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Black Lightning - The Book of Resistance: Chapter Four - Review



Subtitle: Earth Crisis



It’s Crisis Week on The CW. Black Lightning gave us a tie in episode that focuses on Jennifer and the choice before her.

Before Odell reminds her that she has to pick a side, Jennifer has has been struggling to figure that out. The support system she's always depended on, her family, is giving her mixed signals. Her father and sister are fighting the ASA, but her mother works for them.

She doesn't yet know, her mother has left the ASA or that Odell has been lying to her.

She’s finally begun to consider that the data farm she destroyed may not have been empty. That puts her in direct conflict with the agreement she made with her father. No killing.

I keep forgetting how young Jennifer is. She's basically a high school kid being drawn into a war and she is trying to make the right decision.

What disturbed me, when she mentioned killing Markovians in her video letter to Anissa was her phrasing. ‘I think I’ve killed people, Anissa. Not regular people, Markovians, but [...] they’re still people.”

Groups who practice genocide (and other inhumane acts) tend to justify their inhumane behavior by making their targets less than human. This is a show that seems to choose its words very carefully. So that turn of phrase really caught my ear.

This episode was basically an “It’s a Wonderful Life” episode. The typical approach, for this type of story is to have the focus character suffer a head injury. While unconscious that character visits an alternate version of their life.

The Crisis setup made this paradigm a little more interesting for me. The fact that the different versions of reality were not figments of Jennifer’s subconscious made the story more impactful. The consequences were real and would last (until the elimination of their universe).

Jennifer was able to see the extreme consequences of the choices she’s facing.

Earth-1 Jennifer contaminated the water in Freeland to take away the meta abilities of anyone who drank it, including her father and sister. It cost her her freedom, her relationship with her mother, and her father’s life.

Earth-2 Jennifer took the path of doing what Odell asked her to do, including killing. It cost her her humanity. She killed her entire family. To paraphrase Jennifer...there is no longer anyone in the world that loves her.

Earth-73 (?) Gambi and the Pierce family can only watch and theorize about what’s happening to Jennifer as she phases in and out of her universe.

The family was fairly inactive in this story, but, because of the Crisis framework, it didn't bother me.

When the situation changes it seems to be for the worst as something is pulled out of her body. (My first thought was anti-matter?) Before her family can deal with that problem their universe is destroyed.

That was one heck of a cliffhanger!

But I was a little disappointed. It felt like an unfinished sentence and I wanted to at least finish the sentence before the cliffhanger moment. Which isn’t a bad thing.

In the realm of Crisis of Infinite Earths it actually was a great way for the Fall Finale to end.

Somehow the crossover will be tied up and the universe reset, but I wanted to at least have the moment where Jennifer made her decision known to her family. I suppose I’ll just have to wait.

Miscellaneous


I was a little bummed that the writers decided to place the stories on Earth 1 and 2. I wish they’ve followed in the footsteps of the writers of the crossover episodes and pick random numbers for their Earths. 1 and 2 seemed...unimaginative.


The headers for the Earth identification confused me. I know I’m going to feel pretty dumb when I find out, but what did the “Gen” and “Jinn” parts of Earth labels refer to Jennifer's nicknames in those universes? That distinction seemed unnecessary.

What does a woman with a couple of PhDs do when she loses her stash? She makes more!

It's difficult to mention that I'm looking forward to something considering....the universe is no more. But I am looking forward to the back half of this season. This episode was a really interesting way to show us something that's, essentially, a "talking head" type of situation.

I really enjoyed the episode. What did you guys think?



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