Black Lightning “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus” Review


Black Lightning — “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus” — Image BLK208a_0006b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Nafessa Williams as Thunder and Cress Williams as Black Lightning — Photo: The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

New story arc time for Black Lightning! I still love that this is actually a term you can use for a superhero show. As I said last week, Black Lightning benefits greatly from the fact that their stories are focused and driven by plots that have both a definite start and finish. A lot of shows out there could learn a thing or two from this approach. Nonetheless, a big arc to jump into when Jennifer has run away with Khalil, Tobias isn’t done with Khalil, and there’s still Gambi dealing with his life at risk.

The Pierce family was put through the wringer when Jennifer decided to run away with Khalil. This felt like the undeniable outcome of Jefferson and Lynn putting too much of a leash on Jennifer after the events of what happened at the school. They were bound to find out the hard way what it means to flip a kid’s life like that. The reactions from everyone was fitting for the point that this happened. Lynn could only sink deeper when losing one more kid is now on her conscience. Her trauma is not something you shake off so easily, So to see this emotional period intensify hit hard. As for a more anticipated family moment, there was the impending argument between Jefferson and Anissa. That we knew was coming simply because of the trailer for this episode, but I like how this actually played out once the episode aired. They had me worried when this scene came. For a family like this, it seemed like the worst time to take steps back and argue over whose fault it could be. The argument was fair from Anissa’s side with that said. She hit with the truth of the situation and moved right on. It was how they progressed from there that I’m referring to most. This could have weighed on the plot very predictably, and fortunately it did not. I admire the way that this show tries very hard to give you more than what you expect from the cliche.

For this story arc, it is clear that the point of focus is Jennifer and Khalil rebelling with this escape from Freeland. So far I would say that this has been a great evolution in their stories since they are taking their lives into their own hands for once. Jennifer has taken back her confidence in both herself and her powers. Khalil is clinging on to that one good decision he made in his life currently, while at the same time making sure that he takes this fresh start seriously to begin making the right choices. Emotions were running high between them and it was very fitting towards the urgency that filled the air. Running from Tobias, running for the people who would sell them out to Tobias. Not to mention there’s a new meta running around on his payroll to bring Khalil in. Despite all of this, I loved the connection between these two that gives you some sense of hope. They are broken in their own way, but they bring out something in each other that others fail to.

Black Lightning — “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus” — Image BLK208a_0001b.jpg — Pictured: China Anne McClain as Jennifer — Photo: The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Tobias and his new henchwoman, Cutter, shook things up for the better. Tobias continues to work this role of his where he is an upstanding citizen to the public, but that didn’t stop him from showing less transparency to everyone else once Khalil ran from him. More than ever we could see that despicable side that Tobias shows to everyone who was family to him. Some may say that Tobias leans too heavily into his mocking of black people, but the honest truth is that he is not a rare breed. There are many like Tobias in this world who can be black , or any race, and also choose not to recognize the weaker aspects of their own people. You get to the top and suddenly everyone below you are ants who can’t break the mold. Nonetheless, Cutter was a breath of fresh air for the way that she engages with Tobias. She sees through him, she doesn’t tolerate the theatrics, and she’s more than capable enough to tell him he’s not the only one who can’t be crossed.

There was some notable character moments for Gambi that was worth the weight. The best way to show that someone is appreciated is to know how people handle the thought of you being gone. Everyone processed Gambi’s survival differently and it made a world of difference since this isn’t the best time for emotions to be played with.

As I mentioned the school earlier, it did occur to me. We haven’t seen anything happening with the school in a long time. I won’t put this against this week’s episodes since it has nothing to do with it. Bigger wheels have been turning. Regardless, this would be a negative towards the season as a whole since you don’t want to see plot holes with a story like this. If Jefferson had it hard enough trying to balance being a principal and Black Lightning, it wouldn’t be much easier as a teacher working under an asshole of a new principal.

Black Lightning “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus” was the start of many things. The revelation of how unhappy Jennifer was can now be felt. It was now emphasized how seriously they are taking this departure for Jennifer and Khalil despite numerous close calls along the way, Then there was the pettiness of Tobias found to have no bounds when something becomes personal for him. There was a lot of emotions to process this week, and it was exciting to see the way that everyone directly or indirectly influences the other.

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