Tuesday, November 12, 2019

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jefferson Takes a Stand Against the ASA Following Tragedy in 'The Book of Occupation: Chapter Five'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 3.05 "The Book of Occupation: Chapter Five: Requiem for Tavon"

Jefferson struggles with the effects on his family, leading to a decision with tragic consequences. Anissa's identity is threatened. Agent Odell takes an important step toward winning over Jennifer.

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 Five: Requiem for Tavon" was written by Brusta Brown & John Mitchell Todd and directed by Robert Townsend

People are dying on the streets of Freeland. Agent Odell is essentially creating weapons for the ASA. He will break a person down just to get exactly what he wants. He may stop Khalil from killing one of his agents. The antidote to the poison is nearby to counteract any kind of rogue action Khalil may take. However, he has turned Khalil into this killing machine who no longer resembles the man he used to be. It's such effective and delicate work too. One where Agent Odell positions himself as looking out for the best interests of the community. He understands the threat from the Markovians and sees this lockdown as the only way to keep the citizens of Freeland safe. He just also abuses their human rights in order to achieve this goal. He has created a community where anyone can turn on each other with no basis in reality. All it takes is Tavon being accused of having metahuman abilities for him to be targeted. It doesn't matter that his family has the paperwork proving he's not. He was abused by the ASA agents and freed by Blackbird. And yet, he still ends up dead because Jefferson wanted to give some peace and comfort to Tavon's parents. It was a risky venture. One that Anissa may understand better than her father because she is the one out in the field. She is smuggling people in and out of the city. It's a noble calling for her. One that is necessary in this environment. There needs to be a resistance to stand opposed to the abuses happening at the top. It's just insightful to see how the various acts of resistance line up with one another. Anissa uses her abilities to offer protection for those with abilities. She just happens to be intimidating the Perdi into cooperation as well. They aren't as invested in this as Reverend Holt is. That highlights the various conflicting agendas of this occupation. Some people are simply using it to exert their own influence over the city. Others are actually trying to do right by their community. The show is actively exploring the moral complexities of the Pierce family. All of them are making decisions that have immediate and lethal consequences. Tavon dies because Jefferson wanted to bring him back home. Jefferson wants his students to be free to protest. That ends with him being beaten by the ASA agents. That's a striking visual that can be used to stir the resistance forward. That's what Henderson is hoping to achieve now that he has brought together an organization of individuals under a collective goal. They may question the authority and actions the others do and have. However, they understand the common threat to their way of life. This lockdown of the city is destroying too many lives with no understanding that it is all worth it. Again, Agent Odell is playing a much larger game. He pushes Lynn into embracing his same worldview. She was devastated when Dr. Jace sacrificed some of the pod kids in order to save many more. Agent Odell saw that as an issue too because it hindered her ability to make progress with the research. And now, she is addicted to green light and more than willing to hurt Tobias just to get the answers she seeks. Jefferson once made his family stick to a code if they were going to act as superheroes in the city. However, Lynn is now the one making Agent Odell pledge that Tobias will be eliminated from their lives for good. That's scary. The same transformation is happening with Jennifer as well. She is incapable of helping her father when he is being beaten by armed soldiers. He is taking a stand for the greater good. Jennifer believes that she is holding people accountable for their actions as well by fighting back as Thunder when they are defenseless. However, that is still Agent Odell adapting the situation to his needs. He is very flexible in that way. He knows how powerful an image can be. He is trying to control the evolving situation. And yet, it's hard to control a community of people especially those who rally around the idea that they are all being oppressed by the same force. That narrative is bound to intensify moving forward even though there are many others who still blame the existence of metahumans as the reason for all of this destruction and despair. Instead, the blame lies on those willing to exploit those with powers for their own personal benefit.