This Krypton review contains spoilers.
“Zods and Monsters” unpacks the complicated history of Doomsday, the mythical beast of the Outlands, who was brought to heel by Dru-Zod and his codex BFG. And while General Zod says he’s still mourning the death of his mother, Lyta, he’s also looking to the stars as a conqueror – with the soon-to-be reconditioned Doomsday as his superweapon.
In typical Zod fashion, he needs Doomsday compliant, but he isn’t precisely concerned with the beast making speeches – which is a shame because DD has seen quite a lot. Hewing close to his comic book origin as a Kryptonian “evolved” into an unstoppable beast, the flashbacks this week are tragic as we see the Zods and Els subjecting the volunteer Dax Baron to brutal experimentations.
Of course Dax becomes a monster after what he went through, with the loss of his wife, Enaj. The show writers cleverly flipped the script on Els being honorable, and the Zods being the baddies, by showing Wedna-El simply viewing Dax as “the subject.” Actor Toni O’Rourke conveys a chilling determination. Meanwhile, it’s Van-Zod (Dempsey Bovell) who tries to slow things down, and appears disturbed by their actions. One wonders if that’s the card Dru-Zod will play against Doomsday to get him on his side.
Also, how great was the costume design for ancient Krypton? I loved the ornateness and high collars of Wedna and Van’s clothing. The House sigils even popped more, with additional details to them. Despite the Doomsday lab being a fairly confined set, the costumes alone brought Kryptonian history to life.
The Doomsday effects themselves are satisfactory, considering the television budget. I still want more bone protrusions on him, especially atop his head, and around his eyes. The bald look doesn’t quite do it for me (I admit I also always liked the weird chest hair bone formations he has in the comics). The creature is still a little clunky, but I am excited to see how Zod uses him.
Well, that escalated quickly. After saving Seg’s life, and offering to overthrow Zod, Brainiac decides to take over Seg’s body. I can’t hardly blame him; Seg tries to play him for a fool. But I think Brainiac knows Seg far too well, and realized our hero would never take him to the skull ship. Still, Brainiac would have honored their deal. Or so he said. Instead, he’s decided to become a Brainiac Dad, and kidnapper.
So Cor-Vex is actually Jor-El. This isn’t too much of a surprise, but it’s nonetheless a nice reveal within Val’s Fortress of Solitude. Actually, I was pleased to see so much action unfold in the Fortress. Holo-Val is a welcome return as he robotically processes the notion of sarcasm (and it reminds us of how stiff Ian McElhinney was forced to be in hologram form).
I am getting some serious Seg/Nyssa shipping vibes; their chemistry is so engaging. She is cunning, and strong, but when she feels vulnerable, it’s Seg’s encouragement that gives her confidence (even though I don’t think I’d want to pep-talk someone into doing brain surgery on me, but desperate times …).
The moment where Seg tells Nyssa he wants to hold their child as the man he truly is would normally be a bit overdramatic, but it works because we have seen Seg become that man. And while I don’t view Nyssa as too sentimental, her decision to change Cor’s name (and keeping it within Kryptonian tradition, according to Holo-Val) is solid comic book stuff that Krypton does well. Yeah, it’s a little hokey, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I mean, we got Seg framing the El crest in a Superman shirt-tearing pose and the John Williams theme! How can any fan not get chills from that?! Hokey can be fun when doled out properly, and Krypton does it so well, if sparingly.
I don’t entirely buy that Brainiac would abandon his plans to preserve the “best” of Krypton via city-bottling, and instead kidnap baby Jor-El. As much as I want to imagine the hijinks of Brainy as a dad to an infant (his diaper-changing skills must be so efficient), I can’t see him being so impressed by Seg that he thinks the El name is the best Krypton culture can offer.
However, as Seg notes, Brainiac is a “monster who sees himself as a god.” Indeed, even Zod looks at the skull ship over Kandor with some fear in his eyes. One wonders how he’ll respond to the news that his half-brother Jor-El was kidnapped. On one hand, this further complicates the timeline, and benefits the general. But Zod also doesn’t like others interfering in Kryptonian business. Jor-El’s kidnapping might make Seg and him allies once more.
Meanwhile, on Wegthor, Kem’s mission to uncover, and apprehend, the rogue Sagitari left behind by Zod pushes his character forward – as well as Adam’s. Neither have been great warriors, and as Adam points out, Kem only had experience running a dive bar, and not a very good one. But things changed between Season One and Two, and Kem is a soldier now, and a commander. As it happens, he’s honorable commander, while still being the smart ass we love. I like the character evolution, and it opens up story potential, and should give the excellent Rasmus Hardiker more to do in the role.
Similarly, Shaun Sipos’ Adam is already enjoyable, but Krypton wisely adds some humility and dimension to him by having him play second lead to Kem’s mission.
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