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    Five Thoughts on Black Lightning‘s “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming”

    By | February 25th, 2020
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    After their humiliating defeat in the last episode, the Markovians began encircling Freeland on this week’s Black Lightning, and everyone’s seeking closure – Lynn asked her family to help her end her addiction; Odell agreed to Jefferson and Gray’s bargain; Brandon confronted Jace; Gambi settled his score with Lady Eve; and Khalil confronted his evil alter-ego.

    1. “No one survives addiction without support”

    A major running theme this week was that of mental health awareness: Gambi tells Khalil he ought to see a therapist to help overcome his trauma, and recommends Perenna (who’s been offscreen all season). Likewise, Lynn finds the strength to admit she’s unable to destroy the last sample of her drugs (stashed in her pockets), and shows it to her partners and daughters: Jennifer uses her powers to reduce its container to burned plastic, symbolizing how they’ll continue to support her during her withdrawal. It’s like Anissa says in the quote above, no one should have to face a problem alone.

    2. Jen’s A Scrappy Mentor

    Having realized how futile her vendetta with Odell was, Jen tries to convince Brandon that Jace surviving was the best thing for him, so he instead insists he just wants to speak with her. It’s a pretty transparent move: as much as Brandon might seem he would try to maintain control, it was sadly predictable that he would try to stab Jace. The reveal that Brandon was carrying his mother’s ashes in his necklace this whole time, as well as the way he used them to form knives, was pretty cool though, and Jace’s reveal that Brandon’s father may be still alive meant the visit to this storyline was ultimately worth it.

    3. Khalil’s Revolving Door

    Having decided last time to go back on his decision on leaving Freeland to help rescue Jen’s mom, Khalil gets taken over by Painkiller again and attacks Jen, Brandon and TC: he only stops short of strangling Jen to death after he wins the battle in his own mind. It was cool seeing Khalil confront his own inner demon, but Jen backtracking away from him, and his decision to leave Freeland again, just seemed incredibly repetitive, like the writers just couldn’t choose whether to have him in the previous episode or not.

    4. The Tailor: He Tailors Your Eye Out

    Gambi totally dug a guy’s eye out to send a message to Lady Eve about her hiring a hit on him: I know Peter is quietly hardcore, but I wasn’t expecting him to ever do something that vicious. (What would Jefferson think?) Lady Eve responds by entering his shop and agreeing to a truce, and gives him the briefcase that’s been floating around this show since season 1, something TC excitedly decodes.

    My prediction is that Eve’s forces will be the special sauce that helps Black Lightning’s Outsiders and the ASA ultimately overwhelm the Markovians: did I mention it’s revealed she was the one behind Lala’s inability to die, and that Whale was only using her tech to control him? (Well now I have.) Gambi’s antics may just save us all yet.

    5. Gravedigger is Basically Isaiah Bradley

    The briefcase reveals Gravedigger is Tyson Sykes, a WW2 veteran who subjected himself to government experiments to avoid court-martial, and was the only lab rat to gain superhuman abilities, powers that made him an effective antifa force, and which led to him abandoning America after the war. It’s incredible how America’s history of exploiting Black people is factoring into superhero shows, as was the case with Watchmen, and has been rumored with Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: in fact, the way the show conflates Sykes with the original comics version of Gravedigger (the non-superpowered member of Sgt. Rock’s platoon, Ulysses Hazard) basically makes him DC’s version of Isaiah Bradley, the Black Captain America created in an attempt to rediscover Erskine’s formula. Sykes’s creation is the original sin of all that’s happened in Markovia and Freeland, and his vengeance will have terrible unintended consequences for everyone, White or Black.

    Bonus thoughts:

    – Anissa and Jen essentially spar over who’s got the more messed up love interest.

    – It’s hilarious how “Crisis on Infinite Earths” sounds whenever Jefferson brings it up without context.

    Continued below

    – It’s really sweet that Khalil can draw Jen from memory.

    – RIP Colonel Mosin, we barely knew thee.

    See you next week folks.

    //TAGS | Black Lightning

    Christopher Chiu-Tabet

    Chris is a writer from London on the autistic spectrum, who enjoys tweeting and blogging on Medium about his favourite films, TV shows, books, music, games as well as history and religion. He is Lebanese/Chinese, although he can't speak Cantonese or Arabic. He also writes for Nerdy POC.


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