Black Lightning “The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal Son” Review


Black Lightning — “The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal Son” — Image BLK211b_0072b.jpg — Pictured: China Anne McClain as Jennifer — Photo: Jace Downs/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t reeling from the way that the last story arc ended for Black Lightning. It only takes one move to remind you of how real the consequences are in a world like this one. With that said, where one chapter ends, a new one begins. This week is one to anticipate when you have to be wondering what comes next? Something like this is not going to come without a response. Some will look for justice, while others will be looking for revenge. All the we know for sure is that a new hero is on the horizon due to these unfortunate events.

The fallout from the events of last week was something felt across the board. A lot of things have been happening this season, but I’m glad that at the end of the day we can always say that there is some world-building involved in this story. Not the kind where you only need to visit new places and meet new people. I mean the kind where you acknowledge the city and community that you are fighting for. What are you a hero to, if you don’t who you’re protecting? It helps that those people can even be given an active voice themselves. That’s how you know that there’s nothing for the sake of it. Community aside, it was more important that the family was affected by Khalil’s situation. There wasn’t anyone who wasn’t struck in some way. Heartbreak, regret, helplessness. All the things that you would have to feel when the procedure to help Khalil walk was nothing accomplished by regular doctors.

Now I keep speaking of a hero on the rise, but at this point there’s no point in being vague when they have been hyping up the rise of Jennifer for some time now. Tragedy may have had to befall someone she cared about to take this step forward in becoming more accepting of what she is, though better now than too late. This is a character who has come a long way from simply being the source of all the teen angst. It was always going to be troublesome if that kept going. This episode made a statement when the last thing they were ready to give us was Jennifer broken or going back to old habits. Her emotional strength shined bright once more and just when you needed it the most. The difference between Jennifer and the rest of her family was there when during a serious time she didn’t allow herself taken out of character like Jefferson or Lynn have a tendency of doing.

Black Lightning — “The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal Son” — Image BLK211a_0119b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Cress Williams as Jefferson, Jordan Calloway as Khalil/Painkiller, China Anne McClain as Jennifer, Christine Adams as Lynn and Yolanda T. Ross as Nichelle Payne — Photo: Jace Downs/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

What I found very interesting was the actual turnout of Jefferson turning to Henderson for help in taking down Tobias. It’s not the response to Jefferson that grabs your attention, it’s what Jefferson does to prove that he is serious about this. There are some rules worth breaking, and this rule was worth it for the sense of wonder alone. In general, I like that Henderson finds himself playing a bigger role in this fight for the soul of Freeland. Like Jennifer, he was once a character written into a corner and you could not appreciate him for that. Since breaking free of that hold, he has stepped up in different ways that add to the thrill in fighting back.

It was cool as well to see how Tobias would move forward from Khalil. The only obstacle that this villain faced was the only person who could jeopardize his secrets and plans. Once that obstacle was overcome, his next move was cunning. Not just for who he was able to take off the board next, but who he was at the same time able to bring onboard. It says a lot right now when he is someone who has all this power yet so rarely has to do the heavy lifting himself. Not as easy to pin crimes on like other big villains in the Arrowverse.

Black Lightning “The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal Son” centered strongly around the idea that no one is safe in a world where Tobias can’t be touched. I don’t mean to be harsh about Arrowverse shows, but this is usually the kind of episode where you roll your eyes because your favorite characters begin making boneheaded moves for the sake of stirring drama. It was fortunate for us that Black Lightning is a show where that only happens so often. And when it does? It is followed by some of the most personal and engaging moments that remind you of how human these characters are. Heroes are only as important as they are behind the mask.

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