Syfy’s new series Krypton aired its second episode “House of El” on March 28, and was it just me or did this feel almost like part two of the pilot? In some version of production, I imagine episodes one and two were meant to air back to back as this felt like one cohesive episode. For this week’s Kypton recap, let’s look at what happened briefly before we get into the meat of what made this episode great — the ladies.
Krypton Recap: Season 1 Episode 2: “House of El”
Airdate: March 28, 2018
Ciaran Donnelly directed the episode written by Cameron Welsh.
The episode starts the moment we left off previously with Adam and Seg in the Fortress. Seg isn’t wholly convinced that Adam is telling him the truth and most of the episode is spent with the 2 in separate places searching for answers. Adam enlightens Seg on his teleport travel via Zeta Beam and how he’s “kinda a big deal” where he comes from, which is Planet Earth btw not Planet Detroit. Whenever Adam pulls out a cigarette, my brain automatically assumes he comes from 1952 where he is a character in Adventures of Superman and George Reeves is the Man of Steel. Just me? Ok.
Seg, being understandably emotional over the loss of his parents only hours ago, is focused on revenge. He has a quiet moment in his family home where you can really see the weight of what’s happened resting on Seg. It’s interrupted by a visit from another Rankless family come to pay their respects. A mother and her child offering condolences and thanks for all his parents did for her and her daughter. Thematic nods abound, it is obvious that the members of House El exhibit compassion and love for other people, personality traits that will carry down to their most famous family member.
Back in the Fortress, Seg uses the “blood of House El” to kick start the computer and finds himself talking to the AI version of Val-El who confirms the existence of other worlds, Brainiac, and The Phantom Zone. This information is vital to Seg because he previously intended on killing Daron Vex; now he sees that his grandfather’s work is more important and his position in the Science Guild will only help his cause. He refuses to wear the sigil of House Vex and the Voice of Rao determines he will wear the Sigil of the Science Guild.
Speaking of the Voice of Rao, we were enlightened to the creation myth of Krypton and the religion that leads it. The Voice of Rao’s headpiece represents each of the Old Gods, Cynthonna, Telle, Lorra, Mordo, Yuda, and Rao. Daron-Vex explains that it was Rao who “kindled the sun”, but acknowledges that at one point in time, all were revered. The universe was one of chaos and wasted potential, and so Rao created the stars and planets. He restored order and this is why they worship Rao above all else.
Elsewhere, Adam and Kem are trying to find proof of Brainiac’s existence. I liked the pairing of these two characters, it brought some light to an otherwise darker episode. Rasmus Hardiker and Shaun Sipos play well off one another and I hope we see more of them in the coming weeks. Another spotlight player was Aaron Pierre as Dev-Em. We didn’t get much of him in the pilot other than seeing him stand around statuesque while Lyta gets a knife in her hand and that he’s her betrothed. It was nice to see him be the one to assure her of his faith in Lyta as a warrior. He obviously respects her and admires her.
The women of Krypton are truly remarkable and most times outshine their male counterparts. Lyta Zod and her portrayer Georgina Campbell really developed in this episode. It’s always refreshing when time is taken to develop all of the characters with nuanced perspective when easily they could become one-note side designs.
Lyta is the character with the most heart who is not only a physical warrior, but a social justice warrior as well. She puts her life on the line for the Rankless of Kandor because she, unlike her superior officers, believes that sacrificing innocent people just to flesh out terrorists is the wrong way to go about things. She takes value in life regardless of rank, guild, or name. At the same time, she is immensely proud of her own heritage and House and wishes her mother believed she could live up to it. In the midst of her preparation for a Kandorian Duel, a fight to the death, which she wins obviously, she still has time to offer comfort to Seg while reminding him that they both must do what is in their hearts.
An upcoming episode will delve deeper into the House of Zod and personally, I cannot wait. Jayna is a stoic and militant woman and could also potentially fall victim to one-note characterization, but Ann Ogbomo is so expressive that you can see the drips of tenderness seeping through. In the pilot, she comes off as a strict General, even to her own child, but it is later when she exhibits just a bit of mercy to Seg’s parents that you wonder if her cold exterior can be cracked. In “House of El”, she worries that Lyta’s decision to challenge her superior officer will get her killed and later on when Lyta wins, you see the small smirk of pride and approval. Later still, she expresses concern in a warning to Lyta that things will only get harder from here on out.
Nyssa Vex remains complex and mysterious, manipulating the situation to her advantage at every turn. It’s hard to tell if she is playing Seg or her father, or perhaps both. She offers Seg a moment of compassion when she brings him the ashes of his parents, proclaiming that everyone deserves a chance to say goodbye to someone they love. I wondered if Nyssa had lost someone she wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to or if this was all part of her masterplan. Later on when conferring with her father, it seemed to be part of her manipulation of Seg. Wallis Day brings so much to this role and she plays Nyssa in a way that has you believing everything she’s saying in the moment she’s saying it leaving you wholly confused in a completely awesome way.
Krypton Season 1: Episode 2: “House of El” delved deeper into the nuance of this universe building upon the world that encompasses these characters and developing the layered personalities and story arcs for the season to come.