This article contains MASSIVE Krypton spoilers. Don’t read until you’ve watched episode 5.
Well…we didn’t see that coming. As if the ending of episode four wasn’t crazy enough, Krypton episode 5 decided to pull the rug out from under fans with another massive reveal. In this case, it’s the identity of the mysterious commander of the Black Zero terrorist organization, played by Colin Salmon.
Here it is again, in case you didn’t believe your eyes the first time…
Perhaps the episode title itself, “House of Zod” should have clued us in. Or maybe the episode’s focus on the generational dynamic of the Zod family might have indicated that they were going somewhere in this neighborhood. But yes, if this guy is Lyta Zod’s son, then that can only mean that he is General Dru-Zod himself.
Of course, like the rest of the Zods we have met on the show so far, our beloved General Zod isn’t here as a traditional villain. As he has made clear in the previous episodes, Zod is here to save Krypton from Brainiac, which puts his mission in line with Adam Strange’s, and we know Adam is one of the good guys.
The problem, though, is that this means that Adam might be wrong about what the real threat to Superman is. Adam Strange has been operating under the assumption that Brainiac is coming to destroy Krypton before it is due to explode, thereby preventing Superman from being born. But instead, Brainiac is just on his way, presumably to just carry out the mission that comic book fans know he is destined to complete, the “collecting” of Kandor. Instead, Zod is here to change history in a different way, perhaps by preventing Brainiac from fulfilling that goal, while also finding a way to prevent the entire destruction of Krypton, that would prevent Superman from ever being born.
“We all know that Brainiac was always coming to take Kandor,” Krypton showrunner Cameron Welsh told reporters on the set of the series back in December, “and that’s what Adam got wrong. Zod was coming back to change history. That’s the big turn in the season…It wasn’t Brainiac coming back to destroy the universe. It was Zod traveling back in time, but not to destroy Krypton, to save it.”
So now Seg has fallen in with two time-travelers with knowledge of his (and Krypton’s) future, and both have a stake in what he does going forward. “If we think about it as being kind of like the classic hero’s journey for Seg, this is a big moment,” Welsh says. “This is where he’s got Zod and Adam both vying for his soul, and he’s kind of caught in the middle.”
This means that Adam must realize the mistake he has made in his mission, and it’s bound to cast him in a different light with Seg, as well. Adam Strange is going to have to be on board with the idea of Kandor being taken by Brainiac, and ultimately to allow the planet itself to be destroyed. “For Seg, that’s just something he can’t wrap his mind around,” Welsh says. “It’s such an abstract idea…a grandson on an alien planet? You’re kind of being asked to let go of everything that you know, the only thing you’ve ever known, the only home you’ve ever known…let all of that go for this kind of abstraction and also based on this information provided by Adam, who’s already proven to be unreliable and untrustworthy.”
The show is setting up an interesting dichotomy between Zod and Adam Strange. The latter is a hero (mostly), or will be, and certainly sees himself as one. Zod is traditionally a villain in these stories, but he’s the one who will be acting to save billions of lives, while Adam may be forced to argue the uncomfortable position of allowing them to die. Adam’s own dishonesty is a contrast between the Zod code of honor we’ve already seen established, too.
And it’s clear that the newest Zod has that same sense of honor we’ve seen in both Jayna and Lyta. “At the moment, he hasn’t done anything deceitful,” Welsh says. “He hasn’t told a lie, and he hasn’t needed to.”
So how will Lyta react to having her future son in her life? “What’s kind of weird about it…is that Zod is Lyta’s son, but he could be her father,” Welsh says, referring to the age and experience differential between the two characters. “We haven’t ever met her father. She doesn’t have a father figure in her life, so when Zod comes back…who’s more like a father figure, and they start to grow closer together.”
So what are Zod’s objectives as they relate to Superman? Adam is here to make sure Superman can exist in the future. “I think it’s less about wiping out the El family, but as the story develops, and we’re really talking about episodes eight, nine, and ten, what we start to learn about Zod that his idea of protecting Krypton, or saving Krypton, goes beyond just defeating Brainiac,” Welsh says, hinting that Zod might have designs on turing Krypton into a spacefaring, imperialistic society. “Maybe this needs a fresh start, a new leadership, and maybe we need to start colonizing other planets, build up our defenses, and you know, never let Krypton ever feel threatened again.”
In other words, those last few moments of Krypton episode 5 might just end up being the most important of the entire season.
Mike Cecchini is worried that Zod is starting to make sense. Tell him why he’s wrong on Twitter.