Marvel's Inhumans: Medusa's Hair Explained

Last month, Marvel's Inhumans, which was c0-financed by the IMAX Corporation and featured its first two hours filmed with IMAX cameras, debuted in IMAX movie theaters amidst scathing reviews and an overall tepid fan response. Nevertheless, the eight-episode series premiered in its Friday night slot on ABC at 8 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2017, before moving to its regular 9 p.m. timeslot the following week. Whether the fan response for the series will be a little more positive this time around is anyone's guess, however.

In those first two episodes of Inhumans, it's safe to say it's safe to say no one suffers quite like Medusa (Serinda Swan). The Queen of the Inhumans and wife of Black Bolt (Anson Mount) is one of the more prominent Inhumans introduced in the series. The show tells the tale of the Royal Family that rules over a population of genetically altered beings based in Attilan, a hidden city on the moon. The crux of the series involves a power struggle for control of the Inhumans' throne as Maximus (Iwan Rheon), the brother of Black Bolt, plots a revolution to overthrow his entire family and install himself as the new king.

Maximus takes control of the Inhumans' army and quickly plays his hand.  Instead of getting captured or killed, Black Bolt, Medusa, the royal counselor and strategist Karnak (Ken Leung), and the Captain of the Royal Guard Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor) all flee to the safety of Earth, specifically, Oahu, Hawaii. This is all thanks to Lockjaw, the Inhumans' giant teleporting dog. Meanwhile, Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), the princess, is held captive in Attilan. Though the Royal Family are now thousands of miles away from their lunar home and scattered throughout Oahu, they are all relatively unharmed, except for Medusa. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't just deposed by Maximus, she was cruelly deformed as he targeted what would hurt her the most—her mane of prehensile red hair.


Medusa has one of the most unusual superpowers of any comic book character. When she was exposed to the Terrigen Mists, her Inhuman power manifested as having complete psychokinetic control over her hair. Medusa can use her hair to perform several amazing feats: she can expand it to twice its normal length and it can lift over a ton in weight. Medusa can control the movement of every strand of her hair allowing her to use it like a whip or rope to completely wrap around someone. Her control over her hair is so precise, she can even perform delicate feats with it like typing, picking a lock, threading a needle, or shuffling a deck of cards. Medusa has also shown the ability to rotate her hair to create buffeting wind like a fan.

Those are the just some of the countless abilities the comic book version of Medusa has been known to display, but with its limited television budget, Inhumans struggled to replicate Medusa's fantastic abilities with CGI. In the one scene where Medusa uses her hair in battle, only a fraction of what her hair is supposed to be able to do is shown. Adding to the existing list of problems with Inhumans, this may have been too daunting for live action, which must be one of the reasons why the creative decision to have Maximus force Medusa to shed her signature body part was made.


Before he played his hand and executed his palace coup, Maximus took advantage of a meditating Black Bolt sealing himself in a soundproof chamber to make a sexual advance towards Medusa. We learn that Maximus very much desires Medusa and wants to make her his queen, to which Medusa responded that she is already the queen. Though it's not explicitly laid out, it's implied that Medusa and Maximus had something between them in the past long before she chose his older brother and married Black Bolt. Or perhaps, it's all an unrequited figment of Maximus' imagination. Either way, when Maximus and his soldiers attacked the rest of the Royals, Medusa fighting back against him cost her dearly.

Maximus had his guards overpower and subdue Medusa so he could personally take away her Inhuman power. Maximus shaves off Medusa's hair leaving her with a buzzcut, but it does seem strange that she surrenders without fighting back. The simplest explanation, again, is the show needed her bald so that it wouldn't have to deal with the costs of her CGI hair anymore. Thanks to Lockjaw, however, the now-bald Medusa was still able to abscond to Earth, away from Maximus' reach. Medusa ends up in a tour group at the Diamond Head crater and tries to contact Black Bolt so she can reunite with her husband and king.

Soon, Maximus sends Auran (Sonya Balmores), the Inhumans' assassin, to Oahu to kill Medusa and they battle in a parking lot. Even without her superpowered hair, Medusa is able to defeat Auran and seemingly kills her with a knife. However, as the end-credits scene of the IMAX presentation show, Auran regenerated thanks to her own Inhuman power.

It remains to be seen whether Medusa will keep her nearly bald look for the remainder of Inhumans' episodes or if her hair has the power to grow super fast so she can continue with her trademarked look. Sadly for the Inhumans, however, the series is already a hair's breadth away from being canceled.

Marvel's Inhumans airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. on ABC.


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