Monday, January 27, 2020

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - The Pierce Family Attacks the ASA in Conflicting Ways in 'The Book of Markovia: Chapter Two'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 3.11 "The Book of Markovia: Chapter Two: Lynn's Addiction"

Jefferson, Anissa and Jennifer discover that the ASA is now hunting the entire Pierce family. Meanwhile, Lynn does the unthinkable.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Markovia: Chapter Two: Lynn's Addiction" was written by André Edmonds and directed by Michael Schultz

The Pierce family has been divided for the majority of the season. Sometimes, it has been physical barriers keeping them apart. Most of the time though, it has been emotional and intellectual differences that have created the divides. They all must act during this occupation. They feel the responsibility to fight back against the influence of the ASA. And yet, they have very different objectives as well as how far they are willing to go to achieve their goals. Jefferson learns all that Jennifer did on behalf of Agent Odell. She sees just how wrong it was now. She understands that she could have killed people as a result. It doesn't matter what wonders she saw because of his influence. She was being manipulated. She deserves her own agency in the world. That once again centers around her need to kill in order to eliminate the threat to her family and her city. The ASA labels the Pierce family as their biggest threat. They have to be taken out immediately. Only then can they refocus their efforts on the Markovians who are lurking just outside the city limits. That threat remains very vague and mysterious. It pops up in an extremely engaging and tantalizing way at the end of the hour. Lynn believes that disrupting the medical experiments at the Pit is the best way to attack the ASA's core objectives. Jefferson, Jennifer and Anissa understand that going after Agent Odell is the better option because he commands the entire organization. Lynn's plan may only disrupt things for a short amount of time. It feels reckless and dangerous. In her mind though, it's completely rational. She finds a new source for her drugs. That high may only keep her going for a little while too. She may always be destined to face a devastating withdrawal where she could lose everything. Until that happens though, she is more than willing to gift people temporary powers to help in her plan. She even experiments on herself. She may become super like the rest of her family. But it's all presented in a toxic way that leads to Tobias being free once more. Sure, he doesn't stay that way for long. The Markovians were waiting to abduct Lynn, Tobias and the sergeant. They have a grand plan in all of this as well. Perhaps now, the show can focus more intently on what the Markovians want with the metahumans. Agent Odell is forced to flee the city because of how personal the threat is against him. The Pierce family succeeds in abducting him and even mimicking his voice and face. Gambi has the technology to essentially become Agent Odell. He doesn't have to torture this man for the information he seeks. He simply has the power to go about things a different way that no longer corrupts his morality. That is the profound lesson that Jefferson wants his daughters to learn. He is continually trying his best to teach them. And yet, Jennifer is frustrated because she is too often kept in the dark. Her family is constantly trying to protect her because they believe they know what's best. Everyone knew Khalil was still alive except her. That compromises everything during the climatic battle. Sure, her love for him still leads to his capture. That may only be good up to a point though. The threats are still constantly emerging from every angle. In fact, the show runs the risk of trying to focus on too many threats that are now present in this world. It was tantalizing when Lady Eve was revealed as the person who ordered the assassination attempt on Gambi. When he learns that, he understands that it was an action ordered before her death and he no longer has to worry about the potential consequences that come from him resurfacing in the world. And yet, the threat remains very active because Lady Eve has been revived just like Lala was. The mechanics of that are still awkward and vague. It's hard to be all that engaged with this corner of the show. It's just randomly included here. That's how these characters have always been treated in the narrative. As such, it's hard to invest because it may not build to a satisfying conclusion. Plus, there remains the full expectation that they'll be revived again because that has happened several times already. The momentum is sucked out of the proceedings when it comes to Lala now controlling the criminal enterprises of Freeland while trying to understand the threats to his rule. No one particularly notices what he's been doing. That may be costly. But it hardly seems relevant at this moment in time.