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Black Lightning - Book of Markovia: Chapter Four - Review

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Subtitle: Grab the Strap

I had some issues with the pacing of this episode, but there were quite a few fun moments.

The opening scene was the worst offender. They opened an episode of an action series with a man, sitting in a chair, presumably talking to himself. (Thank goodness someone decided to insert Gambi listening on video chat.)

Jefferson wasn't even emotional in the scene. The scene was flat, unemotional, and did absolutely nothing to move the story forward. That's bad screenwriting.

The lead up to the rescue is where, I felt, the pacing was off. The mission prep sequences should have evoked anticipation, nervousness, and perhaps even a sense of eagerness to get on with the rescue. I got none of that. Instead everyone was focused on their everyday issues.

Jefferson and Gambi declared a simulated training exercise a failure that boded ill for the rescue. The problem is, the training exercise was all off screen. Later in the episode Grayle confronts Brandon about not participating in the simulations. That should have been on screen, not in dialog.

At any rate, as we later saw, if you're going into battle with people with such specialized gifts, it's the plan, not the rehearsal. So, what was the point?

Instead of building toward the actual rescue, the first part of the episode was a series of talking head scenes. Jennifer trying to convince Khalil to come with them, TC appearing to clumsily try to hookup with Erica, and Grey trying to talk Jefferson into letting the ASA have a bigger presence.

Some of these scenes were important, but I couldn't help but feel they would have worked better the episode leading to this episode; a 'pre-rescue' episode.

What did really work for me in the set-up portion of the episode was Lynn once again proving to people that underestimating her is not wise.

When a mind-controlling meta named, inexplicably, Gravedigger, takes control of Colonel Moisin's command, he orders Lynn to get to work and work as fast as she can.

Once she understands that she's being controlled by Gravedigger, she counteracts his affect and then uses her new temporary power formula to give herself his powers. By they time her family arrives she's well into an escape. This is the version of Lynn I prefer.

The rescue itself was fun. I liked the fight choreography. Loved seeing the greater control that Grace now has over her powers. Thunder punching Erica to build up her strength, at that unexpected doorway, was cool.

Moments like these just underlined my feeling that heat of the battle strategy was key to the mission's success.

Thankfully, when Black Lightning crashed in to keep Gravedigger from taking Lynn away, he didn't hesitate to take Gravedigger down.

There was one thing was made evident in this episode; superheros/metas aren't soldiers.

Everyone on Black Lightning's team, except perhaps for Gambi and Khalil, was operating from a position of emotion.

This meant they kept doing things like dashing out of the plane to look for Black Lightning, without thinking it through.

This gave Grayle a purpose in the episode. When someone was about to make tactical mistake for an emotional reason, he was there to try to yank them back on task.

So, Grayle was the one who went after Brandon, who was very single minded about his quest to kill Jace. Brandon's method of killing Jace seemed...inefficient.

If Dr. Jace had decided to run rather than trying to figure out who Brandon was, it would have been easy for her to escape.

It would have been really cool if the show had had the budget to send rock up out of the floor to grab Dr. Jace.

It looks like Khalil will survive what was done to him. He wants to be the guy that saves people not kills them.

It was a pretty good episode, but not as good as a lot of episodes this season.

If the first half had put more effort in building the tension toward the rescue half of the episode it would have helped a lot.

Once they got on the flight to Markovia, there was a lot there to like.

What did you think of the episode?


“Not enough nervous system to push.” Creepy. Sounds like the ASA did more than just give Khalil a chip.

I adored Erica's reaction after she went through that door. Chip be darned. She's a teen and that was fun!

It turns out that a meta whose powers are tied to the Earth doesn't like not touching it. Anyone remember The A-Team? After Khalil knocks Brandon out it occurred to me that his character was going to be the B.A. Baracus of Black Lightning.

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