Fans are still scratching their heads over why the decision was made to yank the property from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 and put it on network television. And with just one episode left, these cynics have more or less seen their stance that it should have been a film rather than a show justified due to the series’ consistently poor performance, which will most likely see it canceled once Season 1 officially ends.
There are several reasons why Inhumans is failing; the acting, visual effects, production design and overall aesthetic of the show all leave something to be desired, but its biggest flaw comes in terms of its core, or rather, the lack of one. Sure, the scripts and overall plot could be vastly improved, but Inhumans’ major downfall is that it’s missing a fundamental when it comes to Black Bolt’s inner-circle: A sense of family.
Episode 7, “Havoc in the Hidden Land,” highlights the Royal Family’s lack of familial altruism in spades. Medusa’s pleas with Black Bolt to not kill Maximus and to instead set an example by imprisoning him when they retake Attilan fell on deaf ears. After his cousin, Gorgon, died fighting Mordis, Black Bolt wanted his usurper brother dead, now more than ever. Karnak was too eager to follow his king’s lead, snapping Auran’s neck much to the shock of Crystal and Medusa.
All of this is done to send her dead body back to Maximus as a message, knowing she’d be revived and warn him that the Royal Family is coming for blood. Despite that, it’s a cruel scene, one made even colder by Black Bolt silently approving of Karnak’s actions. Triton, surprisingly alive, then takes it to the next level when, in true Assassin’s Creed fashion, he returns to Attilan and slaughters Maximus’ entourage like judge, jury and executioner. Medusa may hold the title of queen, but she isn’t respected as such, not even as the voice of reason begging for peace from her comrades during the turmoil of a civil war.
With Crystal and Lockjaw now back with the Royal Family, they all teleport to Attilan, to a bunker Black Bolt kept secret from his wife of all people. Medusa couldn’t believe that this place, with provisions and weapons, exists which really tests her faith in her king, and more so, her husband. Her resolve at this point is really breaking is because just before this incident, when Triton was found to be alive, it’s also revealed that he and Black Bolt had a secret meeting place on Earth as only the king knew about his clandestine activities on Earth monitoring Nuhumans.
Black Bolt keeps secrets not just from his wife, but from even Karnak, who is supposed to be his most trusted adviser. At this point, we have to wonder what Black Bolt’s end-game is. All of this secrecy shows a severe lack of trust within the Royal Family, for no discernible reason at all, which is shocking because trust between each other is a key trait the Inhumans pride themselves on in the comics. This change has hurt Medusa the most; she stuck by Black Bolt as a teen, despite his family dispensing of hers, so to see him repay her with these lies of omission is truly heartbreaking. It leaves her wondering what else her husband is hiding, not just from her, but from his people as a whole.
Family has always been the heart and soul of the Inhumans in the books, whether they’re based on the moon or somewhere on Earth. This reinforces that Attilan isn’t just a place, but a people. However, the television series really does the opposite, especially with its portrayal of the caste system under Black Bolt’s regime. It feels like they’re slavers and actually gives Maximus just reason for his uprising.
This also illustrates that Black Bolt and the entire Royal Family, Medusa included, didn’t consider their fellow Attilan people as family, but as subjects, which at the end of the day, is no way to rule a kingdom. This class system would never allow the citizenry to honor, respect and develop loyalty to the crown, which is what makes it so easy for Maximus’ coup to come to fruition.
Medusa and Crystal’s eyes may be opening now, but a lot has been done to justify the ego that Maximus keeps referring to when he spews hatred for the entire Royal Family. The Inhumans’ inherently deceitful nature rears its ugly head once more when Karnak disobeys Black Bolt and resurrects Gorgon, compounding the problem that they don’t trust each other anymore. In fact, it leaves you wondering if they ever really did.
Airing Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, Marvel’s Inhumans stars Anson Mount as Black Bolt, Iwan Rheon as Maximus the Mad, Serinda Swan as Queen Medusa, Ken Leung as Karnak, Isabelle Cornish as Crystal, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon, Mike Moh as Triton and Sonya Balmores as Auran.
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