In which we learn that two people that we thought are dead, aren't dead.

So this week's "Havoc in the Hidden Land" features the X-Man Havok... oh, wait, he's not in it. There's not a lot of havoc going on in the episode, although I suppose *spoiler - formerly believed-dead character* causes some havoc. So it's the "heroes" causing havoc. So why it's called "Havoc in the Hidden Land", I don't know. I'm sure they had some good reason.

(And yes, I know it was the title of a comic book issue. But what's the point of supposedly throwing fans these kinds of Easer eggs, when the show in general is so... anti-comic book fannish? "Yeah, we'll toss in old FF titles to please the fans... and have Karnak fight ganja gangsters. Because fans really want hot ganja-gangster action.")

Anyhoo, let's recap what we've got. After a rather confusing chase scene, the Royals take out Auran and what's left of her gang of happy Inhuman hunters. They've got Evan, so that means Black Bolt gets Evan. Then Medusa starts... well, nagging at Black Bolt. I guess he wants to kill Maximus, but she wants BB to be better than that, and he should act like a king, and all that good stuff.

And I'm still siding with BB on this one. Yeah, execution is bad and all that stuff. But it's a different society, apparently one that has been ruled by a monarchy for at least a few dozen generations. Maximus has acted like a dick, tried to have the Royal Family killed, cut Tibor's throat personally, had a bunch of other people "exiled" (which I guess is a euphemism for "killed"), lied about what he was doing, and generally been a traitor. I'm all for a "better way", but sheesh, this is a guy who is going to keep trying and trying, and means to see his family dead. I suppose this gibes with the comics, where BB keeps Maximus alive well beyond the point of sanity.

I'm still thinking the problem at the heart of all this is Anson Mount. Again, I haven't seen him in anything else so I'm not qualified to discuss his overall acting credentials. Maybe he's an Olivier of the silver screen in Hell on Wheels. But he seems woefully miscast in Inhumans.

And part of it is that the directing and storywriting don't help him. I'm sorry, but relatively quick camera cuts and typical 2017 directorial stuff just don't do any favors to a character who is supposed to be regal and deliberate. Whose every gesture is meant to convey multiple meanings. About the time I get a clear look at a facial expression or a gesture... off! the camera goes to someone else.

Also, the creative team doesn't seem very interested in BB. I think I can say that I've got a feel for Gorgon. I've got a feel for Crystal. I've got a feel for Medusa. I've got a feel for Karnak. I still have no idea who BB is, or what drives him, or what's going on with him. "Regally constipated" describes him pretty well at this point. He hasn't displayed any real leadership, he doesn't seem particularly commanding, he doesn't seem particularly charismatic. I get the impression BB only seems to be king because he inherited the position. Mr. Mount was born in 1973, so presumably BB is also 44 years old. He doesn't seem like a 44-year-old ruler. I'll admit that's hard to peg down. But they treat him like a bored young prince who fell into rulership and is just now working out the ropes. 44 is old enough to realize that "slavery = bad", at least for a protagonist.

And who ruled after when BB killed his parents and spent his teenage years in the Quiet Room, and when BB became king. When did BB become king? Presumably there was a regent. Who was it, and what happened to them? See what I mean about the back story being more interesting than what we get.

Plus there's the whole lower-caste slavery thing. If they want us to start applying anti-execution standards to different cultures, it would help if they didn't ask the audience to be okay with the protagonists enslaving the lower castes.

Anyhoo, Karnak breaks the captive Auran's neck figuring a) she'll come back, and b) it'll send a message to Maximus that they're ready to engage in a long bloody battle. Crystal and Lockjaw then teleport her body and the miners to Maximus and she tells them that they're handing them over as a gesture of good faith and that BB demands the right of parley. Because I guess the creative team watched Pirates of the Caribbean recently.

And then I guess BB has some kind of telepathic link with Lockjaw. Because he looks into the giant cow-dog's eyes and furrows his brow. And before you can write some Black Bolt/Lockjaw slashfic, Lockjaw teleports them to the beach where Triton died. And... Triton is alive. Apparently BB told him to fake his death (which meant he knew about Maximus having mercenaries on earth), and then go into hiding until the time was right.

Then they parley, and BB agrees to hand over Evan if Maximus yields the throne. Maximus seemingly agrees but as soon as he gets Evan, he says that the deal is off. Get it in writing next time, My Liege.

And I'm beginning to think that the Royal Family owes all of its rulership and perks to Lockjaw. Maybe with an assist from Eldrac. The plot would fall apart at several points if Lockjaw wasn't around. Need to teleport to Triton's hidey hole? Ask Lockjaw. Need to tell Maximus about parleying? Ask Lockjaw. Need to get to the parley field? Ask Lockjaw. Need to get to the Royal Bunker? Ask Lockjaw. Why Maximus just (badly) locked up Lockjaw in the Quiet Room instead of putting a bullet in its head, I don't know. If Lockjaw was dead, Maximus would have won six episodes ago.

Apparently BB was so cunning that he didn't tell anyone about either having Triton as a secret resource or having a Royal Bunker. Which is pretty stupid that he didn't tell Medusa, and even dumber that he didn't tell his chief advisor Karnak. Medusa is none too happy about all of this and starts nagging BB about it. And she lays into him about how she wants to be more than an interpreter, and how she wanted to gloat over him killing his parents, because his parents had her parents killed, but realized that he was redeemable. And so on.

it's quite the busy episode. Once Auran comes back to life, she admits that she's having doubts about Maximus now that he's revealed he plans to undergo a second Terrigenesis to get whatever powers that he wants. Maximus misreads her respecting him for rising above his human non-powered origins as a sign of pity, and does another of his rants.

This apparently turns Auran against him. So when Karnak offers her a deal, she accepts. Here we have Ken Leung and Iwan Rheon acting their hearts out, bless them. Hell, Sonya Balmores as Auran is good this time, even if I have no idea what's up with her character. I guess she initially changed sides because she liked Maximus more than BB. And who can blame her: Maximus is anti-slavery and BB at least was pro-slavery. But now, the script needs her to change sides so she changes sides.

Rheon does a good job of playing the ruler that has betrayed and backstabbed to get to where he is, and still isn't happy with it. While Leung is doing the whole "Gorgon is dead and oh do I miss the man" bit. Karnak convinces Auran to help him by loaning him some of her regenerative DNA so he can put Gorgon through Terrigenesis and bring him back to life. So Terrigenesis not only gives powers but brings people back from the dead? All-righty. Also, BB forbids this because it cause madness, addiction and death. Addiction to what? Binge-watching Stranger Things 2? Karnak does one of those "Yes, I will do what you say but clearly I'm going to ignore you two minutes later" looks.

I also get the impression that Karnak's flaw-seeing ability is his power. That's how he refers to it, at any rate. As opposed to the comics, where Karnak developed it because he wouldn't undergo Terrigenesis. But that's a simplification I can accept for TV adaptation purposes. Even though it's seems more like of a convenience than anything. "Karnak has to have powers, because we're going with Maximus not having powers. And we can only have one person without powers." Showing how Karnak and Maximus dealt differently with having no powers is more subtle than the creative team seems capable of.

The whole resurrection thing doesn't go well, and Karnak and Auran split up. Leaving Gorgon's body hanging in a Terrigenesis booth like a side of beef. Maximus comes in with Evan to undergo his second Terrigenesis, and they see Gorgon.

Meanwhile (there's a lot of "meanwhiles"), Crystal is mourning the loss of her buddy Dave. She and Medusa have a sister moment where Crystal says that she likes earth and misses the opportunity to choose for herself, and yada yada. Serinda Swan looks as bored by all of this as I do.

I really miss Frank.

BB has sent Triton to sabotage the city using Karnak's flaw-spotting abilities to weaken the flaws in Attilan. Wouldn't it be better to send Karnak to do this? But that would deprive us of Triton acting all cool. Because I think that's a requirement of aquatic heroes these days. Triton is not only sabotaging, but also has orders to take Maximus to BB. This involves Triton going all medieval on the asses of Maximus' six guards.

I'm not Aquaman, damnit! And I'm gonna stabbity-stab some guys to prove it!
But we just sided with the king who was anti-slavery...
Die, die, kill you all!

Although the fact that three minority characters on the show work for the royal white guy and are basically his personal weapons is mildly disturbing. If Triton is a better fighter than BB, than why doesn't Triton rule? If BB is a better fighter... let him get his own hands dirty. BB is at least as strong and quick as Triton, isn't he?

Triton kills the guards with a pair of knives, beats Maximus to within an inch of his life, and takes him to the bunker where BB is. Rheon gets all maniacal-laughy and says that he's put the protective field around the city on a dead man's switch. If Maximus dies, then Attilan dies. Which doesn't seem to keep him out of jail, but oh well.

And in the tag, Evan is putting around the Terrigenesis chamber when someone comes in and does some heavy-breathing. It's... Gorgon. So he's alive and will do... something for the finale next week.

I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I'm all out of ass.

Overall, "Havoc" was kind of interesting because they got the Royals out of Hawaii and back to Attilan. It's six episodes too late, and the whole jaunt to earth doesn't seem to have really accomplished much. Crystal and Karnak are changed, apparently by the wonders of meeting humans of the opposite sex. Medusa claims that her time among humans has taught her a few thing or two about humility, but I'm not sure what or how. BB seems unchanged by it all.

And Louise isn't in this week's episode. So other than to woman-crush on Medusa and provide a car, what was her purpose in the season?

Overall, it all seems... above humanity. I find it hard to care about any of the protagonists. Karnak I like because hey, it's Ken Leung. But even seven episodes in, I'm more sympathetic toward Maximus. And Rheon really turns on the twitches and grimaces here. Maximus seems to have been driven mad by how he was treated. And from what we saw of Gorgon beating the crap out of him in flashback last week, and Triton beating him up this week, it's hard not to sympathize with Maximus. That and the whole "freeing the slaves" bit. Rheon does a good job of basically presenting a prince with the ultimate inferiority complex.

Compare that to BB, who seems as concerned about the "burden" of his powers and the guilt of killing his parents as if he has a mildly annoying hangnail. And supports slavery. And keeps minority underlings around to do his dirty work. And for the last however many years, used his wife as his mouthpiece without apparently giving her any say of her own.

But overall, it's still a bunch of non-humans doing non-human things, in a civilization hid away from humans. If Attilan loses its protective shield next week... so what? The earth keeps on turning, SHIELD keeps on going, Thor and Hulk team up on Planet Hulk or wherever, Danny Rand is still a wuss, and the Punisher kills lots of bad guys. Even by the standards of Marvel TV versus Movies in the shared universe, Inhumans just doesn't affect anything.

It just all seems kind of hard to relate to. The odd decision to cast Maximus as some kind of slave liberator and basically put him in the right doesn't help. It seems like BB and Maximus should be working out some kind of joint rulership. Without the backstabbing and killing, Maximus actually seems to be a lot more caring about the people than BB does. It's like they tried to make him less villainous, or at least more sympathetic. Or want to be ruler, and not just to get powers, which seems kinda tacked on. But they made BB less sympathetic. It's an odd decision that seems to have guaranteed that Inhumans would be a mess.

Inhumans, more than Agents of SHIELD or the Netflix stuff, seems to have suffered from a lack of crossovering. They need a Coulson or Daisy or a Claire to give us some characters that we can latch onto. And to give us some humor. Other than some of the fish-out-of-water stuff, and the odd-couple pairing of Karnak and Gorgon, it hasn't been what you'd call a light-hearted show. I don't expect it to be a comedy, but it's a pretty deadly-serious affair. Game of Thrones and Penny Dreadful are funnier than Inhumans. Say what you will about Marvel's Iron Fist, but it had a sense of humor about itself sometime.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Comments (3)
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Nov 13, 2017
Iwan Rheon is the best thing about Inhumans and as such Maximus has become the most compelling character.  I would have given up after a few episodes of blandness and lack of character development if it wasn't for him.
Nov 13, 2017
Yes, but he gets progressively worse as the show goes along.

He starts as at least projecting the image of being a reformer that has the best interests of his people at heart. And admittedly, from what we see, it's a system that does need reforming. Yay, slavery!

But then the creative team tosses the whole thing aside to basically make Maximus an out-and-out villain. The guy we see ranting about undergoing a second Terrigenesis, who turns Auran away from him, isn't the same guy we saw in the first couple of episodes.

The TV Maximus is not a guy who is going to go down in the annals of great TV villains.
Nov 05, 2017
This episode got me even more confused... Are you honestly telling me that Maximus is going through Teragensis again - without sending a test subject first?
If they wanted him to be evil, getting others to take his place would be the perfect way to show it.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Maximus originally asked Blackbolt to destroy the Earth? It seems the writers forgot that plot line at all.

Crystal says she can vaporize their guns instantly, but didn't she get captured several times in the beginning?
And what princess wouldn't instantly give up her throne for a guy she barely talked with for 5 minutes?

And it still bugs me that I feel that barely anything happened at all and we are near the finale - with nothing much going on either?

Karnak seemed to complete his self discovery quest and nobody else had anything going on really.
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