Krypton Transformation Review

This week on “Is Krypton Getting Any Better?”, I can say that I’m slowly refining what I mean by my answer of “Yes.” Yes, it is indeed getting better, including this episode, “Transformation.” It’s getting better because the writers are catching on to how they can create some character arcs that work. But there’s still some messiness in how these characters are utilized; there’s still a rush in the writers’ room to get to plot points before they’ve had a chance to build. But if there’s one character they have working on all cylinders, it’s Brainiac. Not only is he pretty charismatic, but he’s also one heck of a PR whiz.

Brainiac is a marketing genius

Seg, Lyta, Nyssa, Jayna and Zod expected to turn the masses against The Voice of Rao/Brainiac by getting him to reveal himself to the public. But then Brainiac masterfully turned the tables on them, utilizing an outburst from one of the nuns to showcase his true power, positioned as Rao’s glory. It was incredible and, frankly, it was the best piece of writing the show has done so far.

“Brainiac flipped the script!” said my sister, who sometimes watches this show with me (we also comment on it, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style, because it’s really that kind of show). Indeed he did. Seeing Brainiac rise over the crowd as a fiery being, repackaging his horror and terror as godly might, was such great marketing on his part. Rallying the crowd with the promise of eternal life made things even better. Now things have gotten even harder for Seg and the crew – how will they save Kandor now?

Is it wrong of me to want to see just how far Brainiac can take this? I mean, in this political climate, I should hate even the thought of a megalomaniac utilizing his marketing savvy to get over on the weak-minded. But Krypton isn’t my life, and as much as I wouldn’t wish a real Brainiac on anyone, there’s a part of me that just wants to see how much of Krypton Brainiac can control before Seg and the crew stop him. Maybe I just like rooting for a villain. But I only like rooting for villains if they make the story interesting, and maybe that’s really why I want to see Brainiac on my screen as much as possible.

Daron is a slug of a man

Maybe that statement is an insult to slugs (especially since slugs and snails are the inspiration for one of my favorite Dragonball Z characters – and unofficial black man – Piccolo). At least slugs still provide some value to humans. Daron provides none.

I like that the show has doubled-down on Daron’s ineptitude, stripping all of that Game of Thrones bravado away from him and showing him as the cowardly, self-serving, spineless creature he is. It’s one thing to try to kill the Voice of Rao to gain political power. It’s another for him to sell his soul to Brainiac and try to kill his own daughter and then, after he’s failed and she and Seg have him cornered, weasel his way out of his comeuppance once again, leaving her and Seg to die at the hands of the guards. For shame.

A weasel is what he is, not a slug. But even that might be an insult to weasels, since they’ve done nothing wrong except be animals.

It would be nice if, at some point in these episodes, Daron realizes how much he’s dishonoring the memory of his parents, who stood against evil. I know Daron’s chief fear is death, and he’ll do anything to keep himself from the Grim Reaper’s clutches. But Daron doesn’t seem to realize that he’s already killing himself by betraying his conscience, his daughter, and his bloodline.

Adam Strange is a butt 

You know what? Despite writing that Daron had no redeeming qualities, I realize that he actually does have just one; he’s entertaining to watch. Adam Strange, on the other hand, raises my blood pressure each time he’s on screen. It’d be one thing if he were annoying and entertaining, like Daron, but Adam is just straight insufferable.

Last week, Seg adding Adam to his mental burn book was awesome, because if there’s anyone who’s intensely unlikeable, it’s doggone Adam Strange. That arc was more or less still intact this week, when Adam’s realization of his poor standing among humans and Kryptonians alike took its toll on his poor little brain.

As he talked to Hologram Val, he realized he’s as much of a loser on Krypton as he was on Earth. The reason he wants Superman has less to do with giving the Earth a her – i.e. caring about the wellbeing of others apart from himself – and all to do with him wanting to seem important to the Justice League. Uh, what? That’s why he undertook this journey? To become popular? Maybe the Justice League don’t want to hang out with him because he’s a terrible person.

I know his soliloquies about not liking what he sees when he looks in the mirror and feeling like a kicked puppy are supposed to engender sympathy from the audience. But I don’t care about him. I get he’s having it hard in his own mind right now, but I can empathize with him to a degree and still dislike him immensely because he gives literally no reason to like him. I wish he had gone back to Earth like he was planning to do, because 1) I’m of half a mind to believe he made up the entire thing about Superman’s cloak disappearing just so he could create a narrative in which he “saves” Superman and 2) the show runs much, much more smoothly without him. But alas, he decides he can save the world and win back Seg’s trust…by sabotaging Seg’s ability to defeat Brainiac and by killing Zod, who clearly seems like a good guy in this timeline? Sigh. Just go home, Adam.

Lyta tries to play the field

I’m made uncomfortable by Lyta’s inability to figure out who she wants to like. In one scene, she’s in love with Seg, and in another, she’s telling Dev how happy she is that he’s by her side. You can’t have it both ways, Lyta – choose either Seg or Dev and be done with it.

Dev does get her together when he asks her if what she said while imprisoned was true. Does she really love him? Her horrible answer is, essentially, that she said what she said because she thought she was going to die and she wanted to let him believe she loved him. Ouch. On a shallow level, that’s just rude to say. But on a deeper level, it says a lot about Lyta’s character and un-Zod-like she is. From what I’ve seen of the Zods on this show, they are not only honorable, but they are compelled by their honor to always be truthful, even if that truth hurts.

I’d think it’d would have been much more honorable for Lyta to just say upfront to him, while she was facing down death, that she didn’t truly love him and happily released him from their betrothal so he could find the happiness he deserved. Maybe, just maybe, if she had said this, Dev’s path would have tremendously altered. Maybe he wouldn’t have followed Jayna down this path of destruction, a path that ultimately left him a soldier of Brainiac. A path that would leave him without his mind and without an arm, thanks to Lyta herself.

To be fair, Seg sometimes tries to have it all too, but at least he’s recently settled his mind on wanting Lyta and Lyta alone. The only one who has had true intentions as far as relationships go is surprisingly Nyssa – she chose Seg to be her mate because she wanted him, and she still tries to earn his love despite his declaration of love for Lyta and his extremely awkward statement of finding Lyta hot in this episode.

We’ve only got three episodes left, people. I’m glad I can tell you that I’m not hatewatching Krypton. I am actually getting interested in how the characterizations will keep developing the closer we get to the finale, and I’m especially keen on watching the amount of destruction Brainiac might cause. But if I were to start writing my post-mortem on the first series now, I’d say that if there’s a next season, I hope some of the writing bugs are officially exorcised. If characters need to go, let them go. If a story arc needs to be condensed, condense it instead of drawing it out over multiple episodes (like the beginning of the Brainiac arc). I still say there’s a fun show in here, and it’s trying to come out. It just needs more prodding and poking to finally reveal itself.

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