ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 3.28.18
Seg begins to live his double life by agreeing with his new Vexing family in public, yet seeking to continue his grandfather’s work with his underground squad in private.
Spinning its Wheels
This second episode is pretty much what I expected because of the way the show set up its premise. The two big issues are:
- Superman’s future is in jeopardy!
- Brainiac, the destroyer of worlds is coming!
….So that basically means they have to do something to keep us interested until the respective payoffs for those two ideas come to fruition. If they do. So there’s a bit of a sense of detachment and hamster wheel spinning when we’re not on those two tracks. Because we want to see that stuff. Not necessarily more insurrection. But there’s again some great Superman winks along the way.
The challenge for new readers and new viewers of this is the decades long history of Superman. If you are just jumping in, or if Man of Steel was your entry point, you might be somewhat unclear on the show’s themes. I’m going to be inviting you each week to read some of the best Superman stories ever written to flesh out your knowledge of Kal-El, and connect even more deeply into the mythology of this show. Read Superman:Red Son, to see what would’ve happened if Superman hadn’t been raised in America at all.
I tell ya Seg pretty much only has one expression so far, doesn’t he? He pouts and broods his way through every scene. So we get some Zeta beam explanation for Adam Strange’s presence as the Ghost of Superman Future, but Seg still doesn’t believe him. That feels like a bit of a step backwards from last week, but okay. For me personally, the novelty of having Adam Strange in this mix has already worn off, and he feels like just some typical earth dude. I’d like for him to feel more distinctively like Adam Strange, because as he is now, he could be replaced with almost any other stereotypical American dudey-dude character and still perform the same function.
He’s still being forced to go through with this wedding, and he still obviously despises the idea. His bride to be has to have him hunted down and brought to her! The Voice of Rao is the serious wildcard in this whole stew, and I hope they don’t reveal his true face too soon. They need to let that tension keep building. They also need to continue with the idea they set up last week, the extreme religious zealotry now driving their society. That makes a great backdrop against the scientific approach of the Els.
Zod me once, shame on You
I’m sorry, I just don’t care about Lyta-Zod. At all. Her mother is the much more interesting character. And Lyta’s just on the very trope worn “I need to prove myself” path. So we can already anticipate every plot point in her character arc. She also is going to keep getting main character cheats, even though she’s openly going against the interests of the Military Guild. She’s in open rebellion, but she’s not gonna die. Black Zero is a name at this point….but I want them to be more of a presence. It will feel more like a real rebellion if we see more acts from this underground terrorist group. And Seg and Lyta are so boring the show comes to a halt whenever they have scenes together. Ugh.
A Hive of Scum and Villainy
So we get to follow the three Kryptoteers, Seg, Adam, and Bar Guy(I don’t even care what his name is) as they seek proof of Brainiac’s impending strike. You realize that means they have to draw his appearance out, unless of course after they resolve the Brainiac arc, they start the countdown to the sun exploding. Seg gets a secret knife, and lord only knows what he’s going to do with that.
Seg also has no chemistry with Blondie Vex. She seems to be really into him, for no clear reason other than she finds him hot. She gifts him with his parents’ ashes to help him mourn. Yeah that was super romantic for sure.🙄
Adam and Bar Bore bribe their way into getting with the salvage crew to track Brainiac’s movements. It costs Adam his watch and his favorite Detroit baseball cap. Seg gets a surprise visit from a family friend, and get another Superman sigil. Again, the shield is literally everywhere on this show.
So by show’s end they find a probe from Brainiac. “He’s not coming,” they say, “he’s already here.” Gnarly.
So Lyta makes her big grandstand play, and challenges Quex to a duel to the death. If she wins, she becomes commander of the 4th Division of the Sagitari. So she’s got to prove herself to her mother and her other team members.
I LOVED Alura’s costume in this scene. That red and black was awesome. Okay so anyway, the MMA style mixed martial arts fighting was kind of fun, but nothing about the way this girl moves convinces me that she’s a real fighter. We knew she was going to win because the plot requires that she does. She was bloody, but she didn’t seem to be in any real pain, even though some of those hits were truly brutal. No mercy tho, and there’s a neck snap. Guessing that was a wink to Zod’s end in Man of Steel. Do you see how you could lift Lyta’s whole story out of this and it wouldn’t change anything?
The Fortress of Blooditude
So we finally come to the whole point of this episode. What we are basically going to see in this show, at least for a while, is Kal-El’s journey except with Seg-El and no powers. So he bleeds and activates his control panel (again showing us that beautiful, dirty, red and yellow shield) and the Fortress begins to spill its secrets. First one up, Val-El is there, but as an AI hologram. So it’s just like Jor-El with Kal on Earth. Val mentions the extinction level plague called the Green Death, which we now have to figure is going to be instrumental in the creation of Kryptonite. He is ushering Seg into the greatness of his family line. We also get introduced to the Phantom Zone. That tech is also what allowed Val-El to travel to different worlds, and that has to be how he discovered Earth and its effects on Kryptonians. Seg is up for the challenge but has to deal with his not-yet-in-laws.
So Seg openly defies his almost-FIL’s wishes, and calls the wedding off. He even cuts the sigil off his jacket and throws it to the ground. If he didn’t have main character powers, he would’ve been scheduled for execution right there. But the High Priest of Rao intervenes, and says that this is acceptable. It’s the way to control Seg, letting him stay on the Science Guild. Mysterious and somewhat unexpected. This is the only other plot thread where I’m anxious to see what the long game is. Nyssa is down with it and figures with enough time she can still wear him down.
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So as I stated initially, this episode was pretty much what I expected. They keep enough of the two main plot points present to keep us interested, but the other stuff feels like filler. They really need to tie the House of Zod into those storylines better, and the same with the Vexes. We already know that Seg will defy them to the end, but they need to be a part of the larger canvas of the show.
I’m also again wondering how quickly we’re going to get to see some resolution. Otherwise, just like Smallville, they’re only going to keep teasing the elements of Superman’s world as we go along. I’m still interested so far, but the novelty of a new piece of the future every week is going to wear off really fast.
We’ll see how it goes.
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