‘Black Lightning’ 01×11 Review: “Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion”

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Black Lightning “Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion” was executed so beautifully, though the story being told was more than ugly. The set up, the dirty system, the dirty cops-all of it was just maddening to watch, yet the superb acting of the cast was well worth the irritation. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Inspector Henderson this season, but this week even I was cheering for him.

Allusions

Lean on Me is about a principal named Joe Clark who goes into an under performing school and turns it around. At one point he is arrested at the school simply to humiliate him in front of the students that revere him most. As an educator, I feel that humiliation very deeply- you don’t even want to be caught at the grocery store slippin’ in front of your students, so I can’t even imagine being arrested.

Watching Jefferson get arrested in front of his students and his KIDS made me want to jump through my television. Not to mention the smart ass comments the cops were making the entire time they were conducting their illegal search and arrest. “Are you resisting?” I wanted to slap the hell out of that deputy, so I know Jefferson wanted to fry his ass.

Imagine Jefferson’s horror as he was being arrested for dealing drugs- being caught up in the very thing he surely prays for his students to avoid. All of that in front of his daughters who were barely containing their urge to unleash superhero hell in the school hallway. Jennifer’s face and balled up fists and Anissa taking her signature deep breath was a sure sign that it was about to go down. I low key wish they would have been able to do something to help their dad, but I know that couldn’t happen just yet.

Jefferson talking the girls down didn’t seem to be just about keeping them from showing their powers- it could have easily been a commentary about staying safe from the police. One step seemingly out of line can often end in tragedy for black people all too often.

 

Stand Outs

Jennifer asking her mom why her dad just couldn’t use his powers was a subtle but important moment. It reinforced the idea that Jennifer is still very young and won’t always make the best decisions about using her powers. The line was a nice continuation of the build to her upcoming journey. And China McClain was so heart-breaking in that scene-trying to be strong, but grappling with the reality that everyone that gets locked up doesn’t get to come home- even when they probably should. Round of applause China. You killin’ it girl!

The other performance that stood out was from the good ole’ inspector.  I may be wrong, but I detect a little shade from Henderson even though he did some super police work. Following the money helped him free Jeff, but it also led to his ascension to deputy police chief. Did he see Jeff’s case as a way to get that promotion? Did he know about the corruption before and turned a blind eye? That “Actually, I do” line coupled with Lynn’s emphatic “No” when he asked her about trusting him is not passing the smell test just yet. He came through, so I can’t be that mad. I just know something is up though. His dislike for Black Lightning is too strong for me to let my guard down.

I was glad to see Jeff slowly letting Gambi back in the fold. The pep talks Jeff is so famous for have been coming from Anissa lately. I love that her dad is willing to listen to her. If they are going to be crime fighting partners they have to keep that give and take going. The close up shots of Jeff’s face as he considers Anissa’s questions are so well done. It makes it easy to believe in their father/daughter bond.

The family scene at the end was just too much. The sincere prayer over dinner as they held hands and stop the press – the hot sauce! From the streets to home, it doesn’t get more real than that. Well done Black Lightning!

Other Things I Was Thinking As I Watched:

  • In addition to slapping the police, I wanted to slap Ms. Fowdy. She better have a good reason for teaming up with the government.
  • Did I talk about that “No” Lynn let loose? Why did she say that so hard?
  • Anissa’s superhero walk is fierce.
  • The hologram was a cool trick to use. That idea has been used on The Flash so it was nice to see it used across the universe.
  • That old white lady they interviewed was doing a little too much with that Black Jesus mess. I was really mad at her.
  • The man that was slobbering over Anissa and said BL was dressed like George Clinton – I was dead! LOL.

What did you think of The Book of Crucifixion? Tell it to the comments!

The final two episodes of Black Lightning are on the way. Tune in on Tuesday nights on the CW. 

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