‘Black Lightning’ 1×12 Review: The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain

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This week Black Lightning was renewed for a second season, and The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain was a perfect example of why that was the right decision. Relationships, rebirths, and realizations all made for a great episode that sets us up for the season finale.

Relationships and Rebirth

Black Lightning has never let us down on the relationship front. Whether it’s familial love or finding love with someone, the emotions portrayed are always deeply felt.  Lynn and Jeff’s relationship is at the center of the show and they were on fire, at least for a moment. I love how  Lynn finally articulated how she feels about Jeff even though we’ve always known from her actions. Their love scene was particularly satisfying because we knew it was coming- we just didn’t know when. It’s also on my list for the most satisfying love scene between a metahuman and a normal person because we all know good and damn well if our better half had powers that could enhance the bedroom, we’d be all for it. That’s the enjoyable realism that Black Lightning brings to the small screen.

On the other side of that, you have the complexity of emotions that would surely come with having powers. After their secret rendezvous, Jeff and Lynn break up (LOL) because Jeff feels that Lynn is trying to suppress Jennifer’s powers with science. She can’t really defend herself when he lashes out because she was experimenting with ways to help Jennifer control her abilities. Jeff’s anger is understandable because it makes him question how Lynn actually sees him and the kids- are they freaks? Is something wrong with them? I’m sure that Lynn loves them unconditionally and Jeff was just hurt because she didn’t tell him what she was doing. She should have said something to him because keeping secrets never helps anything, and they’ve been shown that a few times this season.

Lynn is a good mother and seeing Jennifer’s unhappiness about having powers made her react. What mom wouldn’t do whatever they could to make their child’s life easier or to ease their discomfort? I think once Jeff and Lynn talk this issue will be resolved, but come on Pierces- stop with the secrets will you?

The other relationship on tap was Khalil and Jennifer’s. At first glance, I wasn’t sure why Khalil went to see Jennifer, but I realized that he truly seemed sorry about how he acted when he was paralyzed. He spoke sincerely about not knowing who he was after losing the one thing that he believed defined him-his athleticism. That spinal implant scar and those metal plates are grotesque, but I’m sure Khalil doesn’t care as long as he could become Khalil again. Jennifer’s reluctance to jump right back in upset Khalil and revealed that he had indeed changed. If there was any chance of them getting back together, I think it pretty much went out the window when Khalil decided to follow orders by storming the school and killing her dad. I was hoping she’d be able to have a friendship with Khalil and be able to share her secret with him, but he just may find her secret out the hard way.

Realizations

Jennifer’s reluctance to being a hero has been one of the highlights of this season. The fear of otherness and wanting a normal life have provided good counters to the idea that everyone would jump at the chance to have powers. The exploration of her feelings towards being a metahuman feel very real and give a depth to the show that some other superhero shows are lacking right now. But just as Jennifer is reveling in the idea that her mom can cure her, she is called upon to the impossible- she has to save her dad. Jennifer the track star can’t save him nor can Jennifer the Queen of Garfield. That Herculean task falls on Jennifer the metahuman A.K.A. Lightning. I have to wonder if saving her father will make her realize how important her role as a hero can be or if she will still have reservations. I can’t wait to find out.

What I realized, but still remain a bit confused about is how Tobias is somehow controlling Latavious- I think. Tobias uttered the phrase “The devil plays the cards” or something like that and Latavious seemed to turn into some mind controlled assassin. Now how that happened, I have no clue. Did Tobias take Lala to ASA headquarters after he died and let them do something to him? Is it more supernatural than scientific? I mean there has still been no explanation for Lala’s hallucinations or the tattoos that show up on his body after he has killed someone. I can’t even pretend to know what’s going on with this part of the story, and we’re up to the last episode of the season. I guess we all just have to keep taking the wait and see approach.

More Things I was Thinking As I Watched:

  • Jefferson and Anissa walking side by side as Black Lightning and Thunder will never get old.
  • Tobias is funny- “Legs for loyalty”
  • Wait til Jennifer and Anissa find out Khalil killed BL.
  • Proctor is wildin’ in Freeland with his experiments. Seriously, where is the rest of the government? The mayor?
  • What does Proctor have on Vice Principal Fowdy?
  • Was Latavious just scared of Tobias or was that twitching meant to show that he was fighting the mind-control?
  • Why are the titles to these episodes so damn long??

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

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