After having heard that the first episode of Marvel’s Inhumans was the Worst Thing Ever for so long, I was disappointed to find out that, while not great, the show wasn’t terrible, either. It has its ups and downs, slightly more downs than ups, but still: not bad.
The first two episodes of Inhumans premiered tonight. Written by Scott Buck and directed by Roel Reine, the episodes were titled “Behold...the Inhumans” and “Those Who Would Destroy Us” (those who made the episode titles forgot about the exclamation points — seriously, this show needs more bombast). It essentially set up the Inhuman city of Attilan on the Moon ruled over by Black Bolt and Medusa, while Black Bolt’s brother Maximus schemes to overthrow him and invade Earth.
Now, were these episodes good? Overall, I’d say...not quite. They had a lot of good ideas in them, but the execution ranged from okay to meh to “Really?” Some of this is down to budget — Marvel should have definitely given more money for the CGI on Medusa’s hair. Some of it was down to direction — there are some very odd moments, especially in the first episode, where the direction just doesn’t show what it should have shown. Some of it is down to acting — believe me, there is some bad acting in this show, especially from Crystal. And some of it is just down to bad writing.
So let’s look at the pros and cons, shall we?
- Anson Mount as Black Bolt. I ended up loving his performance, especially his subtle facial ticks and his own sign language, which he makes seem to be completely natural. The way the second episode ends really makes you feel for the character — he wants to do what is right, but he doesn’t really know anything about Earth.
- Serinda Swan as Medusa. After an uncomfortable couple of scenes in the beginning of the show, Medusa ended up one of the better characters. Especially after her hair was cut off and you could see the pain as she struggled to cope with it.
- Ken Leung as Karnak. Look, Ken Leung is pretty much great in anything, but as the nihilistic Karnak? He was excellent. His storyline in the second episode, as he realizes that, for the first time, he doesn’t know what to do, was great and made you feel something for a character that started out as a jerk.
- Lockjaw. Look, all they needed to do was make a giant teleporting bulldog and they did it and he was cute. Good job, show. Good job.
- Isabelle Cornish as Crystal. Her acting improves between episodes, but not quite enough. She’s supposed to be super powerful, able to wield all four elements, but she gets knocked out the easiest and locked up and never tries to escape.
- Gorgon’s scenes in the second episode. While Eme Ikwuakor is good as Gorgon, his storyline in the second episode is basically “Look for Triton by drowning in the ocean.” Seriously, he just walks into the ocean and starts to drown. I know they have been living on the Moon their entire lives, but surely Inhumans know how water works, right? And then he’s rescued by some Hawaiian surfers and he just...tells them everything about Attilan. Look, Gorgon, you know how this is a secret city on the Moon? And how you crushed a Moon rover in order to keep it secret? Then why are you straight up telling people about it?
- Louise. Ellen Wolgam is also good as the scientist figuring out some secret about the Moon, but guess what? We already know everything, so her storyline is kind of pointless. It takes two episodes for her to...do nothing and then leave for Hawaii.
- The look of Attilan in general just kind of bugs me. It’s supposed to be gleaming spires and towers, but the show has it as big concrete blocks.
- Maximus. I’m sorry, but he isn’t threatening at all and almost comically evil. Oh, I’m sorry: he just wants what is best for all Inhumans. While speaking in the most eeeeevil way about it.
Hopefully, the next episodes will be improvements, because as is, the show isn’t bad. It just...isn’t quite good enough either.