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Review- Black Lightning, Episode 13/ Shadow of Death: The Book of War

Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Episode 13: Shadow of Death: The Book of War

Directed by: Salim Akil

Written by: Charles D Holland

With Jefferson left in a comatose state following the fallout of last week’s harrowing episode, the Pierce family is pushed further into a corner by the hell-bent ASA. Against overwhelming odds, the Pierces must defend their isolated haven and their lives from Proctor. To that end, they go through a mini-journey of reflection, re-evaluation and reaffirmation of the motives and tribulations that have brought them to this point, and what will inevitably strengthen their familial bonds for the final crucible.

Meanwhile, Tobias Whale focuses on the long game, like a master strategist. Armed with his small posse of meta-human cohorts, he sets in motion his scheme to come out on top when the dust settles. A play befitting the kind of criminal mastermind and kingpin he is envisioned to be.

Everyone gives their best performance yet, with China Anne McClain standing out as the passive, pessimistic and disinclined Jennifer who grows stronger – in more ways than one – as a character. This however leaves Nafessa Williams, who portrays the older and more embracive sister Anissa in the background. Gregg Henry’s performance is a bit over-the-top, as arch-nemesis Proctor, but that’s more of his character than anything else. William Catlett, who plays Lala (aka Tattooed Man), is a truly tragic tale to behold.

Ultimately, Charles Holland’s script is an atypical superhero finale. This may turn off some who are expecting something more “traditional” in that sense. Instead, it condenses its scope to the Pierces and their struggle and triumph. Which is fitting, because by now, Black Lightning has been more about them and how their actions trickle down to the rest of Freeland, for better or worse. Regardless, The Book of War sticks the landing, but could have gotten a higher score if it didn’t feel like it was running out of time at the very end, with its resolution feeling a bit murky and incomplete.

If you want to watch this episode and missed it, you can stream on CWTV.com or The CW app the day after it airs.


Hailing from the eastern-most Caribbean island of Barbados, Fabian Wood has long since been fascinated by the power of storytelling to inspire and invoke emotions – whether in film, comics or video games. No longer content to be just an avid comic book reader and video gamer, he’s eager to exercise his literary acumen as an aspiring writer and reviewer.

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