NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Black Lightning” are present in this review
Black Lightning’s ‘Book of Reconstruction’ story pod finally comes to an end this week, and with that, I can only hope that the weeks ahead continue to try and develop more interesting story material for the Pierce family. Despite an improvement in the family narrative last week, Black Lightning appears to have backslid again with, “The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Four: A Light in the Darkness” this week, at least where the Pierce’s are concerned. Meanwhile, the villains continue to run circles around the show’s heroes, while the storytelling tries to contrive a way to get Jefferson in particular out of his infantile funk, right before Jennifer sees the inevitable consequences of constantly trying to absorb energy from the Ionosphere.
As much as the writing predictably fails to find a believable way to snap Jefferson out of his unbelievable, prolonged tantrum over Bill Henderson’s death last season, I can at least say that I’m happy the series is moving on from this increasingly tired Jefferson drama. There was no more therapy this week, which ends up leaving Lynn out in the cold for the most part, despite Jefferson eventually confronting her over her dinner with Tobias. There’s still a whole lot of moping and filler material before that though, particularly as Jefferson continues to fight in Lala’s underground fight club. This is among the more interesting uses of Jefferson’s grief, but sadly, it’s over very quickly in this episode, once T.C. discovers and unmasks Jefferson via the fighters’ feed, simply because he was scrolling and happened to see it while hanging out with Jennifer. Oops!
This definitely isn’t the most believable way to bust Jefferson out of his bad behaviour, but I suppose it had to be done however the series could halfway justify it, in order to finally progress Jefferson’s character forward. Jefferson even appears ready to embrace his Black Lightning identity again to boot, after a pep talk in a bar (take a shot!), and that’s great, because it definitely wouldn’t help Black Lightning’s final season to keep Jefferson out of his superhero identity the whole time. The interesting fight club arc being killed early is unfortunate, but at least Jefferson being exposed finally forces him and Lynn to confront their respective issues like adults, even without their therapist this time. This even ties into a potentially interesting direction for the show’s next story pod, which will seemingly have Lynn functioning as a mole in Tobias’ operations.
This is far easier said than done however, especially when Tobias’ plotting continues to ramp up every week. Tobias and Lala are definitely stealing the show throughout this season so far, with Tobias in particular making another big move this week. After Lala is fed false intel during a rally hosted at Anissa’s homeless shelter, The 100 attack a mayoral rally, resulting in the accidental death of Mayor Black. Except it wasn’t really an accident, because Tobias exploited the police presence and the baiting of The 100 to mask an assassination effort on the mayor, after the mayor previously pushed back against Tobias’ plans for Freeland. This is not only another clever turn for Tobias’ mysterious plans, but one that also plays nicely off of Gambi trying to screw with Monavista’s DEG designs, despite also being tempted by his former flame to fully defect to Monavista’s side.
It’s great to see Gambi’s meddling in the DEG’s creating the unintended consequence of provoking The 100, especially when this gets further complicated by the revelation that Lauren has almost perfected wireless electricity grids. Gambi is the one heroic character that feels like he’s constantly firing on all cylinders so far this season, and this is largely because he could be tempted to defect from Jefferson’s side in the long term. Setting up Gambi as a potential obstacle to Jefferson, right before what’s sure to be a highly dramatic final showdown between Jefferson and Tobias, could be a strong foundation for an impeccably dramatic series finale for Black Lightning later this year. I also imagine that Jennifer accidentally vaporizing herself is probably going to be remedied by Lauren’s new technology, probably complicating Gambi’s loyalties even further. Oh yeah, that happened! Granted, I doubt Jennifer is dead, especially when Crisis on Infinite Earths established that she can survive in an intangible energy state. More likely, I believe this is probably the expected excuse to allow China Anne McClain to put less time into Black Lightning episodes, since she reportedly couldn’t commit to a full season this year.
Fortunately, we do still have Anissa as a supporting presence for Jefferson and Lynn in the short term, but she’s unfortunately dragged down yet again by another infuriatingly stupid conflict with Grace this week. Boy, Black Lightning really has no idea how to utilize the Anissa/Grace relationship, does it? I was happy to see the two finally married last week, mercifully eliminating the frustratingly ineffectual will they/won’t they tension from the past couple of seasons, but even as spouses, Anissa and Grace continue to be, frankly, a terrible couple, at least in the Arrowverse. After Anissa upsets Grace by saying Grace can’t move her stuff into their loft following her coma (which, for the record, is inexplicable and psychotic!), this conflict is handily resolved a few scenes later, by having Anissa say that Grace can move her nerdy stuff in after all, rendering this spat both stupid and pointless! Mostly, this unnecessary argument merely serves as an excuse for Anissa to agree to take Grace along in her effort to protect the mayor, or, ultimately fail to do so.
While it’s good to see Grace finally becoming a full-time member of the Pierce family’s forces, Chief Lopez blaming Freeland’s resident superheroes on her failing to protect Mayor Black from a gunshot is absolutely idiotic. Black Lightning is really forcing Lopez’s beef with metahumans at this point, which only further drags down some already shaky hero arcs that are currently plaguing the show’s final season. Yet again, the villains steal the show in, “The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Four: A Light in the Darkness”, to the point where I’m starting to wish that Black Lightning was purely about them at this point. Fortunately, next week can at least provide us with a new story pod, ‘The Book of Ruin’, which can hopefully get the Pierce’s fully back on the right track. Well, most of them anyway. I can see Jennifer spending a lot of time as displaced energy, and so far, Grace still isn’t bringing out the best in Anissa, even after their freshly-minted marriage. Thus, it’s probably high time that Jefferson got back to suiting up again, hopefully allowing him to take the fight to The 100 and the Kobra Cartel during the coming weeks, while Lynn tries to undo Tobias’ plans from the inside.
- Jefferson and Lynn finally confronting their issues properly
- Gambi's well-meaning actions inadvertently benefiting the villains
- Tobias successfully baiting Lala into his plot
- Jefferson being busted at fight club is very contrived
- Anissa and Grace are still an insufferable couple, even in marriage
- Chief Lopez blaming the superheroes for the mayor's death is stupid