Below is a recap for Krypton, Episode 3, "The Rankless Initiative": EXTREME SPOILERY TERRITORY AHEAD!
For Episode 3, "The Rankless Initiative," things are heating up for House Zod as a fresh but futile plan to ferret out Black Zero terrorist sympathizers leads to an unfortunate incident that quickly takes a turn for the worse for the city's Sagitari enforcers.
So far, Seg-El has learned more about his family's past and the Phantom Zone from the Val-El computer projection; Lyta-Zod now commands Fourth Squad after snapping Quex-Ul's thick neck; and Kem and Adam Strange have retrieved one of Brainiac's probes from the Outlands beyond Kandor's protective dome. Oh, and The Voice Of Rao is about to hatch another layer of deceit. Just another lovely day on Krypton!
Let's charge on in and see what machinations and mayhem are happening after tonight's chapter on the fourth planet of the Rao System!
BACK TO THE FORTRESS
Seg and Strange bop on back to Val-El's mega man-cave, the Fortress of Solitude, carrying the strange black probe sent out by Brainiac to discover new worlds to conquer. Analyzing the device, its techno-organic material is of unknown origin, but Val concludes that the probe is only a shell containing a parasitic sentry that seeks out a host to take over and gather info on the planet it operates on. After it collects all the required data, it transmits its covert info back to the big boss, Brainiac. Once it's pried open, Val, Seg, and Strange discover that the sentry is not inside, and has unfortunately already been released somewhere. Their plan is to quickly find the sentry before it totally takes over its host.
In a flashback sequence from three days earlier, we witness Brainiac's awesome Skull Ship belching out thousands of planetary probes, with one of the devilish devices crash-landing on Krypton.
RHOM'S NEW JOB
Seg's Rankless friends, little Ona (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland) and her mother, Rhom (Alexis Rabin), hang out with Kem at the tavern and share a charity meal. Ona prays to a small, smooth statue of the sun god Rao before digging into her tasty plate of cooked Kryptonian "chicken" and weird veggies. Rhom insists on paying Kem back after she gets paid for a new job she's starting that night.
Her new employment is with a salvage crew hunting down valuables for the guilds or black market in the barren Outlands region. Suited up and braving a ferocious storm, Rhom and her partner scan for treasures or trinkets as the wind and ice rage. She picks up something covered in snow and discovers the black Brainiac probe. Hoping it to be something of great value, she foolishly gets close to inspect it when its circular port spirals open to reveal a silvery, cube-like sentry inside. Is Rhom the host?
Seg heads on over to the guilds to see if the sentry was turned in and meets up with Lyta-Zod. He yanks her aside and demands an answer to why she risked her life in a duel with Quex-Ul. Lyta explains that she gained her promotion through combat to change the way the Sagitari treat the Rankless population of Kandor. Seg backs off and tells her that he needs her help to find this alien object before it gets into the wrong hands.
Out in the marketplace alleys of the Rankless regions, Rhom sells the sentry to a junk dealer then scurries off into the crowds with her adorable daughter in tow.
THE VOICE SPEAKS
Daron-Vex assures The Voice of Rao that this aggressive new initiative against the Rankless will likely result in no more attempts on the High Priest's life. The Voice is not convinced and becomes a fountain of conversation, telling Daron that if the Sagitari's planned mission to strike fear in the heart of Black Zero sympathizers amid the Rankless fails, he'll be the one to answer for it. The threat lingers as His Eminence exits with his robed entourage, necessitating a stiff drink of Kandorian spirits to diffuse the tension.
Over at the Military Guild, Jayna-Zod runs down the details of the operation with Daron-Vex while inspecting a hologram of the intended target area. They still don't have a clear understanding of the Black Zero leadership hierarchy except for the name of their leader, Jax-Ur. No images of his face have surfaced. In traditional Superman canon, Jax-Ur is the Black Zero terrorist and arch-villain who blows up Krypton's populated moon, Wegthor, with a nuclear bomb.
Jayna pinpoints Sector 19, Seg's old neighborhood, as the area of heavy conspirator activity, which is home to thousands of innocent civilians. Daron argues the truth of their innocence and demands that a price must be paid for their suspected involvement in harboring known enemies of the state.
ONE MAN'S TREASURE
Strange roams the alleys and corners of the Rankless marketplace to try and find Brainiac's sentry. He stops at the same junk dealer Rhom did business with. After some haggling and stammering, he points to the sphere of alien technology sitting on the shelf. Not wanting to pay the exorbitant asking price, Strange creates a misdirection and runs off with the stolen sentry device.
LOCK AND LOAD
Lyta addresses her Sagitari squad before deployment deep into the Rankless sector and reminds them that the target is Black Zero and no one else. She insists that the Rankless are not their enemy and explains that any unauthorized weapons firing or kills will be met with severe disciplinary action. No cracking of skulls! No thinning of the herd! May Rao's grace be your shield!
SECTOR 19 SLAUGHTER
Strange delivers the sentry to Seg at the tavern, and the pair strikes off to the Fortress of Solitude to ensure that Brainiac's machine hasn't been activated and infected a host yet. But before they can bring it to Val's simulation, Sagitari commandos descend from the skies and declare that the area is off-limits and needs to be evacuated. All citizens are to be searched and scanned. With boots on the ground, the Sagitari brutalize the Rankless with stun-batons and tactical kicks to their stomachs.
Seg and Strange witness the abuse but can't risk being arrested with the sentry device. Strange is sent back to the Fortress to see if Val can determine if the sentry is inactive or not. Kem grabs Rhom and Ona and tries to take them to safety, but Rhom drops to the ground in pain and we see a strange green infection throbbing on her arm, evidence of direct contact with the Brainiac sentry. A Sagitari unit corners them, but the now-possessed Rhom tosses them against a stone wall like dead rag dolls, then dashes off.
At the Fortress, Val dissects the sentry and determines that it is inactive and has already latched onto a host. Ruh-Roh!
In the marketplace, things are getting out of control quickly and Commander Lyta clashes with Seg over the mission's main goal. As the situation escalates, one of her overly-aggressive Sagitari soldiers, Kol-Da (Andrea Vasiliou) shoots an unarmed man dead after her interrogation tactics go wrong. Lyta-Zod confronts her and places her under arrest for the murder of an innocent citizen.
Rhom has been completely absorbed by Brainiac's alien technology and Seg searches for her in the dark pathways of Sector 19 with the hope of somehow saving her. Seg tries to borrow an electro-static grenade from Lyta and explains his attempts to stop Rhom from transmitting data to Brianiac before it's too late. Lyta trusts him and hands over the baby bomb.
Inside one of the city's electro-communication stations, the glassy-eyed wraith of Rhom has attached itself to the system's conduits and cables and is preparing to report back to Brainiac's Skull Ship. Seg interrupts the session but is smacked senseless clear across the room. Brainiac's presence explains that Krypton has been deemed worthy of collection and is doomed. Snaking cables strangle Seg as he desperately urges Rhom to fight for herself and her daughter, Ona.
With Rhom-bot momentarily halted, Seg activates the EMP grenade and it detonates, sending a massive shockwave throughout the sector and knocking out all electrical grids.
Dev-Em and his Sagitari squad breach the room but there's nobody inside. Seg has escaped with a barely alive Rhom in his arms.
DARON-VEX FACES FAILURE
Daron and his daughter, Nyssa, watch the arrested Sagitari, Kol-Da, paraded past them. They see that the mission to seek out Black Zero has failed, which now requires an apology to The Voice of Rao. This is something he's definitely not looking forward to.
Inside the Fortress of Solitude, Rhom is unconscious and barely alive. Val runs a medical scan and Seg cannot understand why Brainiac is keeping her alive.
But it's too late, they come to the conclusion that Rhom was the intended transmitter and the information has already been sent. Brainiac is making a bee-line for Krypton!
Okay, that should do it for this week on Krypton. Any theories on the identity of the High Priest? Will Adam Strange whip out the Zeta Beam transporter? What will happen to little Ona? And what the heck were they eating in the tavern?
Chime in with your comments and thoughts below, and may Rao's light forever guide your way!