By: Adam Basciano
“After suffering a tragedy, Seg must adjust to a new life, a new rank and a new threat.” (SyFy)
The second installment of Krypton begins where the last ended, with Seg and Adam Strange in the Fortress of Solitude. Seg is still unsure of Adam’s claims. In answer to some of his questions, Adam reveals that he traveled to Krypton’s past via his Zeta Bam technology, which he himself created, and that it was Superman himself, who sent Adam on this mission. Despite all this, Seg is hell bent on killing Daron-Vex, thereby avenging his parents death. Adam eventually convinces Seg that, preventing the death of several worlds, supersedes his need for vengeance. He tells Seg, that once they stop Braniac, he’ll help him take down Daron-Vex. Seg’s desire for vengeance and continued disbelief through portions of the episode are completely justifiable, given all he’s been through and based on how ludicrous Adam’s claims sound. After making their pact, Adam ventures off into the cold wilderness of the Outlands, with Kem, the bartender, looking for proof of Braniac. They find scorch marks on the ground and alien rocks, that Braniac leaves on planets he is on and intends to conquer. Meanwhile, Seg-El finds a secret compartment of the fortress, that can only be opened with the blood of the House of El. Once opened, Seg is greeted by a computer program hologram of his grandfather, Val-El. The Kryptonian A.I. tells Seg the history of their family, and what little he knows of Braniac. Val discovered all this, by travelling through an intergalactic portal he devised, known as the Phantom Zone. I love the fact that while we’ve always seen Superman with his holographic Kryptonian A.I., we are getting the origin of all that here. Also, typically in Superman canon, Jor-El discovers the Phantom Zone. I’m glad that idea has been repurposed, but kept in the family for this show. Also, I’ve always known the Phantom Zone to be a void, used for punishment. To see it used as an interstellar travel gateway is completely new and fresh to me. And I like it.
We learn a little bit about religious belief on Krypton, through Daron-Vex, as he prepares Seg and Nyssa for their wedding ceremony. We learn that Kryptonian’s once believed in many gods, before, coming to learn about the one true deity Rao, who created the universe, planets and stars. He designated Krypton as special, by imbuing it with intelligent life. That’s why, suggesting there are civilizations on other worlds as Val-El did, is heresy. Having Krypton’s religious history, somewhat mimic most monotheistic religions grounds this epic space opera of a show, with a theology and folklore viewers are familiar with. It also explains why the representative of Rao on Krypton, The Voice of Rao, wears a mask with five faces; to honor Krypton’s past gods. When Daron Vex tries to exert control over Seg, by preventing him from giving his parents a proper burial, The Voice of Rao goes against him by allowing Seg to marry Nyssa, without taking the Vex name or crest. Nyssa also went against her father, by having Seg-El’s parents cremated and placed in a ceremonial jar bearing the House of El symbol. Turns out both acts were a rouse, planned in conjunction with Daron-Vex, to make Seg believe he had allies within the upper class, only to further crush him, when Daron-Vex exerts his control. I totally fell for this swerve, and it was a very Game of Thrones type move from House Vex. I absolutely bought into Wallis Day’s performance, when she showed compassion to Seg, with that gesture, only to have the rug pulled out from me, when it was revealed, she was in league with her father. Or was she? For all I know, she could be playing him for a fool too! All I know is, the more calculating and duplicitous Wallis Day play Nyssa, the more I like her. A definite stand out performance this episode.
When we rejoin Lyta-Zod this episode of Krypton, she is preparing along with the rest of the Military Guild, for a strike in the slums of Kandor, where the unranked live, in an effort to find and capture Black Zero terrorists. However, when she realizes her commanding field officer Quex-Ul, intended to turn the strike into a full fledged attack on all unranked citizens, even innocents, she voiced her displeasure to her mother. When that complaint fell on deaf ears, Lyta invoked an ancient Kandorian combat challenge. The winner, would gain control of the military guild, while the loser, would die. What followed was a brutal MMA type fight, where Lyta was getting destroyed at first, before Lyta finally turned the tables, gained the upper hand, and secured victory, by snapping Quex-Ul’s neck. Not only did Lyta foreshadow her descendant’s death in Man of Steel, but she proved that she is passionate about what is just and fair and when that is threatened, she is capable of being as ruthless and deadly as we’ve come to expect from someone baring the Zod name. Though, her compassion for innocents and doing what is right, makes Lyta somewhat of a Bizarro-Zod in a way. For her ability to balance compassion and being just, with unbridled deadly force, Georgina Campbell, joins Wallis Day with a stand out performance nod for episode 2. Kudo’s to the fight choreographers, for giving me a great mini MMA fight, without the Pay Per View price tag, or quick finish disappointment attached to it.
The second episode of Krypton didn’t have as many “WOW!” nods to Superman lore as the pilot but it was just as highly entertaining. With all the set up taken care of, this episode offers more character driven moments, allowing viewers to dive deep into the mindset and motivations of the main players. Two stand out performances, coupled with the promise of an earlier than expected arrival of Braniac, help this episode soar into the win column.