Monday, February 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jefferson, Lynn and Gambi Learn About Gravedigger's History in 'The Book of War: Chapter One'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 3.14 "The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming"

As the battle continues, old alliances are revisited and new alliances forged.

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 War: Chapter One: Homecoming" was written by Brusta Brown & John Mitchell Todd and directed by Benny Boom

For the first half of the season, the Pierce family was being tested unlike ever before. They were isolated and forced against one another. It was psychological drama that was pulling them apart. They each felt the need to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders even at the risk of great personal harm. They are always most successful when working as a team. They all just struggled to be open and honest with one another. They have found newfound perspective now. Lynn understands how difficult it has always been for Jefferson to stop being Black Lightning when he had the powers to save the world around him. She felt that pressure to succeed as well. Her genius has been on display throughout this season. Her recklessness also made her almost lose everything. Agent Odell may have forced Lynn and Jennifer into doing some heinous things. However, they are the ones who have to live with those choices. Khalil fears the killer program locked away in his head. It may only be a matter of time before Painkiller finds a way out. And yes, that does happen here. The firewall isn't as strong as everyone hopes. Khalil has the resolve and will to survive. And yet, that is difficult for him because he is struggling with the trauma of everything that has happened to him and everything that has happened as a result of him not being in control of his own body. He hurts Jennifer. He leaves after that. He doesn't want to hurt anyone he cares about. That is just personally devastating for Jennifer. She wants to believe in the love they once shared. She may instead be better off trying to help others get the answers they seek. Their paths may not be destined to end back together. That is tragic because of the love they obviously share. And yet, the narrative is intensifying in so many compelling and daunting ways. The Pierce family needs each other now more than ever before. That's what makes that family dinner scene so rewarding. There remains the fear heading into it that the family members will continue keeping secrets from one another. Instead, they share every action they have taken and the struggles they have endured. Anissa may be the open book of the family. But it's also necessary for her to be there for her mom and sister as they are going through these difficult times. She also has to stand up to protect the Perdi. She coerced them into helping with the resistance in the first place. She made it seem as if they had no choice but to serve her and her interests. And now, Anissa and Grace are tasked with saving the family that has helped them save the people of Freeland from the occupation. They have to be selfless in that regard. However, the war with Markovia is becoming more dangerous now. It now has a face attached to the conflict. This episode serves as the grand introduction for Gravedigger as the key antagonist. His history is on display after the mysterious briefcase is delivered to Gambi by Lady Eve. Each person in that story is essentially flexing their muscles to prove just how strong and valuable they remain in this world. It features complex story work that probably won't be resolved by the end of the season simply because there is too much going on. It brings purpose to Lala's continued presence in the show even though he may only be good as a puppet. It's a way to bring Gambi the information he needs. Gravedigger is the oldest known metahuman. America has been conducting experiments in Markovia for years. The native people fought back and have continued to do so hoping to prove their own dominance against the most powerful force on the planet. That makes this conflict have legitimate stakes to it after the season spent so much time focusing on the ASA occupation. A government can't lose sight of its people during times of immense crisis. That has to be at the forefront of their decisions. And yet, Gravedigger represents the most perilous threat coming to Freeland. He does so with more power than ever before. Black Lightning and his allies stand ready. It's just unclear if that will be enough especially since he once again has to partner with people he and his family know are the devils too.