krypton civil wars review

Whether it’s because of actual improvement or simply due to Stockholm Syndrome, Krypton is actually getting more and more entertaining as the weeks go by. This week’s episode, “Civil Wars,” delivered a plot development that has greatly increased my enjoyment of the show, a development I’d hoped would happen but believed it would never come to pass.

This week, Adam Strange became the villain.

Did Adam Strange get everything wrong?

Adam Strange is so single-minded in his purpose to save Superman that apparently he didn’t even stop to hear the full prophecy regarding the possible danger to Superman’s life. Instead of getting all of the facts, he decided to zoom backwards in time and upend the fabric of a society without stopping to think about the consequences. He’s so set on making sure his world is fine, he didn’t stop to think about whether messing up the past would in turn mess up his future. To me, it seems like his meddling already has messed things up. Case in point, the return of an adult General Dru-Zod – AKA The General Zod, Superman’s greatest villain in Adam’s timeline – back to his mother Lyta’s past to save his beloved Krypton from Brainiac.

Adam recognizes General Zod as the villain he was in Adam’s time, but this Zod seems to be completely different; he’s dead set on protecting Krypton, leading Seg to trust him over Adam, and frankly, he has more reason to trust Zod at this point, since not only is he the son of the love of his life, but Adam also unceremoniously blurts out how Krypton’s going to be destroyed in 200 years, proving the point that Adam was never about saving Krypton or even preserving the El line. He was all about himself.

He digs his proverbial hole deeper by suggesting that, to preserve the timeline, Seg and Lyta should just let Brainiac destroy Kandor instead of teaming up with Zod to save it. Somehow, he makes it even worse by later comparing “the numbers” of those who could be lost on Earth and throughout the universe to those who are tangible and alive right now on Krypton. He’s been thinking of Krypton as already dead the entire time he’s spent here, and it’s probably the most callous and selfish Adam has been since the pilot (and that’s counting the time when he completely disregarded Seg’s emotions over his parents’ deaths).

What Adam seems to not realize is that while he’s come back to Krypton, he doesn’t know if he’s come to the right Krypton. What I’m saying is what if this show is positing that Adam has visited a Krypton in an alternate timeline? What if Superman never becomes “Superman,” but remains Kal-El, a regular Kryptonian? What if the real threat to this world is much different than the threat to Krypton Prime? What if Adam has delivered his warnings to the wrong Krypton? That would be poetic justice fitting for such an annoying character. In any case, Seg is completely right throughout this episode to disregard him, yell at him, and chain him up at every turn.

Maybe, just maybe, the first few episodes were a clunky attempt at a bait-and-switch? I mean, if my assumption of an alternate Krypton timeline really is where the writers are going, then that’s great! It finally means the show has answered the same existential question Seg asked in this episode – what does this all mean if it’s just going to be gone? If we’re in an alternate timeline, then everything won’t be gone! It means we can actually invest ourselves in these characters! It means the story itself has some room to breathe, thrive, and grow. It means we finally have a show.

Every time I thought the show was going to go, “General Zod is still evil after all!” it didn’t. Instead, it reinforced the idea that we’re supposed to trust Zod and distrust Adam. Consider me cautiously optimistic at this point, but if the show stays headed in this direction, consider me on board.

Oh yeah, and Doomsday was revealed, albeit in a cryogenic state. One has to assume that since we were shown the monster, he will eventually be used. You know what they say about Chekhov’s gun; if the pistol is shown in a scene; it has to be used at some point.

The Sagitari aren’t spies

The Sagitari are known for their valor and strength. They excel in battle. Clearly, though, they aren’t good at subterfuge. If they mean to assassinate the Voice of Rao to set up a new world order, then they’re going to have to be more careful than they were in this episode. I mean, anyone could have been able to figure out that they let a Black Zero operative go through the pardoning party without being arrested with how hamfisted Dev was about the whole thing. Even Nyssa was completely obvious, and she comes from a family that lives off of its cunning ways.

In any event, one of Dev’s underlings realized something was afoot, and he wisely put two and two together pretty quickly. Dev made things even worse when he quite clearly insinuated to the man that he’d kill him when he said they should go “talk” about what he saw. Like, really, dude?  I’m no spy, but I’ve hidden Christmas presents from my family with more expertise than the level Dev showed in trying to keep a plot secret.

Unfortunately, because the underling is so smart (or is so good at clearly seeing the lies being told to his face) Daron suggests to Jayna that she “take care of it.” Which, of course, means she must kill him. She’s initially unwilling, since she doesn’t want to have to take the lives of her own soldiers. It’s the honor principle; if she kills them, she’d be sullying her name even more than she already has. But when the underling comes to her with his findings, plus the fact that he requested a meeting with the Voice of Rao himself, she commends him as a way of an apology for what she’s about to do.

When the deed is finally done, Dev opens her office’s sliding doors! Like, were there no locks?! Anyone could have walked in while she was choking that guy out! Her and the Vexes plans could have easily been destroyed by some other soldier wanting an audience and happening upon her killing a fellow officer! SIGH.

Anyway, they do what they need to do and get to their assassination attempt. Which, by the by, doesn’t exactly work out.

The calls are coming from inside the house

The parasite that infected the Voice a few episodes ago was actually Brainiac’s sentry, and now the Voice is Brainiac! The attack on Krypton has already begun, and no one even realizes it!

What I also didn’t realize is that Brainiac would not only be a murderer, but also a creep. The scenes between him and Ona are intensely uncomfortable. Maybe the writers didn’t want it to play this way, but it reads like intense stranger danger. Like “don’t accept the lollipops from folks in vans”-level stranger danger. The quicker this interaction between Ona and Brainiac Rao can be written out of the series, the better.

Other than that, I’m liking how the attack from Brainiac isn’t going to be a big boom like Adam believes, but will be a much more nuanced and subtle affair. The last person Adam thought to worry about was the Voice himself. But perhaps that’s what happens when you meddle with timelines you oughtn’t – no matter what you do, you still become a catalyst for the very destruction you sought to prevent. Life finds a way, as dear Ian Malcolm would say. Perhaps Adam should have studied chaos theory before time-jumping and potentially ruining the cosmos.

To sum it all up, this week’s answer to the eternal question of “Is this show getting better” is a surprised “Yes.” It is getting better, and I will probably always be shocked to see myself write that statement. And I hope the trend continues.

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