This week’s Black Lightning brought “The Book of Markovia” to a thrilling close, as Black Lightning and friends entered the Markovian base to retrieve Lynn and Tobias Whale.
1. It’s a Silly Name
The episode opens with Jefferson reminiscing and reflecting with Gambi on his life up until this point, and revealing he never liked the Black Lightning moniker the press saddled him with. Me either, I must admit: I mean, is there a White Lightning at DC? The name is clearly the result of trademark issues and the need to tell audiences this is a Black superhero, but Black is one of the most overused prefixes in comics (Black Adam, Black Canary, Black Manta, and that’s only more from DC off the top of my head). For what it’s worth, as of this episode, Jennifer still hasn’t adopted her comics counterpart’s codename of Adjectiveless Lightning, while it’s been used most often in print by the Teen Titans characters.
Wayne Brady’s new villain is quickly introduced, and established as being Colonel Mosin’s superior, as well as one of Dr. Jace’s early experiments. Despite his scarred appearance and physical youth, he’s an eerily calm and collected villain, much more like Odell than Whale – it’s striking, as his only really emotional display being the joy he finds in discovering Black Lightning may be a truly worth opponent.
3. What Happened to You Helga?
Why does Dr. Jace act like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory now? Maybe I need to rewatch season 2 but I swear, despite her being an amoral psychopath, she seemed like a regular person: now she keeps talking about how her “research” has shown her ways to be approachable to Lynn. It’s an odd change in characterization – maybe her time in Markovian captivity has shaken her?
4. That Was Quick
We got some great scenes with Jefferson drawing on his teaching skills to try and pull the ragteam team together, including his farewell conversation with Khalil, who understandably wants to leave Freeland and any reminders of his traumatic resurrection. It was amusing then, when the team set off to board the ASA’s helicopter, and he walked back into the room, already back in the fight (subsequently explaining to Jennifer he felt his mom would want him to help her mom). I suppose it was good to subvert expectations like that, it’s just funny how they skipped over change of heart.
5. Some Assembly Required
Other issues in the group include Jennifer being mad at Anissa for not telling her about Anissa sooner (although I imagine his return has cheered her up, and she took it well for a teenager anyway), and the tension between Grayle and Brandon, whose perception of the veteran soldier is very much “still a cop.” Grayle intervenes during the attack when Brandon tracks down Jace, knocking him out so he won’t kill the confused and scared doctor. Needless to say, I doubt we’ll see their issues being resolved as suddenly as Khalil’s.
– Brandon’s fear of flying is a pretty relatable touch.
– The underground setting of the base is all very X2, especially with Grace using her shapeshifting skills to impersonate Mosin a la Mystique and Stryker.
– On that note, Jefferson’s probably a better teacher than Xavier ever will be.
See you all in two weeks for the start of the season’s final arc, “The Book of War.”