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Krypton - Hope - Review: "As long as there is an El on Krypton, there will be hope."

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Krypton 1.09 "Hope" - Review:
Directed by Lukas Ettlin, Written by Chad Fiveash & James Stoteraux

The penultimate episode of the show's first season, Hope felt a lot like the first part of a two part episode and as a result, a lot of this episode was spent putting the pieces together for the finale which, if Hope is anything to go by, is going to be awesome. Allegiances changed once again, and hard choices were made in an episode that was a character defining moment for not just the Zods, but also Nyssa, in a gamechanging episode that successfully raised the stakes.

As usual, Krypton has been keeping itself busy with lots of exciting things happening lately, so we'll start with the Zods, and their mission to turn an already bad situation into a worse one by unleashing Doomsday on Krypton in the hopes that it will bring Brainiac down. Lyta is quick to point out the risk that comes with this, saying that it'll just work its way down the food chain and rather than dealing with Brainiac they'll have Doomsday to deal with instead. General Zod is quick to remind Lyta that's Seg talking, and he wants her to not ask questions and follow his lead.

Jayna has other ideas however, firmly against General Zod becoming the ruler of Krypton after Brainiac is defeated, and Zod decides to challenge her to a duel, putting Lyta in a difficult position of having to make a choice. Her choice will put her at odds with not only Seg and Jayna, but she truly believes that Doomsday is the best shot that they have at saving Kandor, and is even willing to shoot her own mother, causing Zod to lose his own honour in the process, something that he's furious about, but he's only got himself to blame, as he taught Lyta that sometimes hard choices had to be made. Lyta probably saved Zod too, as Jayna was on top and probably would have defeated him had there not been an intervention. But now it's cost her anything that she had with her mother, and this is going to take a big toll on Lyta going forward, especially given that Jayna's able to survive, only barely, and once things don't go the way that she thinks she could lose everything. One of the most interesting reveals that almost got lost in the episode given how much was going on was that we got the answer to in this episode was who was the father of Dru-Zod, and that turned out to be Seg. Not that it was ever going to change Zod's attitude towards the House of El of course, given how much he's been through in the past and how much of his personality is defined by his hatred of it.

This begs the question, will we see some deaths in the finale? The show has been, true to comic book fashion, kept most of the major players alive so far, and even introduced an Altered Carbon-style system where the guilded can continue to rule Krypton as clones.That said, we did tragically lose Ona in the previous episode, so anything's possible with this show. I'm worried for Nyssa at this point after she chose to come back to Kandor rather than flee the city to help Seg, and I hope she doesn't end up a casualty in the next episode. She's too good a character to kill off. I like how the dynamic between her and Seg shaped up over the course of this episode, and I'm relieved that the writers didn't attempt to make things more contrived by having Nyssa stab him in the back as well.

One of the biggest obstacles in the way of stopping Brainiac however seems to be how incompetent everyone in Krypton is, and it seems that it's a trait that's shared with both Black Zero and the Sagitari, to the point where it was almost painful to watch here. After getting some expositionary heavy backstory about Jax-Ur during her interrogation of Daron-Vex, where Jax-Ur was Val-El's former protégée, the latter is able to escape, getting out of the city in a stolen speeder. It doesn't do him much good because at the very least, Jax-Ur is smart enough to keep a device in his neck that forces his speeder to crash in the Outlands. I could easily see them setting this up as a way for Daron to avoid whatever destruction is about to happen to Kandor, so I wouldn't be surprised - especially Krypton's survival rate in terms of its characters so far, to see him return like the cockroach he is.

The attempted allegiance between the Black Zero soldiers and what remained of the Sagitari to stop Brainiac was something that was always going to fail as there was still another episode left in the season before it ended, but to see it fail so badly really didn't help things at all. They waited so long before shooting The Voice of Rao they were practically asking for him to turn them all on another. But regardless, Seg's effort of uniting the Sagitari and Black Zero, two bitter enemies, with the help of Nyssa, was a fantastic sequence of events to watch unfold even if it was ultimately doomed. I loved the scene between Seg and Val-El, and more emphasis on the fact that The House of El chose its sigil. "As long as there is an El on Krypton, there will be hope. And hope can be a powerful weapon." Time is running out to save Superman and Krypton itself, but that doesn't mean Val-El can't provide more motivational speeches while he's here.

Seg is able to survive The Voice of Rao's assault, but only due to the intervention of Nyssa at the end. She destroyed The Voice, giving them time to escape, but Brainiac was able to assemble his true body in the process. And as if things couldn't get any worse, not only does the people have Kandor have to deal with a potential Doomsday, because although he was moved before the Zods could get to him, the ancient technology protecting him is gone and now he could awaken at any given moment, and the Cynthonians want to take him into the city thus meaning that the Zods will get their wish after all, abandoning the plan of taking it to the Fortress of Solitude, but they also have to deal with the very real threat of Brainiac himself.

The odds are looking slimmer by the moment for Krypton survivors, in what was overall a solid episode despite its flaws. I'm still not wholly sold on either relationship that Seg has, between Nyssa and Lyta, but that doesn't stop all three from becoming good characters in their own right. Given that it was announced that the show was renewed for a second season while I was writing this review ahead of its upcoming UK airdate, I'm excited to see where the show takes them next season, but are we burning through everything too quickly? Where will the show go from here after presumably, Brainiac is defeated in the finale? But the good news is that the show has not held back from making its connection to the DC Comics universe known, so there's plenty of potential to explore there.

What did you think of Hope? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out the season finale - The Phantom Zone - tomorrow night on SYFY.

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