Black Lightning: 2.07: The Book of Blood - Chapter Three: The Sange
*Repeatedly bangs head on wall*. This is easily the most frustrating show I have ever watched; it’s both interesting and unsatisfying all at once. Between last week’s The Perdi, and this week’s The Sange, Black Lightning has managed to cram in a whole seasons worth of story developments into a single sub-plot. While this would usually be ok, episodes are insistent on reminding the audience of old unfinished threads, which becomes disjointing to the current narrative and lacks focus.
Last week’s episode left with Jefferson tracking Looker, and Anissa protecting the surviving members of the Perdi. This whole arc has been poorly handled; every scene had either an inconsistency or thoughtless action. For example, Jefferson getting caught by the Sange and stripped of his suit, may have you believe that his identity is compromised, but either they didn’t know who he was (even though everyone seems to), or didn’t care. Torturing him with electrocution was unbelievably stupid; I understand they wouldn’t be fully aware of his powers, but he has attacked them with lightning, he clearly has an affiliation with it. So chop off his head or drown him, just be more creative.
Meta powers seem to be something this show really struggles with. When it comes to controversial subject matters like racism or gang culture, it delves into the psyche of an individual or group and is emotionally impactful, but anybody with powers and it’s like you’ve thrown a cat in water, there’s little consistency. We see Jefferson camouflage himself like the Predator, and mention about recharging, and much like the Iron Man style flying, it’s revealed out of the blue but never expanded on, assuming the audience is already aware. Looker’s powers, as described last week, allow her to control/read someone’s mind; if this is the case why not use it on Jefferson to get your answers? It’s never addressed and it’s irritating.
Prenna, yea you remember the Meta shrink, surely, well she makes an abrupt appearance in another attempt to develop Jennifer’s character. While Jennifer’s arc progression with Khalil and their relationship is pleasant to watch, anything to do with her powers, which was pushed heavily at the beginning of the season, has been side-lined (surprise, surprise!!). What makes matters worse is seeing her come to Khalil’s rescue, revealing her powers to him as if she is now capable of controlling them. Add to that some cliché dialogue between Prenna, Lynn and Jefferson about how powerful or dangerous she could be, and “I’ve never come across someone like her” bull, makes for some eye rolling madness. Take out the powers and this is a really heart-warming arc. Shame!
The Khalil and Jennifer arc takes centre stage this episode, furthering Khalil’s redemption and distaste for Tobias. Speaking of, his presence was highly missed. Now he is legally cleared of all crimes, I thought we would see him out on the streets a bit more, fuelling the Freeland takeover that’s had no mention for a while, but no. The cliff-hanger with Jennifer and Khalil riding of into the sunset was the icing on the stale cake; where are they going? Does Jen not need Meta therapy anymore? This is the kind of thing that’s happened on both The Flash and Arrow, sparking spin-offs. Is that what’s happening here? Honestly, I don’t care.
As much as I believe Black Lightning needs to start thinning out its character roster and story arcs, they need to be explained, not ignored. Lynn’s appearance to aide Annisa with the Perdi was fine, but are we to assume that her emotional state after losing half the pod kids, is back to normal? The evil doctor, ASA, and Greenlight children narrative, as many others, have all been pushed to the side. Why? The animosity between Detective Henderson and Jefferson now seems to be cleared up after the two briefly speak. Anissa’s girlfriend having powers is still in the teasing phase, and the only one actually continued, but not very well done, was Jefferson finding out about Gambi’s survival.
The remaining episodes really need to up the game. Take one to close some stories so focus can be better put elsewhere, and then really pay attention to the detail and deliver something amazing. As it stands, it’s becoming increasingly harder to watch this show due to its disjointed nature and lack of concentration.