We got the new state of affairs on Krypton (and Colu) last episode to kick off the season. Now, things are getting uglier in both places. There’s a crazed bounty hunter, a rebellion, a kidnapped child, and a monster on the loose, not to mention a changed future. Things are not looking good for the larger DC Universe, or Krypton itself, in “Ghost in the Fire.” I have no idea what that title is supposed to mean or refer to.
In the wild Outlands between the great cities of Krypton, two pilots are flying a search mission. Unfortunately, their quarry finds them, and Zod’s skimmer fleet is down by two. On Wegthor, the moon the resistance is holed up on, Val and Jax talk to the people and offer what reassurances they can. Val does make a pretty good short speech. Down on the planet, Lyta pines for the believed-dead Seg, and Zod offers comfort, after a fashion.
On Colu, Seg and Adam are chained to a tree while Lobo indulges in his favorite pastime, needless cruelty. He mocks his captives as he makes various threats and tries to figure out which weapon to use on them. There are some differences of opinion over the word “fun.” Seg introduces himself, and Lobo gets the name wrong. Personally, I was hearing “Seagull” in Lobo’s pronunciation, but apparently some are interpreting it as “Siegel,” as in one of the co-creators of Superman, who all this is very, very loosely based on. Now that I think about it, Lobo is apparently several hundred years older than I realized if he’s running around in this era with no mention of time travel. Lobo boastfully goes over his origins and the meaning of his name, and Seg manages to figure out who Lobo is looking for. Lobo is stunned that Seg doesn’t know who he is. Seg makes a deal, of a sort, with Lobo. Despite his many failings, Lobo is known to honor his word.
Lyta talks to Zod about their rogue monster and the losses they’re incurring, but Zod doesn’t care. They argue over the future of the Sagatari and her training suggestions. Zod only agrees with a few of her points and changes her plan, but hey, that’s what you get working for a brutal dictator. Nyssa gets brought to Wegthor by some of Zod’s guard, who clearly don’t care for her. She gets some rough treatment and sent along on her way.
Lobo complains about Brainiac capturing his home city, and Adam commiserates. Lobo goes on about more things Brainiac did, Lobos’ own misdeeds, and then misinterprets Seg’s homeworld’s name, to his own amusement. They have captured the essence of Lobo really well here, in that I want to smack him pretty much every time he talks. I have that same reaction in the comics. Seg offers some oddly specific data on where they’re going, puzzling everyone including himself. In the Outlands, Lyta has a chat with her brother about old Kryptonian myths that have been part of Superman lore in the past.
Lyta is engaging in the classic tv and movie tradition of training by beating the hell out of someone. The other recruits look on as she beats the guy down. She spouts old training creeds and starts having some hallucinations, prompting her to pick a new sparring partner. The folks on Colu arrive at their destination, but Lobo isn’t satisfied. He starts trying to carry out his threats, and then a few surprising things happen.
Jax and Val are discussing strategy for the expected fight when Nyssa makes her return. They are happy to see her and worried, right up until she tells them why she’s there, in a fit of honesty. She’s in a tough spot, but again, it’s because of her own bad decisions and/or bad writing. Nyssa offers some intelligence she gained during her captivity, and Jax and Val start plotting. Val is very much the kindly old grandfather in this scene, while Jax is a lot more practical and realistic. Lobo and Seg continue their battle, with Seg displaying abilities that are not only not Kryptonian, but don’t fit with their supposed source, either. Lobo continues his weird sort-of flirting with Adam throughout the struggle.
Back on Wegthor, Jax and Nyssa talk a lot more calmly than after Nyssa’s reappearance. Jax offers some sympathy, and some cutting comments about Nyssa’s late father Daron. Lobo and the new, improved Seg keep fighting until Adam lends a hand. Seg provides more specific information about how long Lobo will be down for and they run. Jayna marvels at Kryptonian adaptability and talks about the Zod family cycle of violence. I guess the writers here went to the same therapy session the ones on Arrow this past season did. Lyta dismisses her class, keeps her new friend after, and has a really over the top reaction to a friendly gesture. Adam keeps babbling about Seg’s new guest until the Kryptonian snaps at him. They hear Lobo coming for them and run. Where Lobo’s prize flying motorcycle-like craft is in all this, I have no idea. It’s never mentioned.
Zod goes to Lyta, seemingly more amused than concerned with her beating someone bloody and then some. She talks about what she’s lost and feels sorry for herself. Zod offers an unexpected distraction which is going to set up for a lot of conflict down the road. His approach apparently has the desired effect. Jayna trudges along, keeping up her conversation, until they see some lights and signs of civilization. There’s an interesting revelation here, and Jayna goes inside. It’s the clichéd “Stranger walks into small town bar” scene, complete with bar brawl. Nyssa shows there’s more going on with her than her story so far, and we find out what she’s after.
Not done with the clichés yet, a patrol comes looking for Jayna, and more chaos ensues. True to form, a shadowy figure helps her out. Personally, I thought this would have been a great time to bring back Kem, Seg’s bartender friend, but this turns out to be a different character we haven’t seen in a while. The episode wraps on Colu, with Adam and Seg finally finding their missing gadget. Seg makes a decision that Adam disagrees with, but I understand. They leave us on a cliffhanger about what’s actually going to happen next.
What I liked: The opening was brutal, but showed the power of what they’re dealing with. Seg and Adam both got in a few good lines. Val made a good speech near the beginning, and Jax is very understandably mistrustful of Nyssa’s return.
What I didn’t: Nyssa went from a very strong and enjoyably snarky character to “Oh, my baby’s in danger, I’ll do whatever you say.” It seems like a great disservice to the character. The Zods apparently have a familial trait of mental illness, which I guess explains Superman’s archenemy well enough. Seg’s new abilities don’t make a lot of sense. Lobo was in it. Adam’s more comic relief than a hero in his own right. Where’s Kem?
I’ll give the episode a 3 out of 5. I hope they do better with the rest of the season.