Black Lightning: 2.03: The Book of Consequences - Chapter Three: Master Lowry
If nothing else, you can’t deny that this season so far has followed a distinctive formula; it’s provided hit and miss episodes that have elements of excellence but are over filled with lots of random pieces of information. Chapter Three remains devoted to this formula, refusing to deviate, even if only to provide some sort of clarity to any number of sequences that could’ve done with it. The writing team should really start to focus on the important stuff while leaving the filler stories to one side.
Starting this episode with another Greenlight Meta attack has you believing that Black Lightning seems to have plans of running a Meta-of-the-week narrative, as opposed to a villain-of-the-week, like other superhero shows. With the two from last week escaping their pods, this seemed like the natural progression. There was clearly effort put into the effects, and the scene felt strong, but like most things with this season it went nowhere. The two minute sequence was excellent; it was something else for our heroes to focus their attention on while entertaining the audience … but then it was never mentioned again.
Tobias, thankfully, has far more of a presence in this episode, as does Khalil. The dynamic between the two and their side-plots are superb and continue to impress; it sets a mood and tone, sticks with it, and follows through. It’s just a shame it exists in a jumbled mess. The story surrounding Khalil, while engaging, is happening too late. Why now, because they need his help, is Jefferson caring about his situation and loyalty to Tobias? It’s no wonder Jefferson doesn’t get the right amount of respect; he claims to care for his community but is far more interested in booking his daughter into superpower therapy… yes you read that correctly.
Speaking of therapy, let’s talk about Prenna. Who is that you ask, well she’s the Gambi approved therapist of course…who knew? It’s clear that this is an arc that will progress along with the season, and frankly it is really intriguing, but it’s just added another element that needs attention. It’s a shame because her introduction was strange but effective and the sequence lead to an emotional family moment. But even that felt cut before it had finished.
It’s difficult to review something so untidy and disorientating; Jefferson opening up to his family, his rocky relationship with Detective Henderson, Anissa playing Robin Hood and even Lynn working in the lab with a convicted psychopath. All great, but together too tonally different which, at this stage, seems difficult to rectify. But we’re only three episodes in, there’s still time.
However, Chapter Three also took things too far. With regards to the new principal situation, not only was the two meeting absolutely pointless, but why principal Lowry made to be the bad guy? Jefferson losing his position role was logical, it made sense. The interaction would be made way more pleasant if the new guy wasn’t a douche, and surely a smart man would know that being Black Lightning means needing a less important, less time consuming job.
Chapter Three, much like the previous two episodes is passable, watchable and keeps things moving, if exhaustingly slowly. It ended strongly with Tobias (surprise surprise) being arrested, which no doubt was his plan. This story arc is one that will hopefully start to increase the show’s adrenaline. Additionally, the Thunder/Lightning, father/daughter dynamic has taken a hit the last two episodes and that’s something that works well and would be nice to see more of. At least this season has something to say to it's audience, however muddled that might be.