Black Lightning: 2.06: The Book of Blood - Chapter Two: The Perdi
Never before has Black Lightning split my opinion so much. The Perdi was both highly intriguing yet overbearing with information, entertaining yet confusing. At such a late stage in the season somebody decided it would be a good idea to introduce a brand new antagonist, The Looker, and a whole new sub-plot that overshadows anything built up from episode one. This season so far could be described as a toddler jacked up on sugar, unable to maintain focus but enjoyable to watch.
The biggest surprise (I’m sure you’ll agree) was that, SPOILER ALERT! Gambi survived and faked his own death…I know, I couldn’t believe it either *sarcasm intended*. As obvious as this was, it was irritating that the writers didn’t at least leave his fate to the audience’s imagination for a few episodes, because now all emotions felt from the characters bereavement is no longer impactful. Otherwise, it was nice to see him do some covert work in the background, still protecting his kin, even if the torture scene was a bit extreme.
One of the biggest issues with this episode was the amount of new information divulged that felt forced and didn’t slot in very well. Last week saw Anissa volunteering at the Freeland Free Clinic in which she helped a mysterious couple: Anaya, a young pregnant woman and Deacon, the sketchy father who is later murdered. They are both part of a sort of war between two peoples, the Sange and the Perdi. The Sange, led by a Meta known as The Looker is able to control people with a mercury like substance that oozes out of her…I think. They want to enslave the Perdi, a group of African Americans attempting to be free of The Looker’s mind control…I think. Anaya and Deacon, each from opposing sides, have twins, so insert conflict.
While credit is certainly due for capitalising on the mystery teased previously, it’s difficult to feel satisfied when there’s so much to take in. The concept of a centuries old race war lead by a Meta should be enough to increase excitement levels, but in this instance, The Looker is a secondary villain to Tobias who is already underutilised. The additional story is preventing other sub-plots from blossoming, like Jennifer’s powers and Anissa’s Robin Hood antics. As much as this story has undertones from real life and would benefit from further development, I can’t help but fear it’ll lead to nothing, and drown in the sea of an already overcrowded series in terms of story and plot.
Speaking of being overcrowded, let’s talk about Lyn’s problems. After being too trusting with the psycho doctor, she has to announce the pod children deaths to the parents. Not only was this confusing, as I thought the whole scenario was a secret (did I miss something?), but her inability to tell the parents which children had died made no sense. The subplot is poorly integrated, her inclusion is so isolated from everything else that any time the attention is switched to her, the tone changes unnecessarily. Also it was nice to see a different, more vulnerable side to Lynn who is usually the backbone.
Elsewhere, Tobias and Khalil make a huge impact, as the two finally butt heads. Whether an episode is poor or not, the chemistry between the two elevates an otherwise boring narrative. Recently their developments have been pushing forward, and The Perdi is no exception, with Khalil refusing to follow Tobias’ orders, finding his conscience and discovering Tobias’ part in causing his disability. This creates superb tension and a brilliant, much anticipated fight sequence.
There’s no doubt that halfway through the season is a strange place to randomly drop a whole bunch of world-building and new story elements. Regardless, The Perdi has enough popcorn value entertainment to keep your attention, even if some of it is poorly positioned. It will be interesting to see where season two goes from here. Do they progress Jennifer and Grace’s powers or, for that matter, delve into the pod children who survived and their powers, maybe continue with this new race war, Gambi, the list goes on. Of everything, what’s most surprising is that the person you hear least from, is the title character himself.