We start learning a bit more about what’s going on in, “The House of El,” Krypton’s second episode. Adam Strange and Seg-El are in the Fortress, and Seg has a lot of questions. We’re still not wholly clear on why Superman himself isn’t there. I’m betting to avoid some kind of time paradox. Adam was chosen because of the Zeta Beam, a crucial part of his character history that allows someone to teleport intergalactic distances. That part makes sense, but I still don’t get how Adam went back in time. They argue about Daron Vex, Brainiac, and what planet Adam is actually from. Adam finally suggests a compromise between Seg buying into his admittedly fantastic story and Seg’s desire for vengeance on the man who has killed three members of his family.
After leaving the Fortress, Seg immediately runs afoul of two thugs. He tries to escape, which goes about as well as most of his schemes so far. Fortunately, he’s not being brought to a major enemy… probably. I’m still not sure exactly whose side Nyssa is on. Probably her own. I guess this is her family’s version of a summons. Nyssa brings Seg to a formal chamber, where Daron is waiting. Seg meets the Voice of Rao up close, and we get a crash course on Krpytonian gods. Daron makes some vague and ominous statements about Seg being made officially part of the House of Vex tomorrow.
Elsewhere, the guards or soldiers or whatever they are gear up with heavier weapons. Lyta isn’t pleased about this, even less so when she hears what’s planned. She’s clearly upset, and her intended or fiancé or whatever the right word is, Dev-Em, cautions her against getting caught up in the same mess that brought down the El’s. Her supervisor, Commander Quex-Ul, seems supremely indifferent to the possible carnage stemming from this plan.
Appalled at what she’s hearing, Lyta goes to her mother, Jayna. Jayna doesn’t care about her daughters concerns, and feels perfectly justified in killing the El’s. Between Jayna’s indifference to her daughter, and her insistence on being called by her rank, Primus, we see that their relationship isn’t particularly close. Then again, we knew that from the first episode.
Seg revisits the site of his grandfather’s death, and meets Lyta there. He’s at least realistic enough to acknowledge that what happened to his parents wasn’t Lyta’s fault. It’s not a talk that bodes well for their future, which would short out the Romeo and Juliette in space plot they seem to be working on. Seg then goes to see Daron, and gets told he won’t be allowed to have a funeral for his parents because of how they died. So far, I don’t see how this hideous planet gave rise to the greatest hero ever. Daron then goes on about the history between the Houses of Vex and El. Daron babbles about some of the late Val-El’s claims, which do actually seem to back up Adam’s story. Daron comes off as self-aggrandizing and condescending.
Adam goes to Kem’s bar, following Seg’s instructions to get more Kryptonian clothes. Adam proves to be just as much a scammer as Seg and Kem. Seg shows up with something he stole from Daron, and he and Kem talk about Adam’s story. They end up giving Adam about 2 hours to prove his story.
Lyta can’t get anywhere making complaints, so she takes a drastic step and challenges her commander to a duel. You’d think an advanced planet would have done away with dueling, but the custom is alive and well and they take it seriously. It’s going to be an ugly, brutal affair with no mercy. Dev thinks Lyta is making a horrible mistake, and her day gets worse as she’s called into her mom’s office. Mother Jayna also has no faith in Lyta winning her fight.
Kem gets nowhere searching on the stolen computer, not being able to find anything to back up Adam’s tale. Adam is stunned, and Seg out of patience. He tries to storm off, and both Adam and Kem stop him, agreeing on something for the first time. Seg storms off, and Kem and Adam work feverishly to find something to calm Seg down. Seg himself makes an illegal purchase that doesn’t look good for him being calm and rational.
Nyssa and Seg have a scene together where Nyssa shows she does actually have some feelings. He thanks her for an act of unexpected generosity. At a loss, Seg wanders the streets and goes back to his family’s wrecked home. Adam and Seg find a promising lead which might have a unique price to follow it up.
While Lyta gets ready for her big fight, Seg gets an unexpected visit where he learns how much his family meant to some of the neighbors. Lyta’s fight gets off to a less than promising start while Seg returns to the Fortress. He figures out how to get the Fortress’ machinery working, and finds out it comes with a special tutor.
Kem and Adam set their scheme in motion while Seg learns about his grandfather’s history and another familiar term, the Phantom Zone. Lyta, as anticipated, wins her fight, although the lengths she goes to are a bit extreme. Her mother finally seems proud for the first time, which is really telling.
Seg goes to the Vexs’. He doesn’t end up doing what he was building up to, fortunately, but makes a series of demands that make Daron madder and madder. It seems like Seg is going to neither get his revenge nor any of the things the Vexs’ have promised. Then the Voice of Rao steps in and confuses everyone. Seg leaves, and the explanation Daron demands doesn’t help him any.
Kem and Adam go on a field trip and finally find something of use. A very annoyed Daron rails at Nyssa, and she reassures him that she has Seg under control. So far, I don’t think anyone, Seg included, has Seg under control. Lyta has a meeting with her mother that shows her new rank and some unlikely healing power. Adam and Kem show Seg their proof that things are actually a lot worse than even Adam was saying.
What I liked: Kem is actually really entertaining. He might be on the way to being my favorite on the show. I liked Seg’s scene in the fortress with his tutor. It was nice getting some explanation about what’s going on up front.
What I didn’t: Adam is acting more like Booster Gold, who would have been a better choice for the role the character is playing. Lyta’s fight was improbable, as was her superhuman healing. I don’t really like much of anything about Krypton’s society, and it seems somewhat contradictory.
It’s an uneven show. I’ll give this episode a 3 out of 5. I don’t think this one lived up to the first episode.