Tuesday, October 16, 2018

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - The Family Helps Their Community Make Life-Changing Decisions in 'Black Jesus Blues'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 2.02 "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues"

Jefferson must break the news to his students and faculty that he is stepping down. Struggling with his new life as Painkiller, Kahlil pays a visit to Jennifer in hopes of mending things. Tobias continues to enact his plan.

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 Two: Black Jesus Blues" was written by Charles D. Holland and directed by Oz Scott

Family is such a potent theme in Black Lightning. That's what makes it so fascinating when the show explores just how privileged the Pierce family can be at times. When Anissa and Jennifer developed their powers, they had a support system that understood and accepted them. Jefferson and Lynn allowed them to explore what they were capable of doing and decide how they wanted to use them in their lives. It remains an ongoing struggle for Jennifer. She already fears what the potential consequences from these powers could be for the future she aspires to have one day. And yet, she is allowed to have that angst because she still has the clarity that everything will ultimately turn out fine. She has those strong connections with family that allow her to express everything that she is feeling. Anissa has that too and she might be too confident and cocky for her own good as a superhero and in her regular life right now. But again, these are luxuries afforded to the Pierce daughters because these were inherited powers. Elsewhere, Khalil feels enslaved to Tobias and unable to escape him because he gave him the ability to walk again. And for those who gained abilities thanks to Green Light, it's a rewriting of their DNA that will turn lethal. Right now, Issa and Wendy are terrified by what they can do and the fact that these powers will kill them in a few months. Wendy emerges from her pod scared of this strange and foreign world. She was asleep for thirty years. Her entire support system has vanished in an instant. She has no one to trust and no where to go. All she has is Black Lightning willing to fight her and Lynn able to provide some very general answers. Issa is looking for that support from family as well. Instead, he only turns people against each other because he has the ability to make people tell the truth. To him, that's a curse. To the ASA, it's a powerful skill that could be weaponized for nefarious purposes. Lynn still allows Issa to make a choice about what he wants his life to be. He can either return to the land of the living not knowing when these powers will ultimately kill him - like they did with the other person who escaped from the pods at the top of the hour. Or he could enter the pods in the hopes that he will survive long enough for Lynn to develop a cure. She is so aspirational and optimistic in that regard. She trusts that she will be able to help these children. She wants to reunite them with their families. She sees the importance of doing so. And yet, the show continues to portray a cold and distant government. One that is much more likely to use her research in order to expand on the Green Light program. That's chilling and means that the entire Pierce family will have to be aware of the potential consequences to their actions. Right now, Jennifer is just perfectly chill smoking in front of Issa despite his addiction to Green Light. And Jefferson has to accept that he may not be the best influence at Garfield right now because of his responsibilities as Black Lightning. But that doesn't stop him from feeling the call to protect his community. They are still living in uncertain times and need that champion to step up and be a voice. It just may mean there is even less time this season for the family to count on each other in order to get through their daily struggles.