‘Black Lightning’ 1×13 Review: “Shadow of Death: The Book of War”

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Black Lightning’s season finale, titled “Shadow of Death: The Book of War,” was on fire! From the music to the flashbacks, it tied the season up  nicely- leaving viewers more than ready to see the next chapter of Jefferson Pierce and family versus the scum of Freeland.

Villains

I have hated Tobias Whale for the ENTIRETY of the season. He wasn’t very interesting or scary, but the finale made me appreciate and accept him as the season big bad. Listening to Gambi talk about how he chooses his army of enforcers by taking them in and changing them into monsters was pretty compelling stuff.

Tobias created a female version of Wolverine in his hit woman Syonide, made Khalil some sort of steel spined killer, and Lala into a re-animated puppet. Watching him inject himself (in the neck I might add- ouch!) with whatever serum he is abusing also upped his creep factor. His master plan to kill Proctor and take over the ASA’s operation didn’t quite go as he planned, but he got what he wanted anyway. I am kind of invested in what he has in store for Jeff and the people of Freeland next, so hats off the the writers room for moving me closer to camp Tobias.

Khalil is just coming into his own as a villain. I can’t help but think he is having reservations about his role in Tobias’ army. He fights side by side with him, but the look he sometimes has when the camera pans in his direction gives me pause. What will he do when he comes face-to-face with the Pierce family once identities have been revealed? Are they setting him up to become Static Shock? The hair suggests it, but I was hoping that would be reserved for Will’s character. We’ll see.

Syonide has a really interesting origin story. Though we didn’t get much of it, it was enough to figure out why she is so fiercely loyal and kills without question for Tobias. It will be interesting to see if she simply remains a stone-cold  killer or if her toughness is ever shaken.

Proctor- well if  him bellowing “Make America Great Again” isn’t enough to make your skin crawl, all of his bigoted throw aways should be. The quips about gangsters, drug dealers, and black listlessness were maddening, but they had to be said. The audience needed to hear what people like Proctor think about the black communities they help ravage. How else could they justify their terrorism?- His belief that black folks are somehow less human and less deserving of respect lay the perfect groundwork for his actions. In the end, it was one of his own that put him down- how satisfying that was! I wonder if any other ASA dirt bags will emerge from the shadows to infiltrate Freeland?

Heroes

Of course the titular star of Black Lightning is a hero, but a little less so in the finale. Being the savior of Freeland’s lives as well as their minds (in his role as principal) has been Jefferson’s role all season, but I loved how our hero had to be protected and saved by his girls this time around. Lynn’s love and gentle way of calling him back to the life he has, Anissa’s strength in his time of weakness, and last but not least Jennifer’s energy surges rebooting his powers all gave him the opportunity to reclaim the hero mantle.

The flashback scene with his Jeff and his father was an awesome parallel and homage (I believe) to Black Panther’s T’Challa meeting his father on the ancestral plane. Both men needed to hear the wisdom of their fathers before making a decision to live fully. Loved it!! I’m looking forward to a more energized Jeff, better weaponry, and a throw down with Tobias next season.

The matriarchal brains of the family, Lynn didn’t seem to struggle at all with her feelings about Jefferson in the finale. She was all in for him as he teetered between two worlds. And not only was she there with soothing words for her man, she was also down to bust a cap in some ASA ass for the family. Lynn’s reluctance to accept the superhero side of Jefferson has been resolved; she is ready to fight alongside her girls and her man. I am here for her working with Gambi to create the science and tech to keep her family of heroes safe!

Dubbed the strongest of the crew, Anissa being her father’s sidekick has been a highlight of the season. Once identities were revealed during their battle, I was psyched to see the development of them working together. The final battle of this season proved that the Thunder and Black Lightning duo will be a powerful force for the streets of Freeland.

I have enjoyed the way Anissa has been portrayed as a smart and beautiful, but flawed woman. She wants to have a relationship with the right person, but her job as a hero comes first. It will be interesting to see how she navigates her life outside of being a superhero in season two. Will we be seeing the rise of ThunderGrace?

Defibrillator and battery charger, Jennifer Pierce has been shown as maybe the most powerful of the Pierce family. Since she was shown to have pure energy surging through her body, it is only a matter of time before we learn the magnitude of Jennifer’s abilities.  Igniting her entire body with energy to recharge Jeff, shooting her mother’s would-be assassin, and slamming Proctor with a pure energy lasso were probably just a tease for us.

As reluctant as her mother and maybe even more so, it was satisfying to see Jennifer embrace her powers and her new role as a hero. Being able to save her mom and dad were good motivators for joining the family business- the ability to kick some racist ass probably was too. I am curious to see how Jennifer will react if she has to use her powers against Khalil, and how she will control her urges at school. She has already broken a girl’s wrist…

Well, that is a wrap for season one of Black Lightning. I started out being extremely impressed with the choices that the show runners and writers made. Along the way, I felt some minor stumbles, but I can say that I leave the season just as I came to it- impressed. I am fully invested in the characters and their lives, so I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for them next season.

Things I Was Thinking During the Finale and All Season:

  • Stairway to Heaven, Family Affair, and even that damn Timmy Turner were perfect choices for the soundtrack to the finale!
  • Gambi started out a bit shady, but he came through. He is a hero is his own right. Killing Proctor made it official for me.
  • Can they stop Anissa from taking those deep breaths? I know I’ve said it before, but it’s annoying as hell.
  • Anissa, Lynn, and Gambi working together please.
  • Now that the BL family story is set, can we talk crossover? And BL writers co-writing the script?
  • Tattoo Man??
  • Is Will making a comeback?
  • What will Henderson and Jeff’s relationship be like?
  • Fowdy’s shady ass is still around. Will she be leading the ASA against her own people now?

How did you like Black Lightning‘s “Shadow of Death: The Book of War“? Hit up the comments below! Once season two info is announced, I’ll let you know. Thanks for reading.

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