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Black Lightning - The Book of Resistance: Chapters Two and Three - Review



Subtitles: “Henderson’s Opus”

and

“The Battle of Franklin Terrace”



Chapters Three and Four of The Book of Resistance finally brought Jefferson into the battle to save Freeland. I found both episodes really satisfying. I really like the way the focus on the Pierce family (which includes Gambi) and Henderson has framed out the elements of the larger story.

Jefferson/Black Lightning


My aunt had a phrase that she grew up with, “S**t or get off the pot.”. That phrase kept running through my mind as I watched Black Lightning wade into a fight while refusing to take a side. That tightrope Jefferson has been walking does nothing to ultimately save Freeland.

He and Henderson got into a major argument after Black Lightning destroyed a bomb meant to give The Resistance cover to get some kids out of Freeland.

Jefferson’s belief that everyone “on the side of right” in this fight should fight by his rules of engagement was the major point of contention.

I’m on Henderson’s side. I loved that Henderson called Jefferson on his expectation that everyone will do as he, Jefferson, orders.

Henderson will fight this occupation in his own way. Jefferson stays on the fence.

The conversation with his 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Shepard, leads Jefferson to finally...that metaphor I opened with just became a problem. LOL.

Jefferson finally takes a stand when the ASA decides to claim an apartment complex for a barracks, kicking the renters to the curb.

Thunder and Black Lightning fight side by side in an effort that may turn the tide of the occupation story. I was thrilled to see Thunder again. Her absence makes a lot of sense, but it was nice to have her back.

Black Lightning’s fight with Cmdr. Williams was a bit anti-climatic.

I did kind of like that moment where Black Lightning schooled Williams about the fact that his 70s throwback suit protects him from the electricity coursing through his system.

Williams has no such protection. The approach made sense, especially since Williams was a bully, but it felt too easy.

Anissa


It’s been really nice to see Anissa and Grace together. The scene where Anissa calmed Grace enough to return to her base form was really sweet.

(Anissa’s smart home almost makes me want to wire up my house. Almost.)

Grace’s inability to deal with the stress of the situation prompts Anissa to ask her father to get Grace out of Freeland.

It was also another chance for Jefferson to get a reality check about being so self-righteous and judgmental.

Anissa reminds her father of what they should be focusing on: the people of Freeland.

Once Grace is safe and she’s healed up, Anissa focuses her attention on her duties as part of The Resistance.

As has been the case all season, information is vital.

When Gambi discovers that the government is telling the world that Freeland is quarantined because of a SARS epidemic, Anissa asks Jamilah to gather her evidence so Gambi can get it out to the world.

When she realizes that her father needs backup at Franklin Terrace she drops everything to help him out. I loved seeing Black Lightning and Thunder working together again.

Thunder’s fight with Painkiller was pretty awesome. I loved the choreography. It was really cool to watch her Thunder powers keep Painkiller from touching her.

Anissa now knows that Khalil is alive.

Gambi


I am loving Gambi this season. My plea to the writers, please keep giving Gambi this much cool stuff to do. It’s been so much fun.

Gambi believes Khalil is alive, but needs to verify it. He gets Lynn to get him into The Pit so he can verify his theory.

He and Lynn manage to find Khalil. Gambi is quick to accept that the boy they knew no longer exists.

But despite the data on what was done to him, Lynn believes he can be saved, especially after she sees that his memory files still exist.

I think this is the first time we’ve seen Gambi willing to give up on someone. He immediately understood the implication of Painkiller killing his own mother “with prejudice”.

I get that he’s just accepting the reality of the situation, but hasn’t he usually been more stubbornly optimistic?

Regardless, if anything is done to save Khalil, he won’t be the one to do it, it will likely be Lynn who saves him. (If she gets a chance.)

He can’t save Khalil, but he was able to help Anissa heal up from Painkiller’s venom.

When they discover the government’s SARS story, he embarks upon a mission to get the truth about what’s happening in Freeland out to the rest of the world.

He hooks up with a kid that can talk to computers. The kid, who goes by TC, gets them through the firewall that gets the evidence out to the world. Hopefully, it will help.

Any guesses about the significance of the file Gambi was reading at the end of the episode?

Jennifer and Brandon


Over these last two episodes, it seems that Jennifer’s main purpose has been to provide us with some character development for the “Pantene-commercial-lookin’”, Brandon.

Dr. Jace was experimenting on Brandon’s mother while she was pregnant. Brandon was born a meta, but his mother, ultimately, didn’t survive the experiments.

That’s why he wants to kill Dr. Jace. He’s so devastated when he realizes that she’s no longer in Freeland that he has a meltdown.

It’s so violent, power-release-wise, that it freaks Jennifer out. I keep going back and forth over whether or not Brandon is Jennifer’s new love interest.

The character isn’t considering it at all, but there are moments where it feels like the idea is on the showrunner’s mind. (The typical story would be that the minute Jennifer finally moves on and falls for someone new, she finds out that Khalil is alive.) I do not know which path I’m rooting for.

Lynn


Lynn is the most frustrating character on the canvas. Half the time she makes me want to scream.

When she and Gambi found Khalil, we got a peek at what drives her. It’s not that she’s has to be the one to come up with the cure or figure everything out. It’s the kids she wasn’t able to save that haunt her.

She decides to wake Khalil up. This is one of the things that frustrates me about her.

She didn’t take a second to think whether that would be a good idea to wake him up or not. She doesn’t think beyond anything but her desires.

It’s the same small picture reaction to Jefferson acting as Black Lightning. I’m not sure how much is her basic character and how much is the Green Light drug she’s been taking.

She wanted to wake him up, so she did. If Gambi hadn’t been there to ask for the mission report, Khalil might have figured out something wasn’t kosher about her presence in his cell. His loyalties are to his masters, if he’d had any reason to suspect her, she would have been in trouble.

Gambi wants her to terminate Khalil, because he believes Khalil is dead, and his body has been corrupted by the ASA’s software. Once Lynn sees evidence that his memories still exist, she won’t give up on saving him.

Later, while Jefferson takes on the ASA, Lynn has Tobias brought in for more blood collection. The one positive outcome of Tobias manipulating Lynn is that we’re finding out more about what’s really going on in The Pit.

Tobias is masterfully using the truth to manipulate Lynn. He corrects the lie she’s been telling herself that once she’s stabilized the Green Light Metas the ASA will give them a choice in whether they serve the ASA or not.

She later discovers a major supply of Green Light the ASA is sitting on. This, once again, provides Odell has been lying and Tobias is the one telling the truth.

Those truths were all Tobias needed to get Lynn to consider helping him escape the ASA. Those plans seem to have been interrupted by Jefferson’s actions in Freeland.

When Gambi tells Lynn she has to get out of The Pit before they take her into custody, as a way to control Jefferson, she grabs the drug she’s created to stabilize the Metas, as well as her supply of pills.

She dropped it all as she was pulled into Gambi’s van. So, I’m guessing there’s a withdrawal story on the horizon.

Her escape left a few questions: Did anything get set into motion for Tobias’ escape, or will he have to depend on one of his other sources inside the ASA to help him escape? Will the ASA soldiers find Lynn’s bag before someone goes to get it? What about Khalil?

A great couple of episodes. I don’t know if Jefferson’s soften his attitudes, but I was really happy to see him finally pick a side.

I think the fall out from the Battle of Franklin Terrace is going to be a doozy, but I figure that’s the kind of fight that will have an effect on the ASA.

This season has been a lot of fun. Despite my issues with the season premiere, the stories have felt tighter and more complex.

I love that characters that didn’t feel important get a chance to be relevant.

What are your thoughts on these last couple of episodes? How do you think this is all going to be affected by Crisis? (I’ve been re-reading the original comics.)

Miscellaneous:


I’m still wondering what is the Markovian goal? Is their plan for the Metas the same as the ASA’s? (I kind of doubt it. The transporting guy got paid for his work while the ASA seems to be skipping incentive and going straight for mind wiping and control.)

Mrs. Shepard sells pot to make ends meet because of how underpaid the teachers in this country are paid. Liked that being slipped in.

Every time Brandon mentions being able to make diamonds I wonder if he ran into any issues trying to sell them.



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