NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Black Lightning” are present in this review

 

 

Black Lightning’s ‘Book of Blood’ arc has definitely been a winner in many respects, especially since it finally injected some more comic book elements back into the show, after the previous ‘Book of Consequences’ arc aimed to center entirely around the more human side of the Pierce family. “The Book of Blood: Chapter Three: The Sange” certainly caps off Jefferson’s and Anissa’s South Freeland adventure in style, though it doesn’t totally manage to stick the landing, even if that’s somewhat because the two previous episodes were so great.

Part of the problem is that the show very suddenly wants to wrap up the South Freeland storyline here, in favour of giving way to another major conflict for the next story pod. There’s clearly much more lore and history to dive into with South Freeland, especially now that Looker has been set up as such a dangerous baddie, even rivaling the power and influence of Tobias Whale in many respects! Disappointingly though, Looker’s stranglehold over South Freeland seems to have ended as quickly as it was brought up this week. The two Sange and Perdi babies bore by Anaya quickly become the catalyst of Looker’s undoing, making her a disappointingly flat foe that Jefferson and Anissa dispatch with relative ease, especially considering that Looker is supposed to have nearly omnipotent psychic abilities in this universe!

At the very least, the lead-up to Looker’s defeat is pretty cool, if nothing else. Jefferson being captured and ‘tortured’ by Looker creates no shortage of exciting scenes, as does Jefferson inevitably breaking free when Looker makes the obvious mistake of trying to zap him to death with electricity. Why Looker would make such a stupid mistake, I don’t know, but it does give Jefferson a convenient opportunity to start throwing around some more Sange, before he finds his way back to the baby that Looker captured in the previous episode. Yes, it really is that easy. Jefferson even brings the baby back to the main Freeland cityscape with no problems either. Even Looker herself ends up quickly and easily subdued after a brief scrap with Anissa in an abandoned mall, which, again, looks really cool, but is over disappointingly quickly. This is really the best that Looker could do, once she finally bothered to leave South Freeland?

The conclusion of the ‘Book of Blood’ arc also means that Jefferson reunites with Gambi just as quickly, after he chances upon a discarded transmitter from one of Gambi’s destroyed drones, and manages to follow it back to Gambi’s hiding place. Again, this is uncharacteristically careless of Gambi, to leave decisive evidence like this out in the open, even in South Freeland, but I guess it does give Jefferson an excuse to finally discover that Gambi is alive again. It seems like Gambi will nonetheless be staying in hiding for the foreseeable future, since the ASA is still gunning for him, but I wish that the show hadn’t been in just as much a hurry to resolve Jefferson’s grief as it was to dethrone Looker and liberate South Freeland. Surely, Gambi could have stayed in the background for just a while longer, and Jefferson could have at least seen a bit of a challenge when it came to finding his way back to Gambi’s hideaway?

Once again, it was Jennifer and Khalil that headlined the stronger story arc in this episode, which I suppose is good news, because the next story pod, ‘The Book of Rebellion’, is primarily centered around them. Jennifer consults Perenna about what to do regarding Khalil, in turn also confiding her exasperation with having to be shut away all the time. Not finding the answers she wanted with Perenna in the end, Jennifer then runs back to Khalil, only to learn that Khalil is continuing to defy Tobias. It’s at this point that Jennifer tells Khalil to double down on trying to convince Reverend Holt to flee, but once again, this fails. Even worse is that Tobias finds his way back to Khalil again, forcing him to flee to a hiding spot with Jennifer, wherein Jennifer finally reveals her metahuman abilities to Khalil for the first time!

This is a big deal, since Jennifer not only openly defied the will of her parents, but did so in the midst of the supposed enemy! Still, there’s a really great sense of drama with this storyline, since Khalil seems doomed to be labelled as said enemy, and permanently rejected by Freeland’s respectable arm of society (even if it is somewhat his fault, especially after his bold attack on Garfield High last season!), which allows him to become that perfect forbidden fruit for Jennifer, who has now lost all of the freedom that she previously took for granted. Jefferson and Lynn  don’t manage to catch up to Jennifer in time either, resulting in Jennifer and Khalil deciding to go on the run, and leave Freeland behind. This caps off the episode, and leads directly into the ‘Book of Rebellion’ arc, which, as you can imagine, is all about Jefferson, Lynn and Anissa trying to get Jennifer back, and presumably Tobias trying to round up Khalil again. If this means keeping up the same great quality of this Jennifer/Khalil drama over the next two weeks, you certainly won’t hear any complaints from me!

“The Book of Blood: Chapter Three: The Sange” may have fallen short of its two immediate predecessors, but it at least leads into another promising core story arc for Jennifer and Khalil. The capture of Looker and the re-discovery of Gambi both feel too abrupt and unsatisfying, but hopefully Looker at least still becomes a clear and present danger later in the season. It seems weird that Black Lightning appears intent to just leave the whole South Freeland thing hanging from here, so I really do hope that South Freeland and Looker manage to come back into play later on, especially since Looker actually bothered to be a true threat, while Tobias still spends too much time kicking around his house and grandstanding. Hopefully, Khalil trying to flee the city will at least give Tobias an excuse to get off his ass and take direct action again. Better still, hopefully Jennifer inevitably having to defend Khalil with her incredible abilities creates a worthy opportunity for the Pierce family to gain another hero as well, even if Jennifer is certainly taking a bumpier road to that mantle than Anissa ever did!

Black Lightning 2.7: "The Book of Blood: Chapter Three: The Sange" Review
Black Lightning delivers an exciting, if somewhat underwhelming conclusion to the South Freeland conflict this week, with Jennifer and Khalil ultimately providing superior storytelling.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Action-packed climactic confrontation with Looker
  • Jennifer finally revealing her powers to Khalil
  • Jennifer and Khalil abandoning Freeland together
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Looker is taken out far too easily
  • Gambi is re-discovered far too easily
77%Overall Score
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