Episode 2, “Paper and Stone,” is all about falling short in someone else’s eyes. It’s all pretty depressing to find out that (pretty much) no one is happy with anyone else in this series, whether in the present or the past.
In the present, Sheldon Sampson/Utopian is disappointed in his son Brandon/Paragon for his lethal action against a foe. It goes against The Code against killing. The Code gets the beat-down this episode, as it is a core argument of the Jupiter’s Legacy comic series and has been in comicdom as well for decades, perhaps most notably in Kingdom Come. Is Utopian’s (read: Superman’s) Code against killing passe, especially with villains changing the game/upping the ante, as Grace Sampson/Lady Liberty pleads to him? Batman has been challenged with the same dilemma: is he really ridding Gotham of crime, if the same villains keep escaping prison or Arkham Asylum over and over, committing increasingly horrific atrocities? Wouldn’t it be more efficient just to “line them up and kill them,” as Walter Sampson/Brainwave so chillingly tells his nephew?
Want to put extra pressure on your son and heir? Then name him Paragon. Brandon is frustrated and angry with his father for pushing him to live up to his name and be the best example of the family and of humanity. It’s an impossibly high bar.
Troubled daughter Chloe and her Dad have a long-overdue, heartfelt talk that leaves both sides devastated and even farther apart than before. Nothing she does is good enough for him, and he was always too busy with “work” to be there for her. It’s an age-old discussion that many fathers and children can relate to.
The elder Sampson brothers have always butted heads it seems, as shown in the flashback that covers the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash of ’29, and their father's suicide. Not only do they ethically and financially disagree on how to handle the future of the family steel business, they also have very different views on their father, even after Shel learns his father was far from perfect. I noted this time that the flashback episodes appear in a different aspect ratio than the present-day scenes. A nice touch, in addition to the muted sepia color palette.
At his father’s funeral, Shel collapses during his eulogy and has a seizure. This is the beginning of the storyline that will reveal how the Sampson family and friends receive their superhuman abilities, as was so mysteriously laid out in the comics. The quest for the island in his vision will become an obsession for Shel.
There’s no action in this episode, just lots of hard talks and flashbacks and funerals and new mysteries, including what the heck the duplicate Blackstar is, and where it came from. Seeing the “real” villain pull out his delicate half-moon reading glasses (with chain!) with his huge rocky fingers and examine the corpse was quaint and humorous. It was a rare light moment in a very heavy episode.
Jupiter’s Legacy airs on Netflix.
Jupiter’s Legacy (2013)
Jupiter’s Legacy 2 (2016)