseph Kingsley) looks to Auran, and wonders that her powers are.

Gordon wanders in the jungle tracking Karnak. In a flashback, Gorgon impulsively steals the Lunar Flag. Karnak tells him to put it back, because the humans will notice if it’s gone, which could jeopardize Attilan. In the present, Reno meets up with his boss, who asks to see Ted’s body. His boss then has him shot. He then commands some lackeys to take care of Karnak and Jen.

On Attilan, Maximus wants Tibor to choose the best Inhumans to go after the Royal Family. Tibor questions if this is forceful conscription, but Maximus tries to justify it by saying it’s to secure the peoples freedom, which must be earned.

Back in the Jungle, Karnak tells Jen that he must remove the bullet. Using his Inhuman strength he pushes the bullet from the back through the front. Karnak patches her up. Jen wants to call the police, but he thinks that’s a bad idea. Karnak wants to go back to camp to ambush Reno.

Declan and one of his assistants study Auran’s and Sakas’ DNA. His assistant worries that the Inhumans will turn on the humans. Declan states this is why it is important to understand them. Suddenly Auran’s body jolts. Declan thinks it’s just postmortem spasm, but then Auran sits up and begins to heal herself. Declan stares in awe. Auran then grabs Declan by the throat, ordering him to tell her where Black Bolt is. Declan’s assistant tries to attack Auran with a scalpel, but she ends up killing him with it.

Jen and Karnak arrive back at the pot farm. Karnak isn’t sure how to proceed because he can’t see a clear outcome. Jen remarks that doubt can be helpful. In a flashback Karnak states that he and Gorgon are polar opposites. He is rational, while Gorgon is impulsive. Gorgon asserts that at he is at least doing something, while Karnak just sits around. In the present, Karnak decides to take a chance, so he and Jen head into camp.

I don’t get paid enough for this.

Back on Attilan, Maximus tells Auran not to hurt Declan and not to tell him whom she is working for. Maximus tells her Declan’s research is important and to keep him safe. He then commands her to finish her mission and that he will be sending her help soon. Auran then contacts Mortis, who, with Flora (Krista Alvarez) is holding Sammy captive. Auran tells him to bring Sammy to her.

Karnak and Jen notice someone else has been at the camp. The lackeys arrive, and Karnak tells Jen to hide while he takes care on them. Across the island, Lockjaw, Crystal and Dave arrive at a secluded beach. Dave is amazed by how they’ve traveled all over the island in the blink of an eye. Crystal is frustrated that they can’t find her family. Dave tells her to let lose and not be afraid. Later that night, Karnak fights the lackeys, but is overpowered and captured.

I feel like this has happened before.

Elsewhere Locus uses her powers and says that they are close to Karnak. Louise wants to know how her powers work, but Locus can’t explain it. Medusa explains that Terragenesis decides all. Louise remarks that she doesn’t like that idea, and Locus mentions that before Terragenesis she wanted to be a healer. Louise doesn’t see why she can’t both, but Medusa objects, saying echolocation is Locus’s one true calling. Locus retaliates that this is why she choose Maximus, and brings up Medusa’s parents. Louise thinks it ironic that Medusa and Black Bolt were thrown out for not wanting to change the caste system, while her parents were. Medusa says the law in Attilan wasn’t perfect, but they try to do what’s right. Locus declares this is why she supports Maximus, because he will change things. Medusa points out that he forced Locus here.

Tibor gives Maximus a list of potential recruits, noting that many weren’t happy to be drafted. Maximus repeats that you have to earn your freedom, using himself as an example. Tibor warns Maximus that some might think he is only acting in his own interest, and not Attilan’s. Angered, Maximus orders him to leave.

Gorgon finds Karnak and Jen. Together the fight and escape, but don’t make it far because of Jen’s injury. They hear fighting and gunfire in the distance, then someone approaching. It is revealed to be Medusa and the others, who have just fought the drug dealers. They share a long awaited reunion, and Gorgon shows some interest in Louise. Jen decides that she’s going to call the police and suggest that they all disappear before they show up. Karnak doesn’t want her to leave, but Jen says this is the way things are sometimes, but she had a good time.

Just as Jen leaves, Locus falls over, divulging that she was fatally wounded in the fight. With her last breath, Locus pleads with Black Bolt to change and become the king they deserve. She then tells Medusa that Crystal is on the island. Medusa asks where, but Locus dies before she can say.

On Attilan, Tibor is surrounded by the Royal Guard. He believes they’re there to kill him for speaking out against Maximus, but actually they want his help to overthrow Maximus, calling him a false king.

Review

Similar to last week’s episode focusing on Medusa, this week’s episode focused on Karnak, who, like all the supporting characters, needed some development. The flashbacks with Karnak and Gorgon felt a bit repetitive, but it gave their relationship some longevity. When they are forced to think like the other in order to survive, it highlighted how much they have impacted each other. Plus, it was nice seeing Ken Leung get a chance in the spot light.

A bit of this feels undermined by Karnak’s relationship with Jen. Even if Jen states in the episode that they were just having fun, their interactions weren’t framed that way. I understand Jen’s character is meant to play into Karnak’s arc of becoming more impulsive, but it felt more that the narrative was suggesting she healed him with the power of sex, which is a terrible trope. Speaking of which, it seems Crystal and Dave’s relationship is headed in the same direction, with the exact same plot. Right down to romantic rendezvous on a beach, with a swim in the ocean. That’s just lazy writing.

The trouble with Jen, or any of the other human companions, (besides Louise) is that they aren’t well written, and do little to serve the actual plot besides to drop some words of wisdom and then disappear. Jen literally leaves this episode, which is honestly a better outcome than I thought she’d get. When it was first hinted that she would be Karnak’s love interest, I though she might get stuffed in the fridge.

While Karnak got his groove back, questions of morality were (finally) being discussed in the subplots. Locus, who, unfortunately, did get stuffed in the fridge, brings into question the effectiveness of Black Bolt and Medusa’s rule, stating her frustration for having her fate chosen for her. Louise gives us more insight into her character and others by questioning Medusa and Black Bolt. Medusa is proving to be more of a morally grey character by believing herself to be in the right. While it is interesting to see that Attilan has deeper issue with individuality within it’s system, this is a topic that should have been brought up sooner. It doesn’t help that this episode is nearly over by the time this matter is addressed and answered.

Locus states that she followed Maximus because he would change things, but then changes her own mind in the end by telling Black Bolt to become the king they deserve. What prompted this? Medusa says that Maximus forced Locus to come to Earth, which is trying to play off Maximus’s forced conscription plot, but that doesn’t make sense in the context of the scene. Locus was a part of the Royal Guard, and was just following orders when she came to Earth. Really there isn’t any logical reason for her change of heart besides the writers wanting to prop up Black Bolt. If there was any doubt in her mind about Maximus’s intentions, it should been set up sooner. In these circumstances, it was completely underserved.

Huh, I think he might be evil.

Further undercutting any moral nuance was Maximus’s plot on Attilan. Up to this point, Maximus has been a sympathetic villain. He did horrible things, but the audience understood his motivations. This episode eroded that by having Maximus develop a non-voluntary draft on the lower class Inhumans to find the Royal Family.

Now, this isn’t horrible character progression. However, combine Maximus’s plot combined with Locus’s sudden turn-around, and it felt more like the writers trying to manipulate the audience’s opinions. They’re basically saying ‘Hate Maximus because he doesn’t really care about the Inhuman people. Love Black Bolt, he truly cares.’ But we haven’t seen why Black Bolt is any better than Maximus yet, so the argument doesn’t hold up.

There’s the plot with Auran and Declan who continue to be puppets in Maximus’s schemes, but theres nothing new to add. However, it is becoming unnerving to watch Auran die in such brutal ways, only to come back to serve a man she has no clear motivations to care for. Auran, honey, you can do better.

So, once again, Inhumans continues to frustrate me. This episode posited some interesting questions and character development, but it all feels too-little-too-late. The season has passed the midway point, and as a result, these developments are all rushed. Maybe there should have been more episodes. Or maybe they should have hired a better showrunner.

Until next week, stay awesome.


Images courtesy of  Marvel/ABC Television Studios

Gabby
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Recent college graduate who's just trying to figure out what to do with her degree, while simultaneously reading as many books as possible.

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