Second episodes are tough as they need to set up future storylines while building on everything we’ve seen in the pilot. In more ways than one, House of El feels like an extension of the first episode, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
After both his parents are killed by none other than his secret girlfriend’s mother, Seg has to adjust to a new rank and role in the House of Vex. Between struggling to accept marrying Nyssa, who for a moment shows a lot of compassion and potential to become a memorable and layered character, and believing Adam Strange that he will become the grandfather of one of the greatest superheroes in the universe, there’s so much information to pack in and yet very little character development. Luckily, Seg proves to be a worthy protagonist by the time the episode is wrapping up when he refuses to become part of the Vex family and insists to remain a member of the Science Guild, with the help of a hologram version of his own grandfather, Val-El (played by Game of Thrones’ Ian McElhinney). It’s a completely predictable twist (Supergirl does it too), but I’ll take anything that gives us more glimpses of the Fortress of Solitude.
Just as expected, the Zods are still complete badasses. This week, Lyta challenges Commander Quex-UI for his position and the result is a kickass, breathtaking combat sequence. The expertly choreographed scene is made even more perfect with Lyta-Zod snapping her opponent’s neck at the end and uttering her mother’s “we never ask for mercy” phrase, a nice callback from the pilot. Does anyone else want to learn absolutely everything about this warrior right now?
Unfortunately, the episode still attempts to reveal a lot of backstory about the setting and the characters’ past that it ends up with unnecessary exposition. Whether it’s Daron-Vex telling Seg about his parents and grandparents’ acts of terrorism or the cheesy lines regarding planet Earth, the writing still leaves a whole lot to be desired two episodes later, making Krypton seem a lot more like any other gloomy, dystopian SyFy production. Here’s hoping the writers know what they’re doing and make drastic changes to the scripts moving forward.
Bits & Capes
– Love the rousing music in the opening scene of the episode, which starts exactly where the previous one ends.
– Nyssa bringing Seg his parents’ ashes is sweet and heartwarming until it’s revealed later with Daron that it was just a ploy.
– As clichéd as it is, I still loved watching Seg use his own House of El blood in the Fortress.
– How creepy is the Voice of Rao? Gives me the chills every time.
– Brainiac has already arrived? Is it too early to get excited?
Adam: I can teleport across light-years using a little something called a Zeta Beam. I know. It’s a cool name, huh? Came up with it myself. Only problem is, uh, one passenger per ride, me, and it’s a little temperamental.
Val-El: Once the Council moved to silence me, I continued my work here, where I created the most incredible technology that allowed me to enter the interdimensional realm which lay beyond the normal space-time continuum. I called it the “Phantom Zone”.
(Seg looks at him)
Val-El: You have a better name?
Seg: Eh—no, no, it’s cool. It’s a cool name. It’s catchy.
As far as second episodes ago, you could do a lot worse than House of El.