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Review-Black Lightning S3:EP14 / The Book of War (Chapter One) – Homecoming

Black Lightning -- "The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming" -- Image Number: BLK314a_0270b.jpg -- Pictured: Jill Scott as Lady Eve -- Photo: Annette Brown/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Black Lightning S3:EP14 / The Book of War (Chapter One) – Homecoming

Directed By: Benny Boom

Written By: Brusta Brown & John Mitchell Todd

There is a lot to unpack once “Homecoming” gets started. The major fallout from “Grab the Straps” has friends and foes reestablish their relationships and tenuous alliances (or betrayals) amongst themselves. There is a surprising amount of backstory and exposition, but it’s pleasantly presented and appreciated.

It is hard to pick out a central story here, but what stood out are the new and interesting Lady Eve (Jill Scott) and Lala (William Catlett) portions, which sadly feel too late in the game. All the other times I’ve mentioned in previous reviews where there was a lull or drudgery in the narrative could have been used to explore this more intriguing side story that takes place independent of the Pierces, ASA and Markovia. By the merit of their performances alone, I can easily overlook the ‘comic book-y’ trope that allowed these resurrected characters from season one to be alive and well. The voluptuous plus-sized Jill Scoot brings her devilish charisma we should know and love from season one. It is almost as if she simply changed professions – from a mob boss posing as a funeral director to a brothel Madame – and never left. The underdog that is Catlett’s character always seems to be getting the short end of the stick no matter how hard he tries. I am however sad to see the absolute absence of the haunting apparitions of his tattooed victims that had added such depth to the already tortured character.

Black Lightning — “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming” — Image Number: BLK314a_0052b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Cress Williams as Jefferson, Christine Adams as Lynn and James Remar as Gambi — Photo: Annette Brown/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Another standout moment is a somber family dinner scene. Ever since the season started, circumstances have kept the Pierces apart, and sometimes at odds, so it’s good to finally get them all reunited as a family. Not everything is rosy. Dr. Lynn Stewart still struggles with her drug addiction, now with the love and support of her reconciled ex and daughters. It’s good to have a realistic portrayal of drug addiction, as the struggle is an oftentimes never-ending one, with the road to recovery being far from easy or short, and the looming dread and caveat of a possible relapse. It also provides Christine’s character with a unique incited and empathy towards what Jefferson (and her daughters) does and goes through as a meta-human vigilante driven by justice. Anissa also is almost overbearingly protective of Jennifer, which mirrors Anissa’s relationship with her father’s “knowing what’s best” mentality.

To go over every other great section of this episode would be exhaustive. From the development of Jordan Calloway’s character Khalil and his evil programming alter ego Painkiller, there are some nice swan-song moments with him and a few other characters. Anyone familiar with the characters of Roy Harper or Thea Queen from the now-concluded series “Arrow” maybe seeing the writing on the wall with where Khalil may be heading. Then there is Peter’s scintillating past with Dr. Jace and Lady Eve; and Jennifer’s hypocritical advice to Brandon over killing Dr. Jace to avenge his mom, when Jennifer is adamant on cold-heartedly killing Agent Odell (and Tobias Whale in season two).

Then there is the miraculous return of the infamous McGuffin briefcase from last season which returns like the sequel bait it always was. Its inclusion gives us a cliché, but appreciated, origin story to the season finale’s big bad, Gravedigger who is the eleventh hour final boss of season three; much in the same way, Gregg Henry’s character Martin Proctor swooped in in the final episodes of season one to steal the thunder (pun intended) from Tobias Whale.

Black Lightning — “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming” — Image Number: BLK314b_0284b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Wayne Brady as Gravedigger (center) and Thomas Belgrey as Colonel Mosin (right) — Photo: Annette Brown/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Sincere accolades to Brusta Brown and John Mitchell Todd for their script, which was well structured and crammed with a lot of beats while not feeling disorienting, or the parts themselves feeling unnecessary. It’s been a while since an episode has been so pristine in its execution, and it’s high caliber only benefits from Benny’s direction. In short, as the third to last episode of season three careens towards its finale, “Homecoming” is very satisfying and story-heavy. If there was one regret is that, again, Lady Eve and Lala were not given enough prominence earlier this season.

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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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