The warring Inhumans try their hand at a peace conference before the final showdown
Credit: Karen Neal/ABC

Ahead of next week’s finale, the newest Inhumans episode gave us not one but multiple dress rehearsals for what is sure to be a climactic confrontation.

But before we get into that, we must concede that Inhumans finally addressed one of my long-running hobbyhorses regarding this show. That’s right, folks: Triton’s back! You might be asking, “who’s Triton?” And, well, you should! The answer is that he’s a green fish-man played by Mike Moh. Even though he is one of the main characters of the Inhumans franchise, a royal cousin of Black Bolt and Gorgon and the rest, so far Triton has only shown up in the first five minutes of the pilot before immediately disappearing. It was unclear whether he’d actually been killed or just, I don’t know, retreated into the sea to lick his wounds. Turns out it was the latter!

After mourning Gorgon’s death, Black Bolt brings his friends to the beach, where Triton triumphantly emerges from the water. He and Black Bolt apparently agreed on this meeting point if his mission on Earth went south, but it sure did take a long time. Like, Triton’s sad to hear about Gorgon, but maybe he could’ve helped with that if he hadn’t just spent the last few days swimming around in the ocean for no reason! But hey, I’m not an alien royal, so what do I know? I’m just saying, I don’t blame any viewers who have no memory of this character. Luckily, Triton gets a pretty cool action sequence toward the end of the episode to make up for it.

In the meantime, I’m not even the only one mad about Triton’s fake-out. Medusa is also angered to learn that her husband has been lying to her. When Black Bolt hits her with yet ANOTHER surprise — a secret bunker on Attilan that Lockjaw can teleport them into without Maximus’ knowledge — Medusa draws a line in the sand. She says she doesn’t just want to be Black Bolt’s interpreter; she wants to take an active role in their rule. Credit to Serinda Swan; especially in the last few episodes, she’s really put this show on her back. As the Triton debacle shows, this show’s plotting and pacing is rather confused. Her ability to ground Medusa in real emotions has been a much-needed plus, even if she still doesn’t have any of her hair. Literally, what is the point of making a show about Medusa without using her hair? It’s like, I don’t know, making an Inhumans show where Black Bolt never uses his voice.

Now that Lockjaw is up and running again, it’s become a lot easier for the Inhumans to cycle between Earth and Attilan. In the wake of Gorgon’s death, Black Bolt and company actually come back to the moon for an official parley with Maximus. Silent as he is, it’s clear by now that Black Bolt wants nothing more than to kill Maximus, even as Medusa’s been arguing against it (“think about what kind of ruler you want to be”). Medusa’s argument definitely gets the edge in this specific situation. As Maximus points out, killing him in front of the Attilan public at a peace meeting would certainly not be the best way for Black Bolt to get back in the Attilan people’s good graces. Nevertheless, the deposed king vows that the next time he and his brother meet, he’ll kill him.

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Karnak, meanwhile, is engaged in an experiment to see whether death is even permanent at all. After learning what Declan and Maximus planned to do together — namely, splicing DNA from different Inhumans so that Maximus can undergo Terrigenesis again and actually get powers this time — Karnak comes up with his own twist on it. He wants to use Auran’s DNA, put in a Terrigenesis chamber with Gorgon’s body, and see if her rapid-healing genes can bring his best friend back to life. It doesn’t appear to work, and the two of them flee before Maximus and his cohort arrive.

But at least Maximus’ plans aren’t any better than Karnak’s. He wanted his second Terrigenesis to be like his first, a ceremony surrounded by his family and other people he loves, but now he’s standing in a dark basement with a human scientist he just met. Not great, Bob!

While Declan takes time to work out the kinks in their experimental science, Maximus heads back to his quarters — where his posse is ambushed by Triton, wearing a badass hood and wielding two knives. Those blades are put to good use slicing apart Maximus’ entire entourage, though when Triton ends up face-to-face with his real foe in an abandoned building, he ditches them for a good old-fashioned fistfight. He’s good with fisticuffs too, and in short order beats the crap out of Maximus. Maximus has political power, but not much else, and after conscripting or killing most of his loyalists, he’s losing even that. But it turns out he does have one last failsafe. When Black Bolt arrives, Maximus says that he installed a device that will destroy Attilan if he’s killed. No way to know if he’s bluffing or not, but for now, Black Bolt holds back. I’m sure Medusa will be happy with that.

Before the episode ends, Declan is greeted by none other than Gorgon — emerged from his Terrigenesis chamber, the former fun-loving captain of the guard is now just breathing heavily and growling as he approaches Declan. Last week, I complained about Inhumans using its primary black character as the plot’s sacrificial lamb. I’m gonna go ahead and say that bringing him back as a mindless barbarian would somehow make this even worse. Guess we’ll see how it all comes together next week!

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Marvel's Inhumans
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