Tuesday, October 23, 2018

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jefferson and Lynn Surprise Jennifer with a Therapist in 'Master Lowry'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 2.03 "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Three: Master Lowry"

Jefferson is forced to watch as all his good work is undone before his eyes when his replacement arrives and begins implementing sweeping changes. Anissa continues to play Robin Hood by stealing from one of the most powerful crime syndicates in Freeland.

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 Three: Master Lowry" was written by Jan Nash and directed by Rose Troche

This is a severely overstuffed episode of Black Lightning. It's clear that the show is trying to tackle a lot this season. It is successfully able to build to some shocking moments. However, they may not land as effectively as they should because of everything that is going on at the moment. Tobias Whale is arrested by Henderson near the conclusion of this hour. That should be a stunning twist. Instead, it's a pretty awkward and perfunctory moment. It doesn't seem like something that comes naturally out of the story that preceded it so far this season. Sure, it's also abundantly clear that Tobias allowed himself to be arrested for a reason. He's playing a much larger game that the police and Pierce family aren't aware of just yet. But he also spends the episode mostly belittling and abusing Khalil for not be as effective as Syonide was. That should build audience sympathy for the character to escape this line of work. The show wants us to believe that he is conflicted and tormented by the decisions he is now forced to make for Tobias. However, he still does intimidate and attack people over the course of this hour. He kills a man as well. And so, it is going to be very difficult for this redemption arc of his to be fully earned. Elsewhere, this hour is named after the new principal at Garfield High. And yet, that new character only appears onscreen for around a minute. He makes his debut with the decision to put metal detectors in the school. He sees that as the rational response following the attack. But mostly, this introduction shows that he and Jefferson already have tension because they may not respect the opinion the other has in this profession. That's all there really is to this story as well. However, this is still an active hour for Jefferson. He is really stepping up as Black Lightning in trying to help the children who now find themselves with metahuman abilities. He is compassionate when the rest of the world may just see dangerous individuals who need to be stopped. He has a personal connection to this story because of Jennifer who doesn't want her powers. He sees a bunch of frightened teenagers scared of what they can do. He is willing to help them. That's what makes it so heartbreaking when he is much more strict and deceitful with Jennifer. He and Lynn think it's a good idea to have a therapist stalk Jennifer during her brief walk for exercise and then transport her to another reality. This therapist may be good at her job. But this is such an awkward way to introduce the subject with Jennifer. Jefferson and Lynn are willing to admit that they are at a loss for how to help their daughter. Anissa has asserted her independence. She is off trying to have her own impact on the world while dealing with the potential consequences later on. But Jennifer is still confined to the house until she has a better handling on her powers. She has had to endure so much. Jefferson is willing to carry and accept that guilt right now. And yet, this will all remain so difficult for Jennifer. She is willing to put in the work in the hopes that her life will become better thanks to this therapy. That's the most moving story throughout this hour. The rest is purely introductory - whether it's Anissa starting up her relationship with Grace once more or Lynn hiring a convict to assist her on the pod research.