Krypton: Phantom Zone


What do you MEAN I’m not the hero???

As usual with season finales, there are likely going to be spoilers in this one. Be warned.

Krypton ends its first season with a title that is chilling for anyone who knows more than just the basics of the Superman mythos: “The Phantom Zone.” A smug Brainiac surveys Kandor and de-cloaks his ship, causing panic in the streets. Zod and Lyta try and raise Seg, but can’t reach him. Then, Seg himself turns up, along with Nyssa, trying to get people off the streets. They bring each other up to date, Zod and Lyta evade the truth about where Jayna is, and Zod reveals his next plan, which requires the Fortress. Zod’s plan also triggers a flashback to…

14 years ago. Val-El’s execution. The execution wasn’t what it looked like, and with the title of the episode, you can probably guess what happened and why Zod of all people is the only one who knows about it. There’s a lot of debate about what to do next, and some really unpleasant descriptions about what the Zone is like, and then, finally, there’s a rescue mission and Val-El is back for real. Holo-Val salutes him and fades out, while the real Val tells Seg about watching him grow up since the “execution.” Val then shares the news that, for all he’s seen from the Zone, there is no way to stop Brainiac.

Dev-Em, who might be the most luckless character in the series so far, is recovering in the hospital, and getting used to his new arm. He gets up just in time see Brainaic starting to claim the city and telling the panicked people their eternal life begins today. As this unpleasant process begins, a desperate Zod pleads with Val that he must have seen something useful, since apparently the Phantom Zone lets you see different points in time and even different realities. Val has nothing to contribute and says Kandor will be taken, which is when Seg reminds them all that the cult has hidden Doomsday somewhere in Kandor. This deal is sounding worse all the time. They all agree that if Kandor goes, Krypton will be destroyed, which is bad news for them and good news for the future and Superman. Lyta goes to lead whatever resistance she can put together, and Val hints that being in Brainiac’s collection is even worse than it sounds.

Val talks about how Brainiac keeps his collection in mint condition, and to illustrate the point, we finally see where Adam seems to have ended up. Seg suggests calling the other cities for help, and a scoffing Zod points out the giant skull over the city might be a deterrent. Then there’s arguments about using the tunnels to get people out and using Doomsday against Brainiac, which sounds like a horrible idea to me. During all the disagreement, Lyta and Nyssa sneak off. Once again, the incredibly difficult journey to the Fortress from the first episode seems to be getting easier all the time.

Dev-Em returns to the Saggitari, and no one seems sure what to do. Then Lyta shows up with a rousing speech and convinces them to mount a counterattack. As the city is slowly claimed, Jax-Ur and Black Zero plot their own escape. She finally comes up with a desperate plan but wants to get the Codex first. Speaking of, that’s where Nyssa has gone, to get her and Seg’s child-to-be. She has a great scene with large gun vs. artificial intelligence.

Seg and Zod keep arguing, because that seems to be most of what they do. Seg has a plan to evacuate the people, which may or may not work. Zod has a different approach. You have to give it to Zod, he’s willing to fight to the last of his allies before he runs away. Seg isn’t happy about Zod’s new plan. Zod makes a dismissive comment about Seg’s supposed fate in the original timeline.

Nyssa runs into Jax-Ur and Black Zero and they have a debate about how their society works, which seems to be a really bad time for that kind of thing. Lyta and Dev brief the pilots before sending them off in their fighters. Seg keeps getting people to the tunnels but looks up just in time to see the fate of Lyta’s troops. It’s not good.

Lyta is crushed by her plan’s total failure, and Dev-Em makes some very good points trying to reassure her. Interesting those two didn’t take part in the attack. I guess they don’t lead from the front. They finally decide to help Seg with the evacuation, and manage to get in touch with him long enough to see that no one knows where Nyssa is.

She’s still with Jax-Ur, who sends someone off with the Codex. Jax-Ur then reveals what the Chamber has been perverted to, and tells Nyssa a big, dark, surprising secret about herself. Nyssa is shaken and stunned, but eventually comes around to believe it. Seg multitasks between trying to com Nyssa, getting people to the tunnels, and arguing with Zod about his new plan. Zod is willing to screw over everyone, including the rest of the universe, to get his way.

Zod goes to Brainiac who is very curious about someone actually coming to him voluntarily with no weapon. The alien comments that, when you’ve lived as long as he has, surprises are few and far between. Zod makes his case and offers a tiny hint as proof of his outlandish claims. After some more discussion, Brainiac agrees, commenting on how selfish Kyptonians are. By and large, so far I’d agree.

Seg and Val debate what to do, and Val has his own drastic solution. Lyta and Dev become the examples of what happens inside Brainiac’s collection as the process spreads. Zod leads Brainiac to the Fortress for a lot more arguing and a few good tricks from Seg. As the confrontation rages on, Superman’s cape, which had all but disappeared, reforms. Then Seg springs his ambush, and it works… mostly. Brainiac gets dragged into the Phantom Zone, which is becoming the Kryptonian equivalent of “Throw it in the sun,” but he takes someone with him.

The episode ends with a new dictator taking control of Kandor, the cape changing yet again, and the trapped Adam seeing the changes to the timeline in a very concrete and disturbing way. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the final scene is Doomsday breaking free. That’s going to be a serious problem next season, which has been confirmed as happening.

What I liked: Nyssa has become my favorite character on the series. She’s smart, capable, cunning, not at all as cold as she likes to seem, and, from what she’s said, she’s bi, which is so rare on tv shows. It says a lot about her that she risked so much to get what was important to her, and I’m really curious about Jax-Ur’s revelation. Seg doesn’t have any of the Kryptonian powers, but he has the heart of a hero and won’t give up and won’t go with “acceptable losses.” Dev-Em is a quiet, solid, devoted man who isn’t getting enough credit or screen time. The reveal about Val was clever and it actually worked. And this episode was mostly Daron-free. What they told us about Brainiac’s collection conflicts with the comics, but it’s much more horrifying this way.

What I didn’t: Zod. He’s smug, annoying, so convinced he’s right all the time he never stops to consider the other point of view. Even when he’s wrong, he just leaps ahead to the next plan. Even though they don’t give him enough to do, I sort of like Kem, and his not getting much screen time in the last two episodes annoyed me. I wasn’t wild about Adam’s greatly reduced role, either.

The season was uneven. This is not one of my favorite shows, but it got a bit better as they went, largely from what they did with Nyssa. I’ll give the finale a 4 out of 5, and the season a 3.5 out of 5. I’ll be back for next season.