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Krypton - Civil Wars - Review: "Doomsday"

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Krypton 1.06 "Civil Wars" - Review:
Directed by Kate Dennis & Written by Doris Egan

Krypton introduced another major player in the DC Comics Universe this week with Doomsday as we had what amounts to its best episode so far in the form of Civil Wars, as we learned more about its origins as a creature created by both the Houses of El and Zod and why General Zod had returned from the future. It turns out that Brainiac was always due to destroy the city of Kandor, and hadn't travelled back in time to do so, and on top of that, Adam had also been keeping secret the fact that that Krypton would die from Seg and Lyta. So understandably, they aren't on the best of speaking terms right now, with Adam justifying his secret keeping by the fact that it would have been harder to tell Seg.

I kind of wish this breakdown in friendship came a bit later in the series because at the moment, one of Krypton's biggest problems has been its rushed approach to its storylines and this episode was no different. I feel like I barely know Adam Strange as a character beyond the expositional and plot-driving mouthpiece that he essentially is, and it's hard to buy Adam and Seg as friends considering they've barely started working together. However, that does mean it's easier for Zod to divide the two characters and get Seg to trust him, especially helped by bringing Lyta onto his side. But something that's worrying for Seg is that Zod recognises Seg not as his father - just as a member from the House of El. So that spells doom for the Seg and Lyta relationship, which is not surprising - considering it has been labeled as a "Romeo and Juliet" type relationship right from the start, and that didn't exactly turn out well for either parties.

Zod had travelled back in time to save Kandor, his reasons for doing so beyond this however remain incredibly skeptical and untrustworthy, and he intends to unleash Doomsday as he believes he is the only creature capable of stopping Brainiac, but Adam warns them that if left unchecked, Doomsday will run riot, not caring about who or what it kills. He's right to be wary - in Batman vs. Superman - Doomsday's most recent appearance, he took Superman out of the game for good. The whole Cythonna-worshipping cult have been created with the very explicit instructions of protecting Doomsday from ever being awakened in the first place - something which Zod seems intent on doing so, which obviously means that they're going to come to blows despite Adam's last minute intervention to attempt to stop a firefight from breaking out between the two.

Seg is eventually convinced that Doomsday is not the best path of action to take into stopping Brainiac, but that doesn't change the fact that he's hardly forgiving of Adam, wanting him to return home. He's facing an interesting dilemma presented by Adam, and it's hard not to understand why he'd want to save the people that he knows and is closer to rather than some grandson he's never met who apparently saved the universe multiple times. In regards to Zod, though - I love that the show hasn't made it clear what his endgame is. We're going off reputation in the DC Comics Universe that paints him as Superman's greatest enemy, and it's clear that he is a skilled manipulator. I'm not overly convinced by the fact that he won't return to Doomsday at a certain point in the future and explore that as an option once again further down the line - and it's pretty clear that he's already not telling the whole truth in regards to Superman. Giving Zod a sense of unpredictability and making him as dangerous as he is has really helped Krypton raise its game, in a tense and suspenseful episode that allowed Colin Salmon to get the best out of his character.

Subverting the audience's expectations was a good move too. We're meant to be starting to wonder how much about Adam Strange should we be trusting, especially as all this time, whilst also starting to buy Zod as someone who is more trustworthy. It almost works too, helped by the fact that the show didn't go out of its way to portray him as a moustache-twirling villain, rather as someone who is a bit more extreme in his roles than others. It's something that represents a bold move and an interesting role reversal for Krypton, and I hope it isn't immediately undone because there's too much potential there as the show continues to play with our expectations about the more established DC Comics characters.

The episode was split down the middle with one half focusing on Seg, Zod, Adam and Lyta whilst the other spent its attention on the Vex's planned coup of the Voice of Rao, not knowing that he was in fact possessed by Brainiac. It's pretty clear that Dev isn't the best person to have as a secret keeper, when he warned those soldiers to not talk further or else they would be killed. This presents a problem that apparently needs to be taken care of by Jayna, which is something that she's unwilling to do as she doesn't want more of her soldiers to die. But when the man plans to go to the Voice of Rao with evidence, she's left with little choice but to follow through with her plan, even if it means her honour is tainted in the process. Given how obvious everyone has been about the coup, I'm surprised he's not the only one who they have to deal with, especially as Jayna doesn't even lock the door when she's choking the man - as proven by Dev walking in on her.

The more nuanced and subtle approach of Brainiac is definitely helping make things more interesting and keeps with the political side of things that the show is going for. I'm still not entirely convinced that Brainiac even needs the Voice, which I brought up when he took control of him in the first place, but it certainly adds an interesting and different element to a more straightforward alien invasion plot, maybe prompted by the fact that is exactly what Adam suspects the Brainiac is going to try and do so he's going for a different angle. Brainiac is proving to be an incredibly unsettling and creepy antagonist, and it's interesting just how much the show is keeping our main characters in the dark about his movements, with Adam not even suspecting the Voice.

And now Jayna's fate is left open-ended as Brainiac effectively foils the coup with one swift strike. It remains to be seen what lies in store for her now, but it's put the Vexes in an interesting position. Presumably they'll have to think fast if they want to cover up their involvement.

With four episodes left in its first season, Krypton is improving, with its decision to add Zod as a wildcard definitely helping. It's not quite perfect - there are still some issues that need to be ironed out - but it's enjoyable and more than watchable at the moment. I'm excited to see what lies in store for this show.

What did you think of Civil Wars? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned for next Wednesday's episode of Krypton on SYFY.

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