Tuesday, December 4, 2018

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - The Pierce Family Struggles to Find Jennifer in 'The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 2.08 "The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus"

The Pierce family is reeling in the wake of Jennifer's disappearance. Jefferson, Lynn and Anissa all gather to discuss the most effective way to find her. After learning that Jennifer is with Khalil, Lynn goes to Detective Henderson to ask him to issue a warrant for Khalil's arrest. Jennifer and Khalil are doing their best to stay off the grid but Tobias' new henchwoman Cutter is closing in on them.

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 Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus" was written by Jake Waller and directed by Tawnia McKiernan

This season has been divided in its focus so far. It's been juggling a lot of stories. It's something that has needed to be commented on in a number of episodic reviews. However, this hour is largely focused on the search for Khalil and Jennifer. Them running away together is the plot point that brings everything else together. Sure, it means that some stories just get pushed to the side for the moment - like Tobias wanting to kill the reverend, Lynn figuring out how to save the pod kids, Gambi searching for who tried to kill him, etc. None of those lingering plot threads are missed all that much though. Moreover, those characters still remain active as well. Tobias is slowly growing more delusional now that he no longer has anyone to trust. He was foolish to believe that Khalil would be completely loyal to him. But now, he has found a new associate, Cutter, who is just as lethal while also willing to push back against his threats. That's a fascinating new dynamic for him to have even though he's also having a conversation with a painting of his sister asking her what to do about the situation. Meanwhile, it's a little lazy how the tracking device planted into Khalil's head doesn't mean that things are more precarious for him and Jennifer on this journey. Sure, things are still very intense with them facing off with a number of criminals who wish to collect on that bounty. But Tobias is actually very casual about it. He has made his influence known with Khalil throughout the city. It's possible for him to track Khalil down and do the hard work himself. He is just choosing not to in this instance for some reason. It means that he has to hire outside help. Again, that can potentially be a very good thing because of the energy Cutter brings to the show. It's actually very exciting and intense when she traps them. She is a very skilled fighter. Khalil is as well. He may not be the best but he does have speed, strength and poisoned darts on his side. Of course, Cutter appears to have poisoned weapons as well. So even though Khalil and Jennifer manage to escape on foot into the nearby woods, they aren't out of danger just yet. They aren't just running from Tobias either. Jennifer is running away from her family. She wants them to know that she is safe and still loves them. She just sees this as the rational way to still have a sense of adventure in her life after being caged for so long lately. Anissa is willing to push back against her father and his pattern of being so demanding on his family. He played a role in pushing Jennifer away. It's not Anissa's fault because she didn't warn her parents about Jennifer still texting with Khalil. She didn't even know the full story. She cautioned against it and trusted that her sister was smart enough not to fall into that temptation once more. But of course, the situation is more complicated than that because Khalil doesn't want to be a henchman for Tobias. He is stuck in his position in life. He only manages to escape here because of Jennifer's powers. She disables the tracking device and destroys Gambi's drone. She is still a part of this escape even though she doesn't like how Khalil raises his voice and attacks her. That's a very troubling sign that may prove this is an unhealthy relationship. And yet, Jennifer is still a teenager acting on these impulses hoping that she knows best. Her parents may think they know better. But the stakes are so high as well. All of this could lead to someone getting killed and Jefferson's secret identity being exposed to the world.