The latest episode of Krypton has taken the series in a new direction by fully embracing the show's political intrigue elements. Syfy's Superman prequel series is beginning to feel like a science fiction Game of Thrones, showing that it doesn't need Superman.
Developed by Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer and Damian Kindler, Krypton takes place two generations before Superman's birth and is centered on Superman's grandfather, Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe). So far, the show has had a very cosmic angling; after receiving a warning from time traveler Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), Seg became aware of a modern-day conspiracy to prevent the birth of his future grandson. Brainiac, one of Superman's oldest villains, is on his way to destroy Krypton. However, the show also deals with Seg-El struggling to redeem the honor of the House of El.
This week's episode, titled "The Word of Rao", took a step back from the current storyline involving time travel and Brainiac and instead put the focus on the politics of Krypton. As early as the series premiere, fans have known that Krypton's most powerful family, Vex, has an interest in Seg. Daron-Vex (Elliot Cowan), the head of the family and the chief magistrate of Kandor, wants Seg to marry his daughter, Nyssa (Wallis Day). This episode finally explains why: Daron and Nyssa are plotting to take control of Kandor and they believe Seg can unite the people. It's a plot turn right out of Westeros.
Indeed, as with Game of Thrones, the politics of Krypton is laced with sex, corruption, and deception. Lyta Zod (Georgina Campbell), who was involved in a forbidden romance with Seg, has now become a scapegoat for a political witch hunt after one of her soldiers killed an innocent man. Her relationship with Seg threatens Daron and Nyssa's plan, as Seg won't trust them if she is killed. Nyssa - who also appears to be in love with Seg - takes matters into her own hands and tries to convince Lyta's mother, Jayna (Ann Ogbomo), to join with them. In exchange for Jayna's help, Nyssa promises to ensure that Lyta is spared. The decision will be difficult for Jayna, as the House of Zod is known for their unwavering loyalty to the government.
It's complicated, but the point of this whole scheme is to keep Seg on their good side as they begin to move forward in their plan to seize control of Kandor from the man in charge, the Voice of Rao. Depending on Jayna's decision, Daron and Nyssa may have gained a powerful new ally. It remains to be seen if Jayna will accept Nyssa's deal and betray everything she stands for to protect her daughter.
Like Game of Thrones, we have grounded-yet-fantastical political intrigue as a driving force, with a big scale conflict brewing in the background. Just as the fight for the Iron Throne is making way for the Great War with the White Walkers, how Krypton brings together the Kandor conflict with the Brainiac threat will be very exciting - although we know it, ultimately, won't end well.
Krypton continues Wednesday, April 18th, on Syfy.