Friday, June 21, 2024

Dammit Everybody

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Welcome back to Krypton reviews everybody! The last one ended rather badly, with me spending most of my time yelling at the screen. Did they do better this time? Let’s find out!

We open with Brainiac killing a politician with his bare hands. Why not use his tentacles like usual? I don’t know.

Nyssa tells the head of the guards about Brainiac, and admits she has no idea why Brainiac killed that woman. Spoiler alert, we never find out why either. They have a character raise the question of ‘why kill her’ and never answer it. Nyssa asks the captain of the guard—who seems to accept the fact of an evil alien remarkably quickly—for help, but he says they’re already stretched too thin by the chaos Daron and Black Zero have separately caused.

Seg and friends are operating under the assumption that Brainiac is still alive, which is surprisingly smart of them. Lyta manages to give the absent Nyssa a compliment without sounding passive aggressive, so progress. Oh, and Dev is alive, which is nice.

Apparently, after the death of Ona, Kem left to go to another Kryptonian city state offscreen. Because sure, why not get rid of one of your best characters after he gave one of his best performances? And Seg is starting to wonder if this is a fight they can’t win. To be fair to Seg, from his perspective he’s lost his grandfather, his parents, a friend and her daughter, and Adam (since from their perspective Adam was vaporized protecting Seg and Kem) to fighting Brainiac. Half that list died before Brainiac even showed up, so his pessimism is warranted.

We then see Seg have a nightmare of being on Brainiac’s ship and of being killed. It’s a weird nightmare, since it really looks like Brainiac’s ship, and while we the audience have seen little snippets of it, as far as I can tell there’s no way for Seg to know what it looks like.

The General decides that since the fall didn’t kill Brainiac, their only option is to unleash Doomsday, and he gets Lyta to come with him to go back to the catacombs and set the thing loose. Which…what the hell General? Adam knew what Doomsday is, which implies that in the present he and the General are from, Doomsday already fought and killed Superman. And the General doesn’t even have yellow sun powers! This is a plan worthy of Barry Allen.

Over in Black Zero HQ, we learn that the leader of the terrorist group is Sella-Sonn (played by Hannah Waddingham), formerly of the Science Guild, as she and Daron talk. Apparently Daron betrayed her in the past, though Daron tells her that one betrayal isn’t an excuse to become a murderer. She declares that she’s going to torture him until he answers her questions, which…what questions does she have? The government has already toppled, with only a handful of soldiers left. Why isn’t she already in charge? Also, she says that her name is Jax-Ur now. Daron reacts like this is significant, but I confess that I don’t know why. Now, to be fair, from a fan perspective this is significant since Jax-Ur is an evil Kryptonian who’s been around since Pre-Crisis times (albeit always as a dude), but why would Daron find that name significant?

Down in the Rankless slums, Seg and Nyssa run up to a hooded Jayna, telling her that Lyta has disappeared. She tells him that the General has too…except that she calls him Zod, which…is weird since she’s a Zod too. Just calling him Zod only works when he’s the only member of House Zod still alive! Either way, Seg realizes that they’re going for Doomsday, and Nyssa gets delightfully snarky, declaring “To think you were all expecting me to screw you guys over.”

Out in the Catacombs, the General reveals his plan. Apparently he believes that, as an apex predator, Doomsday will make a beeline for the most formidable opponent, Brainiac, and after he beats Brainiac they’ll just return him to stasis. Uhm…first off, most apex predators are ambush or pack hunters who single out weak prey. Secondly, half the reason that Doomsday is a threat is that nothing works on him twice. Admittedly, maybe the stasis chamber is different, but still, that’s a big risk. Seriously, this is on par with a Barry Allen plan!

Seg and Jayna catch up to try to stop them. Seg points out that you need both Zod and El blood to open Doomsday’s vault, at which point the General reveals the twist. He’s Seg’s son as well as Lyta’s son! How did he learn this? I don’t know. He says that when he said he didn’t know who his father was a few episodes past he meant it, that he’s figured it out since coming back through time, but how he figured it out is never established.

Fortunately however, Seg and Jayna have already moved Doomsday’s stasis chamber. Apparently Seg somehow knows these tunnels better than the dude who lived in them for months, and so was able to beat Lyta and the General there despite the two having at least a couple hours of a head start. Suddenly Nyssa calls Seg, declaring that they have a problem.

Over to Daron and Jax, we learn how Daron betrayed her—by doing nothing when others decided to use Jax’s scientific research for eugenics. Seriously. Daron couldn’t stop the government from doing a bad thing and that constitutes treachery. But the main point of all this is that apparently Daron created something called the Vara Protocol, and Jax wants to know how to activate it.

Back in the catacombs, it turns out that the pod holding Doomsday was damaged when they moved it, and is now failing. The technology holding him is super old, so nobody knows exactly when Doomsday will break free, but it’s apparently guaranteed to happen soon.

The Zods seem unaware of this, instead hashing out their own familial issues. Amazingly, Jayna acknowledges that she was a bad mother, and that everything she tried to make Lyta not be were Lyta’s strengths. It doesn’t absolve Jayna of her sins, but acknowledging that she was wrong, and not trying to justify her actions, is a rare step for an attempted redemption arc of an abusive parent, one that I appreciate deeply.

Then the General challenges her to a duel to the death, which she accepts. And, because things can always get worse, the cultists turn on Seg and Nyssa, and decide to go ahead and take Doomsday to Kandor. Apparently they’re sick of being stuck in the catacombs guarding Doomsday. They just want to let Brainiac take Doomsday. They’re not even worried about the fact that Brainiac taking Kandor will destroy Krypton, apparently these people solely think of the short term.

With no other choice, Seg and Nyssa leave to go to the Fortress of Solitude. Leaving the Zods in a catacomb of angry cultists. I’d get mad at this, but frankly this is the pairs’ only real screw up this episode, so I’ll cut them some slack. Seg suggests that maybe Nyssa should cut and run, but she reaffirms her faith and loyalty to him. Seg isn’t so sure though, pointing out Superman’s cape. It’s in bad shape, the slow disintegration having reached the bottom of the ‘S’ shield. Like I’ve said, I really like this little device, and its surprisingly chilling to see the famous cape in such bad shape.

But something has to go right for someone, and surprisingly, that’s Daron. He manages to escape and uses his access to the Voice’s secret money cache to buy a hovercraft, immediately planning to get out of Dodge. However, Jax uses the chip she implanted in Daron’s neck for the sake of torturing him, shocking Daron and forcing him to crash his ship in the wastelands.

Now that things are no longer going well for anybody, we can cut back to Seg, who’s contemplating giving up. The Val hologram appears however, and gives him a speech on how the sigil of the House of El, the famous Superman ‘S’ means hope. And moreover, that his ancestors weren’t assigned such a symbol, but took it upon themselves as a sort of vow. I actually quite like this speech. It’s short, but stirring. A nice bright spot in this episode.

So to counteract that bright spot, we go back to the Zods. Jayna actually manages to get the upper hand on the General, getting him in a headlock. But then Lyta shoots her in the side. God dammit Lyta! She just shot her mother in the side, a potentially lethal wound considering that they’re far from medical care, and she doesn’t seem all that upset by it. Jayna manages to get away when Lyta and the General argue, and the two decide to forget about her.

The General is upset that he can’t get Doomsday, since none of the Zods know about the cultists’ betrayal, but says he knows of a potential resource—he believes that Val-El is still alive. I don’t know if he’s just referring to the fact that the hologram has all of Val’s knowledge or if he’s talking about the real Val though, the episode doesn’t clarify. Jayna, meanwhile, collapses in the tunnels, only to be found by a man who recognizes her. I think it’s her brother, who was left for dead in the flashbacks of the fifth episode, but he’s not named and was a teenager in the flashbacks so I can’t confirm that.

Over with Seg and Nyssa, Seg figures out why Brainiac was draining the embryos. He’s sending the energy he steals over to his ship, so that it and his proper body can get to Krypton and take Kandor. But since he’s been found out and can no longer hide as the Voice, he can’t access the embryos anymore. So instead he has to go to another, lesser power source—the generator that powers the shield dome of Kandor. Okay, seriously, how many embryos are in the Genesis Chamber? How do they provide more power than something literally designed just to provide power? Regardless of my questions, Seg and Nyssa go get reinforcements, with Nyssa managing to persuade the guards while Seg persuades Jax.

Jax doesn’t go herself though. Instead she goes to the Genesis Chamber, activating the Vara Protocol she mentioned earlier. Apparently the voice activated lock that Daron installed only focuses on the words said, not who’s saying them and doesn’t detect the difference in Daron and Jax’s voices. It turns out the Vara Protocol is thousands of clones of Guilded Kryptonians. Why? To ensure that those who have power will always have power apparently, whatever that means.

Seg assembles the two groups, guards and Black Zero, outside the generator building. They go in, while Nyssa stays outside with the key to the Fortress of Solitude, since with Jayna missing Nyssa is now literally the only person in Kandor Seg can trust and someone’s got to survive this mess. And of course, it ends up being a mess. The two groups get to Brainiac just fine, though he’s already plugged into the generator and is draining it. However—because apparently Brainiac can control people’s bodies now?—he has a Black Zero soldier turn and point his gun at the guards. It’s not mind control because said soldier repeatedly insists that he’s not the one turning his gun. Either way he fires the guard and, as you can imagine, everything goes pear shaped, with the two groups killing each other.

Speaking of random powers Brainiac has, once everyone dies he reveals that he also has telekinesis, as he uses it to lift Seg off the ground and, after musing on Seg’s insignificance, goes to toss Seg off the edge of the generator building. But then Nyssa arrives, stabbing Brainiac in the brain with the key to the Fortress of Solitude. This causes the Voice’s body to explode rather spectacularly for…reasons. Even Nyssa comments on not having expected him to just blow up.

Sadly, they’re too late, and the generator sputters out, bringing down the dome. At the same time, a mass of tentacles start rising up, and Seg and Nyssa flee as Brainiac builds himself a new body.

So…that was Krypton episode nine. What the hell just happened? The General and Lyta became idiots, and somehow Seg and Daron, two of the most incompetent characters in the show, became the ones with good plans. Kem’s gone, and Adam didn’t show up at all this episode, so I still don’t know where he is. I think the last episode was a little worse in execution, but there is a lot of idiot ball juggling this episode. So…not great. Here’s hoping the season finale saves this!

Image Courtesy of SyFy

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