Tuesday, October 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jefferson Returns to a Completely Changed Freeland in 'The Book of Occupation: Chapter Four'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 3.04 "The Book of Occupation: Chapter Four: Lynn's Ouroboros"

Jefferson faces new challenges due to the shocking state of Freeland. Lynn finds herself under intense pressure as she desperately tries to find a solution to the continuing crisis in Freeland. Anissa continues her work at the clinic. Jennifer finds her confidence shaken.

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 Occupation: Chapter Four: Lynn's Ouroboros" was written by Adam Giaudrone and directed by Mary Lou Belli

The Pierce family has kept many secrets from one another across the years. In fact, its a familiar storytelling trope in fantasy shows. Sure, it's annoying for the audience because the characters immediately become more interesting when they are aware of the central premise. However, this season has chosen to be very delicate in the ways that it is dividing the Pierce family. There is the overwhelming sense that Freeland being on lockdown unifies the city in the unknown. However, there is spirited debate about the government's reaction and the right way to act out. The government proclaims the message that metahumans are being hunted by the nation of Markovia for a sinister purpose. However, the ASA has cracked down on Freeland's ability to even be well-informed on this issue. Every single fact handed out has to be questioned. Every order can easily lead to an abuse of power. Henderson believes that he only has a public-facing role at the moment. He is the police chief in a town that has been taken over by the government. Freeland is under occupation by the ASA. Agent Odell claims that it is for everyone's protection. However, he continues to prove himself as the sly manipulator capable of pulling everyone's strings at the precise speed and tack to get exactly what he wants. He knows how to break the human spirit and rebuild it in a mold that is beneficial to his interests. Jefferson was removed from Freeland in order to protect his family. And now, he has returned to the city he loves so much. He no longer recognizes it. He sees the militarization of his community. People are being abused simply for speaking out and trying to do the right thing. Anyone suspected of having metahuman powers is immediately condemned to a life of testing and fighting. Odell doesn't care about the human lives trapped in the pursuit of his ultimate goals. He sees that as the easiest way to manipulate Lynn into doing what he demands. He has even made her susceptible to the powers of Green Light. That was the drug that ravaged Freeland. It gave people these incredible abilities. And yet, it has ruined so many lives because people didn't ask to become different and powerful. It wasn't a choice presented to them. And now, they are being poked and prodded with no consideration for their well-being. Lynn needs to do whatever it takes to find a cure for the virus spreading amongst those contained by the ASA. She succeeds in that endeavor. But then, she is given another task by Odell. He is simply exhausting her to the point where the work is the sole thing she can focus on. She is removed from her family but with the rationalization that she is the one in charge of her own decisions. She isn't. Odell is warping reality for those susceptible to his message. He created someone entirely new in Khalil's body. He is persuading Jennifer in the same precise way. He seems to gift her with the greatest showcase of what she is capable of doing. He embraces her powers in a way that is absolutely freeing and substantial. She feels like she is making the right decisions. And yet, she witnesses the abuses done by the militia who roam this world with the arrogance that they decide who gets punished and for what. It's horrifying behavior to witness. Jennifer challenges that notion that the ASA is protecting Freeland. Protection seemingly comes at a cost. It can all be at the expense of the innocent in this world. Even more people have to run away from the city to avoid this cruel fate. Jefferson may not understand and respect all of the decisions Anissa has made as Blackbird. However, he is proud of the work she is doing to protect the humanity of this world. It's a tenuous situation that could easily implode at any moment in time. Jefferson feels the call to act. He needs to step up and make a difference. He just has to do so from the shadows. His new suit is amazing. Gambi even marvels at it. But it all comes through the perception that Odell is the one calling all the shots. He gives the orders and people follow through on them. People are beholden to him even when they feel complete autonomy over their lives. Jefferson pushes back against anything that threatens his family. And yet, he is woefully out of his depth when it comes to understanding all that Odell has so effectively done in such a short amount of time with his family.