Black Lightning: 2.14 The Book of Secrets: Chapter Four - Original Sin
More often than not, TV shows tend to, incorporate a little too much story or character development throughout a season. Typically, towards the season’s end, it’s learned what works and what doesn’t; more importantly discovering what best resonates with its target audience. It’s baffling then that Black Lightning, with only two episodes remaining, continues to start new arcs, further ignoring previous developments, making bizarre character choices, and failing to capitalise on invested potential.
Seriously, we’re fourteen episodes into a sixteen long season, and only now is it decided the most opportune time to reintroduce Lala, the 100 gang leader, killed and reanimated by Tobias. While I wasn’t a fan of his return in season one, his presence here was very good; he gave an excellent performance despite having a complex back story and poor dialogue to work with. The story surrounding his reanimation is also an interesting one, something that would be great to be delved into further. However, at this stage of the game, it interrupts the narrative and severely affects the flow.
This sequence where Lala confronted Jefferson was largely pointless. Firstly, Lala gaining access with a gun into a school that recently amped up security and built metal detectors was simply unrealistic. His back and forth with Jefferson, when not consisting of quotes from famous powerful figures, centred on the death of an old friend of Lala’s, who he believes was killed by Jefferson, so shoots him in the shoulder. While this was a good start-up conflict, it ended so flat, with Lala remembering he committed the murder, so the two parting ways was incredibly lacklustre and time wasting.
Grace and Anissa’s story arc is another intriguing, yet sporadically told plot. Anissa’s insistence on finding Grace feels forced, not to mention it’s taking too long to get anywhere decent. Their fight sequence was very underwhelming; aside from taking place in a dark room, leaving visibility low and the fight virtually unwatchable, the sound effect of Anissa breathing in quickly becoming rage-inducing. Grace’s character development holds fascinating potential; it’s only a shame that we’re getting the information so late on and the bulk of her story is being kept back.
The most bemusing factor here was Jennifer. Not only has her character just kind of stayed stagnant in the background, but little is followed up upon. Does she go to school, or back to home-schooling? Is she being trained by Prenna or anybody else? Can she control her powers? Does she understand what she is capable of? These are all questions that should’ve been addressed previously, and I don’t understand why she is more of a secondary character. On the plus side, it was nice to see her excitement over the design of her suit. Watching her get giddy and concern herself with the style, while a bit silly, served to once again remind us she is a young woman.
Her mother Lynn on the other hand, is a fully grown woman who should be able to better assess a potential volatile situation. How she couldn’t see that she would be locked out of her work, and any pod children would be used as weapons, I have no idea. For a show that centres on powered beings, the lack of creativity in this storyline is astonishing and frankly disappointing. Usually the saving grace is to insert excitement and gravitas with Tobias, who unfortunately was nowhere to be seen, and honestly, he was greatly missed, especially given the current developments around him.
Original Sin was once again just adequate, a few action scenes and an inkling of plot advancement kept the pace steady but unfortunately, the current developments left you asking, why now? Equally, I feel left concerned that there won’t be any kind of satisfying finale, that no storylines will get any form of conclusion. Maybe the penultimate episode next week might change that.