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Review-Black Lightning, S2, EP 16/ The Book of the Apocalypse (Chapter 2) – The Omega

Black Lightning - "The Book of the Apocalypse: Chapter Two: The Omega" -Photo: Eliza Morse/The CW -2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Episode 16: The Book of the Apocalypse (Chapter 2) – The Omega
Directed by: Salim Akil
Written by: Charles D Holland

Black Lightning season two concludes not with a bang, but on a whimper. So be forewarned that you should reasonably dial back your expectations to enjoy the finale, titled “The Omega”. The episode’s prime mover is Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III). With his secret meta-lab compromised, our albino kingpin is pushed to the end of his rope. Capitalizing on the outrage over Cape Guy’s senseless shooting, and the reluctance of the law to prosecute – a fact all too real for many African-Americans – Tobias instigates a city-wide riot to through Freeland into mass hysteria and anarchy. And within that chaos, he orchestrates a gambit to take out Black Lightning (Cress Williams) once and for all. This plot development sadly felt petulant rather than methodical. Tobias skirts the line between masterfully crafty and aloof lunacy. Left all alone, Tobias must fend off his encroaching adversaries without aide, as his empire and season-long scheming crumbles.

But before the final curtain falls on Tobias, we are treated to a confrontation between Black Lightning and Thunder and the Masters of Disaster. Perhaps spoiled by the other action-heavy superhero TV shows, I would have expected Salim Akil to pull no punches and spare no expense in this epic battle between superheroes and supervillains. Instead, we get a re-enactment of a live-action turn-based RPG, with our fighters trading generic blows and basic power attacks like a pantomime. If there was ever a time to go all out on fight choreography and CGI in this episode, or in this season for that matter, this was that moment.

As expected, the maverick Lala (William Catlett) provided the needed “wild card” in The Book of the Apocalypse. His full transformation into the Tattooed Man is marked by bitter sadness over his character, forever remaining a tragic pawn. Truly, Lala was the best tertiary character throughout this episode, with Gambi (James Remar) a close second. Everyone else from Cutter to Dr. Jace, Perenna, Agent Odell and the mysterious “Nightcrawler” hit man had little more than cameo roles. The most egregious was that of Detective Henderson (Damon Gupton) who doesn’t get a single line to say and is seen in two small clips.

Meanwhile, as the city tears itself apart, there is a moment spent on looking to a higher power or a higher force that can trump the evils magnified and destroying the community of Freeland. While it does not ring as soundly as any one of the late great King’s speeches, its point is well-meaning and inspirational – in essence conquering this seemingly unbeatable evil with unwavering good. This is a stark contrast to the more revolutionary, Malcolm X brand of African-American societal reform, initially propagated at the beginning of season two. On further analysis, this is a touching, larger scale metaphor of the same struggle undergone by Jennifer (China Anne McClain) who now fully embraces her identity as Lightning.

Throughout ‘The Omega’, the way matters escalate, transition and are translated is a mixed bag. By the end, the McGuffin pod kids are treated with just as much reverence as in last season’s finale. As for Agent Odell (Bill Duke), he comes off more morose Amanda Waller than tough-love Nick Fury as he shamelessly teases the perils the Pierces will face in season 3. But I lost much faith with the divisively sacrilegious, eleventh-hour return of two characters by the end credits.

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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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