Krypton Season 1: What You Need to Know Before Season 2
Did you miss Krypton season 1 when it aired in the spring of 2018? Get caught up with all of season 1 before Krypton returns to SYFY with the season 2 premiere in 2019.
What is Krypton?
Krypton is a sci-fi, time travel series based on DC's Superman mythology. The series is set on the titular planet, primarily in and around the city of Kandor–a name with a lot of baggage for those familiar with the city's legacy in the comics. The earthling Adam Strange arrives from the future with a warning — Superman's greatest enemy has traveled back to Krypton to interfere with the timeline, thus preventing Kal-El from becoming the Man of Steel. Similar to Marty McFly's fading photo of himself and his siblings, Strange brings Superman's disintegrating cape with him from the future to serve as a gauge of the success of his mission to save Superman and the timeline.
When does Krypton take place?
Krypton takes place two generations before the life of Superman. Seg-El, the grandfather of Kal-el, is in his mid-20s during season 1. Jor-El — Kal-El's father who sends Kal-El to earth in order to escape Krypton's destruction — is not yet born. Well, maybe not born yet… more on that later.
Who are the key characters on Krypton?
Krypton is ruled by an oligarchy comprised of a number of guilds that are primarily populated and led by the planet's noble houses. The guilds maintain an uneasy balance with the Voice of Rao for control of Kandor.
House of El
The patriarch of the House of El, Val-El, was the leader of the Science Guild. Val was a proponent of space exploration who discovered an alien threat to the planet. Refusing to remain silent, Val was sentenced to death for treason but escaped punishment by entering the Phantom Zone, where he remained trapped.
After Val's apparent death, the El's are stripped of rank and exiled to Kandor's slums to scratch out a living among the Rankless. As Krypton begins, Seg's mother takes her son, the last of the El bloodline, to the Fortress of Solitude in the frozen wasteland beyond the city, where Val's research is housed and interfaced via a hologram of Val.
In order to protect their son and keep the Fortress a secret from the Council, Seg's parents attack the guards who arrest them and bring them before the Council, resulting in the two being killed by the Jayna-Zod. It falls to Seg to both restore honor to the El name and to protect Kypton from Brainiac, the alien presence that Val detected, who is on his way to Krypton in order to add it to his collection.
House of Zod
The House of Zod heads the Military Guild. The matriarch of the family, Jayna-Zod, is the Primus of the Sagitari, Krypton's elite branch of the armed forces. The Zods believe in duty to Krypton above all else and show no mercy in executing their responsibility to protect the planet and maintain the status quo.
Jayna's daughter, Lyta-Zod, is an up-and-coming member of the Sagitari who is held back because of her weakness — compassion. Lyta's struggle is to both be strong enough to protect Krypton from all threats while showing her mother that tempering that ruthlessness with mercy is a better approach for quelling the violence in Kandor.
Lyta and Seg are involved in a romantic affair, made illicit by the Els being stripped of nobility.
House of Vex
Daron-Vex is Kandor's chief magistrate and the man who sentenced Val to death and condemned the Els to life among the rankless. A cunning politician, Daron arranges for Seg to marry his daughter, Nyssa-Vex, which would restore Seg to the noble class. In exchange, Seg must renounce the El name and take up the mantle of the House of Vex, thus ending the El line.
Nyssa is a junior magistrate and more cunning than her father. While Daron outwardly masks his intentions, his actions stay true to his purpose. Nyssa, however, conceals her own desires, constantly keeping both allies and antagonists on unsteady footing. Quick to find an advantage, Nyssa alternately seduces Seg and gains his trust as she maneuvers among Krypton's political elite.
Whether Nyssa actually has feelings for Seg or if their arrangement is a political power play, Nyssa's presence creates an issue in Seg and Lyta's relationship.
Voice of Rao
The multi-faced figure is the ruling theocrat on Krypton. The deity Rao has bested the rest of the Kryptonian pantheon of gods and rules the people via a mortal avatar. While popular with the Rankless, the Voice of Rao is a thorn in the Council's side. Though it is way more treasonous than anything Val ever said, did, and was executed for, Daron has launched a conspiracy to overthrow the Voice of Rao, giving the Council complete control over the city.
Whether by birth or as a form of punishment, those who do not belong to the noble houses are forced to live and attempt to eke out some sort of living in the slums on the planet's surface while the nobles operate high above. Without rank, the poor are unable to attain guild status, thereby condemning future generations to a life of hardship and poverty.
A rebellion against the Council has taken root in the slums and spread into the Guilds. The elite call Black Zero a terrorist cell. Black Zero leaders call themselves liberators. Caught between the two sides in the growing conflict, the Rankless are subject to searches and oppression by the Sagitari as the military works to round up anyone connected to Black Zero.
A contemporary of Superman, Adam has traveled by way of Zeta Beam to the past in an effort to stop Superman's greatest enemy — who has also traveled to the past — from altering the timeline. If Kal-El never travels to earth, he never becomes Superman, resulting in countless lives across the universe being destroyed without the Man of Steel there to save them.
The "world collector", Brainiac is the alien presence that Val discovered and tried to warn the Council about. Brainiac has his sights set on Krypton. With his sentries deployed to the planet, Brainiac is in position to infiltrate Kandor and learn the best way to disable its defenses.
What happens in Krypton season 1?
Learning that the Council has scrubbed all of Val's warnings about the approaching alien menace convinces Seg that Adam is telling the truth and that a threat is coming to destroy Krypton and the future Adam described. Taking it upon themselves to stop Brainiac, Seg and Adam review Val's research at the Fortress, finding evidence that Brainiac has already dispatched a scout probe to the planet. The two collect the probe, but it is an empty shell. The sentry it carried is loose on the planet.
Hearing that the Sagitari are about to purge the slums in an effort to root out members of Black Zero among the Rankless, Lyta challenges her superior in a fight to the death for command of the unit. Lyta orders the Sagitari to withhold force, but the troops are unaccustomed to being gentle with the Rankless. While Seg tells Lyta that the Brainiac threat is real, Rankless blood is spilled, forcing Lyta to arrest the offending Sagitari.
The Voice of Rao needs a scapegoat to be punished for the failed military action. Daron has Lyta arrested on charges of treason. Seg begs Nyssa to intervene on Lyta's behalf. Seeing an opportunity to further their plot to overthrow the Voice of Rao, Nyssa comes to Jayna with an offer — join the House of Vex in the conspiracy and Nyssa will save Lyta. Torn between duty and love for her daughter, Jayna agrees, dishonoring the House of Zod.
A new player among Black Zero captures Seg and interrogates him about Brainiac's sentry. The Commander, as he is called, knows all about Brainiac and needs to dissect the sentry before it finds a new host. Seg escapes and rescues a woman who guides him to a vault. The vault bears a symbol that combines the crests of both the House of El and the House of Zod. Upon learning that Seg is an El, the vault's guardians become hostile. Seg escapes but is forced to use the last of his respirator's power to call Adam on his communicator so that Lyta will find him.
The Commander reaches Seg first and takes him back to the vault. The Commander explains that the key to stopping Brainiac lies within, a creature known as Doomsday. Adam and Lyta reach Seg at the vault. Lyta battles The Commander, who reveals himself as her son from the future, Dru-Zod — known in the Superman mythos as General Zod.
Realizing that Zod is Superman's greatest enemy who has traveled back in time to alter history, Adam tells Seg and Lyta not to trust Dru. Dru explains how Brainiac bottling Kandor destabilizes the planet, leading to its eventual destruction. Feeling betrayed by Adam, Seg joins his blood with Dru's to open the vault. Adam explains that Doomsday was created by the Els and the Zods to destroy everything in its path, which would include Krypton if Doomsday is released. Seg decides not to release Doomsday, but cuts his ties to Adam.
The Voice of Rao descends among the Rankless for the Nova Day celebration, where he is infected by Brainiac's sentry. Daron's plot to kill the Voice of Rao moves forward, but the theocrat is under Brainiac's control now, and the coup is defeated. The conspirators are captured, but Jayna manages to escape. Daron confesses his role in the plot, and the Voice of Rao agrees to let Daron live as long as he orders the execution of Nyssa and the rest of the conspirators.
Nyssa thwarts her father's attempt to kill her and escapes with Seg. Lyta and Jayna are reunited, where Jayna confesses that she took part in the attempted coup in order to save her daughter's life. Seg, Nyssa, and the Zods attempt to assassinate the Voice of Rao and expose Brainac to the people of Kandor, but Brainiac outwits them, putting on a fiery display for the Rankless as a show of the power and blessings that Rao has given his avatar.
Adam realizes he must kill Dru and preserve the timeline, even though that means allowing Brainiac to bottle Kandor. Seg and the rebels plot to cut off the Voice of Rao at the Genesis Chamber, where he is siphoning life force and feeding it to Brainiac's ship. The Black Zero leader and Val's former protegee, Jax-Ur, agrees to help the group breach the Genesis Chamber. In exchange, she demands that Daron be handed over to her. Adam warns Daron of the impending attack, but Daron is captured and handed over to Jax nonetheless.
The Voice of Rao is wounded in the attack, but manages to escape. Brainiac sends the young acolyte of the Voice of Rao as a living bomb to kill Seg, but Adam saves Seg. Adam awakens from the blast and finds himself imprisoned in one of Brainiac's frozen cities, where the citizens are perpetually trapped in a state of being physically frozen but mentally aware of their predicament.
Dru decides that it is time to unleash Doomsday, but Seg refuses to help him open the vault after Lyta voices concern that Dru doesn't just want to save Krypton, but to rule it. Having observed and figured out the relationship between Seg and Lyta, Dru has deduced that the blood of both the Houses of El and Zod flows in his veins, enabling him to open the vault without Seg's help.
The vault is empty, however. The guardians have moved Doomsday, taking that weapon off the table and forcing the group to come up with a different plan. While the Zods fight amongst themselves, Seg and Nyssa convince the remaining Sagitari and Black Zero to come together to defeat Brainiac, but the renewed attack fails. Nyssa saves Seg from the Voice of Rao by killing Brainiac's puppet, leading Brainiac himself to step foot on Krypton and oversee the city's bottling in person.
Making his last play for power, Dru reveals that Val is alive in the Phantom Zone, where he has knowledge of the future necessary to defeat Brainiac. Dru goes into the Phantom Zone and retrieves Val, then offers Val and his knowledge of the future to Brainiac in exchange for sparing Kandor.
In the Genesis Chamber, Nyssa extracts the genetic material of the child that she and Seg share, hoping to save her offspring from Brainiac. Jax catches Nyssa and reveals that Nyssa is a clone, created at Daron's request after the original Nyssa died. Nyssa takes her son (Jor-El, perhaps?) and flees.
At the Fortress, Seg tricks Brainiac and traps the alien in the Phantom Zone – but Seg is sucked in as well. The act of trapping Brainiac restores Superman's cape, but instead of bearing the crest of the House of El, it now bears the crest of the House of Zod. Frozen in the bottled Earthen city aboard Brainiac's ship, Adam sees a statue of "Dru the Conqueror" in the altered timeline.
Within a month of Brainiac's defeat, the Zods have taken control of Kandor and the rest of the Kryptonian cities. Val works to repair the gateway to the Phantom Zone in order to save Seg.
Meanwhile, Doomsday breaks out of his containment and is loose upon Krypton…
What was your favorite moment from Krypton season 1? Let us know in the comments below! Check out the latest episodes of Krypton streaming at SYFY.com and check back here for all things Krypton at Bleeding Cool.