This article contains spoilers for Krypton season 1, episode 3: ‘The Rankless Initiative’.
The episode picks up with Seg (Cameron Cuffe) and Adam (Shaun Sipos) racing into the fortress to show Val (Ian McElhinney) what they found in the outlands. Val analyzes it and finds that it’s a probe from Brainiac (Blake Ritson) that contains a parasitical sentry. Once released, the sentry will find a host body, learn everything it can about a planet, and transmit the data to Brainiac, telling him whether it is a viable planet to attack. The problem is: the sentry in this particular probe has already been released.
We then cut to three days prior and we see the probe traveling to Krypton, and then we cut to a young girl praying to Rao. This is Ona (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland) and her mother Rohm (Alexis Raben), who are friends of Kem (Rasmus Hardiker) and are going through a rough time. But Rohm has a new job, which turns out to be working salvage in the outlands, where she is the first to discover Brainiac’s probe. It opens and she takes the sentry device from it.
Back in the fortress, they start working on a way to find the person with or infected by the sentry. They separate, with Adam going to find Kem and see if any of the salvage crews found it while Seg goes to check with Lyta (Georgina Campbell) to see if it was turned in to the guilds. Seg discovers what Lyta did with the challenge and finds out she did it to change how the Sagitari treat the rankless. We cut to see Rohm selling the sentry to a black-market vendor. Then we see the Voice of Rao stressing to Daron (Eliot Cowan) that his rankless initiative needs to wipe out the terrorist group Black Zero and their leader Jax-Ur — or he will be sorry.
Jayna-Zod (Ann Ogbomo) explains the plan as she points out sector 19 that will be sealed off and searched. This is the sector Seg lives in. Lyta suggests a different plan but is chided for it. We then see Dev-Em (Aaron Pierre) clearing out a locker for Lyta, removing the belongings of the man she killed. She has doubts; Dev tells her that it’s natural, but to never let her squad see that. Lyta instructs her squad that they will proceed with honor and no loss of innocent lives. We see that one female soldier is going to have issues with that order.
Adam finds the sentry in the black-market and steals it, because he’s Adam. He races into Kem’s tavern to get away and to show the sentry to Seg. As they head for the fortress, the Sagitari move in to start the initiative. They are evicting all of the sector 19 citizens, with the plan to scan and process each one. It starts off with a lot of struggling. Seg and Lyta stare each other down. Seg sends Adam to the fortress with the sentry while he goes to talk to Lyta. They square off about what is happening, but she tells him it was going to happen with or without her, and she’s trying to make it better.
At the fortress, while Val is scanning the sentry, Adam shows him his Zeta Beam projector and asks for Val’s help — it’s not working anymore, meaning he is stuck on Krypton. Val discovers the sentry has already infected someone. Kem finds Rohm and Ona during the initiative, but Rohm is the one infected by the sentry and begins to transform, tearing into a few of the Sagitari. And then he just walks off. Seg goes to help.
Kol-Da (Andrea Vasiliou), the troubled Sagitari from before, tries to choke answers out of one of the rankless. When another one steps out of line to protest, she shoots him dead… even though he was unarmed and shackled. Things get very heated until Lyta arrives to calm things down, finds out what’s going on, and has Kol arrested.
Seg is looking for Rohm. Adam suggests any place she might be able to send a signal to Brainiac. Seg wants to save her, but Adam stresses that stopping her is the priority or everyone else is doomed when Brainiac comes. Seg goes to Lyta again, and we learn there is a down communications hub. Seg asks her to trust him — let him go in and give him an ESP grenade to take out the electronics. She agrees but has to disobey a direct order to do it.
Seg goes in, but Rohm is fully corrupted by Brainiac and attacks Seg. However, he gets through to her by mentioning Ona. Not much, but enough for him to recover the ESP he dropped. He sets it off and it takes down Rohm along with all electronics in the hub. The Sagitari breach the hub but find no one. Seg gets Rohm out and Lyta sees her. Seg tells Lyta a bit of what happened — that there is life in the universe and it’s coming to destroy them. He and Adam take Rohm back to the fortress. Val checks her out and thinks that what Brainiac did is what’s keeping Rohm alive, and reversing it could kill her. But he also tells them that he thinks she was the actual transmitter and the signal had already been sent to Brainiac. We then cut to the giant skull ship and Brainiac says, “Krypton, your world is at an end.”
This show is doing a really nice job of balancing the science fiction elements with paying service to the lore without it feeling like a stretch. Team El is starting to click nicely with each member finding their place, Seg is the hero, Adam is the wild card, Kem is the voice of the people, and Val is the information. And the humor between them is landing well. This isn’t an Arrowverse series, but they do seem to be taking the bit that work and making them their own. We didn’t get much time with House Vex this week, which is a shame — I really enjoy both Cowan as Daron and Wallis Day as Nyssa.
Next week it looks like Lyta is going to be in trouble for disobeying orders, Seg will have to turn to Nyssa for help, and we’re going to meet our first member of Black Zero.