'Marvel's Inhumans' series premiere recap: 'Once Upon a Time' on the moon

Price Peterson
Writer

Warning: This review of the “Behold … the Inhumans” and “Those Who Would Destroy Us” episodes of Marvel’s Inhumans contains spoilers.

Not so much insanely boring as boringly insane, Marvel’s Inhumans is ABC’s newest series allegedly based on a comic book. I say “allegedly” because I have always had a positive opinion of comic books, and they don’t deserve to take the blame for this thing. A weird combination of expensive-looking and impossibly corny, it is essentially Once Upon a Time meets X-Men but worse than both, and unintentionally hilarious all the way through.

Marvel’s Inhumans premiered with back-to-back episodes, yet there’s only about a half an episode’s worth of story stretched between them. In short: There is a race of superhumans Inhumans who live on the moon, and their royal family gets overthrown in a coup. That’s about it! It’s also the kind of show where characters are constantly telling each other stuff they should already know, and often the funniest moments are just when they say each other’s ridiculous names out loud. But on the upside there is a time-traveling CGI dog and a woman punches a man in the face with her hair. Small but important pleasures to be sure. Let’s talk about the premiere!

We began in the jungles of Oahu, where a girl with yellow eyes is being chased by men with guns! A scary situation for anybody to find themselves in, but she still takes the time to have a calm and casual conversation with the green-headed man who jumped out from the shadows and grabbed her. He is a freakish Inhuman as well, and he is here to help!

Except this exchange of information took so long that the men with guns catch up to them and murder her! And the green-headed man is left with no choice but to jump off a cliff. A PERFECT rescue operation!

Here is the glorious city of Attilan, where the Inhumans live. To you and I it is a nightmarish M.C. Escher painting, all concrete and bad geometry. But to the local residents, it’s 1 million percent better than Earth, and honestly, I understand their point.

It’ss also hidden behind an invisible barrier beyond which nobody on earth can see. Not even primitive Wall-E robots can venture through its force fields! Unfortunately, this robot is promptly stomped on and destroyed on-camera by an Inhuman with hooves, so the residents of Attilan apparently still haven’t mastered the “let’s stay hidden from NASA” strategy yet.

We then meet the king and queen of the Inhumans, a man named Black Bolt (LOL) and his wife, Ginger Cousin Itt. His thing is, he’s mute but very wise and handsome. And her thing is, uh, hair. How very European!

They’re informed of the robot-stomping by their oracle, who are two hooded figures sitting in brackish water controlling a holographic iPad or whatever. We’re three minutes in, and I’m already exhausted.

In addition to Black Bolt (LOL) and Ginger Cousin Itt, we meet Ramsay Bolton (the king’s brother and also an obvious villain because duh) and Karnak, aka Miles from Lost. Joining them is Ginger Cousin Itt’s sister, Princess Crystal, whose main hobbies are spray-painting her hair and hanging out with a giant CGI dog.

But this isn’t just any giant CGI dog — this is Lockjaw, a dimension-traversing abomination. All it has to do is, like, lick somebody and it can take them anywhere in space! The thing is basically LSD on four legs.

We then learn how each Inhuman became an Inhuman: Basically teenagers are locked in boxes, gassed with glowing crystals, and they emerge with some unpredictable mutant power.

This girl grew butterfly wings, while her male friend became psychic. But this raised the question … Was Lockjaw the space-traveling dog originally a human being? Man, this show is low-key horrifying in some ways.

I also dig this guy’s superpower: projecting psychic visions using his eye-projectors. Despite the fact that I’d look like a terrifying ghoul, I wouldn’t mind having this superhuman power. A LOT of strangers and passersby would be watching Tron: Legacy most of the time. Or maybe I Am Number Four when I’m feeling weird.

So then Ramsay Bolton begins his coup, and he started picking off the council of eugenicists who are, I guess, advisers to the king. Meanwhile, remember those guys with guns trying to murder Inhumans in Hawaii? Ramsay had hired them! Basically he wants to first become king and then after that … Honestly I can’t remember. Something about reclaiming Earth? I’m not sure.

Although the space-traveling dog is able to whisk away several of the characters to Hawaii (ABC must still have all its old Lost filming permits still on file there), Ginger Cousin Itt gets momentarily caught up in a hair brawl! She punches folks every which way with those dreads of DREAD. Unfortunately, not even having powerful hair can prevent a coup.

Ramsay Bolton takes some moon buzzers and buzzes off her hair! Ginger Cousin Itt is now just a regular woman who looks super-chic, yes, but she has also lost everything. Let’s not even get into the thousands of dollars in hair products she can no longer use. Fortunately, the dog whisks her away to Hawaii as well. There are worse fates.

We also learn why King Black Bolt (LOL) never speaks. It’s because whenever he does, he emits a super-powerful blast from his mouth. Like the time he spoke toward his parents and LIQUEFIED THEM. A sad and gruesome tragedy for any family to experience. Anyway, that’s why he’s mute now.

When Ramsay puts Doggie Ex Machina to sleep (regular sleep, not veterinarian sleep) it looks like he now has full control of the moon city. Which means his next mission is to seek and destroy the Inhumans who had escaped to Hawaii!

Gorgon, the be-hoofed robot stomper, does what anybody would do in this situation and walks directly into the ocean. Fortunately, he is saved by some local surfers who give him a beer and allow him to discuss his moon planet with a straight face. The crazy thing is, they already knew all about Inhumans because I guess on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. their existence became common knowledge among humans. Which makes it even more insane that (a) the Inhumans need to keep hiding on the moon, and (b) they know absolutely nothing about human culture.

Like, the blond NASA lady whose robot got stomped and who later is able to detect the energy signals of Lockjaw’s transportation service tells her boss about it, and he’s like, “THAT’S CRAZY, YOU’RE FIRED.” So we are meant to believe in a universe where literal aliens have invaded and are stopped by superheroes, he finds it hard to believe her findings? And has to fire her from NASA? This show is so stupid, guys.

Like, so stupid.

At one point Ramsay’s main bodyguard, a sort of female Terminator but unscary, needs to travel to earth and kill the Inhumans, but instead of waking up the space-traveling dog, she consults with a face in the wall who opens up a stone vagina for her to crawl into and be transported to Hawaii. So there has been no shortage of ways for the Inhumans to travel to earth, or at the very least observe it, yet Black Bolt doesn’t know how money or clothes or cops work?

Imagine having a leader who doesn’t know or care about the basic cultures of other world powers. Can you imagine it? Can you?

So then Black Bolt goes and got his ass arrested. On the upside, after he gets Tased he gasps and it flips over a cop car. That was neat! Anyway, he’s in jail now.

The terminator lady finds Ginger Cousin Itt and they have a good, old-fashioned parking lot brawl. But what she didn’t know is, Ginger Cousin Itt had pickpocketed a switchblade off a cowboy while riding the bus. Long story short, terminator lady gets royally SHIVVED. Whoa, did something of importance actually happen in this episode? A major character death?

Except, then she comes back to life, heals herself, and marches onward. Cool.

Verdict: Whoops, gotta go!

I do not recommend that you watch Marvel’s Inhumans. Whatever appeal it has as an outlandish show is ruined by the palpable sense that we’re not in good hands. The writing is bad and boring, not enough happens, and despite how wild the source material might be, none of this feels original or different. In a world where Guardians of the Galaxy can make the wackiest concepts grounded and (intentionally) hilarious, Inhumans is truly a shame. Could it pull an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and become watchable later on down the line? Possibly! For now this is one mutation certain to go extinct.

Marvel’s Inhumans airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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