‘Black Lightning’ 1×08 ”The Book of Revelations”

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The Book of Revelations did a good job of revealing quite a bit, but still left us with some secrets to unravel.  While I enjoyed most aspects of this week’s episode, I have to admit that I was a bit underwhelmed with some of the dialogue choices around race.

I am not one to shy away from race- in fact, I spend a lot of my time viewing things through several lenses- female, black, and then just the normal one when I’m lucky. While I was watching Black Lightning this week, I felt like I was watching a really good show that needs a few writing room tips. I know I have no place telling seasoned writers and show runners what to do, but as a viewer I gave just a little eye roll during some of the conversations between Anissa and Jefferson.

I love, love, and love again the way Black Lightning does relationships. The Pierce family is one to draw inspiration from; the way they laugh and love through triumph and pain is beautifully portrayed. And this week, Anissa and Jeff training and working a case together was t.v. gold. The banter and the lessons learned were well done, but when Jefferson and Anissa talked about black people dying first in horror movies and I heard Jefferson point blankly telling Anissa to “stay woke”, I grimaced.

Not because the way black people talk should be hidden, but precisely because those aren’t things we say to each other- not in my experience anyway. I get why Black Lightning had to set the stage about race in their earlier episodes, and with the revelation of green light creating meta humans, race is still very relevant to the season’s plot. But, does every episode have to be laced with some heavy handed line about being black? The family moments that are most genuine come when they are written the way black people actually express themselves.

Yea, we laugh about black people getting killed first in horror movies, but do we say it on the nose? No. A more authentic way to have played that scene would have been for Anissa to make her statement about horror movies and Jeff to say “Yeah well, we know what happens to us in the woods- not “you know what happens to black people.” It’s a small difference, but it can make the ratings difference when you are making television for black people, but inviting others to experience it with us week to week. Just some food for thought- I still love ya’ll BL writers. Now for the show.

The revelation of Gambi’s secret was a gut punch to Jeff. Not only did Gambi hide the way Jeff became Black Lightning, he also hid that he was a part of the reason Jeff’s father was murdered. If their relationship can survive this betrayal is a real question, but I have a feeling Jeff will need Gambi’s help when it is all said and done. Gambi wants redemption and he knows too much to let the ASA hunt Jeff and his family. Whatever happens, I have a bad feeling Gambi won’t be around much longer.

I love the master/pupil thing Jeff and Anissa have going. Jefferson’s “brains not brawn” line to Anissa was a reminder that Anissa is just as smart as she is fierce. As a future doctor, her expertise will not only be in crime fighting, but perhaps in forensics and other sciences that crime scenes may hold. Spending time with Jeff, Anissa is learning the ways of a seasoned hero, and the extra bond that they now share is being cemented with their time in the field together. What will happen when Jennifer is put in the mix of this? Surely she will want to help the citizens of Freeland like Anissa and Jeff, but will her family let her join the family business of butt kicking?

I was glad Jennifer went to Anissa with the secret of her powers. Their sisterhood has been built up as a strong one, so it makes perfect sense that Jennifer would confide in her big sister first. What will Anissa do? Will she tell Jennifer she has her own secret? About their dad’s? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Things That Made Me Take a Pause:

  • Why was a dead Lawanda stalking a dead (resurrected) Latavius? And the shower scene??
  • I will miss Lady Eve!
  • For the millionth time, why are Lynn, Jeff, and now Anissa not telling Jennifer the truth sooner rather than later?

What did you think of The Book of Revelations? Sound off in the comments please!

Black Lightning airs on the CW on Tuesdays at 8pm/9pm Eastern.

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