Black Lightning: 2.16 The Book of Apocalypse: Chapter Two - The Omega
I have never before known a TV series to be quite so all over the place. In terms of consistency, Black Lightning takes one step forward and six steps back. This season two finale is incredibly disjointed. It regurgitates past story arcs, such as the teleporting criminal Meta teased several episodes back, whose inclusion was so small and pointless, and only served as a reminder of the countless graves of teased ideas this show has made but never capitalised on.
Perhaps the most disappointing element was the amount of time spent in the previous episode, teasing an epic showdown between Tobias and basically everyone else. I expected something explosive but what was delivered was very anti-climactic. Black Lightning and Jennifer, now calling herself ‘Lightning’ (that’s original!), simply lassoed Tobias and threw him to the floor. That was it. Not only did this do little for the reputation of a character with super serum running through his veins, but, for the first time, I wasn’t blown away by him, this due to childlike behaviour and poor execution in the final battle.
The episode was on a downhill slope from the get-go, beginning with Gambi rushing to the rescue of Jennifer after her failed run-in with Tobias at the end of the last episode. This entire sequence was simply laughable, with seemingly no thought put into it whatsoever. Lala turning up out of the blue grunting “are you with Tobias?” to Gambi, who responds, “definitely not”, causing Lala to simply walk away, was hilarious and added nothing. Gambi, who then gets bad radiation burns trying to help Jennifer, is taken back to the sanctum for an ice pack and some pain killers which put him right back on his feet. Need I say more?
So many moments dissolved into nothing. Lala especially, who for the past few episodes has had a rage and desire to kill Tobias, confronted him and was put to the floor in seconds, then ignored. More irritating was the attempt to add lore to the reanimation process, with Tobias able to control Lala with just a phrase. It’s annoying because of its squandered potential. We’re left wondering if Lala’s dead and is his new name really going to be ‘Tattoo Man’ as stated by Tobias? Honestly, I don’t care at this stage. Grace Choi was another wasted scenario; while it didn’t necessarily fit into past episodes very well, it was an intriguing arc that could’ve at least been resolved.
One of my biggest complaints for both this season and the last is the shear amount of story and characters crammed into such a short space of time. It’s like the writers have a pot full of ideas, which they reach into at the start of an episode and say, ‘let’s delve into this one now’. Annoyingly this is the case here, with the eye-rolling notion that Khalil and Reverend Holt are alive, adding too much to an already oversaturated roster, especially with all the foreshadowing for season three, like the Markovia element, new Metas and greenlight babies etc.
What drew me into the series to begin with was its originality, showing a different side to heroism, focusing in on community and standing together. This has been lost. Instead, Black Lightning has descended into the mundane superhero populous but with significantly worse action scenes. The sequence between Black Lightning, Thunder, and Tobias’ band of merry Metas was particularly difficult to watch. It was slow, poorly shot with terrible edits and equally bad visual effects.
The only one thing I enjoyed was Agent Odell, who finally came out of his shell, showed some charisma and revealed his secrets to the Pierce family. The scene took me by surprise and it was pleasure to watch unfold. Unfortunately it drowned in a sea of poor execution everywhere else. Otherwise, The Omega offered nothing different, instead continued to show the lack of cohesive storytelling and understanding of a single narrative. While it’s no doubt found an audience (which for the record has been hugely dwindling), this show, after two season of chances, is clearly not for me.