This Krypton review contains spoilers.
Krypton Episode 8
Damn, Krypton. You did not pull any punches with that ending. Since she showed up halfway through the season, Ona has been the innocence and heart of this show, and of Krypton as a society. She is a representation of the very people Seg and, I suppose, Adam, are trying to save. So, when Brainiac’s Sentry uses her as a bomb in an attempt to take out Seg and co., yeah, it’s pretty darn demoralizing.
It’s not totally clear why it happened. Sure, the Sentry wants to take out our friends, but does he really need Ona, someone he seems to like, to do it? No, this felt more like an opportunity for Adam to prove his loyalty to Seg and his commitment to his cause, then it did something that furthered the themes of this show, or the machinations of Brainiac. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t effectively heartbreaking, though.
But let’s talk about Adam for a minute here because, for the first time ever, he is given the benefit of a backstory. It’s still pretty vague and depends on outside knowledge of comic book lore, but it’s something. The episode begins by flashing back to show us what happened after Adam jumped away in the pilot episode before he returned to Krypton for a longer stay. He had a chat with Sardath and Alanna, two characters who come from a planet known as Rann.
In the comics, it was Sardath who developed the Zeta Beam device. Worried about the Rannian’s sterility problem, Sardath used the device to transport Adam to his planet, hoping Alanna and Adam might fall in love and have babies. It’s a super creepy plan, but it works. The two do fall in love. This is all backstory you might not know if you’re just a casual DC Comics fan watching Krypton (I had to Google it). Here’s a hint, adaptations: If you have to Google it, it’s not good storytelling.
This comic book backstory does make Adam Strange and, by default, this show, more interesting. First of all, it implies that Adam might not just be out to save Superman, as he has claimed again and again, but that he is also doing all of this as a way to prove himself to Sardath and Alanna. When they’re talking in the flashback, they mention him already having failed them, with Adam desperate to make it right and prove himself a hero.
Secondly, this backstory is interesting in relation to this episode’s emphasis on Krypton’s Genesis Chamber, aka where they make all of Kandor City’s babies. In “Savage Night,” Brainiac’s Sentry is drawing power from the Genesis Chamber. It’s one of the reasons why Seg and Nyssa especially want to stop him: to save the life of their unborn child. A Genesis Chamber-related questions: So… is this really the only way Kryptonians can have babies? Like, they can’t do it the old-fashioned way anymore? This seems a relevant detail to address.
Whatever Adam’s still pretty murky motivation, it leads him to Daron-Vex, where he volunteers information in an attempt to stop General Zod from changing the timeline. It’s a nice try, I suppose, but not one that pays off in any way. Seg and the rest still make it into the building and manage to shoot one through the Sentry’s chest—actually, it’s Jayna who gets the kill shot off. Let’s face it, without her, this assassination mission would have been over before it even began.
The hole in his chest and the many-foot fall isn’t enough to kill the Sentry, who climbs back up and asks Ona to “accept him.” It appears that she does, given that she is soon a walking bomb. Presumably, this means the Sentry was inside of her when she exploded and that the Voice of Rao is officially dead, too, but I’m still fuzzy on Brainiac Sentry mechanics, so we’ll have to wait and see.
In addition to pretty much single-handedly breaking into the palace and taking out the Sentry, Jayna also manages to work out that General Zod hasn’t exactly been forthcoming when it comes to his motivations for stopping the Voice of Rao/Brainiac. She asks some pretty basic follow-up questions, like: if Krypton was destroyed, why wasn’t he? To his credit, General Zod is pretty honest about his answers. But Jayna still worries that General Zod is not trying to save Krypton, but rather trying to rule it. Good instincts, that Jayna.
In tonight’s episode, we are also introduced to the leader of Black Zero, a woman named Jax-Ur. In the comics, Jax-Ur has traditionally been a man, and is often a villainous character. Here, too, I’m getting some villainous vibes from Jax-Ur, which is a bit of a disappointment. As an opposition to the Guild system, I would have liked to see Black Zero as a more radical, anarchist organization. Instead, it’s your typical “terrorist” group, ruled by a harsh leader with harsh methods.
Jax-Ur agrees to help Seg kill the Brainiac Sentry on one condition: they hand over Daron-Vex afterwards. The gang leaves the decision up to Nyssa, which is nice, but feels a bit unnecessary. Sure, it’s her father, but this affects them all. It’s a moot point, however, because Nyssa agrees to the terms and Daron ends the episode in Jax-Ur’s custody. The two have some kind of history, which we will no doubt hear about as Season 1 wraps up.
In other news, Dev is alive! Somehow. Those Sagitari are even tougher than they look. Val-El finds a way to break the connection between the Brainiac Sentry and Dev, and with it all of the Red Shard soldiers. It’s the kind of rescue Dev deserves and, judging by the way Lyta caresses Dev’s abs following his revival, one that may contribute to the love square not-so-subtly brewing between Lyta, Dev, Seg, and Nyssa.
Although I could do without the contrived love square plot, this week and last week’s episode have proven how much stronger Krypton is when it gets its cast together in more of an ensemble drama. Between the slighter greater articulation of Adam Strange’s backstory and motivation and the major plot moves made in the Brainiac plot line, this was easily one of Krypton‘s best episodes yet.
Krypton really dropped the ball in not getting at least one Savage Garden song on the soundtrack for an episode called “Savage Night.”
Early on in the episode Kem asks one of the other disciples of Rao, “Is Ona safe?” I’m like, “Hell no, she’s not safe. Did you see the Sentry’s David Blaine impression?” But homegirl’s like, “Oh, yeah. She’s chill. Brainiac likes her.” And Kem just goes along with it. I don’t care if Brainiac is buying Ona puppies and ice cream cones, get that kid out of there! Just snatch her and run.
Visually, this is the strongest this show has been since the pilot. (Shout out to the kinetic scene in which the disciple of Rao recounts catching Brainiac being a creeper in the Genesis Chamber. And to the shot of Nyssa melancholicly peering out the skimmer window as it zooms away.) It’s like one of Krypton‘s accountants found a wad of cash they didn’t realize they had… And now I am curious about actual Kryptonian accountants. Does Kandor City have bankers?
Why didn’t Lyta go with the gang when they broke in to try to kill the Sentry? She is one of their best fighters. Nyssa’s not too shabby either, and probably knows more about the building than anyone.
Jayna’s fight scene is cool, but I doubt she’d joyously cut down Sagitarii soldiers… As we know from Dev, they are not acting under their own volition. They are innocents in this battle.
“Not everything is about your mission to save some unborn, imaginary child from the future. There are real people in real danger right now.” This was a great Kem episode, everyone.