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Black Lightning - The Book of Secrets: Chapters 1-3 - Review

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The Book of Secrets: secrets being uncovered, revealed, and those still buried.

Jefferson revealed his secrets to Henderson. He is now fully on board with team Black Lightening in the fight against Tobias Whale. Henderson even gets a peek at the lair Gambi put together for the family of super heroes.

Loved Henderson’s complaints about the cheap phone they gave him.

But when you think about it, old tech is, in a lot of ways, more secure than newer tech. Also chuckled at Gambi’s pride when he pointed out that he is, actually, a tailor.

Henderson’s on his way to becoming Gambi’s sidekick. LOL He goes to visit Tobias so Gambi can scan the room and find Tobias’ safe.

Then, when Henderson discovers the area where the first generation pods were stored, he calls Gambi to examine the area. I have a feeling they’re going to be a fun team to watch.

Jennifer’s been an emotional mess for most of the season. Not something I usually find massively interesting, but it’s generally been about driving her character to new points. It drove her to run away with Khalil and actually use her power. Now it’s driving her to seek revenge against Tobias.

Jennifer’s confrontation with Principle Lowry was another moment of exposition on the state of the world (I don’t necessarily agree with every point made, but they are points we need to think about and discuss.)

From a character perspective I thought it was a great scene. Jennifer, as I said, spent the bulk of this season angry over one thing or another and having little or no control over her emotions or power.

Here, Jennifer is outraged. Khalil is dead, and the principle shows no respect for his classmates’ way of mourning their loss, and she maintains control.

She’s not screaming, and her eyes aren’t glowing. Her arguments are cohesive and coherent. It’s a major step for her.

That self-control has allowed her to return to school and keep her secret hidden.

But she’s still so overcome with rage that, possessing that rock solid sense of judgement that most teenagers possess, she decides to go out on a rampage trying to find out where Tobias is.

She finally runs her battery dry and collapses. Luckily Anissa is there to keep her from being shot. The biggest question is, will Jennifer get control of her rage before she, according to Perenna, literally explodes?

Secrets break her heart and nearly get Anissa killed.

Anissa’s secret life as Black Bird almost gets her killed when she goes after a “100 capo” that regularly beats his girlfriend.

In that apartment building full of men throwing punches, shooting guns, and swinging bats, one guy thought to pull out a can of mace (Why does a gangbanger have mace?) and blind her.

She admits to Gambi that she’s doing everything her father said could get her killed…and if not for Thunder, it would have.

Grace’s lack of control over her tattoos causes her to run from Anissa. I’m not certain, but I think she ran to protect Anissa.

The irony is that if she shared her secret with Anissa, she would have been able to get some real help.

It’s obvious Anissa will help her eventually, given that Anissa once again puts her detective skills to use and, with Gambi’s help, finds out about Grace’s history.

I’m not a fan of unbeatable villains. Realistically speaking, organized crime has frequently involved villains that look like they’re ultimately unbeatable. So, it’s not complete fiction that they haven’t caught Tobias yet.

At least Tobias is smart enough to make it believable, and, in many cases, his ability to avoid justice feels right in terms of the story. But it frustrates me to no end! LOL

I’m still not sure why Tobias left Khalil alive. Did Khalil actually not possess the specific information the government needed to put Tobias away? Did Tobias leave him to die the way he did out of spite rather than to protect himself?

So far in The Book of Secrets, Tobias is winning. He’s gotten rid of Khalil, killed Reverend Holt, uncovered the government’s biggest secret (recruited one of them) and added Dr. Jace to his ‘crew’.

Not only that, he’s now got all of the pod kids Lynne has been working so hard to save. And, for the first time (?), he’s stated a plan.

Tobias is planning to sell/rent the pod kids out to the highest bidder.

These pod people (I don’t get to use the phrase ‘pod people’ nearly enough.) are former prisoners from Leavenworth who were all convicted murderers.

The government, as always happens in fiction, were certain that they could give these sociopaths meta powers and maintain control over them.

As also always happens in fiction, they were wrong. The metas had to be put in the pods because they “committed atrocities”.

Tobias is at least as arrogant as the ASA. (It happens when you win too many battles.) The first pod person they woke up, Marcus Bishop, has agreed to work with Tobias for right now, but how long will Tobias’ nifty watch work?

Much as I dislike Tobias, he is a great character. He doesn’t seem to like or respect anyone. He apologizes to Cutter then orders her to dispose of a body like she’s a housekeeper whose name he doesn’t care to know.

I noticed Todd graduated from sitting on the couch, slouching over the computer, to a desk. I cautiously wondered if he was going to a permanent employee.

Unfortunately, Todd was too young to really see Tobias for who he is. He thought the sweet car was payment for a job well done.

On the upside, when he is disposed of, it’s too quick for Todd to realize he’s been betrayed.

Tobias seems not to care about loyalty. Fear goes only so far, and since I’m rooting for Tobias’ downfall sooner rather than later, I’m really curious if betrayal will play a part in his downfall.

When Khalil asks Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightening to kill Tobias Whale, he cannot do it. He can only promise to do everything he can to bring Tobias Whale to justice. Khalil points out how frequently that system has failed them both.

How can Jefferson Pierce, as an African American man in America, still has faith in the justice system? Looking at America today, how is it possible that any of us can still have faith in the justice system?

In the face of the assumptions that everyone at Garfield High have made about him, Principal Lowry angrily reveals his own secret to Jefferson. Is he a racist? Or is he just angry because people assume he is?

If you looked at how the justice system treated the people in community he grew up in, would it be much different than the way the system treats the people of Freeland? If so, his anger at being overlooked in the national conversation is understandable.

That revelation makes this character much more interesting and complex. I’m really glad that they didn’t write him off the canvas so soon.

The grudges he holds against the community of Freeland aren’t simple. Principle Lowry is just as subjected to stereotypical assumptions as the people of Garfield are.

He, in fact, has more in common with some of these students than Jefferson. (Although, Jefferson has a point, the color of his skin could work in Lowry’s favor where they won’t for his students.)

Jefferson’s reaction can only perpetuate the stalemate. He simply walked away from the discussion. For me, that moment underlined one of our world’s biggest challenges…how can we ever truly grow into the ideal if we can’t learn to communicate and through that communication learn to respect and understand each other?

Lowry’s confrontation with Jennifer went viral and put his job on the line. (I was really pleased that the viral version of the video omitted the comments about racism. I think what was uploaded focused on the more critical elements of the story of Lowry as principal.)

Surprisingly, Lowry gets Jefferson to consider how he can best help the students at Garfield High.

Jefferson has a ton on his plate: an outraged extremely powerful daughter, a wife in danger of being kidnapped by another country, and the city of Freeland itself.

Can he be there for his students the way they need him to be?

The students at Garfield do need consistency. They do need someone who will be there. But Jefferson is right. Tossing the kids to the curb when they make a mistake isn’t the best approach.

These two men, together, could be exactly what the students in Freeland need to become great people in the future. But can they work together?

Lowry is an unlikable and surprisingly complex guy. I hope that character is given the same opportunity that the other characters in the series, like Khalil, have been given, a complex story that allows the character to grow and change.

One of the things I love about this show is how well it does what good literary science fiction is suppose to do; holds up a mirror to the real world and, hopefully, get us to think about our world and how we can make it better.

I think keeping Lowry on the canvas may be a way for the show to look at the world from a wider perspective. It’s a perspective I’ve been aware of, but have little knowledge about. It intrigues me.

I can only think of one other occasion, in 40 some odd years of watching television, where the story and societal mirror were so well combined that they didn’t kick me out of the story, but made it better.

Does anyone else think Odell knows about Jennifer and Anissa?

What do you think about The Book of Secrets so far?

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