The Gifted’s first season wrapped up, so I belatedly powered my way through the last half of Inhumans. (Surely more readers are interested in how that ended now than ever before!) Now I can accurately contrast their conclusions in my follow up to the comparison of their premieres. If you don’t like reading words, you can scroll all the way down for a summary GIF. SPOILERS & legitimutantly bonkers fan theories away!
The Gifted is surprisingly effective at showing how desperate the Mutant Underground is without Xavier’s funding. They’re forced into positions of colluding with crimesters & the Hellfire Club. Whenever X-Men & related groups go on the lam in the comics, they somehow manage to keep the moral high ground, so this was an interesting change of pace.
In a lesser story, there would be a false flag attack by either Trask Industries or the Hellfire Club to make them look dishonorable. They don’t need one because both sides are already justified in being at war. (Keeping the 7/15 tragedy as mysterious as possible would be best.) Here there really was attack by mutants at The Convention to Destroy All Mutants.
As much as the show keeps saying that the Hellfire Club (conflated with the Brotherhood of
Evil Mutants thanks to X-Men: First Class & that brief period where Magneto was a member in the comics) is wrong because non-bigoted humans could be collateral damage, they haven’t really presented us with any (except Carmen the crimestress). The ones we’ve met are biased since they’re Fenris-2’s family. Humanity has a very united front in comparison to the mutants. The Purifiers, who should’ve been around since William Stryker in X-Men 2, finally exist in live action. I’m surprised we didn’t see the Friends of Humanity at the Mutant Final Solution convention too. Where are the pro-mutant humans? The Hellfire Club could escalate things but the deck is stacked enough against mutantkind with the Mutant Underground being stuck in ineffective defense mode. The penultimate episode in an object lesson in them snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Will we meet a third faction in the MLF next?
The Struckers remain the weak link. It should be interesting to see how a family gets swept up into the mutant-human race war, but the Struckers are too bland even with their secret history. I’d much rather see Thunderbird & Blink get fleshed out more. Fenris as the most powerful mutants on the planet is ridiculous in terms of the source material, but they have to make the most of whatever character they’re allowed to use. (They got a lot more mileage out of
Beautiful Dreamer than the comics too. Campbell should’ve turned her into a Hound like Pulse instead of wasting her.) I like how their powers are visualized, but even that doesn’t redeem the Wonder Non-Twins much. I’d rather have original Fenris around for more than just a flashback. Fenris 2.0’s ultimate buddy system of destruction kept being teased much like Black Bolt’s sonic scream. Thankfully there were plenty of other quality powers happening in the meantime. When Fenris II finally does unleash their power, it vaporizes the entire Mutant Underground headquarters! Now that they’ve split up, do we have to call Andy “DeStruct-O?”
Dr. Campbell didn’t even lose a leg when Otto Strucker went Kamehameha? How’s he going to become Ahab without at least a peg leg? He’s not a deep character, but I like how laid back Garret Dillahunt plays him. His work on mutie twins to decipher how to link unrelated Hounds for power combos was ingenious. Didn’t he say the Weapon X base was in British Columbia (where there is a real city named Alkali Lake) whereas the fictional Alkali Lake facility was in Alberta? His plane exploded (Graydon Creed should get the late Senator Montez’s seat), but the smart money says he miraculously survived & will be rebuilt as a purple cyborg that throws electrified harpoons. That’s my main criterion for character selection anyways.
Campbell’s Kick-infused Hounds were less conspicuous (but more boring) with just wrist ink instead of clad in studded latex bondage suits with full face tattoos. Next season we could see Rachel “The Phoenix Who Didn’t Go Dark” Grey-Summers pop back from the future sporting that very look, provided the powers that be let anybody from the Summers clan show up (especially since she’d step on her half-brother’s cinematic toes). It’s more likely that that’ll swap in Polaris’s & Eclipse’s kid, who may be named Aurora (I love it when they make auroras!) for its version of Days Of Future Present. They might as well have her give birth to everyone’s favorite mutie twins (now that Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver got their X-Genes retconned out), Aurora & Northstar! Quebecois accents would be mandatory, of course.
The Most Valuable Mutant remains Emma Dumont’s Polaris. This series is her supervillainess origin story, although her radicalization feels like the right call given the human opposition’s accelerating plans. I was unsure about her being pregnant, but it galvanized her resolve not to be passive. Lorna holsters cutlery on her thigh because she’s hardcore! Seeing as how the jet she exploded (reminiscent of the plane crash her folks died in the comics) was private, her the bodycount for killing off two big enemies to mutantkind wasn’t that large. She became this song! It’s kind of amusing of, much like how Legion dealt with Professor X, they strongly hint at but don’t actually say Magneto is her dad. (I prefer it when he’s not, & her decision would be even stronger if her parentage wasn’t a factor.) In the last scene she’s wearing a choker as a nod to that long period she was possessed by Malice without actually being mind controlled (unless they need a cheap redemption retcon). All hail The Mistress Of Magnetism!
I didn’t expect to be so excited about seeing The Stepford Cuckoos in action. They’re super effective! Out of five, they picked the three twins whose initials spell ESP. (Coincidentally George Price coined the name Professor X in 1955 while debunking ESP.) It’s great they’re taking a proactive stance against anti-mutant politicians. It’s what Emma Frost should’ve been pragmatic enough to do in the comics. I guess we are getting a Hellfire Club TV series after all!
Although it took them too long to find the Mutant Underground’s local hub (I wonder if fear-projecting
leucistic Nightcrawler Pedro was going to be Caliban before some realized three would be a crowd), Sentinel Services are shockingly competent. It’s nice to have worthy adversaries. The Droideka Sentinels may be more effective (albeit less interesting looking) than regular models. Jace Turner’s hunch in protecting the power plant servicing Trask Industries paid off! His seige of the Underground HQ would’ve worked too if it wasn’t for those meddling Fenris kids! Now that he’s resigned to spite red tape, could Turner become X-Cutioner (since they haven’t introduced Carl Denti)?
It got renewed for season 2! I was worried the Disney-Fox merger might’ve been its death-knell. (Disney has, however, scrambled the release dates of Deadpool 2, The New Mutants, & Gambit to maximize profits. If Jack Kesy is Black Tom in DP2, it’ll make him being in Juggernaut more noteworthy. Since Gambit lost another one, at this point the only director capable of wrangling it is Terry Gilliam.) How many more Gotham guest stars will The Gifted grab?
The Gifted started out pretty paint by numbers, but I’m glad it’s blossomed as the season progressed. The Struckers, banal exposition, & a lack of costumes are still its shortcomings. (As good as the special effects have been, everybody who’s not Goth Polaris looks so generic.) Showrunner Matt Nix clearly loves using obscure characters as much as the CW’s DC series, so I’m hoping it gets even deeper & bigger next season. After all, it did feature Evangeline Whedon, the lawyer who turns into a crimson dragon! It may not be quite as good as Legion yet, but I’m glad we have two complementary shows. Long may their televisual X-Genes synergize!
It must’ve been wonderful for all the actors involved in Inhumans to be paid to go to Hawaii. Unfortunately the trade off was they had to be in Inhumans. It’s the show that was sold based on its superpowered protagonists that goes out of its way to not have its protagonists use those powers. This was only eight episodes yet still felt too long. Was it an elaborate practical joke to make The Gifted look even better? While it improved slightly after its premiere, even The Gifted’s most wheel-spinning moments felt more engaging than Inhumans in top gear. Inhumans was bad, & the royal family should feel bad.
Maximus is painted as a villain because of his self-interest, but all he wants is a do-over on his Terrigenesis. (I went through Terrigeneis, & all I got was bombogenesis.) Their refusal to give it to him drove him mad. (Meanwhile Karnak unilaterally resurrects Gorgon with a second Terrigenesis. Then Gorgon kills Dr. Henry Ian Cusick so his groundbreaking Terrignesis research is lost.) Even his right hand traitor, Auran, doesn’t support his Inhuman actualization. The other royals claim to put their subjects’ needs first, but it was Maximus that actually changed Inhuman society for the better. Furthermore his kin’s first act upon their return was to sabotage Attilan’s utilities to make him look bad, whereas he goes to investigate these disturbances instead of immediately prceeding with his Terrigenesis. He abolished slavery & the Genetic Council plus destroyed Attilan’s shield ensuring that Inhumans would colonize the the more bounteous Earth. (Who designed that dome to progressively lose power if it ever dips below 100%?) Then the royals who would’ve been content with the status quo had he not forced their hands take all the credit. Inhumans is the tragedy of Maximus Boltagon.
The supposed heroes’ motivations for changing Attilan’s society don’t feel any nobler. The Inhuman royals’ opinion of humans improves when they meet ones who they fall in love with or follow their commands (such as the gun-toting surfer vets & discount Felicity Smoak). Karnak only becomes more empathetic due to personality altering brain damage. Why wasn’t Santa Clarita Diet’s (made by Victor Fresco, which is what winners paint into walls) Liv Hewson cast as Crystal instead of a jilted veterinarian? She’s much more likable than prissy Isabelle Cornish. The actress playing young Medusa is named V.I.P. Maybe her full name is Valerie Irons Protection?
Triton obviously didn’t die because he fell into the ocean after being shot. Of course if a person got shot underwater they wouldn’t heal once they got onto dry land, but that’s how comic book science works for fish men even if they’re not sexy. The nameless Inhuman played by Nicola Peltz that was gunned down alongside him died, however, as karma for The Last Airbender.
This conclusion was so anticlimactic. After all the build-up to Maximus’s second Terrigenis, it doesn’t happen. We don’t learn whether the Genetic Council’s dire prohibition against it was warranted. There isn’t even a twist where Maximus was always Inhuman but it was an undetected psionic power. I expected Black Bolt would do something impressive with his sonic scream in the finale like shattering Attilan’s dome. Or at least pit him against the other Inhuman of mass destruction,
Xorn Mordis (who was imprisoned for not being of royal blood). Instead his voice just knocks some rocks down to seal his brother inside his Moon bunker cell. The King of the Inhumans got outclassed by a pair of whiny teens!
Another cause of Maximus’s inferiority complex is that Black Bolt broke his childhood vow to abdicate the throne to him. Black Bolt was pressured into becoming King of Attilan because his elders told him only his power could stop a possible invasion. This isn’t a great justification for anybody to be king. Black Bolt decided not to warn the rest of his family of this looming invasion by an unknown force. With Attilan in ruins, the point is pretty moot. Look forward to this season two hook never being resolved.
We should consider Inhumans to be the terrible fifth season of Agents of SHIELD so its current season has better odds of being great. (Between it & The 100, is Eve Harlow becoming typecast as too noble to survive dystopian futures? Next series she needs to ride into the post-apocalyptic sunset atop a sedan chair made from the bones of outsiders that asked for her help.) With any luck there will be no second season of Inhumans, & there will be much rejoicing. Should any of its dangling plot threads wind up being woven into SHIELD, all you need to know is that the lunar Inhumans relocated to Earth. I just saved you eight hours of terrible television! Although if they can give this guy armadillo arms, there shouldn’t be a problem getting lion paws for Griffin. SHIELD could always use a cow-dog.
In summation, this GIF encapsulates The Gifted vs. Inhumans: