Krypton hits the halfway point for its second season with “A Better Yesterday.” The rebellion against Zod continues with twists and turns on both sides. There’s a lot of ruthlessness on this planet. There are correspondingly few likable characters this season. Some of the ones I enjoyed before are very much changed this season, and some of the ones I never cared for that much aren’t getting better. I’m beginning to wonder if the destruction of Krypton was more of a good thing than a tragedy. I can’t imagine what Kal-El would have been like growing up amongst this.
After the horrific losses at the end of last episode, Jax looks over the fallen and grieves, also getting more and more pissed off. Down in Kandor, Seg, fresh from learning what Zod has been doing, goes to confront the general. Zod gets his own surprises from the encounter, and then Seg confirms something he’s been worried about is, in fact, happening.
Lyta has captured the squad Adam and Kem were with, and isn’t showing any signs of cutting her former friends any slack. Adam tries to fast-talk her, and she recounts some of the less flattering of his activities on Krypton. Lyta makes some demands and decisions, and sends some of the squad back to Val to tell him about a deal from Zod. Adam and Kem aren’t among the releases.
Jax and Val argue about the codex weapon. They’ve both dug in their heels and aren’t really willing to listen. Jax points out the importance of the El name to the rebellion. Val and Jax argue about finding another way to do things, and she points out they’re almost out of options. She also tells him something he doesn’t want to know about information leaking. Nyssa links up with Zod’s troops, makes her delivery, and gets some stunning news. The Squad Leader Araame reports back to Jax, and the bad news continues. There’s an overall lack of good news in this episode, really.
Jayna and Dev pull a quick test of their disguises in the Outlands bar we’ve been seeing. They have a desperate plan, and do some recruiting, which doesn’t go like they’d hoped. Seg keeps making demands of Zod, who comes up with various reasons he can’t go along with them. The topics include solar flares, Zod’s brainwashing program, and ending the rebellion. Val pleads with Jax about appealing to Lyta’s better nature. I think being naïve is a running theme on many of the hero shows this year.
Adam and Kem get put in a cell, and Adam shows his priorities are out of whack. They see Nyssa walk by, which confuses them, as she goes to confront Lyta. Lyta has really gone to the dark side, and is utterly unphased by Nyssa’s concerns. They get a communication that Lyta claims proves her point. Jayna and Dev pilot their stolen skimmer toward their goal and Jayna asks Dev about some of his choices. Some of his answers seem a bit odd when directed toward the mother of his former fiancé.
Seg and Zod argue about the reconditioning program. Zod, as ever, has no end of excuses to justify what he’s done, and Seg isn’t buying it. Zod is amused by some of Seg’s plans, and gives him some details he didn’t have. Lyta meets up with Jax and Val, and sets some ground rules. Lyta’s demands are simple, if disagreeable. She tells them what will happen if they agree, and if they don’t. Lyta is just as smug and insufferable as her son. Lyta tells them something that dashes Val’s hopes, and Jax pulls a major surprise. Apparently, the precautions Lyta was talking about were either a bluff or remarkably ineffective. Jax broadcasts new demands based on the change in the situation, which distracts Seg enough to let Zod turn the tables on him. Seg’s really not very good at this stuff. Jax’s demands are just as ruthless as anything from House Zod, and spark a few debates among various characters.
Jax explains a trick to Lyta, which is overall bad strategy. They snark at each other until Jax has her put in a cell. Val isn’t happy with Jax’s new demands, and they have a moral debate. Jax is willing to be ruthless, and Val gets another surprise. I can’t say I blame Jax for this too much, since Val already disrupted one of her plans. Jayna and Dev bluff their way along towards where they need to be.
Zod and Seg argue more, and then the General makes contact with Jax and gives her a surprising decision. Zod issues orders and debates more with Seg. Zod talks about his past, and what he wanted from his family. Seg makes an assumption, Zod corrects it, and gives his point some sharp emphasis. Zod really is a classic supervillain, powers or not. Adam and Kem get some surprising help, and a character makes a tragic decision. Zod makes some demands of his own, and Jax guardedly agrees. As all this goes on, Jayna and Dev continue their own mission.
Adam and Kem almost get lost, but manage to make an important discovery. Kem is determined to get this to Val as soon as possible. Zod makes some promises, and Seg hears some dubious commentary about them. Seg had a disturbing aside with this observer, and a coldly logical plan is suggested. Different factions start colliding, as Seg’s scheme gets complicated when Jayna and Dev arrive. Dev pulls off a really spectacular move, and Zod, again, manages to weasel away. Seg then puts on a truly impressive display that embraces some of his new circumstances and makes Jayna and Dev very uncomfortable. I can’t say I blame them.
Adam and Kem deliver their news, and, while Val is surprised, Jax is pissed off. As Seg, Jayna, and Dev plot their escape, Jax comes on the big holographic display system. She thoroughly denounces Zod, making public several things I’m sure he’d rather were kept quiet. Jax goes over Zod’s many crimes, outlines his latest betrayal, and then takes action that shocks Val, Seg, and Jayna. It’s a hell of a cliffhanger to end on.
What I liked: I don’t like what Zod’s doing, but he’s damn good at it. Val is one of those too good for his own good kinds of characters, which speaks well of him, but maybe isn’t what you want in the midst of a war. I admire Jayna and Dev trying to take the simple route to clearing up all this. Kem played a big part in getting important information to Val and Jax.
What I didn’t: The only one of these characters that’s an actual hero in the DC Universe is Adam Strange, and he’s been largely useless and extremely questionable in a lot of this series. Lyta’s safeguards failing was just an odd scene. Seg is far too easily distracted. I do not like robo-Lyta. We were getting teases about Thanagar and the Hawks, and maybe even a Green Lantern showing up in this series, but there’s been no hint of that at all so far.
It was an uneven episode. I’ll give it a straight 3 out of 5. I hope the second half of the season is better than the first.