Ever since Marvel announced its plans for Inhumans, fans have been left to wonder: Where have the Inhuman Royal Family been all this time? Since 2014, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has told a story of uncontrolled Terrigenesis, with Terrigen spreading through the Earth's water supply. Meanwhile, anti-Inhuman hate groups have launched terrorist attacks on major cities. Given these events, it's clear the Inhumans of Attilan have been comfortable sitting back and watching from afar, rather than helping.
So why did the Inhuman Royal Family do nothing to help their evolutionary "cousins" on Earth? It's a question Inhumans had to answer quickly, and the response the show gives is a fascinating one. It reveals the very real risks the Inhumans of Attilan would take should they intervene.
The Crisis Facing Attilan
Here's the problem with living in a city on the Moon: you've got nowhere to expand. The Inhuman city of Attilan is only possible because of a strict genetic caste system. If Maximus is to be believed — and nobody seems to contradict him — the citizens of Attilan barely have enough space and resources to sustain their current population level.
The Inhumans have also been monitoring Earth, and humanity's increasing levels of technology have made it easier than ever for the Inhumans to tap into the goings-on down there. The first episodes of Inhumans include scenes where the Inhumans are monitoring news broadcasts and watching scenes of war with a palpable sense of disgust. Given that they've been watching the Earth so carefully, we can assume Black Bolt learned of the spread of Terrigen as soon as it became public knowledge.
This would force Black Bolt to confront a very real problem. New Inhumans were suddenly popping up on Earth, but the royal family couldn't feasibly save them. After all, they had nowhere to house these new Inhumans. Black Bolt's only other option would be to lead the Inhumans to Earth and oppose humanity's prejudice in force. Unfortunately, that idea could be ruled out, too. The Inhumans had learned millennia ago to fear humanity; humans have a habit of fearing that which they do not understand, and Black Bolt was confident that revealing himself to Earth would just lead to war. So he made his choice and did nothing.
Things Began To Change
But it's clear Inhumans wants to explore Black Bolt's change in mindset. At the beginning of Inhumans, he sent Triton to Earth as an agent with a mission to find and rescue new Inhumans. Something seems to have changed Black Bolt's mind — and, given nothing has changed on Attilan, it must be recent events he's witnessed on Earth. So what made Black Bolt finally take action?
As we saw in #AgentsOfSHIELD Season 4, the Sokovia Accords forced any Earth-based Inhumans to register with the Government As shown in the web-series Slingshot, Earth's Inhumans underwent biometric tests and were forced to wear devices that recorded their every movement. Meanwhile, paramilitary groups like the Watchdogs began to launch terrorist campaigns against Inhumans.
In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, S.H.I.E.L.D. went public and was led by a man who claimed to be an Inhuman. What's more, the organization proved itself willing to take on the Watchdogs in defense of Inhumans.
But by the end of Season 4, S.H.I.E.L.D. had been branded terrorists once again, and had been shut down. Quake, the world's most prominent Inhuman, was blamed for an assassination attempt on a decorated U.S. general. Given her reputation and renown, that's likely led to a resurgence in anti-Inhuman sentiments. Meanwhile, one of the last things Quake did before S.H.I.E.L.D. was compromised by Aida's androids was to scatter the known Inhumans across the world. She never got round to reporting their new locations to the United Nations, meaning all those Inhumans are now defenseless.
The Earth-based Inhumans seem in greater danger than ever before, and it's little wonder Black Bolt finally decided he couldn't just sit back and watch any longer. Rather than confront Earth's humans, Black Bolt sent Triton on a first mission to rescue a new Inhuman. It's a risky move, given new Inhumans would only increase the population pressure on Attilan. What's more, the Inhumans from Earth have no experience of Attilan's caste-based culture, and you'd undoubtedly be introducing a very real element of instability.
Right now, it's too soon to tell how things are going to play out. We now know why the Inhumans have kept away from Earth, ignoring the uncontrolled Terrigenesis that has caused so many issues in the #MCU. Black Bolt's actions can certainly be questioned, but he can be praised for one thing: in realizing the Inhumans of Earth were now undefended, he knew that he had to change his approach — and actively help his evolutionary "relatives."
But when the eight-episode Inhumans Season 1 is over, what new relationship will we see between the Inhumans of Attilan and the humans of Earth? Will matters between the races lead to war, or will Black Bolt somehow be able to forge a peace between them? We'll soon find out!