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    Five Thoughts on Black Lightning‘s “The Book of the Apocalypse, Chapter One: The Alpha”

    By | March 12th, 2019
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Black Lightning season 2 has almost concluded and things in Freeland are more chaotic than ever, with Whale unleashing a meta to scorch the city… so he can make a video demonstration for potential buyers? Whale, I know you’re a supervillain, but god you are an awful human being.

    1. Cape Guy

    The episode opens with a vigilante with a gaudy get-up called Cape Guy, getting shot to death by police. There are a few references to it later on, but overall this subplot felt out-of-place in this episode. It felt like, since a lot of new viewers might decide to jump on board for this spectacular two-part finale, they decided they needed to have a moment that felt shocking and topical, but now’s really not the time to do Black Lightning as a Hate U Give-style story, as would often be the case in previous episodes.

    2. New Kids

    Whale awakens the other test subjects Dr. Jace experimented on in the ’80s, Coldsnap, Heatstroke, and New Wave, whose introductions are helped by subtitles giving their names and powers. It’s a surprisingly comic book style of storytelling, and it’s really helpful quickly introducing them as well as if you need to go back and reference them in a hurry. I must say, I wish other comic book adaptations employed the use of captions to remind people of characters’ names as often as their source material.

    We didn’t really get to know them so well, except Coldsnap is pretty rebellious – and winds up getting his throat slashed by Cutter for it – while Heatstroke is smart enough to keep his mouth shut, and run away if necessary. What’s interesting is Whale doesn’t resort to using the control chip when they defy him, implying it has limited distance, or he’d like to see what his slaves are actually made of.

    3. Getting Wendy Help

    Odell has seemingly lost interest in exploiting Wendy, and Lynn has decided to get her help integrating back into the real world, hiring Perenna to help as well. Given how Perenna’s felt like she’s been in her own bubble on this show, rarely interacting with anyone aside from Jennifer, it was eye-opening to see her being incorporated into Lynn’s storyline like this, and hopefully an indication she’ll have a bigger part to play in season 3.

    4. Wheezy Terminator

    Lala shows up at Whale’s lair, where’s he confronted by Cutter, who quickly finds out he’s very difficult to kill. It was gruesomely fascinating seeing Lala enduring the pain from her throwing knives as he stumbled towards her like a Terminator with a nervous system. I’m glad he didn’t kill her though in some cheap attempt to amp up the conflict between him and Whale though (though that might still happen next week).

    We also saw Lala meet up with his creepy benefactor (Michael Wright), who was cooking up a pustulant, pungent possum for lunch. According to Wright’s Twitter, his necromancer is called Lazarus Prime, and I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t realize his character might be using the Lazarus Pits: it’s cool how, despite it being highly improbable Batman will join this show’s version of the Outsiders (whenever they appear), they’re still drawing on his mythos. It was also great that these scenes weren’t interrupted by the voices in Lala’s head again, which emphasized how focused he is now.


    Despite the constant lecturing from her father this week about not taking lives, a vengeful Jennifer grabs her prototype suit and tries to ambush Whale after figuring out his location on Gambi’s computer. Of course, it’s still a work-in-progress, so she winds up collapsing on the road after her dramatic superhero landing. Two things: 1) I actually thought she looked really cool, with her menacing eyes glowing red, and the Tron: Legacy style lighting of her costume. 2) Why was there a ‘to be continued’ message? This show has always been a serial. Guess it’s those darn new viewers again…

    Bonus thoughts:
    – Jefferson’s memories of Jennifer were as sappy as she described them, but I really liked the cover of “Here Comes the Sun” that was played – it’s coincidentally an apt description of Jennifer’s powers.
    Continued below

    – I really liked Jefferson bringing up the Code of Hammurabi, it made my ears perk up during his otherwise predictable lecture about revenge.
    – Jace and Heatstroke just looking on at Whale and Cutter snogging in bewilderment.
    – RIP Councilman Parker – sorry you had to go out like that, but there’s only one more episode left.
    – Odell’s unsettling even when he’s being nice. (Creep.)

    Like the episode said, this will be concluded next week. Until then, lights out.

    //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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