Krypton delivers another stand out episode this week as the narrative of this alien planet mirrors our own society. While illuminating the struggles of the lower class, it also uses that context to comment on the issue of police brutality and the creation of terrorism. Let’s dive into this week’s Krypton recap.
Krypton Recap: Season 1 Episode 3: “The Rankless Initiative”
Airdate: April 4, 2018
Steve Shill directed the episode written by Nadria Tucker.
While House Vex and the Voice of Rao are featured this week, it is Lyta and Seg who take center stage. Seg and Adam bring the Sentry to Val-El to analyze and discover that the parasite within has already connected to a host. This host will collect information about the planet and send it back to Brainiac. In a race against time, the two attempt to locate the affected person before it’s too late. Unfortunately, the parasite has found its host in Rohm, the Rankless woman from last week who, with her daughter Oona, visited Seg to pay their respects to his parents.
Seg comes further in his hero’s journey as he risks his life to get through to Rohm and save her before the parasite takes total control of her mind and body. He is forced to tell Lyta the short version of the truth, there are aliens, and she believes him without question. This moment speaks volumes to the trust between these two characters and really shows how solid their bond has become. Sadly, Seg is too late and Rohm has sent the information to Brainiac.
More interesting that Adam and Seg chasing Brainiac’s parasite, was Lyta settling in to her new position as Commander. It is always easier to say than to do and she struggles this week. The Sagitari are working off intel that tells them Black Zero is hiding amongst the Rankless in Sector 19. Lyta believes there is a better way than brute force and warns her squad that no shots are to be fired unless on her command. Tensions are high and much like the fallen Commander Quex-Ul, man of the Sagitari have a real prejudice against the Rankless.
One Sagitari in particular, Kol-Da dismisses her Commander’s orders and becomes physically violent with the Rankless in Sector 19. While interrogating a seemingly innocent man, she pins him down forcing her arm across his neck, causing him to cry out, “I can’t breathe”, mimicking Eric Garner’s last words while dying in a violent altercation with police in 2014. Kol-Da then kills a Rankless that she sees as a “threat” for coming to the aid of the man. Lyta cannot be everywhere at once, but as soon as she arrives to this scene, she chastises and arrests Kol-Da in front of the crowd. If this particular moment felt a little too close to home and relevant, it was meant to. EP Cam Welsh confirmed on twitter in a retweet of a ComicBook.Com article:
@CamWelsh_ “Brilliant work by @NadriaTucker in deftly shining a light on the over militarization of the police force, their shameful abuse of power, and the unchecked violence claiming far too many innocent lives. #Krypton #BLM” (ComicBook.Com Article Link)
The Sagitari think they are targeting Black Zero, but in the process, they are further separating themselves from the lower class, the Rankless and further elevating the Guilded Class. Separating out members of a group is a level of genocide and certainly one of the many factors that radicalizes terrorists. In taking these actions, the Sagitari may be strengthening Black Zero, not eliminating it. It is unclear whether or not Black Zero is an actual terrorist organization or “The Resistance”; I look forward to learning more about them in the future.
Further highlighting the struggles of the lower class, is Rohm’s story. Here is a single mother, taking any job she can, even a dangerous one, just to feed her daughter. It is in this act of love and desperation, that she finds herself infected with the parasite and brought to near death. The ignorance of the government, in this case The Voice of Rao or the Sagitari, to see value in these people conflates the issues that will ultimately force the masses to turn on them.
Kudos to Krypton for highlighting these issues so early in their season and for finding ways to relate the viewers to this “alien” nation. What will be interesting moving forward is whether or not Seg or Lyta are successful in their separate missions. Both are working from within the system to change the current climate, but often that approach to problem solving doesn’t work.
Nyssa and her father had very little screen time this week, though it does appear that The Rankless Initiative’s success or failure could mean consequences for the House of Vex. Kem’s flashback scenes with Rohm and Oona were a nice touch as well, showing us more of his true kind-hearted nature. Shaun Sipos is delightful as Adam Strange who served as a bit of comedic relief this week. We did learn that the Zeta Beam he rode in on isn’t working properly. Perhaps, we’ll get to his time traveling methods and how he plans on getting home in next weeks episode.