Black Lightning Midseason Finale “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Two: Gift of Magi” Review


Black Lightning — “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Two: The Gift of Magi” — Image BLK209c_0068b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jordan Calloway as Khalil/Painkiller and China Anne McClain as Jennifer — Photo: Annette Brown/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Like the story arc before, The Book of Rebellion has a strong focus to it that everything else is centering around. By now it I think we can all say that this story is Jennifer and Khalil’s for better or for worse. Both have deserved this kind of character focus, and add their own energy to this story that the others couldn’t. This week gives us another episode to look forward to when there is another battle to anticipate, on top of a few character reveals that should shake things up in their own way.

Considering the events of last week’s episode, there wasn’t much else for Jennifer and Khalil to go after their escape. It wasn’t hard to imagine that they would take refuge in a barn to fight off the poison that is now killing Khalil. This is the first I have heard of this cutter, but I already like her as someone whose abilities are dangerous for someone not all too powerful. The position that this put Jennifer in was a great test of her character and courage. For someone who has gone through many cycles of teenage drama, it was hard to feel convinced that she could handle being on the run or saving a life that is fading. The steps she took towards helping Khalil was the right kind of maturity that we needed to see from her. Not to mention real world applications that showed that she is just as resourceful as the rest of the family. If there was a better time to give us a reason to invest in this character, they found it.

This week the sense of urgency really kicked in for Jefferson and Anissa. A great time to draw that line in the sand between father and Black Lightning. I had some points where I couldn’t help but hate the fact that everyone could be more level-headed than the parents, but at the same time it was hard to argue that a parent would not be pushed to this intensity towards getting their child back. I suppose you can also toss in the leniency of them knowing that Cutter is also racing to find them first. So with that said, everything about the approach they took towards finding Jennifer was fitting to their desperation. They followed some interesting clues, got themselves thinking outside the box, and used their powers in more creative ways. Even if you knew how things would ultimately end for them this week, that didn’t change the effort that was commendable.

Black Lightning — “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Two: The Gift of Magi” — Image BLK209c_0188b.jpg — Pictured: Kearran Giovanni as Cutter — Photo: Annette Brown/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Lynn’s part in this I felt dragged the episode down a bit. I enjoyed everything that she was doing with the pod kids, and everything she dealt with afterwards, but this was a bit too much for me. I wouldn’t want to say over the top, but that is the feeling I can’t shake when every scene is simply her being frantic. I would have hoped that there would be more pro-active steps taken on her part that didn’t include hitting dead ends that you could see coming a mile away. At the end of the day I think it would have benefited to have someone to work off of or with.

With that said, excellent pacing for this episode. Whether it was the lengths that Jennifer went to protect herself and Khalil, or the tension that came with everyone else looking for them both, there was not a moment to breathe. The consistency in quality for the powers seen was also appreciated. Not to mention a lot of powers used in this episode were used in new and unique ways in contrast to how they have been used before.

The role that RJ Cyler has taken up in Black Lightning came as a surprise to me when it was first announced. I liked him in the few roles he has played before, and this seemed like the next best thing to play a part in. Clearly they want youth involvement to push characters like the one he plays, and I can’t argue with that approach. It makes sense given Tobias Whale’s need to surround himself with sprightly potential. It also goes without saying that you can see where Tobias tends to lean towards those who would be considered more proper than the average. The only thing that jumped at me about Rj’s character that was hard to ignore was a quirk about him that was a bit too similar to his role as Billy Cranston in Power Rangers.

Black Lightning “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Two: Gift of Magi was packed with a lot of emotion and drama than you might be used to for this show. I can’t argue with it when this was a perfect place to put this show on pause for the midseason finale. Admittedly iIt got a bit much in some areas, but as I said there are some exceptions when everything comes down to what you would do for someone you love, or for family.

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