Robert Turnbull reviews the latest episode of Krypton – has Jax gone too far?
The biggest crime of this show is the potential it wastes; a mostly great cast and a basic concept you could run with and, unfortunately, we just get endless clichés and plot serving motives. This really isn’t a well crafted show; even the name this week In Zod We Trust is just lame.
In the immediate aftermath of Jax killing Lyta, Zod is, understandably, pretty annoyed. So is Grandad-El. He stands up and makes an impassioned plea to the other rebels decrying Jax’s methods. It’s a good speech moment; its not too contrived and has a raw, on the spot feel to it which is well delivered by Ian McElhinney but it all feels a little hollow and cliché too. Val makes several claims in his speech that this kind of violence isn’t the way to fight Zod, yet he seemed generally unfazed by all the killing they were dong earlier and doesn’t bat an eyelid when the rebels, who obviously side with him, all pull their guns on Jax.
Nyssa is my favourite character this week. Even though her motivations have been a bit wobbly depending on what suits the plot that week, she goes full badass this week and I can really buy her as an ancestor of Supes – and not just because of her Marlon Brando hair. After Zod declares she is surplus to requirements, she gets tracked down by a couple of creepy Sagitari who try to get the codex operational codes but she goes all ninja and kills them both. She immediately meets up with Seg and with the help of Dev and Jayna they hatch a plan to get Seg and Nyssa’s son back.
This leads to a fun, if predictable scene, where Nyssa confronts Zod and gets her child back in return for the codex release codes. She has a cool, if signposted, moment where she jumps out a window with her baby which is nicely done but you can’t help but feel Seg – flying a ship just below the window to catch Nyssa and and baby-El- doesn’t really press his advantage. He could have shot a couple of blasts in the open window, possibly taken Zod out but instead he just hovers for a moment, allowing Zod to shoot and damage his ship. This plan could have been a genuine assassination plan but instead just serves to trickle the plot along for the next scene and the next episode.
There is a nice scene early on with Jayna, Dev and Seg moments after Lyta has been killed. Dev gets to do some of his melancholy reminiscing but I don’t mind it because I like Aaron Pierre so much and Cameron Cuffe is also good in these scenes. While much of the script on this show can be cheesy and clunky it does have a habit of throwing up the occasional refreshingly blunt or matter of fact line that stands out nicely. Seg shouting down Dev’s suggestion of what Lyta would want, claiming they wouldn’t know because she’d been brainwashed, had a nice no bullshit feel to it. Likewise, later in the episode, after escaping Zod, Seg, Jayna, Nyssa and Dev talk about how they’ve all let Lyta down but Dev counters that maybe she was beyond saving anyway. This does kind of bring me to a big issue with this episode, and this season; Lyta.
As a viewer and reviewer, I’ve not been quiet about the fact I think, as an actor, Georgina Campbell is the weak link in this show. I find her stilted, bland and emotionless in her role. The character of Lyta like so many in this show, is a fairly two dimensional cliché but beyond that, this season has made Lyta a kind of emotional focal point of everyone’s story.
Zod, Seg, Dev and Jayna are all obsessed with Lyta, who has been stomping around as Zod’s right hand person; even Val thinks she’s great and wouldn’t really do anything too bad. The characters have spent this entire season telling us how great and how important Lyta is and there is very little evidence to back this up. Last season she worked for the baddies and tentatively helped the good guys at the end when a bigger bad guy turned up – then immediately switched allegiance to the new baddie. We’re told how much Zod has brain-washed her but there is little evidence she wouldn’t have done all this stuff if she hadn’t been. She has become almost too important to the main characters and they’ve gone a bit Lana Lang in Smallville.
Also in this episode, Zod gets his scientists to make a giant DNA focused gun which is just stupid and looks like a giant Nerf gun.
What is really missing in this episode is the comedy and lightness the Seg/Adam scenes had in the earlier episodes this season. Everything is so portentous, so melancholy and world weary with everyone moping about Lyta and worried about Zod; the show simply isn’t fun. Even at their most dreary, the other slew of superhero shows out there (Supergirl, The Flash, Titans) all manage to be at least fun, or have an air of fun about them. There is an odd, misjudged attempt at comedy this week when, while tracking her down to possibly kill her, Adam genuinly seems to claim that Jax has a thing for him. The joke is flat and weird and makes him seem detached from reality in a fundamental way.
This show is monotonous. The landscape and textures of Krypton itself are so desolate and dark everything starts to look the same. This is a prequel and we know more or less, the greater fate of these characters, so in order for us to care about them at all we need to like them – they don’t need to be likable but we need to like watching them – and at the moment, I don’t.
We’re over half way through this second and final season now; initially I wasn’t surprised the show was cancelled but with the first couple of episodes adding a sense of humour with Lobo and some off world action I did wonder if I’d been a little too harsh. But now we’ve bedded into the same old same old and there is nothing an enthusiastic and talented cast can do help this show soar. Krypton is, in so many ways, doomed.
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