Ricky Church reviews the season finale of Krypton…
The first season of the Superman prequel comes to an end as Seg-El, Lyta, Zod and their allies made one final stand against Brainiac to save Krypton. ‘The Phantom Zone’ proved to be an exciting finale which still got plenty of good character moments among all the suspense. The cast gave some of their best work yet and the finale delivered quite the cliffhanger, making the wait for the recently announced second season that much more tangible.
Perhaps the best aspect of ‘The Phantom Zone’ is the cast as each one of the characters come full circle in their journeys in some satisfying and emotional ways. Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell and Wallis Day each give some great performances, particularly Cuffe and Day. Cuffe displays that essential Superman quality of never giving up, even when things are at their most dire, and really shows the variety of Seg’s emotions throughout the finale. He goes through bouts of anger and despair, yet always remains confident.
Day similarly shows just how far Nyssa-Vex has progressed since the beginning of the series as Nyssa places her future child above her own interests. Day also gave a nice performance in her scene with Hannah Waddingham’s Jax-Ur where she’s put to task for all the things she helped her father accomplish right before learning a terrible truth about her life. Its just a shame, though, that Day and Cuffe didn’t share more screentime together in the finale given that their chemistry over the past couple episodes has been really good and evolved in some surprising ways.
Lyta also got a few standout moments as Campbell channeled Lyta’s fierce warrior spirit in an attack against Brainiac. In her speech to the Sagitari, she really sounded like Jayna, showing jus thow far she’s come as a Zod while still displaying some vulnerability in her quiet scenes with Dev. Its also interesting to see the trajectory of her character becoming more like her mother while Jayna has softened her hardened character as of late.
However, that is one area ‘Phantom Zone’ somewhat lacked in. Very few of the supporting characters had anything to do or even showed up. Adam Strange was relegated to just a few brief scenes where he didn’t even speak any lines, Jayna was nowhere to be seen and Kem was given a one-line sentence about how he escaped to one of the other cities before briefly appearing in Zod’s new army at the episode’s conclusion. In the case of Jayna and Kem its somewhat understandable why they weren’t utilized, but considering the large part Adam has played throughout the season, its strange (no pun intended) that he was sidelined for the big action. His role in this episode instead helped build to the cliffhanger ending and how the future has changed.
Granted, a lot happened in the finale so it would be difficult to accommodate so many characters with everything going on, especially when Ian McElhinney’s Val-El was brought back from the Phantom Zone to help defeat Brainiac. His scenes with Cuffe were great and McElhinney did a nice job displaying Val’s disillusioned state of mind. His loss of hope was disheartening to see, but the show did nicely in bringing Val back to a point of his old self towards the conclusion.
And what a conclusion it was. First off, it was awesome to see Zod and Brainiac on screen together as Colin Salmon and Blake Ritson played off each other very well. Brainiac looked amazing in his full glory with a very creepy and alien design, a fact that Krypton should take pride in considering their TV budget. It was also a rather ingenious method from Seg to defeat Brainiac, though at an unexpected and great cost as he was placed in the Phantom Zone with Brainiac and history was rewritten with Zod ruling both Krypton and Earth. It was a very surprising twist and Salmon gave a great performance in the season’s final scene, showing how villainous Zod is yet still making it clear he’s the hero of his own story.
While ‘The Phantom Zone’ could have benefitted a bit more with its secondary characters, it still delivered a worthy finale to Krypton‘s first season. The cast was on fire, Brainiac looked amazing and was made incredibly dangerous while the cliffhanger ending was both appropriate and shocking. It was definitely a nice conclusion that ultimately stuck the landing.