After the lack-luster, two premiere last week, Inhumans returns with episode three, “Divide and Conquer.” Let’s see if this episode shows any improvement.
The episode begins at the Declan Research Facility in California where Dr. Declan (Henry Ian Cusick) is shown footage of Black Bolt in Hawaii. He decides to head there and makes a call to recruit the help of a one of the inmates, Sammy (Faleolo Alailima), at the jail where Black Bolt was sent. In jail, Black Blot remembers when he was a teenager (Lofton Shaw) before he had his powers. He tells his father he doesn’t want to be king. His brother, Maximus (Aidan Fiske), proclaims he will be king, but their father says it wasn’t meant to be. Back in the present, Black Bolt is sent to general population.
The press gathers outside the prison, but they are quickly dismissed. What Louise manages to ask is if the person involved had superpowers, but she is refused an answer. Meanwhile, Medusa wanders around the city and finds an ATM. She commands it to give her money, but, of course, it doesn’t work. Somewhere in the jungle Gorgon and the surfers prepare for a fight against Auran.
In Attilan, Maximus continues to try and persuade Crystal to his cause. He wants her to read a speech in support of his claim to the Genetic Council. She agrees in order to help reunite her family. Afterwards, Maximus contacts Auran on Earth. He is sending her a team to go after Gorgon. He wants to send an Inhuman called Mordis, but Auran is hesitant, believing him to be too dangerous. Maximus proclaims Mordis is their greatest weapon against the Royal Family. Before freeing Mordis, Maximus ask Bronaja if he see’s anything. When he replies he doesn’t, Maximus asks if that means there is no danger, Bronaja replies that he doesn’t know since his powers are still new to him. Maximus releases Mordis, who is revealed to wear a metal mask with glowing eyes.
Medusa breaks into someone’s home and takes some money, food, and clothing for herself. Still lost in the jungle, Karnak stumbles upon a pot farm and is taken captive. The growers, two men and a woman, try to interrogate him, but don’t get any results. Karnak tries to perceive a situation in which to escape, but when he executes it, he fails. Back at the jail, Black Bolt is put in a cell with Sammy, the inmate Dr. Declan contacted. Sammy asks about the origins of his powers. He shocks Black Bolt by deducing that he is Inhuman, and warns him to run as Inhumans are disappearing on Earth.
Auran and her team arrive at Gorgon’s location. A fight ensues with Gorgon having the upper hand. Auran calls out to Mordis, who reveals that he has heat ray vision. One of the surfers is killed. Gorgon and other surfers retreat with his body before anyone else is hurt. Later that night, the woman pot grower treats Karnak’s head wound. She advises him to be honest and ask about his tattoos. He explains he got them when he was a teenager, back when he thought it would be a great choice, but has grown since then. He is concerned that his head wound may be affecting his judgment. Later, Karnak’s captors decided to free him and tell him he can stay if he wants to work for them.
On Attilan, Maximus informs that Genetic Council that he wants to eliminate the caste system and that he has Crystal’s support. Crystal is escorted in to deliver her speech. She inquires after Lockjaw’s whereabouts, and Maximus tells her he is heavily sedated in another room. Crystal begins her speech in support of Maximus, but quickly turns on him and uses her powers to escape. Maximus flashes back to when he was young and found out that he not only didn’t have any powers but was made human by his Terrigenesis. Thus by Inhuman law, he could never be king. Back in the present, Maximus spins the situation to show how unreliable the Royal Family is. Meantime Crystal finds Lockjaw and has him teleport them both to Earth.
In prison, the guards try to coax Black Bolt and some of the other prisoners into a fight, but they end up embracing instead. A fight breaks out between the guards and prisoners. During the chaos, Sammy and Black Blot make a break for it. Sammy reveals that he too is Inhuman, with the ability to melt anything with his hands. As he melts a door, he explains that after he first discovered his powers, he nearly killed his family. This reminds Black Blot of when he first discovered how powerful his voice was and that in order not to hurt anyone, he could never speak again. The Genetic Council wishes to send him away, but his father stated that Black Bolt would learn to control his power.
Just as Sammy and Black Bolt escape, Dr. Declan’s arrives in his helicopter to rescue them. Medusa arrives just in time to see Black Bolt fly away. Louise, who has been staked out in front of the prison, approaches Medusa, asking if she knows anything. Desperate to catch up with Black Bolt, Medusa pulls a gun on Louise, demanding that she help her. Elsewhere on the island, Crystal and Lockjaw arrive. Lockjaw, still feeling the affects of the sedative, falls asleep. Out of nowhere, man on an ATV bike accidentally drives into him, and Lockjaw is badly injured.
Maybe it was because it wasn’t two hours long, but episode three faired somewhat better for me than the pilot. Mostly an expositional episode, there was character development for some of the royal family with a few moments of action throughout the episode.
Most of the exposition given about Black Bolt and Maximus was information we already received in the pilot. However, Maximus’s character was given more character depth by showcasing the fact that his Terrigenesis turned him human. It moved him beyond just being the jealous sibling wanting what he can’t have. It shows that Maximus is an outsider in his own community. The idea that he wants the Inhuman people to love him by becoming their king is interesting motivation. The character still reminds me of Loki, but we’ll see if the character can move beyond this in later episodes.
I did enjoy Medusa’s adjustment to Earth. She caught on quick, but still had her mishaps. I actually found the moment when she demanded the ATM to give her money genuinely funny. Serinda Swan’s delivery was spot on. Louise is starting to make an impression on me, despite her small role. Ellen Woglom gives a charismatic performance with very little screen time.
Even with some of its bright spots, I still find the issues with Inhumans overshadowing the good. As I stated before, most of the exposition given for Black Bolt was already information given to us. We did learn that he didn’t want to be king, but aside from that, we already knew his voice was deadly. We saw him accidentally kill his parents in the pilot. The other characters have yet to grow out of their stereotypes. Karnak’s felt the most random. The backstory about his tattoos and the responsibility he feels for his family could have had more effective if it wasn’t so rushed. I don’t know how growing pot is going to help him with recovering his power, except maybe to set up some stoner jokes. Overall, with a lack of real connection to the characters, it’s hard to invest in their storylines or feel anything for what they are going through. Expect for poor Lockjaw.
The visual effects continue to disappoint me. I know this show is on a budget, but it feels like the show is barely trying to showcase the characters’ powers. Crystal got to showcase some of her powers, but they were mostly tiny simplistic things. Mordis was able to show his heat vision for a second, which was kind of impressive. Although his costume was unbelievably ridiculous. What Halloween store did they pick up that mask from? The fight scene between Gorgon and Auran was well shot, with some impressive stunts. Still, the lack of powers used in a show about superhumans continues to irk me.
Marvel’s Inhumans continues to leave me wanting for more. It seems to have put aside the idea of being an epic experience on the small screen, to focus on character development. Yet, most of the information given was repetitive or shallow. Maybe with all the set-up out of the way the pace will finally pick up a little. Until next time, stay awesome.