Black Lightning: 1:07 Equinox: The Book of Fate
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Here we go again with another show that fails to let characters that did their time stay dead. At the end of episode two, the leader of the 100 Lala, was choked out by Tobias for lack of trust. It was brave of the show writers to kill him so soon but it made sense. Tobias was the big bad that needed the spotlight and Lala wasn’t a huge character, so removing him wouldn’t have a massive effect. The ending of this episode revealed that not only is he somehow alive, but something supernatural is occurring, with Lawanda White making a brief appearance too. It’s this kind of behaviour that takes me out of a story as it lowers the emotional stakes; when anyone dies you simply assume they might back. This is an annoyance I’ve struggled with in Arrow.
The episode could have been improved by simply focusing on a couple of elements, rather than stuffing it with over the top sequences and directions that never stayed on one path. Black Lightning is over half way through, and rather than expand on the already interesting characters and stories, it’s beginning to include additional elements that, although not dreadful, will take time away elsewhere. This could provide the audience with lacklustre closure, which I hope isn’t the case.
The previous episode left us with a promise that Jefferson and Anissa, discovering their alter egos, would explore this. Scattered throughout the episode were touching conversations between Anissa and her parents about the ethics, morality and emotional drain of being a superhero. There was a healthy balance of support, her mother Lyn trying to steer her away from her crime-fighting, referring to how it tore their family apart. Her father Jefferson was more understanding and sympathetic; by the end agrees to teach her all he knows in order to make her a better version of himself.
Additionally we get a deeper look into Gambi’s deception and relationship with Lady Eve. After Lyn was attacked last episode, Gambi speaks with Lady Eve about the protection of the Pierce family and how Tobias has become unstable. This leads to a discussion and decision to kill Joey Toledo, which Gambi bizarrely carries out. The further the show develops the less trustworthy and more deceitful Gambi becomes. He’s murdered in cold blood, albeit a drug dealer and all round nasty piece of work, but he shows no remorse here. What side he’s on and whether he’s one of the good guys is clearly in question. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the different sides of his personality we’re seeing.
Aside from the death of Joey Toledo, this episode saw two major players meet their demise (unless you count poor newspaper editor David Poe). The first is Tori (Tobias’s sister) who is caught in the crossfire during a fight between Tobias and Black Lightning. This causes Jefferson to teach Anissa about the unfortunate casualties of war and obviously both angers and saddens Tobias.
The other death was Lady Eve who was taken out by Tobias’s henchman; carrying guns that made it look like you had been electrocuted to death. As much as her character will be missed (for how long who knows), her death could cause some interesting developments. For starters, the relationship Black Lightning and Detective Henderson had is now in jeopardy due to their misunderstanding of Lady Eve’s demise. While planning Lady Eve’s death Tobias speaks of the “Shadow Board”, which could introduce new story arcs. Not to mention the lack of influence Gambi now doesn’t potentially have.
The very beginning of the episode saw Jefferson beating himself up about hurting his daughter and his distrust of Gambi, not believing him when he says he didn’t know about Tobias. The scene was clearly supposed to be a powerful and emotional debate but the music that’s playing behind it was very off-putting. The music was an issue for the first five minutes or so, playing over important and potentially emotional discussions, changing the tone.
Equinox: The Book of Fate feels overcrowded with story. The action sequences were well executed, even the villainous cliché with Tobias showing his fighting capabilities in the ring. I thoroughly enjoyed the individual scenes and powerful tones it attempted to create. The deaths seemed pivotal to the story but I struggle to see the severity when all I can think of is, ‘it’s ok, no doubt they’ll be back soon as a ghost or something’. It tackles the seriousness of being a superhero and really hammers home the ‘with great power’ speech and does it well.
I didn’t hate this episode, I just thought it needed more focus.