Marvel’s Inhumans “Divide and Conquer” Review
Starting off with Maximus’ coup was probably the best way to go about starting this series. You are looking to bridge the Inhumans from the moon to Earth and all they needed was that boot right out the door. Now the real exploration begins when they have to acclimate into Earth culture. Blackbolt is already figuring out how difficult that can be firsthand, so now you want to see what happens when the others begin to make proper moves to find each other.
This third episode picks up with a Blackbolt who finds himself in the worst situation possible. In prison, having a deadly power, and no way of proper communication to explain himself. Not to mention it seems this is their way of showing the struggles of finding yourself under the radar of law enforcement as an inhuman. I still have a problem with his lack of ability to be direct or confident, though it was a step in the right direction that we could see what happens when he does manage to have a conversation with someone. It was the most engaging encounter we’ve had in three episodes that I’m glad they didn’t sour for a reaction at the last-minute. Blackbolt needed to see people who he could trust, and people who need someone like him on Earth. Switching to Medusa, it is through her that it looks as though we are getting actual exploration from. It goes without saying that she is also in a difficult spot having to acclimate into society with no apparent knowledge of Earth customs/traditions. From the start it would be lucky if she were to run into Blackbolt without too much trouble. Well for her it just so happened to be a matter of convenience finding a lead to his location. The way they went about this did work since this is an age where something like what Blackbolt did will be plastered everywhere to see eventually whether on a phone, TV, newspaper, etc..
On Attilan, Maximus’ efforts press on and luckily this time around they are making more sense of why he continues engaging Crystal to help him. Without proper context it was hard to agree with the relevance they are giving this version of Crystal. She’s younger, much inexperienced with her powers, and doesn’t look like someone who holds that much influence. Not until Maximus came along with the idea that someone like her can help in his approach through diplomacy. It was the wise choice that an ascension to power for Maximus would not come too easily. There is enough trouble already with viewers thinking he is the hero for them to not see what he is willing to do to get what he wants. Flustering him and finding the right buttons to push is how you start creating the image of Maximus The Mad.
What Gorgon gets himself into was a point of interest. He wasn’t out there trying to find the others, he in his own way was trying to take the fight to Maximus. While Medusa gives us more of a perspective of the city life, Gorgon shows us what it means to live outside of that world in a more natural environment. These guys with him I did hope to get more out of, which we did. They didn’t seem like the kind of characters you throw in only to snuff out for shock value. As for Auran, she has proven herself to be quite the determined soldier. When first introduced to her I wasn’t really seeing the appeal until we could at least see that she wasn’t anything ordinary. That was when I could see myself caring for this hunt she has been sent on for the Royal Family.Adding a team behind her is even more favorable, especially when they all have powers of their own. Not to mention one who Auran fears for being a wildcard and powerhouse. Their powers were a good test of the effect quality that met us half way. Nothing that would break the bank, though nothing at the same time that would be too underwhelming for TV. So the confrontation that they inevitably got around to was satisfying for both the action and the display of powers.
Karnak in contrast to the other inhumans has the most fascinating power. It was one thing to see what he could do on Attilan, but they shook things up where his powers could be affected by a simple change in setting (and knock on the head). From a comic standpoint this would seem questionable, though I guess if you are looking at this from a grounded perspective it makes sense that natural changes could create problems for him.
Unfortunately such characters like Louise still doesn’t hold your attention or much importance. Hopefully that changes soon after this episode, though for now it is hard to question why she is even there.
Now one thing I do want to get into about Inhumans that other people criticize is the approach to heroes versus villains. Yes, Maximus is the villain, but there is no rulebook that says you need to root for him. There is nothing either that says you have to root for the Royal Family as the assumed heroes. If you know the Inhumans story, then you know what you are getting from this show. Regardless of what is wrong with them and their way of life, this is still their story. We would just be getting another cookie cutter plot if we had to sympathize with them.
Learning who they can trust on Earth was the right step to take following the premiere for Marvel’s Inhumans. “Divide and Conquer” would lead us to believe that all we had to look forward to is them re-uniting, but what works best is what happens when some of the others start finding their own way. Sure they will all meet up eventually, but they do hold each other back when they could all end up like Medusa simply wanting to be by Blackbolt’s side.