Monday, March 1, 2021

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Jennifer Pays a Price for Jefferson's Disillusionment in 'The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Four'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 4.04 "The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Four: A Light in the Darkness"

Jefferson pays Tobias a visit and warns him to stay away from his family.

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 Four: A Light in the Darkness" was written by Brusta Brown & John Mitchell Todd and directed by Salim Akil

The first four episodes of the season have been defined by Jefferson spinning out following the death of his supposed best friend. The man he could always trust is gone. Now, as has been mentioned in every review of the season so far, Henderson didn't particularly fulfill that role in the actual story. As such, it was always difficult for the audience to engage with all the reckless actions Jefferson was taking in the aftermath. And yet, this story arc concludes with an even more monumental death. Jennifer flies up to the ionosphere and succumbs to all the energy she is absorbing. It's a shocking and sudden turn of events at the conclusion of the episode. It wasn't a moment that was particularly set up so the audience could see it coming - beyond the fact that China Anne McClain announced she would be leaving early in the final season. It mostly highlights the intensity of the stakes for the entire Pierce family. They have always argued that they are doing whatever it takes to keep Freeland safe. They have the powers and ability to protect it when others are ill-equipped. The public at large has largely turned against metahumans though. They are lumped in with the gang activity as being to blame for the problems of this city. Jefferson believes that Black Lightning has to die in order for him to be of service elsewhere in his life. That isn't true in the slightest. And now, he may be even more crushed because of his inability to address his problems at a time when Jennifer needed the love and support of her parents no matter what. This family has always been strong. They cared for each other. Even when Anissa and Jennifer lashed out, the family was always rallying behind them trying to save them. They have each given the other a sense of redemption. Jefferson can't provide that for a moment. As such, Jennifer seeks out her satisfaction elsewhere. She is reckless with her actions and that carries extreme consequences. It's all fueled by the corruption of the world. People are constantly being lied to about what's real and how to feel. The people trusted with power and authority use that for their own selfish interests. Tobias works to kill the mayor after he turned down his offer to revitalize the city. He refuses to allow anyone to deny his orders. Lynn was also given an opportunity. She could dramatically change the world with her scientific research. She would just have to work with Tobias in order to achieve that. Jefferson believes her getting close could afford the family the ability to strike back at him before he implements his final, dangerous plan for the city. But again, this family unit is fractured. They always operated with such confidence. Not everyone sees them as heroes though. The police chief believes the mayor died because these metahuman vigilantes got in the way of her doing her job. Shonda informs Anissa that the mayor's public event doesn't have the proper security to keep him safe. She trusts technology to make that determination. The police chief has the man power and a willingness to do the job. She has the training to believe all of this can be done for the best. They can prepare for any situation. They have the certainty that weapons are on the horizon to dramatically reshape the conflict with metahumans. The world grows more complex. That increases the stakes for everyone. People would love to embrace the happiness they have finally achieved. Others want to get to the honest truth and address the issues that have been present all along. Jefferson wants to be the father Jennifer had for so long. He lost his way. He doesn't deal with the consequences of that action. His disillusionment ultimately proves Lynn's point about Jennifer and Anissa being in danger in the field without him. He wasn't able to protect them. They could care for themselves. And yet, so much of the outside world was projecting expectations onto them. Jennifer was devastated when she saw her father in the underground fight club. She had to escape to find her purpose. TC worried about her. She wasn't in the place to hear it. She listens to her father's speech about needing to be the man she deserves to have as a father. He can't provide that for her now. He is still working through some things. That isn't good enough to her. And so, she finds comfort in the only thing that makes her feel good. That also happens to tear her apart. That too may forever doom this family and the city. If this season has shown Jefferson losing it after his best friend's death, he is going to go apocalyptic with the tragedy that befalls his daughter because of that recklessness and selfishness. Everyone should prepare for even more darkness ahead.