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Picking up where we left on in the pilot, Episode 2: "The House of El" sees us back in Val-El’s Fortress of Solitude with Adam Strange trying to convince Seg-El that the fate of the universe rests in his hands because Brainiac is on his way.
First off I think that using Brainiac as the main villain for the series is probably the best way they could have gone. Brainiac has always been one of those “epic scale” villains, a name that fans know and can engage the casual viewer without having a lot of exposition. I’ve actually got a theory on what they are going to do with Brainiac by way of “where did this thing come from” and we’ll cover that after the recap.
Seg-El is pretty distraught at the moment and despite Strange’s “get it together” pep talk, he’s pretty much emotionally done with the whole thing. His aim now is to kill Vex, and I can’t blame him. Vex has killed or at least caused the death of all of his parental figures, stripped away his family name, high jacked his legacy, forced him into a…I guess this is a marriage, but it’s kind of hard to tell. Let me explain…
Seg is on his way…home, I guess. This guy has a lot of “walk around the city for no apparent reason” moments. On his way he is confronted by guards who seem to have it out for him. It’s a fight, chase, fight, chase, get caught scene that feels like a repeat from the last episode. I can’t tell if the guards are jerks, inept, or actually inept jerks, but regardless of their skill set they manage to bring Seg back to Nyssa mostly intact.
Nyssa apparently sent them to find Seg because he was late for some kind of prep ceremony where Vex just goes on this info dump that feels like it should be leading somewhere but just cements him as a complete douche. Also…there seems to be a trend in DC TV, especially the grittier ones, where the villain’s daughter needs to have an extremely low-cut blouse because…reasons. I mean I’ve seen women in turtlenecks be sexier than these “Leave little to the imagination” costume choices. Just seems like its character short hand. “She needs to be a vixen!”
“That characters on Legends of Tomorrow!”
“No, the other kind!”
“Oh, right. Quick, cut her neckline to her navel!”
But that’s a rant for another day…maybe. Probably not. Where was I? I drifted off while Vex was taking an info dump.
We cut over to Lyta Zod and her not-so-great people skills as she sees her commander loading up her unit with new kinds of weapons. The goal of their next mission is basically go to the slums and kill as many people as possible hoping to knock off a few members of Black Zero in the process. I guess you can’t violate civil rights if they never had rights in the first place.
Obviously Lyta does not agree with this and goes to confront Mama Zod about the matter. Mama Zod basically tells her “Know your role and shut your mouth.” Lyta, of course has no idea who she’s playing and so refuses to remain quiet. During this sequence we get another info dump, this time from a solider whose house was apparently blow up by Black Zero and he’s got scars from it and his parents died and he’s essentially what would have happened if Batman had been drafted. The whole thing feels very forced and the gist of it is that he doesn’t care how many “innocent people” have to die as long as it saves the lives of “innocent people”.
When Lyta is talking to Mama Zod you get this very “not Zod” vibe from them, like neither want to be in this line of work but it’s their lot in life and people who question the system get chucked off a bridge. It’s not a bad thing though, if you consider how militant General Dru Zod is supposed to be from the Superman stories, you can kind of see where that idealism stems from a time of oppression and while the ideals passed down, the core of what founded them was lost. I may be reaching though.
Seg talks to Vex in his office and oh my word, this architecture is hard on the eyes. It’s like someone took a magic-eye painting and pointed at a wall saying, “That, in 3D, everywhere.”
Vex gives him more info dump, which this stuff just stinks of emotional manipulation. Vex talks about how he wasn’t much younger than Seg is now when he lost his own parents and the way he tells this story, I started to suspect that he probably killed them himself, or had someone do it. Very “Lex Luthor” vibe.
So Seg plans to just straight up murder Vex, so I think I’ll table any Abrahamic comparisons at this time since I don’t recall Abraham talking about shanking someone, but I could be wrong. Genesis is a long book.
So before he can put four inches of Kryptonian steel between Daddy Vex’s ribs, he’s stopped by Nyssa in the hall for possibly an unrelated matter. Earlier Seg asked to give his parents a proper burial, which Vex flat out said no, because they were branded traitors so they are apparently dumped in the garbage. Nyssa offers him an urn with their ashes and his family seal on the side, that of the House of El. Touched, he takes the urn and leaves. Such a sweet, tender, trusting moment from an otherwise cold character…it’s got to be a set up.
Lyta Zod decides she’s going to handle this “raid” problem herself and challenges her CO to a fight to the death. Don’t you wish your work place disputes could be handled like this. “I will take command of Marketing, Tom. Defend yourself!”
I have got to stop reviewing stuff while drinking coffee.
Lyta Zod is getting her head prepared for the fight when emo soldier from earlier offers a pep-talk and may be crushing on her, saying he always knew she was a warrior…and just leaves. Like he walks in and says “I think you’re cool. Good luck on your fight.” And poof, he’s gone.
Seg meanwhile returns to his home and says kind of a final goodbye to his parents when some neighbors come by and offer condolences. He later goes back to the Fortress, trying to wrap his head around what his life has become, and realizes that his blood is apparently the password to activate the computer. Cutting his palm, he bleeds onto a seal of the House of El and a hologram of Val-El appears and explains what the whole place is. It’s his lab and using it he discovered the Phantom Zone and learned about Brainiac munching on planets. He took his findings to the council who had been so insistent that Krypton was the only civilization in the universe that he had been ordered to stop talking about space. His warnings about Brainiac are what led them to execute him. Seg decides to carry on his father’s work and I can’t help but wonder if he ever got a Band-Aid for his cut hand.
Lyta meets her commander in ceremonial battle and proceeds to block every blow he throws with her face.
But wait, there’s a sub plot where Adam Strange meets with Seg’s bartender friend gets some new duds, has to use his watch and ball cap as payment to get passage outside the force field, and they go to find some meteors that landed in the snow.
But you came for the fight, not the science. Lyta is still getting her face kicked when she somehow gets a second wind, flips around and proceeds to take the commander apart. She then has him a head lock/neck hold when he cries out for mercy. In a call forward to Man of Steel she snaps his neck without hesitation, and in a call back to last episode she looks at her mom and repeats, “We do not ask for mercy.”
Side note time: I like the call forward to Man of Steel, even though I don’t believe this is connected to that universe but if you watch Zod’s death in MoS, he doesn’t call out for mercy, he is trying to kill to the very bitter end. Seriously, re-watch Man of Steel from Zod’s point of view and it’s a very different movie.
Seg goes back to the council and tells Vex that he will not be taking their family’s name. Vex is, well, vexed by this and starts to go off on him when creepy gold faces, who just wanders halls waiting for a dramatic moment cue shows up and sides with…bum bum buuuum…Seg. He says Seg will accept the sea of the Science Guild and dismisses him. He then tells Vex “You want to control him; this is how you do it.”
The Vexs’, Daddy and Nyssa are later seen in his office discussing the matter, and he again info dumps. I’m starting to think this is the character’s primary function, info dump and be a douche. He points out that giving him the ashes with El seal on them was her idea, which it would have made him more compliant. She points out that it did but in order to keep him close and control him, they have to let him win a few rounds.
Seg goes back to the bar where Strange and Bartender friend (Kem, his name is Kem, I do know their names) are looking at something they found in the snow. It’s a piece of Brainiac, something he sends out to scout possible planets to tear apart, indicating that Brainiac is upon them, possibly six or so episode away.
Alright, I do poke fun at this show, but I am really digging it because we haven’t had a new superhero show that was quite this good in a long while. I never really got into Legends of Tomorrow or Arrow but I love Flash, and it’s important to note this is NOT Flash. This show has a lot of shout-outs to the Superman Mythos and as a fan of the character for like 90 percent of my life I have to say this is really fun. They are dropping hints about things to come down the line without it feeling forced. Also I only call this a “superhero show” because of the obvious tie to Superman. Otherwise it’s a space drama.
So I said I had a theory about Brainiac and here it is…the council made Brainiac before Val-El was born. It might have actually been one of his ancestors that did it. Hear me out…
Traditionally Brainiac is something that was created on Krypton, an AI that gained sentience and much like Skynet decided that the universe was better off without organic life. If the council commissioned Brainiac, and the computer woke up and realized the council were a bunch of douche bags, which apparently they are, they might have shot it into space thinking that would be the end of it. When Val-El came knocking saying there’s alien being named Brainiac coming for Krypton, they would not want that information out. That would mean they caused their chief problem, so the immediate solution would be to silence Val-El.
I think Daron-Vex is in on it, because in the last episode he’s determined to find Val-El’s fortress and when General Zod ask why he says it’s to find possible weapons. I think he’s under orders from the council to find the fortress and see if Val found a way to stop Brainiac. When he says “weapons” he’s not really lying. Why else would this guy want Seg around?
But that’s just my theory.
If you want to catch up on Krypton check it out here.
Thanks for reading
Krypton, Superman and basically this whole thing is the property of DC Comics and the SyFy channel.