Welcome back to my weekly breakdown of Inhumans, where I try to make sense of this quite divisive show. You probably know by now that I am not the biggest fan of this Scott Buck-ed up program, but as an MCU completionist, I feel the need to get through it anyway. So let’s try to have fun with it, right?
“Karnak The Magnificent Weed Farmer”
So let me start off by saying that I almost totally forgot to watch this episode. Granted, I had a busy weekend, and the Friday timeslot is not ideal—but also, I didn’t really want to. But I promised during my last breakdown that I’d continue on with the show, as I must see this absurd Karnak weed farm subplot through. It has go somewhere remotely interesting, right?
I want to believe.
Maximus Makes a Little More Sense
To the show’s credit, it is making some decent movements with the arc and character motivations of Maximus. As far as we know, Max really does have some strong feelings about the caste system and meritocracy, but many of his actions stem from this inferiority complex, and from his friends turning his back on him after his botched Terrigenesis. Here, we see Max actively trying to fix what he believed to be mistakes from the past. There does seem to be a bit of repetition, however—the second episode had Maximus and Auran off the head of the Genetic Council, and in this episode, Max takes the next step of… getting rid of the rest of the Genetic Council.
I only wish that this business relationship he had with Desmond from Lost (I really do not feel like looking up his character’s name) made any sort of sense whatsoever. How did they get into contact with each other? Why does Desmond trust this mysterious benefactor he’s never seen or met, who now tried to convince him to literally murder a man? Does Desmond not seem suspicious that this alien communicator he is using does not appear of that world? Like the revelation that the mercenaries from episode 1 are in cahoots with Maximus, this plot twist comes early yet barely contextualizes anything we’ve seen from the show, making it confusing and a bit pointless. And you’d think that Black Bolt and his prison buddy would try to escape maybe after say, finding that communicator and becoming suspicious, but instead they find some random bottle of “poison?” Sure.
Getting Trouble With the Police Seems to Be a Big Theme In This Show
Like husband, like wife. This week, instead of “MAN ATTACKS COPS,” we have Medusa getting into ridiculous high speed chases with the fuzz, and escaping in completely and utterly tensionless pursuit scenes. (Small detail, but I could not stop laughing at Louise running away while holding a roller bag.) Medusa and Louise are not a pair that I particularly enjoy; their dynamic isn’t very interesting, and I don’t see room for this relationship to grow. It doesn’t help that Louise is completely unbearable as a character. While the story of her father did somewhat resonate with me, Ellen Woglom unfortunately totally overacts with gestures and facial expressions—her neurotic personality makes her come across like a reject from a Woody Allen movie.
And what was with those ten second Medusa flashbacks? Please. Those flashbacks of young Medusa and Crystal were showing us things that were literally just described, and if the purpose of those was to add subtext and texture to the character drama, I think the writers take “show, don’t tell” way, way too literally. You are trying to enrich your characters and their arcs, and spelling everything out to the audience with a giant neon sign instead of letting your own dialogue and your performers convey those emotions successfully is not only a waste of time, but probably your production budget as well. But hey, everyone on set is just glad to be working, I guess.
What is Everyone Else Doing in This Show?
Gorgon literally did nothing in this episode. Here’s a summary of his plot thread: “You guys aren’t safe here with me, you have to go!” “No, we’re staying with you.” “You guys aren’t safe here with me, you have to go! “No, we’re staying with you.” “Okay, bye guys.” Really. Not to mention, I love how now we understand why Lockjaw screwed the pooch (heh) on teleporting everyone to the same place, with a late and contrived explanation of his “sloppiness.” And what B-movie is Crystal suddenly in? Jeez, who the hell cares about this ATV dude and his ex-girlfriend vet? (Yes, I know I promised deeper analysis other than “This sucks!” but this episode isn’t giving me much to work with.) So what are the Inhumans eventually supposed to learn from their unplanned Hawaiian vacation? Humility?
Or perhaps… love.
Yeah, our boy Karnak got some in this one. How it happened, I have absolutely no idea. When they first showed Karnak and Lady Weed Farmer bonding Patrick-Swayze-in-Ghost-style cutting goddamn plants, I worried that this would lead to a pointless romantic subplot that would culminate near the end of the season. But the show wasted no time, as the next scene with the pair had them holding hands, stripping to their underwear and swimming while a hilarious cheesy love song played in the background (I swear, this was actually happening in a Marvel show). Our Liam Neeson-lookalike, dressed up as Nathan Drake from Uncharted, creepily looks from afar as Lady Weed Farmer smooches our favorite tattooed Inhuman. “Why did you do that?” he asks, as I do as well. Karnak from the very beginning has showed a lack of social ineptitude, and to a normal human, he probably just comes across as a weird, confused, joyless nerd. So why this woman would want to have tent sex with him after knowing this guy for less than a day is probably the biggest mystery in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. It’s probably the blazing Hawaiian heat that got to her.
Oh also, Nathan-Drake-Liam-Neeson killed the other weed farmer dude for no real reason. More artificial conflict, coming your way! A strange ending to an overall lousy episode.
An Important Request to You, Dear MCUEx Reader: Someone please, please find that Karnak beach song. Is it stock music? Did someone one staff write and compose that song just for that scene? Did they steal it from a lame porno?
The Culprits of This Episode: Director David Straiton helmed two season 1 episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Meanwhile, writer Wendy West seems to be an old colleague of Scott Buck, as a writer for Dexter. Further supporting evidence of my “Scott Buck is the Adam Sandler of the MCU” parallel from my previous breakdown.
Triton Watch: Jeez, I don’t even think he was mentioned at all during this episode. Gorgon, my dude, you remember why you touched down on Earth in the first place, right?
Best Part of the Episode: “At times, he exhibits clear sociopathological symptoms.” “He’s a New Yorker.”
Am I watching the next episode?: I would have otherwise said “no,” but I could have sworn that I saw Karnak karate chop a bullet in the preview for the next episode. So, yes.