Fight Like El: KRYPTON Pilot Re-Cap (SPOILERS)

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The much anticipated, and highly marketed, KRYPTON, centered around Superman's grandfather, debuted last night on SyFy.

The show starts off with Val-El (Seg's grandfather, aka Superman's Great-Great Grandfather, played by Ian McElhinney) being led to council with Daron Vex (Elliot Cowan) of the lawmakers guild. Daron is also a subordinate of the Voice of Rao, who happens to be hidden under a many-faced golden mask. Val-El is brought up on charges of heresy as he continues to preach that there are other lifeforms out in the cosmos, and something is coming to doom all of Krypton.

The Voice of Rao is a prophet who leads the theocracy and to challenge the word it communicates to the people of Krypton is a serious offense.

Daron gives Val one last chance to repent, but Val refuses and he is sentenced to death. The house of El is stripped of its rank, which in this class system of guilds is the lowest you can get. To be a member of a guild is a prestigious honor as it provides you with a place in society. The house of El will be thrust down into the bowels of Kandor to waste away with the servant class. Their crest has now become the Kryptonian version of the scarlet letter.

It is a symbol of shame.

Val is led to a bridge that extends beyond the protective barrier that Kandor is enclosed in. Outside of the barrier is the wasteland of a decimated Krypton. The bridge drops out from under him, sending Val to his demise.

14 years later we see Seg-El running a con with his partner and friend, Kem (Rasmus Hardiker), who also runs a bar. It usually involves him punching people or getting punched for a length of time. How long he can withstand the beating is bet on, in secrecy, by the other patrons. He does this to make extra money for his family, which at this point is down to just him and his parents. Seg has become a street-level con-man who uses his fists to solve problems and earn money.

His father, Ter (Rupert Graves), works for Daron, the very man who stripped their family of rank, and Seg despises this. But his father is doing what's necessary to ensure that Seg's future is better than their present. When Seg attempts to bring his father medicine, a member of the terrorist organization Black Zero attempts to kill everyone in the council room. Seg is the first to notice it and pushes his way past the guards to tackle the terrorist, pinning him to the ground. Security quickly blows off the man's arm (where the bomb is located) to eliminate the threat.

Daron is impressed with Seg's loyalty and rewards him by binding him to his youngest daughter, Nyssa Vex (Wallis Day). Seg is now a member of house Vex as a result of the binding. There's an an excellent exchange between Nyssa and Seg, as they learn of the child that has been chosen for them through the genesis chamber. Fans of 2013's MAN OF STEEL will remember this as the farm in which Kryptonians are genetically grown and selected. Childbirth does not happen. They learn the child's entire history, even learning that it will die at the age of 174 cycles.

Seg and Nyssa are at odds with the idea that a child's path is predetermined and they have no freedom to choose who they will be. Nyssa also warns Seg that the binding is nothing more than her father's way of proving that Seg can be tamed. And while it may seem to be Devon's will, she's only allowing him to think that as she hints at the fact that she's actually in control. In a very Lex Luthor way, she's moving pieces on the board through her own style of manipulation.

We are then introduced to the military guild, more famously known as House Zod. Jana Zod (Ann Ogbomo) is training her students and after dispatching a rather strong looking male, she calls upon her daughter Lyta (Georgina Campbell) to face her. Jana quickly takes Lyta to the ground and demands that she yield. Lyta first refuses but under more pain and pressure, she finally yields. Jana stabs a knife through Lyta's hand and delivers a message. A Zod does not beg for mercy and a Zod does not show it.

Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger has been creeping around the city, following Seg.

When he finally gets ahold of Seg, Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) is met with a threat of violence. Strange warns him not to punch him though. Seg notices the sigil on Adam's hat and demands to know what guild he represents. In one of the more light-hearted moments, Adam seems offended. It's a Detroit Tigers baseball hat, from today's Earth. Adam warns him that he doesn't have a lot of time, but someone is coming to destroy Krypton. He gives Seg a sunstone crystal before wincing in pain and disappearing into thin air.

Seg returns home and speaks to his parents about his encounter, asking if they know anything about it. His father, Ter, takes the sunstone crystal away and tells him that it's not important and he should forget about the crystal. It contains the symbol of their house and therefore should not be seen.

As the Sagittari (a group that acts as the arm of the military guild) works their way through the rankless district, Seg sticks up for an elderly man who is being mistreated. Once again, he takes up the fist against a soldier and knocks him to the ground. Seg quickly surrenders, once a few warning shots are fired his way. Lyta Zod steps in and arrests him, dragging him off to an alley. It is here we learn that Lyta and Seg have been engaged in a secret romance.

Seg, a rankless citizen, in love with Lyta Zod who is the daughter of the head of the military guild? In a society where people are 'bound' to one another by arranged marriage, falling in love with someone else is another affair that is strictly forbidden. Lyta has been bound to another and now Seg has been bound to Nyssa but they refuse to let this restrict their love for each other.

After a secret romantic encounter leads to Seg returning home after curfew, he has a run-in with security. As he attempts to escape he is cornered, when out of nowhere a small craft appears from the sky. His mother opens the cockpit and urges Seg to jump in so they can escape. Seg is taken aback by his mother, Charys-El's (Paula Malcomson) tenacity as he learns she stole the skimmer.

If there's one thing this show has a lot of, it is strong female characters who will not let society define them.

They quickly make their escape through the barrier, which at this point we have seen can keep out the elements, but is very much permeable by solid objects. Seg demands an explanation and his mother says it's time he learns about his grandfather's work and why it's important. She tells him that the stranger who gave him the sunstone was right and his grandfather's fortress has all the answers. The truth needs to be discovered and shared, but it needs to be done by working within the system to convince others of the looming threat.

When they arrive at the fortress, far from Kandor, the lights from the skimmer zero in on their family's crest which has been carved into the side of a mountain.

Cue the music. John Williams' Superman theme plays in an eerily synthesized tone, to deliver one of the greatest fanboy moments of the episode.

With everything that's inside the fortress, comes the importance of secrecy. The Voice of Rao does NOT want anything within being revealed to the rest of Krypton.

When they return to Kandor the Sagittari discover their crime and hunt them down. Seg's mother quickly tricks him into hiding and surrenders herself as a member of Black Zero. She does this as a means to get in front of the Voice of Rao and reiterate the very message that her father-in-law, Val, once delivered.

Jana and Charys share an exchange that reveals they're both aware of their children's romance. Jana delivers a warning, but Charys refuses to listen, to which Jana reiterates their children's love means nothing to her, although she tolerates it. Her loyalty to Krypton means far more to her than worrying about how her actions could affect her daughter's secret romance.

Seg and his father attended the hearing. Daron, angered by her words demands to know who else was in the skimmer with her. In order to protect their son, even though Seg's father wanted no part of it, he spoke up and said that it was him. Daron executed Seg's father on the spot. Seg's mother quickly took up arms but before Charys could fire off a shot, she was gunned down. By Jana Zod.

Seg screams as he watched his parent's lives expire in front of him. Moments later he is seen standing at the bridge where his grandfather was exiled to die and Lyta tries to console him. At first, he accepts her embrace. He has become a void of emotion. Saddened as he has now had everything taken from him as he stands alone as the last member of the once great House of El. Only now, he has been 'guilded' to the Vex through his binding. All hope seems lost. He breaks from the embrace and refuses to accept any more of Lyta's comfort.

Hurting for the man she loves Lyta watches, through tear-filled eyes, as Seg leaves.

Seg returns to the fortress to be alone and Adam Strange appears once again, naive to the fact of what just transpired. Grateful that he found Seg, he begins talking about Superman again. Seg, however, will have none of it and punches Adam to the ground, blaming him for delivering the sunstone crystal and putting things in motion that led to the death of his parents. Adam eventually pulls himself to his feet and pleads with Seg to listen by pulling out Superman's cape and handing it to him.

Seg notices the bottom of the cape dissolving and Adam explains that it's like an hourglass and when the cape is gone, so is all hope of saving Superman.

Cue that beautiful John Williams theme. Again.

Strap in folks, we've got 9 more episodes to go. It's going to be a WILD RIDE!

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0