Monday, February 22, 2021

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jefferson and Lynn Struggle Through Therapy Sessions in 'The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Three'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 4.03 "The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Three: Despite All My Rage..."

Jefferson is feeling even more lost after a frustrating therapy session. Meanwhile, Anissa continues to care for a still comatose Grace. Lastly, Lynn has a breakthrough.

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 Three: Despite All My Rage..." was written by Brusta Brown & John Mitchell Todd and directed by Salim Akil

At the start of the series, Jefferson was the only member of the Pierce family with metahuman abilities. Over the course of the first season, Anissa and Jennifer developed their own powers. That shifted the dynamics of the family. Jefferson was no longer the outsider keeping secrets. Lynn didn't particularly fulfill that role either. Over time though, that has become more evident. This episode explains that Lynn has always feared being alienated because that's the pattern her life has always followed. She stood out in her family. And now, she is the outsider once more. She yearns to better understand her children. She rationalizes her behavior as saying it's to offer the guidance that Jefferson is no longer willing to provide. Jefferson believes he can no longer serve as Black Lightning because Henderson was killed. There were many consequences to the war over Freeland. The Pierce family had to unite over that core conflict. They were pushed to their breaking points. They don't know how to get back together. That is still the core desire each of them feels. They simply notice that their individual lives have taken the priority instead of coming together as a cohesive unit. Part of that extends from Jefferson's refusal to be the hero the city has idolized for a long time. He believes now is the time to hang up the suit for good. And yes, the show is offering a fascinating conversation over how long a person can be a hero. It's a metaphor told through those with superpowers. Jefferson was capable of doing so much because he was gifted with these abilities. He felt he lost himself in embracing that heroic identity though. He did so much good as Black Lightning. His responsibilities as Jefferson Pierce fell to the sidelines though. He is coming to terms with that now. He sees the necessity of him stepping up to save one of his teachers after his world is continually destroyed. Marcel believes that fighting in an underground ring for Lala is the only way he can make enough money to get his family back. Jefferson has to get in the ring himself in order to prove a larger point. It's an action of sacrifice. He can handle himself in a fight. He has been doing that for a long time. Here, he isn't hiding behind a mask. He is reaching out a hand to help a fellow father in need. It offers him a rush. It's a glimpse of excitement he hasn't felt in a long time. It's invigorating. It doesn't immediately send him back to a unified family though. The various members are still doing their own things. They each feel a sense of righteousness. They believe they are doing things for the right reasons. Jefferson doesn't see the necessity of suiting up as Black Lightning anymore. It comes at a time when the world will soon be armed with weapons that can seriously hurt him. That threat now extends to his children though. It goes to Lynn as well because she continues to experiment on herself with the metahuman formulas. It's risky. It's all a part of an ongoing conversation Jefferson and Lynn are having in therapy. Right now, they have to work on themselves in order to step up for each other. That is a crucial step. It still takes a lot of hard work to make things right. Even then, it can quickly lead to devastation. All it takes is one corrupt thought from an outsider to disrupt this family bond. Tobias serves as that combustible agent. Jefferson and Lynn know he is up to no good. He is only out for himself. His offers are just tempting enough to the family though. It is a play for power and glory. That can be seductive. These people are trying their best to navigate the world as it currently is. It's always changing and evolving. Grace finally wakes up. Anissa immediately wants to marry her. That is a celebratory moment. It's still plagued with mystery as to why the show needed Grace in a coma and how exactly she woke up again. This season continues to play around with these profound themes that further signify the end of an era. It runs the risk of feeling like the destruction of this family as well. They need to find a way to transition to the next phrase. A place where they can all feel confident while maintaining their lives with powers in a sensible way that works for everyone involved. They haven't found that place yet. Again, those are the complexities of being heroes in this world. They want to control the narrative. They can't always do that though. They need to hold onto the things that matter most. When they wait too long to realize that, they run the risk of having it slip through their fingers. Tobias shouldn't be able to tear the family apart. That still remains an open question at the moment.