Krypton– Episode 5: “House of Zod”
Starring: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Ann Ogbomo, Wallis Day, Aaron Pierre, Rasmus Hardiker, Shaun Sipos, and Elliot Cowan
Written by: Lina Patel
Directed by: Julius Ramsay
”To earn the name Zod, you must place honor above all else. Above love. Above life. Even…above family.”
Superman celebrated his 80th birthday last week and how did Krypton celebrate? With its first honest-to-Rao GREAT episode focused on the lineage of one of his greatest enemies, that’s how! Written by The 100 alum Lina Patel and directed by Walking Dead vet Julius Ramsay, “House of Zod” finds Krypton finally living up to its own pulpy promise and tone. And not a moment too bloody soon if you ask me. Though still not entirely perfect, at the very least, “House of Zod” holds high the standard of Krypton as its last son celebrates his monumental birthday.
So, right at the top, I should engage in a bit of corrections corner (to lift a phrase from the queens at My Favorite Murder). Last time we talked about Krypton, I called the soldiers that kidnapped Seg-El a new nameless faction. That was a mistake. Apparently, THEY were the Black Zero we have been hearing so much about, but the show didn’t really make that clear at the time. Thankfully it does this time around as Seg bumbles through another plot he can’t really support.
After escaping Black Zero’s clutches, he finds himself in the company of the Cythonites, an underground caste that worships the ice goddess Cythonna, whom they believe is the true mother of Krypton. None of this stuff amounts to anything other than to introduce another religious sect into the tapestry of the show (which I don’t hate) and to keep proving that Seg isn’t that interesting of a character (which I DO hate).
But fear not, because this episode and its creative team really knows where their bread is buttered and that’s with House Zod. While Seg is farting around on and below the surface of Kandor, Patel and Ramsay dive deeply into the machinations and intersecting agendas of Houses Zod. Vex as Jayna struggles with the decision to save her daughter and ally herself with the wily House Vex.
Remember the other week when I said this show would be so much better if it just dropped all the dudes and focused on the women? Well, apparently someone got my letters because that’s precisely what “House of Zod” does, much to the show’s betterment. Supported by some taut and visceral flashbacks to Jayna’s childhood, Patel and Ramsay keep the action moving at a decent, GOT inspired clip with each member of both families verbally sparring and working to achieve their own goals. All this while keeping their House’s honor and reputation intact. It is a bit frustrating that we don’t get much movement on the Brainiac front (especially after last week’s cliffhanger). I would gladly watch Wallis Day, Ann Ogbomo, and Georgina Campbell square off against one another all damn day and PAY for the pleasure.
Though I will say, one thing consistently makes me laugh during Krypton. This episode is the best, purest example of it so far. Since this show prides itself on being a more “mature” and “gritty” take on Superman’s homeworld, that means that everyone tends to curse randomly, but THIS episode found Seg dropping s-bombs and the like near constantly. Before it was just kind of a weird anachronism. One that I didn’t even really give much thought. I’m not a stickler for that sort of “pure Superman” experience beyond a few immutable things. But this episode? Holy hell, Seg was acting like he just found out he COULD swear and his parents weren’t around to spank him for it. Despite it being funny to me, I wish the show would cool it. It makes the rest of the show seem pretty silly even with all the female-driven improvements.
Verdict: Watch It
Last week was kind of a bummer. I won’t lie. “House of Zod” really puts the show back on solid ground. Thanks to engaging direction, a further commitment to its intrigue, and one genuinely unexpected final twist (though they may have spoiled it during the lead up to the show. I know shows tend to think that’s cool nowadays). We EVEN get some healthy hints that our Adam Strange may not be entirely straight which would be some much-needed steps in the right direction for the show in terms of queer visibility. Your mileage still may very much vary with this show. In my opinion, Krypton has finally swung from good-bad to being pretty okay. Here’s hoping they can keep that momentum going next episode.
Until next time, happy birthday Big Blue and I’ll be seeing you.