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Review-Black Lightning, S2, EP 12/ The Book of Secrets (Chapter 2) – Just and Unjust

Black Lightning -- "The Book of Secrets: Chapter Two: Just and Unjust" - Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW© 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Episode 12: The Book of Secrets (Chapter 2) – Just and Unjust
Directed by: Jeff Byrd
Written by: Charles D Holland

There are a lot of plates spinning in the penultimate episode of Black Lightning season 2. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem rushed or crowded in its execution; a praiseworthy feat for both director Jeff Byrd and writer Charles Holland.

Now the name “Markovia” has been name-dropped previously, and DC fans know this fictional Eastern European nation has a lot of clout when it comes to meta-human R&D in the expanses of recent DC entertainment media. So in essence, there is a new player in town at the eleventh hour that both Jefferson and Tobias must contend with. They’ve set their sights on high value targets, namely Dr. Stewart and Dr. Jace. It was nice seeing Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) show up again, even if ever so briefly.

While it was expected that Jennifer would be devastated by the loss of Khalil last episode, and his pending funeral, it was actually Anissa who was more unstable this episode. Having been rattled by the botched kidnapping of her mother, Anissa is off her game, and picks up another “pet project” at her work and goes on another Robin Hood raid – hope you remember how well that turned out last time. The gravity of her recklessness weighs heavily on Anissa, despite her good intentions. This is juxtaposed to happier moments of her and Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) who also makes a welcomed return after a long hiatus from earlier episodes.

Jennifer on the other hand is doing a full one-eighty, as she becomes more outspoken and proactive. This does not bode well for her brief return to Garfield High, which sees her at odds with Principal Mike Lowry (P J Byrne) – oh yeah, forgot about him. Jennifer’s fervent discourse echoes some of the sentiments of the late Rev Jeremiah Holt (Clifton Powell), but are obviously more sincere coming from her. Issues of Black Lives Matter and the institutionalized racism personified by Principal Lowry are points of contention that rally the student body together, but to Jennifer’s academic detriment. Principal Lowry’s “White Lives Matter” case is tainted by his own unwillingness to move past his own prejudice, preferring to fight fire with fire.

Meanwhile, the seeds of marital strife seem to be setting in between Lynn (Christine Adams) and Jefferson (Cress Williams). Whether this will be nipped in the bud or take root into next season is left to be seen, but it kind of feels out of place and more shoehorned in for extra drama.

While about half of “Just and Unjust” still revolves around Khalil, whether directly or tangentially, I didn’t feel this “holding pattern” overstayed its welcome by being overworked. Viewers who came to love and appreciate Jordan’s performance in the role were given due time to mourn and move on. At least he got a better send off than another dark horse villain “Lala”/Tattooed Man (William Catlett) last season.

I have no doubt that the final episode will have our formal debut of Lightning; but how well the Masters of Disaster will play in the finale is yet to be seen. It would seem like a waste if these hyped-up supervillains and vicious killers were dispatched in an hour. Also, it’s yet unknown if Markovia is done in Freeland, or if their appearance was only a foreshadowing of something bigger next season.

“Just and Unjust” leaves us in anticipation for the season finale with all of its priming and no payoff. Here’s hoping the final chapter of “Book of Secrets” sticks the landing and paves the way for grander things ahead for the Pierces and Freeland.

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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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