Friday, November 3, 2017

Ethics Save The Otherwise Unimpressive "Havoc In The Hidden Land"

The Good: Serinda Swan's acting and Medusa's character, Good pacing
The Bad: Character elements fail to resonate because of their context (or lack thereof) in the larger story, Predictable plot, Generic villain and hero
The Basics: "Havoc In The Hidden Land" moves Inhumans towards its logical conclusion with a good sense of ethics for Medusa and a weird wrinkle in the attempt to resurrect Gorgon.

As Inhumans lopes toward its conclusion, the show is going in a pretty obvious direction. The plot, much like that of any of the Marvel Comics films, is pretty formulaic. Inhumans set up an adversary (Maximus), isolated the heroes (sending Medusa and Black Bolt, with most of the Attilan Royal Family to Hawaii) and while the villain is consolidating his power, the heroes are slowly coming together and learning what they want to stand for. All of this is leading, in the most predictable way possible, to an inevitable conflict between the heroes and the villain and "Havoc In The Hidden Land" makes the penultimate moves for both sides.

"Havoc In The Hidden Land" picks up where "The Gentleman's Name Is Gorgon" (reviewed here!) left off and it is impossible to talk about the new episode without references to what came before. After all, the prior episode climaxed with the death of Gorgon and the Attilan Royal Family being fully reunited, while Maximus cleaned house on the moon of those who resist his authority.

Maximus's supporters in Hawaii are fleeing through the jungle when Crystal and Lockjaw head them off. Dr. Declan informs Medusa and Black Bolt of exactly why he was working for Maximus. The next morning, Black Bolt decides to send a message to Maximus and he has Karnak kill Auran. Crystal and Lockjaw take Maximus's forces back to Attilan and calls for a parlay. Medusa makes an impassioned plea to Black Bolt to spare Maximus's life.

Returning to the moon, Medusa is furious to learn that Black Bolt had prepared for a coup by Maximus, up to and including having a massive, well-stocked, bunker below the palace. Auran resurrects and when she discusses Maximus's motivations, she becomes unsettled by his desire to undergo terrigenesis a second time to become Inhuman again. During the parlay, Medusa gives Maximus the terms - the Royals will turn over Declan so Maximus may undergo terrigenesis in exchange for the throne back. Once Declan is freed and in his possession, Maximus reneges. Maximus tries to convince Declan to let him pick and choose the powers he wants to receive through his second terrigenesis, but Declan is resistant. Karnak wants to use a process similar to Declan's research to resurrect Gorgon through a second terrigenesis, but Black Bolt rejects the idea. So, Karnak goes rogue and approaches Auran to try to bring Gorgon back.

"Havoc In The Hidden Land" might resonate more if the characters on Inhumans had been given enough time to grow and develop early on in the series. The death of Gorgon and the return of Triton - who survived the attack upon him - might have seemed significant if they had been developed enough for the viewer to care about either of them. Triton's return especially lacks impact because he was killed so early in the series.

Medusa is given an impressive arc in "Havoc In The Hidden Land." Medusa makes an ethical argument and it is a good argument. The bulk of Medusa's early scenes in "Havoc In The Hidden Land" have Medusa being legitimately upset by being kept out of the loop for Black Bolt's many plans. Medusa's outrage is very human and it is one of the few moments in Inhumans that the viewer might be able to empathize with the characters. Serinda Swan rules "Havoc In The Hidden Land" with her performance of Medusa.

The final sequence of "Havoc In The Hidden Land" is well-choreographed, but not particularly well-directed. Triton's powers are not made clear, so his combat abilities come across as unremarkable, as opposed to an Inhuman power. That said, Anson Mount's performance in his final scene of the episode is well-directed, well-executed and does everything that he possibly can for playing a character who has to show restraint in being mute.

Ultimately, "Havoc In The Hidden Land" is one of the better episodes of Inhumans, despite it continuing the trend of being more obvious and formulaic than it is interesting.

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Marvel's Inhumans - The Complete First Season, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the premiere season of Inhumans here!


For other Marvel Cinematic Universe reviews, please visit my MCU Review Index Page for a relativistic listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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