When things shift into a higher gear on Krypton, they tend to skip the mid-gears altogether. "Zods and Monsters" not only dives into the back story of one of the biggest villains in Superman lore, it also introduces one of the major players in Kal-El's history, and he's been right in front of us all season.
Let's jump into some spoilers, shall we?
Doomsday's back story is brought front and center, as General Dru Zod (Colin Salmon) has captured the beast and wants to re-condition it as a weapon that he can use to pacify the rebellion on Wegthor. As Zod and his creepy science lady poke around in Doomsday's calcified cranium, we get glimpses of the man he was before he became a monster.
A young Kryptonian with a rare mutation was chosen to become an ultimate warrior to liberate Krypton from the invading Kanodrians. Van-Zod (Dempsey Bovell) and Wedna-El (Toni O-Rourke) are committed to building this ultimate weapon, and Wedna's zeal in building her Doomsday is unsettling.
Here, we see that the El's, often touted as good, selfless people, can cross over moral compass lines. Wedna is driven to making this weapon, even though it involves a great deal of pain (and multiple deaths) for the subject. Van is so disturbed by his peer's zealotry for the project, but he can't recon with her. Doomsday is born, and a monster is born with it.
The juxtaposition between the houses of El and Zod was wonderfully handled here, and I can't help but imagine that Dru-Zod will thow this in Val-El or Seg-El's face at some point.
Speaking of Seg and Val, the two are reunited in a way that we haven't seen since season one. Seg and Nyssa escape Brainiac's control long enough to get to the Fortress of Solitude, where the hologram of Val appears and helps the pair remove Brainiac's (Blake Ritson) nanites from Seg's head.
Ian McElhinney has a lot of fun in this episode, as the hologram of Val doesn't understand sarcasm. The exchanges between Nyssa (Wallis Day), Seg (Cameron Cuffe), and Holo-Val are a lot of fun, especially when poor Nyssa has to perform spontaneous brain surgery on Seg.
Then, history unfolds. Nyssa wants their baby, Cor-Vex, to take the El family name. Val interjects, and says that it's tradition for people brought into the El family to take the name of an ancestor, and suggests his father.
There it is. Jor-El is introduced to the canon of Krypton. Seg even does a little Superman foreshadowing, showing off the El family crest by pulling open his shirt. The John Williams Superman theme subtly trickles through. It's freaking awesome.
Then Brainiac takes over Val's programming, launches his skull ship (oh, the look on Zod's face!), and kidnaps baby Jor-El. Jerk.
Oh, there's also a pretty keen little mission bit, where Val sends Kem (Rasmus Hardiker) and Adam (Shaun Sipos) off to find the Sagitari soldiers that are still on Wegthor. No one thinks Kem will do well on the mission, but he does track down the soldiers— and saves their lives. Everyone is pretty impressed, and I'm glad the writers worked this in to the story. I have a feeling Kem will be front and center in battles to come, and it won't make much sense if he's suddenly a respected commander!
We're almost done with this season of Krypton, with SYFY airing "Mercy" on Wednesday, July 31st. It's going to be really interesting to see how close Seg and Nyssa get to restoring the timeline before everything goes sideways again.