Hello, my name is Ethan Alter and I’m the sole person at Yahoo Entertainment who’s still watching Marvel’s Inhumans. No, this isn’t a cry for help; it’s a conscious choice, and I’m satisfied with it. Not satisfied with the show, mind you. No, Inhumans hasn’t improved very much (if at all) from its two-hour pilot, which deservedly earned across-the-board pans from the rest of my colleagues. Even then, though, I had an inkling I’d be sticking with it. And it’s not because I’m a die-hard Marvel TV zombie; after all, I bailed on ABC’s flagship Marvel series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., way back at the end of its largely terrible first season and never looked back, despite its apparent creative improvement. So what is it about Inhumans that has earned my grudging allegiance? In advance of tonight’s fifth episode, which my DVR is ready and waiting to record, I’ve jotted down five reasons why I’m riding shotgun with Black Bolt and the rest of his Attilan royal family until the bitter end.
1. I’m already halfway through
I’ve watched — or, to be more honest, half-watched — all 22 episodes of Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the entire 13-episode run of Netflix’s Iron Fist. Compared with those endurance tests, completing Inhumans‘ 8-episode arc is the equivalent of a single lap around the jogging track. Heck, I was already a quarter of the way through after finishing the pilot alone, and last week’s episode brought me to the halfway point. Four more weeks seems like an easy sprint, compared to the many miles I had left to go with the resurrected Agent Coulson at this point in S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first season.
2. My new favorite game is “Where’s Lockjaw?”
Marvel famously gave Inhumans a splashy launch, with a pre-premiere IMAX theatrical release designed to showcase its Hawaiian locations and splashy (for TV anyway) special effects. The intended crown jewel of those effects was Lockjaw, a plus-size teleporting pup created entirely via not entirely convincing CGI. Following that premiere, the per-episode budget took a noticeable dip, and rumors flew that Lockjaw would be sent to the doghouse to keep costs down. So far, at least, the canine star is still in the picture, but very rarely on camera.
In the third episode, for example, Lockjaw got injured when a motorcyclist collided with his large frame. (Though considering his size, one would think that the accident would hurt the motorcycle a lot more than Lockjaw.) And last week, that same cyclist, Dave (Chad Buchanan), transported the dog to his barn for a house call by his ex-girlfriend, who also randomly happened to be a veterinarian. Besides sidelining Lockjaw from using his expensive powers, this storyline also allows the show to leave him out of the frame completely while still being a presence. We knew Lockjaw was injured because we hear whimpering from off-camera and, likewise, we knew he was on the mend when the sound of his contended snoring filled Dave’s barn. You gotta give the Inhumans folks credit: It’s hard to hide a 2,000-pound dog, but they’ve found a way.
3. I want to hear Black Bolt’s first words
One could argue that Anson Mount has the easiest job on TV right now, since he doesn’t have to remember any lines to play Black Bolt, who remains silent due to the destructive power of his voice. On the other hand, he does have to always remember to keep his jaw from opening too widely, lest it look like he’s sneaking an accidental whisper or yawn that should theoretically cause a minor sonic boom. (I’m pretty sure I caught him letting out a gasp following that gas tank explosion he helped cause last week.) As the show’s endgame approaches, a face-off between Black Bolt and his usurper on the Attilan throne, Maximus (Iwan Rheon, aka Ramsay Bolton), is inevitable, and that’s where it seems most likely for him to use his super-powered voice, despite Marvel TV head honcho Jeph Loeb’s insistence that the silent act will continue up until the time the credits roll on the final episode. I just hope that Mount’s one and only line this season will be worth the wait. You know, something more creative than, “Hey, look over there! It’s Lockjaw!”
4. I’m holding out for more Lost cameos
Seven years after the end of Lost, we finally know what heavenly paradise the formers residents of Mystery Island visit after they die: the moon-based kingdom of Attilan. At least, that’s where Miles Straume (Ken Leung) ended up, now going by the name of Karnak and in possession of psychic powers. But Leung’s not the only Lost veteran to find his way into the Inhumans-verse. Henry Ian Cusick brings his button-mashing abilities to the guest spot role of geneticist Evan Declan, who appears to have unsuspectingly forged an alliance with Maximus. And then there’s Hawaii itself, with its lush island backdrops arguably serving as the biggest star of both shows. Just think of the Lost-ies that can still drop by before the finale: Nikki and Paulo! Danielle Rousseau! Evangeline Lilly! (Well no, not her. She’s safely ensconced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which prefers to carry on as if these TV adventures don’t exist.) At the very least, I want a very special appearance by the Hatch.
5. It’s still better than Iron Fist!
Between Iron Fist and Inhumans, Scott Buck has the distinction of overseeing two of the least-liked Marvel series so far. In a choice between Black Bolt and Danny Rand, though, it’s not even a close competition: Hail to the king (of Attilan), baby. Watching Inhumans strive to be a Game of Thrones-meets-X-Men hybrid and fall well short is a lot more entertaining than the slogging through Iron Fist‘s weak approximation of classic martial arts movies. Not for nothing, but if Danny can fail upwards into a second season, shouldn’t Black Bolt as well? On second thought, it’s probably best to leave Inhumans as a one-and-done affair. Even I would probably decline Lockjaw’s offer to teleport back to the moon for more adventures.
Marvel’s Inhumans airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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