Black Lightning: 1:08 Book of Revelations
It never ceases to amaze me how much interesting story can be crammed in into such a small space of time and not get too convoluted. Book of Revelations does a fantastic job of furthering the plot, providing a healthy balance between creating and solving mysteries. Although perhaps not a perfect episode (how many really are?), it was entertaining and engaging, developing individuals further, unmasking their true selves and revealing some secret demons.
Wasting no time, this episode begins with Gambi meeting someone in an empty parking lot; this begins the first of many huge twists and developments that make this episode so attractive. We learn an organisation that Gambi’s a part of called the ASA, which used Freeland to test a new drug to make its population more docile; instead they inadvertently created metahumans. From past episodes, we know that Jefferson’s father was researching nine gifted teenagers with enhanced abilities, but as of yet the only one we’re aware of is Black Lightning. I’d like to see some more, or at least some, explanation as to where the others are.
Further into the episode, Lyn’s research and testing leads her to cross paths with Gambi to ask for help and advice. Finally she realises Gambi’s deception and demands that he speak with Jefferson. This creates an emotional scene (that could’ve been amped up more) where Gambi comes clean about everything, including the real reason Alvin (Jefferson’s father) was murdered. Feeling regretful about the experiment, Gambi leaked information to Alvin, eventually causing his murder. Again due to his guilt, Gambi took a young Jefferson in, even before his powers developed and treated him like a son. This causes an angry Jefferson to tense up and tell Gambi to stay away. This whole sequence will have huge ramifications to the ongoing plot; it’s opened up new avenues I look forward to seeing.
As I said, this episode was crammed with story, and the vast majority involved Jefferson and Anissa, as he keeps to his promise of training her. Because last episode left with Black Lightning the prime suspect of Lady Eve’s murder, he must first clear his name before suiting up. You would think this is silly, but it really works to develop the father-daughter bond rather than having a few episodes of, “I refuse to let you be a superhero, I must be the only one … to protect you “, (a standard cliché, in Arrow and The Flash). Throughout we see Anissa being trained and, by the end, the progression feels real as Jeff becomes ecstatic when Anissa saves his life from an explosion.
Moving from one daughter to the next; for the past few episodes we’ve seen how suspicious Jennifer has become about Anissa and their father. It seems that’s going to come to an end. In an inevitable turn of events, Jennifer learns that she too has powers and immediately seeks out her sister for guidance. Although this means the process shouldn’t be as dragged out as it was with Anissa, it’s left me confused, not only about the how but also the why. Both girls’ powers arose when they were frightened, but surely they were scared at other stages of their lives; why are their powers all of a sudden developing? I hope this is answered, otherwise it’s too random. It would be understandable if perhaps it was an age thing and Jennifer developed powers in season two, but at the moment it feels slightly forced and rushed.
Speaking of things being forced and rushed, let’s talk about Lala. If you read my previous review you’ll know I wasn’t the biggest fan of his resurrection, and certainly for me this episode has just cemented my reasonings. In an installment so full of twists, reveals and emotions, any scene that involved Lala was simply confusing and pointless; it answered nothing and had no place or purpose. It only served to depict Lala’s confusion as to his return and perplex the audience as to his emotional state. The inclusion was made more irritating as Tobias was not in this episode, a character that would’ve been emotional and angry himself after the death of his sister. I had been looking forward to seeing what he does next, with the possibility of showing the mysterious Shadow Board, but no, instead we got Lala.
All in, I have mixed feelings; I loved the story progression and added mystery surrounding Gambi, and also the development of the Pierce family, but it was missing something, that cherry on the cake. After the revelations regarding Gambi and the ASA, I think a prequel series where they hunt metas could be quite interesting. After eight episodes I commend Black Lightning in keeping the excitement and flare alive, these episodes may not be perfect all the time but they continue to impress. Keep it up!