Krypton – Season 2 Episode 10
“The Alpha and the Omega”
Krypton closes out its second season with a public challenge to Zod’s authority and setup for the next phase of the show.
It’s safe to say that the production team have more or less given up on the notion of Krypton serving as a prequel to the Superman mythology. It may have started out that way and used the objective of preventing Superman from being erased from the timeline as a solid bedrock to build on but since then it has evolved into its own entity that explores a compelling alternate timeline that makes use of different elements from the DC universe to tell its own story. To my mind this is a great approach as it removes the self imposed shackles of having to build up to a familiar end point and allows for storytelling to go in pretty much any direction. I applaud the production team for making this possible and providing me with an excellent show that remixes comic book lore in creative ways.
The whole season has been building towards the moment where Seg and Zod face down one another with no option other than one of them being victorious. Either Zod wins and cements his tyrannical rule or Seg frees Krypton through his victory. It’s a simple binary conflict that has a lot of complexity beneath the surface but is about those two simple conclusions in a really broad sense. The familial connection grants the conflict its emotional core and there are all sorts of motivating factors owned by the other characters that contribute to that depth as well.
Many people look for spectacle in a season finale so on those grounds those people would be disappointed. The previous episode was very action driven and delivered the strongest effects work the show has ever had but this outing is far more subdued and more about the relationships between the characters. I love spectacle and I enjoy an action driven finale provided its used well though I find that the more emotionally driven finales are the ones that stick with me. To this day The Flash season 1 finale “Fast Enough” sticks with me because it focuses on the characters, their relationship and asks large scale existential questions about who these people would be without those connections. Krypton similarly makes great use of the relationships that have been building and uses them to inform the storytelling.
The main conflict is between Seg and Zod with Lyta factoring into that significantly. They obviously differ on their core values and Zod is at the point where he has lost a great deal of objectivity about his role in Kryptonian society as well as the universe at large. He sees himself as the leader the universe deserves and he thinks its his responsibility to force everyone else to see things his way. We’ve already seen how he imposes his ideals on those who don’t agree with him with the Lyta clone being the clearest example of that. Zod doesn’t value those around him which is exactly why he’s a terrible leader and can’t maintain control of Krypton. Seg begins Zod’s downfall by calling him out in the streets of Kandor and challenging him in front of the people Zod doesn’t value. Lyta is there to back him up by appealing to the people to follow her instead of him because their leader is dishonest, manipulative and completely insane. She stands there unarmed making it clear that Zod isn’t worth following and instantly identifying herself as that better alternative because she addresses them with confidence and honesty. This develops the effect she had on the Sagitari in the previous episode where they switch allegiances based on her more hands on brand of leadership.
This episode isn’t bereft of spectacle as it has the fight in the streets between Zod and Seg -among other things I’ll most definitely get to later- that is as much an emotional conflict as it is a physical one. The fact that it begins with Seg repeating the famous Christopher Reeve line “General, would you care to step outside?”. Cameron Cuffe’s delivery is perfect and Colin Salmon delights in his non verbal acting once again. His enraged reaction suggests that he’s heard the line before and retaliates by beating Seg telling Seg that he’s no Superman. One impressive thing about the fight in general is how outmatched Seg is due to him not being a trained soldier. He’s a bar room brawler whereas Zod is a trained martial artist so Seg should be outclassed by superior skill. Seg is able to win because he has support where Zod no longer has that.
Ultimately Zod loses the fight because he’s alone where Seg has people who care about him willing to fight both for and with him. Lyta’s combat proficiency definitely helps a great deal as shown when she identifies Zod’s knife and swiftly deprives him of it. Her involvement in the fight doesn’t cheapen it in any way because Seg is fighting for that unity so having her step in shows everything he’s fighting for in action where Zod loses because nobody actually cares enough to come to his aid. It’s a true defeat in every sense of the word as he’s left with nothing once the fight is over. His loss is enhanced through several cutting remarks from both Lyta and Seg who both deny that he’s any son of theirs which robs Zod of the one thing in his life he could be certain of. In his own mind his mission has been a total failure even if it looks likely that Krypton may be spared from the no longer inevitable destruction.
Following Zod’s defeat there is the difficult question over what exactly to do with him. Seg comes close to choking him to death before Lyta stops him and encourages him to come up with a better way. Defeating a villain without killing them always raises questions over what their life post defeat looks like but luckily this show has access to the Black Mercy which allows Zod to be kept in a dormant state without ending his life. There’s an ethical conversation to be had about whether it’s right to trap someone inside a fiction of their own making and whether it constitutes a fate worse than death but it’s a workable cathartic solution that seems in line with what he deserves. He forced Lyta into a fantasy driven prison so now she gets to return the favour. It’s a neat resolution and leaves an obvious avenue for Zod to return which is a good thing as he hasn’t worn out his welcome quite yet.
The brief insight into Zod’s fantasy fits everything that has been previously established about what he hopes for. In his fantasy he leads the invasion of Earth with his mother and father by his side telling him how proud they are of him. He gains the acceptance he craves and gets to be the leader that he sees himself as so it’s very idyllic for him. I do wonder how long it will be before he starts to reject the fantasy especially since he explicitly referenced that in an earlier episode but for now it’s a promising ending for him in this season and allows the possibility to periodically show how the fantasy progresses next season.
Zod getting what he wants even if it isn’t real ties into a larger family focused theme that has been developed over the course of the season. The House of El is fat becoming an extended family with Val accepting others into it through merit that he recognises. Nyssa has received this treatment previously through her loyalty to Seg and the fact that she is the mother of his child but there are still apparently a lot of slots to be filled. Kem’s death in the previous episode was a powerful and heart wrenching moment that is followed up by an Irish style wake where everyone sits around and talks about how much he meant to them. Seg talks about how close they were and Val declares that Kem will be remembered as an El having earned his place within the family. This makes Kem and Seg brothers in a more official sense which probably wasn’t all that necessary considering that the relationship spoke for itself but it’s a nice gesture all the same on Val’s part and does highlight how highly he regarded Kem as well so it’s a sentiment that has a lot of weight behind it. It’s also good to see Kem honoured in the wake of his sacrifice.
The next addition to the House of El is Adam who has more than proven himself worthy of acceptance into the fold. Shaun Sipos and Ian McElhinney have such a charming dynamic that greatly enhances any scene they share together. The Val/Adam relationship is along the lines of a father/son one with a bit of a playful twist because Adam is a character who tries to not take life too seriously at least on the surface. This means that any time he expresses vulnerability it has more impact because it’s not something he typically does. Adam’s backstory has been drip-fed over the course of the series in relatively small doses; it mostly manifests through comic accurate references that those in the know will pick up on with the actual detail being glossed over. This makes sense for the character as there’s a clear reluctance to discuss his past but it’s obvious that he feels like an outcast and is craving acceptance. He mentions the Justice League at one point and all but confirms that they don’t take him seriously. His relationship with Superman is also clearly far from a close one but he saw his self imposed mission to protect the timeline as something that could prove himself worthy of a seat at the big table and with it the acceptance that he craves.
Instead he gains acceptance that he never thought he would with those on Krypton in the past. He sees Val, Seg, Kem and everyone else as his family and never imagined that he would find a home for himself within his shallow attempt to be accepted by the heroes on Earth of his own time period. The validity of found families is becoming more prevalent in mainstream fiction -see Shazam! for one example- because it’s something a lot of people can relate to. Without meaning it, Adam has found a family among the Kryptonians and isn’t the least bit shy about expressing it to Val who fully accepts him into his family because of all he has done for everyone around him. Even though he has lost the use of his legs he still wants to help in every way he can showing he’s worthy of the term “Hero” and that he has earned his place in the House of El. It’s a really touching moment that acts as excellent payoff on the relationship that has been organically developed over the course of the season.
Teasing Adam’s backstory through snippets of dialogue has been an effective way of keeping a sense of mystery around the character. This makes it a little jarring to have him suddenly be open in this particular episode. His conversation with Nyssa about the Zeta-Beam, the planet Raan and the inventor of the Zeta-Beam; the scientist Sardath. He talks about getting to know Sardath and his planet really well because it was the default return destination for the device when he first got it and possibly hints at his daughter Alanna being the reason he might not be so welcome on Raan any more. It’s all a tease for next season most likely but it makes for an interesting background detail that serves as a further reminder that Adam has a rich backstory.
Nyssa stealing the Zeta-Beam and heading to Raan acts as setup for what will come next season and drops some really fascinating hints that I’ll explore following the rating box. The significance in terms of Nyssa’s emotional arc this season is that she can’t accept that the recently christened Jor’El is lost and has to do something about getting him back. This means that she doesn’t think twice about stealing the Zeta-Beam device and heading to an alien planet that is completely unfamiliar to her due to the remote possibility that there is someone there who can help her track down Brainiac. It’s a very Nyssa thing to do and tracks with her lone wolf status over the season. One thing that kept bothering me is that Raan seems to be under the light of a yellow sun yet there was no evidence of Nyssa manifesting the powers she should gain when exposed to the radiation though it’s possible she just hasn’t realised that she has them yet. The prospect of Nyssa gaining Superman’s powers even for a brief time is definitely exciting.
Outside of the resolution of the conflict against Zod and the setup for the next season the episode still finds the time to have a quiet moment where the characters can bask in their victory. There are a lot of questions to be answered about what Kryptonian society looks like now that Zod’s regime has been toppled and whether the House of El will be restored to a position of authority among other things but for now the characters are allowed to get drunk and just enjoy not being in constant danger. Drunk Val is a lot of fun and Adam decked out in a comic accurate costume complete with jetpack giggling away after consuming a lot of Kryptonian alcohol is an endearing moment. Val is such a serious character most of the time so seeing him in an uninhibited state for a brief time is a lot of fun and well deserved for all concerned.
Sadly such revelry is short lived thanks to the sudden appearance of Lobo who has tracked Seg down to collect on his promise of delivering Brainiac to him. Lobo’s reintroduction is hilariously crude with a well placed dick joke that serves as a reminder of how this show nails the character. Seg ends up forging an uneasy alliance with him where he agrees to help Lobo bring Brainiac down in exchange for getting Jor’El back. It seems a fair exchange and sets up the possibility of of a cosmic Lobo/Seg adventure that I look forward to seeing if it comes to pass.
The final scene where Brainiac arrives at Earth and promises that Jor’El will be a God among the people there is really intriguing. It’s deliciously enigmatic as it remains unknown what time period Earth exists in though the time period of this show suggests that it will be somewhere around the 1800s though I don’t think that necessarily has to be adhered to. At this point I’m more interested to learn what Brainiac stands to gain from raising Jor’El to be a God among the people of Earth. Let’s all pray to Rau for a third season so that we can find out!
A satisfying finale that capitalises on the complex relationships that have developed over the course of the season to inform meaningful conclusions and sets up next season in really exciting ways. Zod’s defeat is the culmination of an entire season of build-up and actually boils down to the simple binary of cementing Zod’s tyrannical rule vs. Seg freeing Krypton. There’s a lot of depth behind that but in a really broad sense it boils down to those simple conclusions. The fist fight between Seg and Zod is really well done because it makes use of Seg’s comparative lack of skill and finds an organic way to include Lyta. Zod’s eventual defeat is down to him having nobody who cares enough to step in and defend him where Seg and Lyta have supporters due to their more compassionate approach. Using the Black Mercy to lock Zod in a fantasy of his own making is an appropriate punishment for him and the insight into his fantasy tracks with his established motivation.
The theme of family continues through Val inducting others into the House of El. Taking time to properly honour Kem was a really powerful touch. Adam being recognised by Val as a member of his family felt completely earned and acts as a satisfying payoff of their organically developed relationship over the course of the season. Linking this back to Adam’s desire for acceptance from the Justice League only to find purpose and family on Krypton highlights the journey Adam has been on. Dropping more of his backstory through the planet Raan and other details provides compelling setup for the next season while serving as a reminder that Adam has a rich backstory that has been teased up until this point. This also enables Nyssa to steal the Zeta-Beam looking for help in tracking down Jor’El which fully tracks with her lone wolf status and sets up next season. Finding time for revelry albeit brief allowed for some fun character beats such as Val letting his hair down and getting drunk and Adam clad in his comic accurate costume drunkenly giggling. Lobo interrupting the party provides a hilarious dick joke, further confirms that this show nails Lobo and sets up the exciting prospect of an outer space Lobo/Seg adventure. The final scene where Brainiac takes Jor’El to Earth offers a lot of possibilities and makes for a striking end to the season.
- Zod and Seg’s final conflict boiling down to a simple binary with depth behind it
- the well executed Zod/Seg fight
- Zod’s downfall coming because he doesn’t have any real support
- locking Zod in a fantasy as a compromise
- the insight into Zod’s fantasy and how that reinforces what he really wants
- taking the time to honour Kem
- Adam admitting that he found a family with the people of Krypton
- Val accepting Adam into the House of El
- more hints of Adam’s backstory
- taking time for post victory revelry
- the reintroduction of Lobo
- excellent setup for the next season
- skirting over the moral implications of trapping Zod in a fantasy of his own making
- posthumously awarding Kem the El name feeling unnecessary
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User Review( votes)
As far as I can tell a third season of Krypton has yet to be announced but based on what has been seen over the course of the season and in this episode specifically it would be criminal not to bring the show back. The final episode does such a good job wrapping things up while laying the groundwork for next season. There are a lot of teases that have a great deal of potential.
Nyssa’s trip to Raan provides most of the fodder for what the next season bring as her scenes on the alien planet almost exclusively establish mysteries to be solved next season. Perhaps most striking is her discovery of the Omega symbol painted in blood on a wall which heralds the arrival of a couple of candidates. The most obvious and well known is Darkseid; the despotic ruler of the planet Apokolips. This is character who appeared in live action -sort of- in Smallville but was never quite introduced in the DC movies so it could be that the Krypton production team will provide the best live action of both Darkseid and Doomsday. Based on previous success I have a lot of faith in their ability to pull this off and deliver a take on Darkseid that will do the character justice while fitting the framework of this show.
If Darkseid is to be introduced then it stands to reason that he will battle Doomsday. Since he’s theoretically still under Zod’s control it would makes sense to wake Zod up from his Black Mercy fantasy in order to exploit his mastery over Doomsday to protect Krypton from Darkseid. It’s conceivable that Zod would agree to help for the greater good of Krypton and it would also put him back on the board as a threat to be dealt with. The idea of actions having consequences is something this show does very well and reviving one villain so that another can be stopped would be a great example of that.
The Omega symbol could also point to the Omega Men which could be a good opportunity to bring the Green Lantern Corps into the universe of this show. At this point I don’t think anything is outwith the realms of possibility when it comes to what this show is capable of doing. Introducing them could provide a good set of companions for Nyssa to bounce off over the course of next season assuming her return to Krypton isn’t immediate.
Silhouetted winged figures in the sky points to two things that I can think of. Having them turn up right after Nyssa discovers the Omega symbol points me in the direction of Parademons; the footsoldiers that Darkseid uses to wage war on the Universe. The fact that Nyssa encounters them on Raan suggests that they might be Thanagarians. A bloody battle recently took place upon Nyssa’s arrival which points towards the Raan-Thanagar War which also adds credence to the Omega Men assumption. There’s certainly a lot of material to pull from and it’s possible that Darkseid could be factored into that as well.
Brainiac taking Jor’El to Earth to raise him as a God could be Krypton teasing a version of Mr. Oz; a relatively recent addition to Superman comics that I know very little about. As I understand it he’s basically Jor’El but as a villain so it’s easy to see how being raised by Brainiac would be a bit of a corrupting influence. It also remains to be seen whether Brainac can travel through time and raise Jor’El on a present day Earth or if he it will be the Earth of the 1800s. I’d be more interested to see the 1800s version of Earth as it could be more visually dynamic, would match the era the show is set in and could allow Jor’El to become a legend lost to time on an alternate Earth.
No matter what the production team choose to explore next season I hope that they continue to deliver the consistently strong character driven storytelling that continues to draw me into this show. I have faith that this will happen and I’m excited about what has been teased for next season. Pray to Rau for renewal!
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