Lyta Zod is dead. Dead dead dead. I admit, I didn’t believe it. I was sure they were going to back out of it somehow. Reveal that it had been a hologram, maybe, or that Jax-Ur’s cut was not deep enough to kill. But nope, she be a deader.
In and of itself, that was gutsy and impressive. Even moreso is the way this episode allowed the characters to respond to the situation, in a variety of ways.
First of all, it creates an irreparable rift among the rebels. Jax-Ur (Hannah Waddingham) understands that her actions were shocking and upsetting to her followers, but stands firm in her belief that her actions were the right ones to take, and that she has shown the people of Krypton that General Zod cares nothing about them, since he would not act to save his mother. Conversely, Val-El (Ian McIlhenny) is appalled that Jax-Ur has shown such brutality, and that she has betrayed the noble goals of the rebels. Both defend their points of view in a powerful scene, which sees a permanent change in the direction of the rebellion.
General Zod (Colin Salmon) is also affected by the death of his mother. He did not stand by callously. Her death has infuriated him, and made him even more adamant that the rebellion must be crushed once and for all, no matter how many innocents die as well.
The actions these characters take essentially drive the plot and the action of the episode, meaning that Lyta’s death proves to have repercussions beyond anything Jax-Ur had expected.
But for me, the best parts of this exceptional episode centred on the characters that loved Lyta the most. Her mother Jayna Zod (Ann Ogbomo), and the two men who loved her, Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) and Dev-Em (Aaron Pierre). The episode gives them the time they need to deal with her brutal murder, and the writing allows their emotions to play a wide range. Anger and sorrow are mixed with guilt and a desire to place blame. I was impressed with how much time was allotted to their scenes, in which, to be frank, very little takes place. But I was not put off by that. It added to the richness of the characters, and the emotional drama was captivating. There was no need for any other twist or plot device.
I think I have praised the writing for this season in every episode I have reviewed, but this one deserves the highest honours. I am astounded at how much this series has improved since last season, and am more engaged in it than I ever had been before.