WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week’s episode of Krypton, “House of Zod,” which aired Wednesday on Syfy.
The House of Zod has been central to Krypton since the premiere of the new Syfy drama, setting up not only a Romeo & Juliet-style forbidden romance between young Seg-El and Lyta-Zod, but also an exploration of the concepts of honor and duty as viewed through the prism of this proud military family. However, Zod also carries significant weight as the name of one of Superman's classic foes, the exiled Kryptonian general made famous in film first by Terrance Stamp and then by Michael Shannon.
Viewers with even a passing knowledge of the Man of Steel have undoubtedly scoured Krypton for clues as to where General Zod falls in the family tree -- is he Lyta's son, grandson, uncle? -- and the origin of the schism between the House of Zod and the House of El, and in this week's episode they found it. Rao, did they ever.
The appropriately titled "House of Zod" interweaves the primary action, involving the planned execution of Lyta (Georgina Campbell) and the search for the abducted Seg (Cameron Cuffe), with flashbacks to the Spartan-like upbringing of Jayna-Zod (Ann Ogbomo), mother of Lyta and head of Krypton's military guild. Under the stern tutelage of her father, young Jayna is pitted against her brother in combat, with each encouraged not to be "blinded by sentiment." His aim is to raise warriors worthy of the name Zod, not well-adjusted children.
For their "Trial By Ice," a rite of passage, the siblings are sent to Krypton's freezing Outlands, where they're to find the oxygen necessary for their arduous trek back to Kandor. The catch is, there's only one respirator. Although Jayna suggests they share, her brother recognizes this is the test, and intends to kill her; instead, she wins, leaving him wounded in the icy wasteland. She's commended for her actions by her father, who orders Jayna to forget her brother, and then rewards her with the Zod pendant given to him by his mother.
We're undoubtedly supposed to think that Jayna's brother turns out to be the mysterious "Commander" with vague ties to the terrorist cell Black Zero, who ordered the abduction of Seg-El in last week's episode. Played by Arrow alum Colin Salmon, he certainly displays a Zod-like streak of cruelty, such as when he snapped the neck of one his followers who harmed Seg without being ordered to do so. However, there are also signs of kindness, such as when he ventures into the unforgiving weather to save Seg's life following his escape. But that may be mere pragmatism, as he obviously needs Seg, both to help save Krypton from the threat of Brainiac, and to reveal the location of a cult devoted to the ice goddess Cythonna. How those two may be connected isn't clear just yet.