Monday, February 15, 2021

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jefferson Feels Disillusioned About the Good in Freeland in 'The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Two'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 4.02 "The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Two: Unacceptable Losses"

The war between the 100 and the Kobra Cartel rages on. Meanwhile, Lynn continues to be concerned about Jefferson.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 Reconstruction: Chapter Two: Unacceptable Losses" was written by Charles D. Holland and directed by Billie Woodruff

Jefferson has become disillusioned about all the good he has apparently done in Freeland as Black Lightning. Gambi argues that the city needs him in order to remain free and safe. Lynn says that Jennifer and Anissa need his protection when they go out at night to stop the various criminal elements. After all of his hard work though, it doesn't feel like anything has changed for the better. Tobias, Lala and Lady Eve are all still alive causing havoc. The city is torn apart by gang violence once more. Jefferson is still trying to avenge his father's murder after all these years. It's the same story that once used to define so much for him. It has seemingly only pulled this family apart without doing any good for the city. It also got Henderson killed. Again, that reaction continues to be huge for Jefferson. The same doesn't apply for the audience. In fact, Gambi may offer the explanation that Jefferson using his powers without his suit is making him more volatile. As such, these abilities can be treated as a drug. One that is all about the rush and release of this energy. It's powerful and exciting. It's dangerous too. The family warns against Lynn going out into the field with the various powers she has collected and experimented on herself. It's not safe. She is a potential liability. They are dismissive of her while also trying to protect her. Her skills are very much valuable in this world. She has achieved a lot. She is starting to realize just how limiting her life has truly been though. She has her work and her family. That's it. Her therapist certainly questions if that is enough for her. An answer isn't readily given. Again, it's all about the suggestion of these questions to potentially tease whether or not this family is capable of being on the same page ever again. They lash out at each other. They close themselves off because they don't believe that each other can relate to the emotional upheaval they are going through. They all have different reactions to a child dying during a shootout between the gangs. Jennifer is immediately concerned with healing herself from the injuries she has just suffered. Anissa tries to save the kid's life. She reassures her colleague that this loss can't prevent him from saving the next life. And then, she brokers a deal with the 100 and Kobra gangs in the hopes of creating a safe space where the people of this city can be protected. Meanwhile, Jefferson seeks out vengeance. He has to hurt the man who caused this death. It's that personal impact because he sees the devastation that comes for the father who has lost so much as of late. His child dies and the rest are taken away from him. The city imploded and was incapable of giving him the support he needed to get back up after the war. Jefferson takes justice into his own hands. It's a righteous cause. But again, it's him dealing with the brutality of the world. He reacts. It does a lot of damage. It's cruel and vicious. The way that these superheroes have operated hasn't always been right. They have made mistakes. It's long and arduous work to hopefully offer salvation and redemption for the world at large in the battle against the systems that oppress so many. Jefferson doesn't see any progress made. He changes his tactics. He does so believing he is right despite the cost it does on his family. They are all lost at the moment. They can barely find any moments of peace. This trauma endures. This season presents an examination of Black trauma and pain. Jefferson and Lynn are addressing those issues in therapy. It may not be enough for them. The problems of this particular world are so extreme. The police chief is targeting metas with weapons that are even more powerful against them. That may only further escalate the collateral damage caught in the crossfire. This city continues to be at its breaking point. Tobias invites that chaos. It's how he thrives. His story is one about constant survival and reinvention. He is at peace with that. It's still repetitive for the viewer. It doesn't feel like the show has invested in a final season story that resonates with everyone involved and will ensure it leaves these characters in a place that honors the journeys they've had so far. Again, the Pierce family prioritizes the vigilantism of fighting these battles on the streets. That's not the only way to make a difference. It's the structure they've followed for so long. And yes, there have been victories along the way. There have been loses as well. Things change. Gambi is going undercover to learn more about these new weapons. He seeks agency in that regard. That may alter the dynamics of this family. The threat exists that may do great harm to all of them. They have to prepare for that. Their personal traumas may blind them from the truth and the harm being done though. That's tragic and creates a much sadder experience than what one might have expected from this show.