Monday, November 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Reckless Actions Continue to Define the Pierce Family in 'The Book of Resistance: Chapter One'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 3.06 "The Book of Resistance: Chapter One: Knocking on Heaven's Door"

Jefferson is torn between his loyalty to his family and his commitment to saving Freeland. Anissa's commitment to Grace is deepening. Jennifer makes an interesting 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 Resistance: Chapter One: Knocking on Heaven's Door" was written by Lamont Magee and directed by Jeff Byrd

The Pierce family makes destructive and reckless decisions in isolation. They need the support of one another in order to present as the best and most moral versions of themselves. That's the identity they hope to embrace as heroes. Right now though, their actions only showcase just how disastrous everything has gotten in Freeland as of late. Chief Henderson may have seen Jefferson's assault as the spark that could ignite a revolution in this occupation. However, the secondary characters are the ones informing what happens in this world. Jefferson's response to that attack largely occurs offscreen. It's information that has to be relayed to the audience after the fact. That's because it's more important to see Lynn's reaction which ultimately builds until she packs up her things and leaves him. That may seem like a rash and rushed decision. But that too can be fueled by her addiction to Green Light. That may clearly be warping her mind so that she is more amenable to Agent Odell's demands. He needs to control her because she is so important to stabilizing the metahumans. That's her grand ambition. She does it in order to save lives. It's her professional responsibility. Of course, she is compromising her morals by providing Tobias with information. That may not be smart in the long run. She may be protecting some of the identities of those still trapped inside The Pit. For the most part though, Tobias should still be seen as a looming and dangerous threat. There are so many players in this world trying to control how society moves and operates. Everyone believes that they know best. It's dangerous when a person allows that mentality to warp their reality for a prolonged time. However, it can also be inspirational. Jefferson uses it in order to give back to his community and lift them up so that the children know they can accomplish anything. He is devastated by Tavon's death. He takes on the guilt and remorse for that as well. He sees himself as being solely responsibility. He is more than willing to carry that burden. Anissa is willing to do the same exactly thing. That highlights just how deep their family connection goes. But it also proves their willingness to push others away because they feel they have to handle things alone. They can't let others in because that would be too painful. The Pierce family is greater when they family is united. That's when they are their strongest. Right now, the family members are all going their separate ways. Gambi provides both physical and emotional support for all of them. He is the only person aware that Khalil's toxin has infected Anissa as well. She is slowly dying. She wants to carry that by herself. She doesn't want to spend what could be her final moments with her family. She even refuses to be honest with Grace. Without Gambi and Grace though, she would be dead. That is a frank reality. She wouldn't be of service to anyone then. That is the risk she is carrying. These people struggle with letting others in. That is the crippling flaw for all of them. They have a sense of self-importance. It's a narrative that Agent Odell feeds into so that he can influence all of them. He and Jefferson may trade threats on occasion. However, they feel united against a common enemy. One that storms the city wishing to cause harm. Of course, the fight at Club 100 feels a little rushed and anticlimactic. It signals that Agent Odell could be dying. That's likely not true. Jefferson remains steadfast in his refusal to kill. Agent Odell admonishes that impulse because they are fighting a war. It's a war with clear and immediate stakes. However, the personal drama of this conflict has to remain at the forefront. The show highlights that so beautifully in many of its stories. But it can also grow frustrating to watch as the Pierce family members remain absolutely stubborn in how they carry these burdens on their own. That won't be healthy for any of them in the long run. It may bring some closer. They rely on Gambi. Jennifer learns about Brandon's own powers. But it also produces a moment of devastation where Jefferson is at a loss over what has happened to this family when they should be united against the tyranny of this occupation. Henderson may have the better alternative. But that too may not amount to much without the support of the people of Freeland who are much greater and stronger together than they are on their own.