Black Lightning: 2.04: The Book of Consequences - Chapter Four: Translucent Freak
Finally! An episode from this season I can wholeheartedly say was consistently enjoyable, coherent and well executed. Thus far, this season has had issues with inconsistent pacing, character development and plot structuring; it’s attempted to cram in too much, too soon, causing a never-ending web of irritation. Chapter four has proved that it is possible to create a well-paced episode from individual pieces of information, but equally showing that, previously they had too much going on. If this is the formula moving forward, then bring it on.
Straight away you’re hurled into action as Jennifer, obviously in her therapy bubble, has a confrontation with Khalil. Regardless of the realism, this was easily the best choreographed scene to date and a superb opening sequence. The overall flow is the most notable change; rather than stay with a scene for a short space of time, providing little to no development, each sequence felt thought out and was given the attention it needed to get the point across. The story finally filled in some cracks and actually gained some momentum.
Continuing from last week, Detective Henderson has Tobias in custody for the death of Jefferson’s father. While he cannot prove it, which honestly was a silly plot-hole, it generated two intriguing developments that were equally well executed. The first, finally addressing why Jefferson doesn’t just testify that he witnessed the murder (as seen in flashbacks), and the second, finally getting some clarification on Tobias’ stance this season, as he initiates his plan to take over Freeland. For once it feels like the narrative is being pushed forward and characters are being well written, thank heavens!
Other well thought out moments involved Gambi who, up until now, has taken a back seat. Coming more to the forefront, we see him tend to an injured Kara after her run in with Tobias. While this storyline was both unnecessary and dragged out, the conclusion of it was satisfactory. Additionally, he informs Jefferson (as promised) of Anissa’s side projects, adding further conflict that up until this point would’ve been forced and left for future episodes. Instead, the whole situation was handled much better, resolved in a tidy manner and brought forth some much needed character growth for both of them.
Speaking of growth, there was an awful lot of it in Chapter Four. Jennifer and Anissa had some nice sisterly moments, Jefferson and Lynn finally discuss the killing at the finale of last season, and Khalil continues to prove he still has a human side. The final scene has been something season two episodes have failed to capitalise on; it feels like every week the “previously” section grows longer, knowing that audiences wouldn’t (rightly so) remember what happened, because there wasn’t anything memorable. Thankfully, this episode rectified that problem and generated a lot of buzz with Tobias back in town; finally I am excited for the next instalment.
As much as this episode is a vast improvement from what we’ve seen previously, it’s not without its issues. Most notable was the continued conflict between Jefferson and Principle Lowry. Not only is the character of Lowry horrible, but the confrontation between the two was pathetic, the whole situation at the school has escalated too quickly and is becoming laughable. The subplot surrounding Lynn and the convicted psycho doctor is also not good. While the performances are fine, the script is dreadful, it reveals nothing and feels forced. It’s clear the writers didn’t have a clue what to do with the pod children arc and wanted Lynn to have a more significant role…this was not the way to do it.
Overall, credit where it’s due, whether it was on purpose that the problems with the show were addressed, or simply coincidence, it cannot be denied that this season is finally showing growth. It remains to be seen if this new rejuvenated feel can sustain itself in future episodes, but nevertheless Chapter Four has provided some hope that this new trend will continue.