Krypton: 2.05 A Better Yesterday
With the action firmly back on Krypton (and its rebel moon), things really bed in for a plodding, dull episode of predictable melodrama.
We open with Seg capturing Zod (Zod thinking Seg has been brainwashed not knowing Brainy is hiding in his noggin to keep him safe). Seg has a big shouty plan about getting Zod to un-brainwash Lyta. This whole episode is hugely focused on Lyta and who and what everyone thinks she is. We have Zod claiming she’s one thing, Seg claiming another. Grandad-El claims she will act in one way and Jax says another. The reality is, we don’t quite know to what level Lyta has turned on her former friends or how much of it is down to brainwashing. Unfortunately with Lyta still being played with the charisma of a stale crisp its hard to know or care what her motivation is.
After leaving the rebels, Nyssa is picked up my some of Zod’s soldiers, who thank her for her part in killing all the rebels (by providing them with tainted air supplies). Nyssa didn’t realise this was going to happen and she’s blames herself for her part in the deaths. This is such a clumsy, messy plot strand; the show doesn’t want Nyssa to be too bad, so instead she’s just stupidly naive in her desire to get her son back. Its hard to get invested in a character's motivations if they’re just flip flopping in this not really bad but accidentally does bad stuff but betrays the baddies after way; its boring, inconsistent and lazy. A redemptive arc isn’t interesting if the character was a purely manipulated pawn.
I actually really liked Seg’s scruffy beard and hair and he looks oddly less interesting with his new clean cut look.
Kem and Adam have a few brief but unfunny scenes this week to remind you they’re art of things. Lyta, who visits the rebels returning their people to them, seems to believe she can negotiate a peaceful end to the war. She returns all the captured rebels to Jax except Kem and Adam, claiming its because Grandad-El would never let anything happen to them. But he’s proven to be someone who values all life, not just his grandson’s mates and I think the main reason they’re seperted is for Plot Reasons. Indeed, later in the episode they are rescued by Nyssa, who now maintains she’s betrayed both sides so can’t go back anywhere.
A lot of this weeks narrative is based around Jax and Grabdad-El fighting over how far they should go in their desire to depose Zod. Val accuses Jax of becoming too like Zod in her blood lust and potential tyranny. Eventually she kicks him out of the gang, after she kidnaps Lyta as a hostage. The scene where Lyta is challenging Jax and she gets increasingly angry before shooting lasers out her prosthetic eye is genuinely quite tense and Hannah Waddingham brings her A game this episode. Though its been annoying me from the very start that her robo-eye is about an inch lower than her natural eye; her sight lines must be so off kilter!
Dev and Jayna are still kicking around in the snowy pub doing Serious Acting – after an attempt to rally the help of the bums in the pub , they set off with stolen uniforms to sneak into the city and kill Zod. Ironically, I find their scenes incredibly boring and very poorly integrated with the main storylines in terms of the flow of the episodes but I do like the idea of ex-soldiers having a separate and unique viewpoint; they don’t stand with the government/Zod but they don’t stand with the rebels. You do feel like they want the best for Kandor and its people while opposing the rebels who are, by this point, basically terrorists.
The episode does have few good lines early on, especially when Seg has the upper hand with Zod; he points out that Zod’s plan must be pretty shitty if he has to brainwash people. He also points out that Zod put Lyta is an impossible position when he made her shoot her own mother because shooting your own mother isn’t a normal thing to do. Cameron Cuffe is actually very good at delivering these these kind of sledgehammer sarcasm lines and really makes them work. The swearing on the show is sounds surprisingly appropriate for the accent; this is Krypton not the UK but if people with British accents were swearing in an American way it would jar a little - the swearing on this show all sounds very natural. Maybe not the greatest compliment, but I don’t have much to work with…
There is also a genuinely fun and well shot sequence towards the end where Seg, with help from Dev and Jayna, walks casually through the citadel, shooting baddies without looking at them thanks to pre-cognitive help form Brainiac. It’s a great moment of action and a has a little much needed levity.
The episode ends with the shocking twist of Jax cutting Lyta’s throat on a live broadcast to Kandor. I say shocking, shocking to everyone on the show but not so much anyone watching I suspect – I also, don’t for one moment, believe Lyta is dead. If she does stay dead I’ll eat my cape but I expect she’ll be back next week. So will I, though I’m not looking forward to seeing how this show heavy handedly deals with the fall out of Lyta’s ‘death’. Watch this space…