Krypton– Episode 4: “The Word of Rao”
Starring: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Wallis Day, Shaun Sipos, Colin Salmon, Ann Ogbomo, Aaron Pierre, and Rasmus Hardiker
Written by: Luke Kalteux
Directed by: Keith Boak
Seg-El gets brain-wormed, and something big actually happens this week on Krypton! This week’s episode, entitled “The Word of Rao,” finds Kandor in the throes of a religious ceremony. This, brought on early by the enigmatic Voice to quiet the rabble-rousing that has spread across the Rankless in the wake of last week’s failed raid. The bulk of the script makes an effort toward solid serialization, even though it does certainly take its sweet ass time taking us through it. Krypton is still struggling to find its feet, and “The Word of Rao” builds on the solid, principled foundation of last week’s episode. Plus, brain bugs!
In the aftermath of last week’s failed raid in the undercity of Kandor, The Voice of Rao is looking for a scapegoat in order to keep the peace through an upcoming offering ceremony. (The name of which I didn’t catch even though I watched this episode about three times during the writing of this piece. I think it’s Nerva Cycle? Or Nova maybe? Who the frack cares?) Despite Lyta-Zod’s cool head and sense of justice during the raid, the Voice has chosen her for the chopping block which naturally sends Seg on a bullheaded quest to clear her name. Before he can, he is Seg-napped by a squadron of soldiers. Led by a ruthlessly mysterious Commander (an imposing Colin Salmon from Doctor Who and Prime Suspect 2), who knows about Brainiac and are working to stop his arrival.
Director Luke Kalteux and writer Keith Boak do a great job of keeping this episode moving, despite our two leads Seg and Lyta being largely benched this week. They are still kinda working with flawed parts (the show’s padded feeling pace and Cameron Cuffe’s wooden performance). They, at least, are working overtime to sell the twists and stakes of the show.
The arrival of the new guildless faction isn’t the episode’s biggest development. That’s saved for a last minute “twist” that most viewers could probably guess was coming. Their inclusion does give the show a much-needed shot in the arm, and another GOT like layer to the intrigue of Kandor. I am thinking of them as Krypton’s Brotherhood Without Banners, which I could totally fuck with. Brainiac’s presence has been looming over the show since the opening moments “The Word of Rao” finally makes the threat very, very real in a genuinely unexpected and engaging way.
The women of Krypton also continue to bear the weight of the show on their flawless backs. Setting in my frustration at Georgina Campbell’s lack of screen time aside this go-round, cast members Ann Ogbomo and Wallis Day more than make up for her absence. Ogbomo’s Jayna-Zod gets at least a semi-arc this episode. She’s caught between duty and family as her daughter is used a political pawn. She finds herself powerless to stop it, despite her military might and deadly prowess.
Wallis Day’s Nyssa-Vex also steals plenty of scenes. She attempts to work as a liaison between the Military Guild and her powerful family in order to shore up more political capital in the Guild Space. We see her playing every side. All while making Seg hella uncomfortable because he’s a goofy prude who has apparently never seen a naked woman before. I joked about it a few weeks ago. If “The Word of Rao” proved anything, its that Krypton ladies are more than capable of carrying the show on their own with the boring dudes of the doomed world.
All this said, I am still really trying to find something really worth recommending to you all, just as a recapper. I am a newfound convert to Superman and a really emotional one at that. Find me a pub one of these days and I’ll slurringly cry about Grant Morrison’s New 52 Action Comics run. As well as someone who is more than capable of digging into some bad TV. I say this as God’s Only Iron Fist Fan.
Krypton, despite some great performances and a strong female presence throughout, still hasn’t hooked me in the way I wish it would. Even with this week’s “Big Twist.” The twist itself sets the show up for some really interesting things and places to go. If I’m being real, these episodes have really been a slog to get through. Thank Rao this first season is only ten episodes so hopefully next week things start really cooking.
Verdict: Skip It (Unless You Watched Last Week).
I love a brain bug. I have said it for years. Despite the brain bug and Dr. Moon from Silence in the Library’s presence, “The Word of Rao” is really nothing to write home about. I also now realize that in my previous reviews I have been pretty soft on Krypton based on its fairly ambitious and enjoyable pilot. This stops with “The Word of Rao,” gentle readers. Unless the show becomes solely about the women cast members, and in that case, I AM BACK, BAY-BAY!
Until next time #WallisDayForEmmaFrost and I’ll be seeing you.