This Krypton review contains spoilers.
Krypton Season 2 Episode 1
It is a whole new world on Krypton. As the second season of the Superman prequel series begins, the show has expanded its scope in a grand way, and right out of the gate sets up interesting character arcs, and a bevy of baddies.
The first season of Krypton, led by showrunner Cameron Welsh, did an admirable job of combining political intrigue with sci-fi and time-travel tropes set within the DC Universe, but with characters most people don’t know – in the past on a planet everyone knows is doomed. Somehow, against all odds, it worked. The inaugural outing also assembled an ensemble of actors, led by Cameron Cuffe as Superman’s grandfather Seg-El, a reluctant smart-ass hero who isn’t as super as his famous descendant.
The series stood on its own by introducing classic Superman villains Brainiac and General Zod (from our present day, played by Colin Salmon), and by ultimately breaking the timeline so that anything can now happen.
Picking up six months after the season one finale, a triumphant Zod is remaking Krypton into a world more recognizable to comic fans. He has also eliminated the Rankless class. But all is not peachy since, along with his mother Lyta, he is presenting his mission of peace through militaristic force – and has an aim to create an intergalactic Kryptonian empire. Zod is also keen to eliminate the rebellion led by Seg’s no-longer-hologram grandfather Val-El (Ian McElhinney) and Jax-Ur (Hannah Waddingham). Meanwhile, Seg is trapped in the Phantom Zone, encountering flashes of potential futures before being dropped onto Brainiac’s homeworld of Colu with ol’ Brainy himself.
Right away, Krypton season 2 feels much bigger. Rather than a handful of (albeit incredibly designed) sets, there is more room to breathe. And breaking up the characters across worlds adds to this.
Salmon is a dominating force as Zod, and the actor commands every scene he is in. His conviction that he is simply looking out for the future of Krypton is certainly villainous, but he is almost convincing. Unfortunately, Zod overwhelms Lyta, and the character feels weaker by comparison, even though she was a powerful force last year. Similarly, the scenes with Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day) protecting her and Seg’s child, then going to confront her father are enjoyable enough. But for a character who thrives at political machinations, her first outing this season also feels comparatively weak.
Meanwhile, Seg feels lighter, and more likable this year. His tragic backstory largely dealt with, Cuffe has more of a Han Solo swagger, which works incredibly well as a counterpart to the air of superiority and dismissiveness of Blake Ritson’s Brainiac. Although even Brainiac is a little more interesting in this first hour as he informs Seg they’re stuck with one another – at least until they can resume trying to kill each other.
Of course, that happens sooner than Brainiac expects (or did he expect it?), and a murderous Seg turns his head into a gooey pile of mush. But don’t count out the Coluan android just yet.
Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) and Seg don’t reunite until the final minutes of the episode, but it ends up being the premiere’s highlight. I admit I had a hard time liking Adam last season because a little could go a long way, and his character was thin. That’s very different this time around. The duo clicks so well together with their bro banter, and I am pleased the writers didn’t linger too long on their rift.
And finally… Lobo! A character I was nervous about in live action, and especially in this fairly serious show, Lobo arrives and I found myself grinning ear to ear. Lobo is a goofy character who largely serves as a comedic foil in comics. But the live-action debut of the “main man,” the egotistical alien bounty hunter is a moment of joy. Emmett Scanlan immediately gets the character. I cannot wait to see more of him. We’ll get the opportunity both this season and in his own spinoff series, which was just announced.
Krypton season 2 is off to a strong start. The addition of a colorful character like Lobo, the continued rise of General Zod, and just more ground to cover makes the entire series feel bigger.