Tag Archives: iwan rheon

Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on Inhumans

13 Nov

So, friends, we climbed this whole Inhumans and somehow we survived.

We did this for you, you guys. Someone had to watch it so they could tell everyone else what they weren’t missing (or, possibly, what little relevant things they might be missing – spoiler, virtually nothing.)

This was a very bad show about some very bad people (and two good people and a good dog, and a couple of decent people, I guess) and full disclosure, we were drinking through most of it. That was really the only way to do it (the couple of episodes watched without at least some Mike’s were nigh unbearable). So let’s just talk about the people… because there was almost no actual plot between episodes 2-7 that couldn’t have been intuited from actions in episodes 1 and 8. Seriously.

Inhumans follows a colony of, well, Inhumans who live in a special secret city, Attilan, located under a dome that makes them invisible inside a very large crater on the moon. Why did these Inhumans live on the moon? They’d fled Earth for… some reason… after being persecuted…? A long time ago? (Whether or not they knew there were other Inhumans still present on Earth is vague. They learned, but it wasn’t really clear. Why some stayed but some went is also not clear. It couldn’t have been that all the Inhumans who were too unusual-looking to pass for human went to the moon because, uh, terrigenesis created Inhumans who looked unusual on Earth all the time [see also, Gordon, Raina, Lash] and most of the Inhumans who lived on the moon looked normal aside from their terrible fashion choices. You would think they would attempt to explain it. No, not really. You just have to press on.)

These Inhumans are ruled by a monarchy who enforces a completely horrifying caste system based on the usefulness of an individual’s post-terrigenesis gift. There’s none of that “oh, everyone is beautiful and useful” kind of stuff like (pre-antagonist) Jiaying preached to her Inhuman pals at Afterlife in SHIELD season 2. No, these fuckers make terrigenesis a public ceremony held in the throne room, after which someone’s gifts are immediately evaluated by the Genetic Counsel (!!!) and they’re assigned either to an upper-class life or working in the mines. What do they mine on the moon? We have no idea. But they mine something. Apparently without affecting the geology or atmosphere of the moon as a whole.

Those two paragraphs were about the social system instead of the individuals, but trust me, it’s important. It means that going into this world, you don’t have a lot of sympathy for the ruling class. Black Bolt (Anson Mount), the king, is king despite the fact that he murdered the previous king and queen, his parents, on accident with the use of his devastating powers: he generates terrible seismic waves and instant death when he opens his mouth. As a result, he doesn’t speak, which could have been really interesting… if they had, say, gotten an actual mute actor. Or at the very least actually used sign language for his communication. They didn’t. They made up a fake version of sign language, allegedly with a consultant, but it came off highly simplified and more often than not foolish-looking. “I can’t… use ASL because he’s not from [Earth],” Mount apparently said. Well you live on the moon but speak English, why not just use ASL too? This is not the only baffling thing about Black Bolt, though. He is inexplicably more than ten years older than his brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon) in present day despite the fact that they’re virtually indistinguishable in flashbacks. There are almost no scenes indicating any of Black Bolt’s actual capabilities to rule Attilan. There is an eleventh hour reveal that he’s been keeping massive strategy secrets from his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan) and the rest of their family… but after she confronts him once about it, everyone just shrugs and goes on their way. His much-feared gift is used exactly… twice, once in flashbacks of him killing his parents (which, by the way, we find out was after he thought they signed him up for brain surgery, which wasn’t even them, it was his jealous shitbag brother forging their signatures). Oh, and they never said it in the show – but his full name? Is Blackagar Boltagon.

His relationship with Medusa suffers from an exaggerated version of the problem that many MCU relationships suffer from: tell, not show. There is exactly one incredibly uncomfortable scene of the two of them in bed together, Medusa’s famed and prehensile long hair draped over all of their naked bits ‘cause it’s ABC, and it’s not overly sexual but it’s uncomfortable because it just looks so staged. When their Apple Watches ring and interruptus their coitus, it’s honestly a relief. Soon after they’re separated for a bunch of episodes, during which they try to find each other without actually expressing any emotional reasons to long for each other, and then they come back together and it’s just as stiff as it was before. This might be a narrative flaw – we just didn’t have any reasons for why they actually cared about each other. It was also implied that they were an arranged marriage, born out of some weird political something (Medusa’s parents were activists…? Who fought to challenge the class system…? How, we don’t know, but that’s who they were, apparently, and then they died, and somehow Medusa was betrothed to Black Bolt as a… peace offering? In the process also losing any political affinity she had with her parents, mind you – she doesn’t give a damn about the poor miners or whatever until she has to for narrative reasons). How or why this came about isn’t specified.

Medusa herself has the Inhuman gift of the aforementioned prehensile hair. It’s down to the floor and then some, it’s Halloween-store-wig orange, it clashes terribly with the shade of lavender that all of her royal outfits seem to be, and it’s incredibly useful for not only covering naked bits but also picking things up and attacking people… which is why Maximus, in his first-episode coup, has one of his lackeys shave it all off. It’s understandable that Medusa feels anxious about this sudden loss of power… but we as an audience have built up almost zero sympathy for her as a character at this point, so it kind of just seems like all of the hype was a chain-yank. Also, when they shave her head it looks disastrous, but in the next scene she’s got a perfectly-maintained buzz cut and once she’s on Earth she could pass for a perfectly normal woman with a buzz cut and it’s not a big deal? Also, hair grows back, my guy. So she spends seven episodes of the series having no powers, but just walking around getting into Wacky Situations (there’s a beat with an ATM that was funny… when it appeared in Dollhouse ten years ago) and befriending a wacky astrophysicist named Louise (Ellen Woglom) who probably falls in love with her, but gods only know why because she’s not a good person, Medusa. Louise is fine though. She’s one of the decent people. She’s just wacky and Really Adamant that people live on the moon even though her colleagues are like “that’s silly, woman” – good thing Medusa helps her Prove Them Wrong! Kind of. (Medusa doesn’t actually prove this. Medusa proves that her sister Crystal [Isabelle Cornish] has a teleporting dog, but apparently this is proof that there are people on the moon too?) Oh, and they never said it in the show – but her full name? Is Medusalith Amaquelin. (Never mind that THEY ARE ON THE DAMN MOON THERE IS NO REASON FOR THEM TO KNOW ABOUT MEDUSA AND THEREFORE HAVE GIVEN HER THAT APPROPRIATE NAME BECAUSE OF HER HAIR THAT THEY DIDN’T KNOW SHE’D TERRIGENESIS INTO HAVING AS A MAGICAL POWER – but this is a problem with the comics too, not just this disaster show.)

Medusa was also apparently friends with Black Bolt’s brother Maximus. They keep saying that, and show one tiny flashback of their younger selves approximate to each other, but who the hell knows. So many things are thrown into the air on this show but not actually explained.

Maximus, meanwhile, is an even more terrible person. This was pretty much a given considering Iwan Rheon – who my mother says is actually a very nice man and I trust her, but he’s never going to be cast as anything but a shithead ever again. He’s from an Inhuman family, but somehow his terrigenesis turned him… into a regular human…? But since he’s a royal he doesn’t have to work in the mines, he’s just constantly present at court and sulking because everyone thinks less of him for being a human (but also because he’s a bad person). He organizes a coup under the pretense of liberating the miners and overthrowing the caste system, which isn’t a bad idea, but he sends monsters after some Inhumans who traveled to Earth, then attacks his brother and sister-in-law, causing them to teleport to Earth too, then tries to blackmail his sister-in-law’s sister (I have no idea what that makes her familially), then attacks others, uses people in just as bad of a way as the caste system has used them, collaborates with an Earth scientist (in the grand tradition of shit ABC Marvel scientists, a Scot) to study Inhuman powers in a way that causes the scientist to work with murdery techniques, tries to go through terrigenesis again, and threatens to blow up the entirety of Attilan if his brother doesn’t concede to his demands. I’ve probably missed something, but rest assured. He’s a bad person. He doesn’t actually feed people to dogs, nor does he actually rape anyone, but he emotionally does the former and comes damn close to the latter. The best part about him is that his accent is a hilariously awful mishmash of every UK accent imaginable, and it’s fun to punctuate his sentences with a bad impression of him saying “I have an accent.” (When I do this it comes out mostly Scottish.) Oh, and they never said it in the show – but his full name? Is Maximus Boltagon.

And then there’s Crystal, Medusa’s little sister (so little that I originally thought Crystal was Medusa’s daughter – but no, she’s just Medusa’s surrogate daughter since their parents are dead of plot device). Crystal is one of the good people. Crystal just wants to be where the people are, wants to see, wants to see ‘em dancing, etc. There’s actually a scene in the first episode where Crystal is supposed to be at the terrigenesis ceremony and instead is off frolicking with her giant teleporting bulldog Lockjaw (he is the good dog – he is not good animation but he is a very good dog and every time he appears we cooed at him), echoing the opening of The Little Mermaid pretty directly. She also earned the nickname Crystal Swift, because she’s a teenage girl and it’s not her fault and occasionally she’s naive but she’s well-intentioned but sometimes she tries to be angry and it’s funnier than it should be even though I feel for her more than I feel for any of these other assholes. (“The old Crystal can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because she’s DEAD!”) Crystal’s Inhuman power is essentially being the Avatar: she controls the four elements (earth, water, fire, air). Her journey through the series is learning that humans (gasp) don’t suck entirely, and exploring Earth, sort of. She also explores a generic surfer, but later when Medusa asks her about this, if she misses him or regrets leaving him, her answer is “…I guess.” She’s a good person who actually makes active efforts to help people. And as mentioned, she has the best stupid giant dog. Oh, and they never said it in the show – but her full name? Is Crystalia Amaquelin. (I realized how dumb this was, because literally terrigenesis is achieved through terrigen crystals, so her parents were the most uncreative ever… but then again, in the comics Crystal and Pietro Maximoff have a daughter who they name Luna because she [like other Inhumans, apparently] was born on the moon. So I guess that’s just a thing.)

The other good character is Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), who unfortunately suffers from “mythical kind gentle simple big black man” syndrome. (He’s not black in the comics, so I’m sure they thought they were being diverse… but it was a poor decision. Gorgon literally has hooves.) He’s a big sweetie and befriends a bunch of Hawaiian surfers, learning lessons about why friendship is magic… which is sure something he hadn’t learned before, because his closest relationship is with his “cousin” Karnak (Ken Leung) – they’re also allegedly cousins of the royal family, which is never explained, despite Gorgon being black, Karnak being Asian, and the other royals being outstandingly white. It’s fine, I’m all for diversity, but it’s also another plothole. Karnak is clearly in something like love with Gorgon, despite regularly sleeping with and insulting women all around Attilan and also finding a marijuana-growing nonsequitorial fuckbuddy in Hawaii, but he’s also an insufferable douchebag. He’s rude to most people, inexplicably including Gorgon who he also severely cares for, and it’s implied that this is because his Inhuman gift is essentially that he’s magical Sherlock Holmes. Like, BBC Sherlock, with the stupid imaginary mind palace shit.  He also tried to resurrect Gorgon after Gorgon’s incredibly unfortunate death (which also made minimal sense because you’d think an Inhuman capable of great feats of strength would not be killed by a heavy impact, but whatever) by putting him through a second terrigenesis, which was exactly what the royals were trying to prevent Maximus from doing to himself because it would be incredibly dangerous and not end well. Spoiler, it didn’t. Gorgon went from friendly buddy to… barely coherent rage monster, so one bad stereotype to an even worse one. But it’s not his fault.

There are countless other things about this show that are worthy of dragging. (Inhuman side characters named Bronaja, Loyolis, and Iridia! Countless holes in mythology! Way too much brutality against Inhumans, including those of color like poor Auran [Sonya Balmores], Maximus’ head soldier – she wasn’t a good person, really, but her regenerative gift made her basically cannon fodder a lot of the time and it was uncomfortable. Etc.) But all you need to know is this: there were some Inhumans on the moon. They were mostly bad. Now they all live in Hawaii because Ramsay Bolton blew up their secret space city in a hissy fit.

Let’s hope nobody but Crystal and Lockjaw ever resurface in any other properties.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Television Tuesday :: a season 6 wrap-up.

5 Jul

Game of Thrones‘ season six was… well, it was pretty all right. I mourn my sweet gay babies Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones), bless them, but overall I am not disappointed and after last year’s mess that’s something, anyway? The requisite list of positives.

11. Davos (Liam Cunningham) finding out about Shireen (Kerry Ingram).
As y’all know, Shireen being murdered was my least favorite thing to happen in season five, and that’s saying quite a lot. So I guess it was a form of catharsis to see Davos finally find out what happened to his favorite girl and get really, truly mad about it. (I also liked that when Jon [Kit Harington] found out he didn’t have Melisandre [Carice van Houten] killed immediately but instead sent her on her way with a warning.)

10. Lyanna freaking Mormont (Bella Ramsey).
What a brilliant, scene-stealing kid. I had never seen her before in my life but my reaction after her first scene was “I’m so proud of her!” Boy howdy I love Mormont women just about as much as I don’t give a damn about the most prominent Mormont man.

9. Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray).
I actually quite liked the Horn Hill scenes, just overall; I liked how nice Sam’s mom and sister were, I liked how awkward Gilly was changing her clothes for the first time ever, I liked how Sam and Gilly both stood up to Sam’s jerk dad, I like how the power of love prevailed. And I really liked the Citadel library, sidenote.

8. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson).
I just really like these two. I was not a big fan of all of the treading water that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) had to do or how pointless most of his scenes felt, and in turn many of Missandei and Grey Worm’s, but Missandei and Grey Worm themselves are always wonderful. I really like how Missandei had no time for Tyrion’s bullshit plans and made no secret of that. I really like how the two of them spent most of the season dressed like dominatrixes/the male version thereof. I also really like that Missandei always calls him by his name in Valryian. That makes me smile a lot.

7. The Dornish matriarchy overhaul.
We had a beautiful moment with Ellaria queen (Indira Varma) and the Sand Snakes (Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) in the first episode, one cursory mention around 6.03 or 6.04 of the fact that they’d taken over Dorne, and then treaty negotiations with Olenna (Diana Rigg) in the finale. We didn’t see much of this matriarchy overhaul, but I support it fully. This puts me in the minority and I don’t give a single damn.

6. Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Jon.
Sansa and Jon really didn’t have a relationship before they went their separate ways in season one, but their reuniting was beautiful and their relationship development has been fascinating. The obvious thing to say is that it’s an indicator of Sansa’s increased maturity; it’s also giving her a chance to finally be volatile in productive-to-the-plot ways. Fucking Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is not looking to make this a happy ending, but it’s really interesting right now.

5. Sansa and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie).
Yes. This did not disappoint, Brienne’s loyalty is overwhelming, and I’m glad they at least still have each other.

4. Sansa and misandry.
One of the most brilliant moments this entire season was just Sansa’s facial reactions to Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) being killed by his dogs. Another thing I liked was when she yelled at Jon for not involving her in battle plans even though she knew about Ramsay more than any of them did. I also really liked her reaction to fucking Littlefinger’s completely unsurprising but nasty fantasy scenario: hand on the chest for stop, don’t touch me there, then “it’s a pretty picture” dripping disdain as she walked away. Sansa Stark is done with men and it’s beautiful.

3. Feast for Crows Cersei (Lena Headey).
Otherwise known as: I have been waiting for the Cersei I know from her POV chapters to finally get to show up and that Cersei is insane. Unfortunately, Benioff and Weiss seem too concerned with making the Lannisters sympathetic at times to allow them to be as interesting as in the books, so it was a long time coming for the full reveal. But now, after doing some horrible things and having some horrible things happen as a consequence, the Iron Throne is sat by completely bonkers Cersei, Darth Cersei, Mad Queen Cersei. I’m thrilled and Lena is going to do a great job.

2. The Targaryen-Greyjoy-Martell-Tyrell alliance.
I mean, I’m not keen on the fact that it had to come partially because of Margaery and Loras’ death, but “so Yara goes to Meereen, right, and she hooks up with Dany, and then Varys goes to get the Martells in on it because they have a thing with the Targaryens, and then the Tyrells come too because they’re awesome” sounds… not unlike some of my personal ideal scenarios. The show has less lady-kissing in this alliance (because Margaery is dead now and never confirmed queer, because they haven’t mentioned Nym being bisexual in the show yet, etc.) but it’s still happening.

1. Dany (Emilia Clarke) and Asha-Yara (Gemma Whelan).
But there might be lady-kissing here! It’s now canon that Asha-Yara likes girls (and she didn’t die!) and both actresses have mentioned that there is some definite flirtation going on between these two. They bantered about why Dany should accept these Greyjoys’ offer of ships and alliance, which is because Euron’s offer would come with marriage demands. “And I imagine your offer is free of any marriage demands?” Dany banters. “I never demand, but I’m up for anything really,” Asha-Yara declares, in a conversation that does sound just as Sapphic as my fantasy endings. I don’t know how this is going to go but dear gods let it go right. Because, quoth poor lost Doreah, “love comes in at the eyes,” and those two were making significant eyes at each other. (Also, Dany broke up with Daario [Michiel Huisman] spectacularly.)

–your fangirl heroine.

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