Inhumans: 1.08 ...And Finally: Black Bolt
And Inhumans is over. I end the first (and presumably only) season with a complete sense of apathy. There was probably a decent episode buried somewhere in the finale, but like every episode before it, the script was several drafts off being ready, the direction was flat and boring and there was so much bad will from previous episodes that it was hard to care at what was the 'dramatic climax' the various character's stories.
What was clearly evident in ...And Finally: Black Bolt was that Inhumans had barely tapped into the potential of the story. A city crumbling, betrayals, past secrets shared and a populace evacuated to a new life on Earth where humanity might not be so welcoming; this was all ripe for a gripping ending. But borne off weeks of random sub plots, dull performances and the inability to make the heroes heroic, I watched the final episode a little bored. It's hard to put a finger on what made this exciting finale unexciting; the performances, the script or direction? Or all three?
The continuing issue that is Medusa was part of that problem; the finale continued to place her as a moral centre of the conflict between Black Bolt and Maximus. Serinda Swan was probably the best she's been here, perhaps the character she was always intended to be, but her change of character still felt forced; the scene where she returned to Earth and hugs Louise was completely lacking any semblance of truth. Louise's reactions to her was someone greeting an old friend, but Medusa was truly horrible to her. This is less kinship and more akin to someone an abusive relationship, albeit mental rather than physical.
I also liked the character of Gorgon, but his damaged resurrection offered little to the finale, apart to bring him back for a second season. In fact, there's a strong theme of the show setting up more to come; the removal of Atillan's populace to Earth is a storyline that will never be explored, unless Agents Of SHIELD runs with it in one of it's mini-arcs within the wider season five. Though given how great that show is now, the characters of Inhumans would need a serious makeover to continue within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The other problem with this episode was that it spent far too much time with characters scurrying around corridors and having heated discussions without much happening. Auran offering parle to Medusa and Maximus opened up what could have been an interesting conflict; her his best friend from childhood and now his enemy. But again, the scene felt flat and didn't go anywhere, except to destroy his one chance of taking terrigenesis again. The lack of superpowered fighting smacked of budget restraints too.
The one element of the finale I did like, was Maximus's fate. Black Bolt trapping him in the bunker as revenge for his manipulations in the death of their parents, was oddly satisfying. While the rest of the city crumbled above him, poor Maximus ended up ruling what was left of Attilan in an underground bunker, with enough supplies to live out his life alone. It was a bit of dramatic irony that I didn't think Inhumans would be able to pull it off.
Sadly, it wasn't enough to redeem what has been a poor show. It was a slog to get through to those final two episodes, which gained direction but failed to ignite the audience. What's worse, it felt cheap; the lack of superpowered characters actually using their powers was countered by bad CGI what the series splashed out. Iron Fist may have its detractors, but it seems Inhumans is the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first true flop.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall when it was dropped from the end of Marvel's phase three slate of movies. And thank God too. Could you imagine what we got capping off what is surely to be an epic showdown in Avengers 4? I think the big screen Marvel got off lightly...