Black Lightning: 2.05: The Book of Blood - Chapter One: Requiem
Reading the title of this episode may have you believing that it’ll be epic in terms of action and violence, dealing a blow to the criminality in Freeland that it so greatly deserves. It's an element that has been missing so far this season. Unfortunately, aside from the opening car chase sequence and Jefferson punching someone in the face repeatedly, the action is non-existent. The fifth episode opts for a more emotional root as the Pierce family deal with the death of Gambi.
The entirety of this episode hinges on the emotional connection audience members have with the characters grieving over Gambi, but it’s difficult to feel the same emotion when it happens very suddenly, and all that’s shown is a burning car. The chase sequence in which Gambi was being gunned down was very well shot with good effects, although the computer repeatedly shouting out the structural integrity percentage made it feel like a carbon copy of Nick Fury’s scene in Captain American Winter Soldier.
Superhero TV shows have a tendency to immortalise characters, and given that prior to crashing, Gambi was clearly getting ready for something, I highly doubt he’s gone for good. Jefferson says it best himself “the man has contingency plans for his contingency plans”. While it’s difficult to fault the change in this different approach, the execution could’ve been so much better and the situation better capitalised on.
Regardless of the final outcome, the story-arc allowed Black Lightning to remain focused, with all characters dealing with the same emotional turmoil. Jefferson went through the five stages of grief, Anissa got back with her ex, Jennifer confided in Khalil, and Lynn attempted to console Jefferson with memorabilia, all stemming from the same arc. Thumbs up for that.
Anissa’s steamy scene with her ex, Grace, generated a lot of questions, not just because it clearly leaves behind the pointless arc of Anissa’s previous celebrity fling, but because of the reveal that Grace, too, has powers. It was interesting to see her franticly search for pills after their heated discussion, presumably to calm her nerves, and also her powers, perhaps working in a similar way to Jennifer’s. While this development will bring something different to the fold, I can’t help but wonder if it’s coming in to late. It adds in yet another unnecessary plot, when stories surrounding Tobias and the Greenlight children haven’t been addressed or delved into in any great detail.
Tobias is a character that continues to impress, although his inclusion in this episode had no bearing on the death of Gambi, or anyone dealing with Grief. He is so enjoyable to watch, it’s forgivable. He wasn’t wasted, though as we continue to see his influence and power grow within Freeland, and get an official hint as to what’s in the mysterious briefcase. Seeing him continue to deal with Syonide’s death and still not forgiving Khalil was a nice touch, indirectly fitting the overall narrative.
Lynn’s continuing work with the convicted psychopath Helga, to save the Greenlight children, made some interesting movements this week. The two have been butting heads for a while, but Helga has learned how to mislead Lynn, and this works a treat for her. Half the children have now died, which seemed to be her original motive; why? Who knows? The developments of this arc is what’s worrying about the progression with Grace as, depending on how it’s tackled, we could end up with a series overcrowded with Meta’s, but let’s see.
Requiem has once again proved that there is hope for season two of Black Lightning. While not the best follow up to Translucent Freak, it’s set up some new developments with Anissa’s new job (or extra job. Honestly, I’ve no idea if she still works at the school), the pod children and Jennifer’s relationship with Khalil. The momentum is building nicely and it’s beginning to be a worth watching experience rather than a chore.