Tuesday, October 9, 2018

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - The Pierce Family Struggles After Exposing a Corrupt System in 'Rise of the Green Light Babies'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 2.01 "The Book of Consequences: Chapter One: Rise of the Green Light Babies"

Jefferson Pierce and his family may have survived Tobias' attack, but they're not out of the woods yet. Concerned for the safety of Garfield's students, the board considers a motion to shut down the school, forcing Jefferson to go to Napier Frank to sway the vote. Jennifer struggles with her powers and her actions have unforeseen repercussions. Anissa finds a new way to give back to Freeland. Lynn continues her quest much to the dismay of Agent Odell.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of The CW's Black Lightning.

"The Book of Consequences: Chapter One" Rise of the Green Light Babies" was written by Salim Akil and directed by Salim Akil

The first season of Black Lightning concluded with the Pierce family being able to come together and defeat their enemies by exposing the experiments being run by the ASA through the use of Green Light. And yet, this premiere isn't a celebration. In fact, it's the show delving deeper into the true cost of the actions the entire family took at the end of the first season. There is the celebration that comes from this illegal program being exposed. But the government still can't be trusted to do the right thing and allow answers into this community. Freeland is on the verge of destruction. That has always been the case even though the community has always stood united with the idea that the system is the greatest enemy they have to face. They were vindicated with the reveal of this illegal program. But now, its exposure and the idea that green light gives individuals superpowers threatens to disrupt this community in some even more damaging ways. Jefferson can already sense that it could be leading to a civil war breaking out for the spirit of Freeland with those with superpowers being ostracized because of their abilities. This premiere once again proves that people can come back from the dead. And yet, that moment with Issa isn't victorious. The visual of him being choked out by a police officer at the top of the hour is so bleak and sickening. It remains such a common image throughout our culture. It should be a relief that he is brought back to life. Instead, that only makes more people terrified of him and what he is capable of doing. The relief came from not having to worry about him anymore. So now, he's another kid with powers living on the street feeling absolutely defeated and alone. That's scary and could lead to someone taking advantage of him in order to grab even more power in the city. The drama is just as personal within the Pierce family as well. Jefferson believes he did all that he could do in order to help the kids trapped in the pods. He exposed it to the world and the system needs to be trusted to do its job now. But he's also scared of what harm could come to Lynn should she continue to demand working for answers about this program. She is already being looked at with skepticism. People want to know her connection to all of this. This is a community that is struggling. Lynn and Anissa are trying to step up and do the right thing. But they need to be there for Jennifer as well. Her powers have manifested themselves differently than they did for Jefferson and Anissa. She has no control over them whatsoever. She is now floating in her sleep. She is curled up in a ball in the bathtub surrounded by lights that she doesn't understand. Jefferson is at a loss as well. This could make her afraid to do absolutely anything in life. She could just be resigned to sit in her thoughts of what she has done. This family is struggling with the reality of killing people in order to save Freeland. Jefferson is able to move past that because this is the job he signed up for. And yet, it is coming at such an immense cost for him as well. Henderson is finally able to figure out Black Lightning's true identity while Jefferson also has to step down as principal in order to save Garfield High. All of these sacrifices are personal and so profound. The characters are making these decisions because of their passionate beliefs. And yet, Tobias is still out there planning something. Whatever is in the briefcase is bound to create only more problems in Freeland moving forward - which could only further contribute to its destruction.