Tuesday, February 5, 2019

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jennifer Returns to School and Speaks Her Truth in 'The Book of Secrets: Chapter Two: Just and Unjust'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 2.12 "The Book of Secrets: Chapter Two: Just and Unjust"

When Anissa returns to work at the clinic, she meets a domestic violence victim who motivates her to take action. Meanwhile, Gambi makes a discovery.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Black Lightning.

"The Book of Secrets: Chapter Two: Just and Unjust" was written by Charles D. Holland and directed by Jeff Byrd

This hour opens with Lynn and Anissa being attacked. Nothing major ultimately happens to them. However, it does confirm that something more is absolutely going on when it comes to Lynn's research of the people in the pods. Of course, she doesn't get any kind of satisfying answers here. That can be frustrating. There are moments here where it seems like the show is doing nothing but trying to keep as many balls in the air as possible. It is juggling a lot of plot at the moment. However, it also feels free to spend a lot of time on Anissa trying to help a domestic violence victim, Jennifer returning to school, Khalil's funeral and whatever is going on with Grace. Meanwhile, Todd confirms that the people in the pods that Tobias has stolen thanks to Dr. Jace are heinous individuals the ASA needed to keep quiet in order to avoid a major public relations nightmare. Time and time again, the show proves that the ASA is willing to do anything in the name of successful experiments. They don't really care about the communities they are hurting. Lynn is the public face of the pod kid program. She is the one blamed when some of them are killed. The ASA loves their secrets. They aren't forthcoming with Lynn. They just expect her to be grateful. However, it's very suspicious and ominous watching Agent Odell stalk the Pierce family. He is there at the cemetery when Jennifer is making her promise to Khalil that she will get revenge against Tobias. That can't be a coincidence. Perhaps Odell even knows that Tobias is another enemy that his organization has to deal with because of his theft of both the briefcase and the highly sensitive pods. Of course, he's still willing to work with Dr. Jace. She too is very much an antagonist who will work with anyone who can promise her safety. She just needs her research funded. As such, the Markovians are in town and trying to kidnap various metahumans and the scientists who can help make advances in their research. However, they fail at kidnapping both Lynn and Perenna. And then, Black Lightning shows up to destroy their entire operation. So, this may not be an ongoing threat for very long. That means the episode needs something else to ground its personal elements. That once again comes down to Jennifer and how she is reacting to every tragic thing that has happened. She feels the pressure to keep her emotions in check or risk her powers being exposed. That's very dangerous for her. But she is also willing and able to speak her mind when the school tries to silence her voice and destroy the memorial to Khalil. Jefferson and Lynn were wrong to keep her away from this environment. That meant this season has spent less time on the Pierce family trying to give back to their community through their regular identities in this world. It has prioritized the superhero aspects. Sure, Anissa has also been stealing from the various criminal organizations in order to fund some worthy causes in the community. Even that though comes with a price. She faces death twice here. She is surprised by what can still hurt her. It knocks the wind out of her both times. That too is very scary. But again, all of this pivots around something big needing to happen in order to shake up the ongoing fight with Tobias. The show just suffers because there isn't that immediate focus that allows everything to snap into place for the final run of episodes.