Black Lightning Season Finale “Shadow of Death: The Book of War” Review
I’m a bit blown away. This first season of Black Lightning came and went just like that. Regardless, this was one of the most impressive starts to a first season for a DC/CW show. I would say that pretty much all of them were off to a rocky start, but Black Lightning from start to finish knew what it wanted to be and what it needed to be. A strong core cast, has a genuine ear to the streets, and concerns itself with real problems. Not to mention the drama feels more relatable than overblown.
Following up from the intense confrontation with Tobias and company, reeling did seem like the best word to use for the atmosphere set. It was a great moment for everyone to take a step back and re-evaluate where they are now since the madness began. Especially those like Jennifer who is finally getting the first-hand experience she has needed to open her mind to what is going on around her. I found her perspective a bit troublesome because it is hard to understand why anyone would see themselves as a freak, but the hard truth is that someone just might think that if they are that accustomed to societies idea of normal. I mean this is a world where the extraordinary is still growing out of the infancy stage. With that said, the emotional impact of this last stretch hit hard. I enjoyed the family focus all the way through from those who were able to really center on the gravity of this situation. It did help that Gambi is still around as someone who acts with little emotion involved. Lynn has been someone to appreciate for her perspective as a normal person, but Gambi has the added experience in the dark things that go bump behind the curtains.
There had to be some obstacle for the heroes to face heading into this final chapter and I could dig it. There was nothing too convenient about the problem that Jefferson faced after recovering. How he overcame this was more important. When it came time for this family to take back their lives, they embraced the fun in being able to fight back. Everyone had a role to play while still making the danger real.
I was truthfully never too sure of what I thought of Kalil and his part in the show. It wasn’t until he became Painkiller that his character truly took off. This change in direction was a big step up from being that kid who represented the collateral damage of street wars. His interaction with Tobias and Perquod made a big difference as well when he has someone new to confide in to an extent. The perfect entry into fully understanding the grand scheme of Tobias for this city. The ASA was a strong agent of chaos, and while their presence wavered, they made it count to clarify what their big plans were for metas. A bit obvious of course, but they created the right sense of fear towards higher powers interfering with regular people’s lives. Now with that said, I was a little more interested in Tobias’ plans for the Proctor. While Black Lightning and company had their big fight, it was just as exciting to watch Tobias make his own powerplay.
The flashback of where it all began for Jefferson was worth the wait. The relationship between Jefferson and his dad made sense of why he felt so strongly about everything involving his dad’s death. Flashbacks like this normally would turn me off quickly, but this wasn’t the teeth-grinding filler that some of the other DC/CW shows leaned on. There was a genuine meaning to what Jefferson took out of his trip down memory lane. Overall the little things mattered, even when it came to Lala. It felt good to finally discover what was done to him between the method of his resurrection and how he is seeing the ghosts of two people he has killed. It was quite a terrifying revelation that such things exist so easily in this world, yet cool nonetheless that the sky is pretty much the limit. This first season took every opportunity to break boundaries in ways that the other shows had a tendency to fear.
World-building is astonishing when at the end of the day they found ways to show growth for this city. The world is turning with every major event passing and that is important. The other shows neglect this and it makes no sense when they try to make a big fuss about “My City”. What city? We don’t see it, but we do see Freeland which is appreciated.
Family is a beautiful thing. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a superhero family team in action like this and felt so moved since The Incredibles. The Black Lightning season finale “Shadow of Death: The Book of War” was all about the power in what happens when you fight for something real. We also see what happens when a true power struggle finally erupts for the soul of the city.