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Review-Black Lightning S3:EP4 / The Book of Occupation (Chapter Four) – Lynn’s Ouroboros

Black Lightning -- "The Book of Occupation: Chapter Four" - Photo: Mark Hill/The CW -© 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Black Lightning S3:EP4 / The Book of Occupation (Chapter Four) – Lynn’s Ouroboros

Directed By: Mary Lou Belli

Written By: Adam Giaudrone

Picking up right after the last episode, Dr. Stewart (Christine Adams) is still hard at work trying to find a cure to the meta-human viral outbreak that is claiming so many Green Light metas locked up in the ASA penitentiary. As the bodies pile up and the disease starts to escalate, Dr. Stewart is forced to take desperate measures to save her patients, consequences be damned.

Elsewhere, the now freed Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) must deal with a Freeland he no longer recognizes, one that is turned into an oppressive police state akin to some places you would find in the Middle East where there is heavy US occupation. I appreciate that this episode is not shy in addressing this real-world political conundrum which is happening in other parts of the globe.

To compound Jefferson’s culture shock, he cannot seem to connect with his own family. Lynn spends more time, willingly, at Odell’s secret facility struggling to create a vaccine, ignoring her obligations as a mother and wife; Anissa has made a life for herself, now independent of her father and operating as the de facto new vigilante/hero “Blackbird”, which irritates Jefferson’s traditionalist and idealistic mentality; and Jennifer has become chillingly complacent with the way things are, to the point of almost being fully apathetic (or agreeable) to the distresses surrounding her. The only exception to Jefferson’s isolation is Gambi (James Remar), who now operates as a sly in-the-trenches espionage agent. All of this grants Cress a breadth of emotion to flex his acting credentials which have been sourly missing thus far compared to his co-stars.

It also bears mentioning that in respects to the character of Grace, I’m glad the writers did not brush the elephant in the room under the rug, and openly addressed Anissa’s true feelings for him/her and the basis of their relationship. Though brief, it is salient and powerful.

Padding out the episode is a side quest following Painkiller on an errand from Agent Odell. While this has no bearing on the main plot, it offers more screen time to see Jordan Calloway in action, which I can appreciate. Although I would like me some more Lala too.

With just four episodes in, the insidiousness of Odell makes him a worthy successor to Tobias Whale as this season’s primary arch-villain. Like Satan incarnate, with his calm, cold-blooded – yet eerily charming – delivery and poise, Odell’s shameless and unscrupulous manipulation and assassinations are pathologically inhuman. His power over Freeland and the Pierces only emphasizes his nefariousness even more, as he controls through wish-fulfillment, intimidation, temptation, and division. It is truly disheartening how he craftily starts grooming Jennifer with tactful propaganda, and by filling the role of mentor and father-figure in Jefferson’s absence. This may be a not-too-subtle nod to radical or militant indoctrination and its attractive veneer.

“Lynn’s Ouroboros” is a much stronger episode than last week’s and highlights Black Lightning’s greatest strength; to balance both a powerful and often poignant social message, while still dealing with the gamut of complexities of a family dynamic via the Pierces. Everyone gives a stellar performance. I also have to give this episode much kudos for addressing addiction, in both its familiar and uncommon forms, as well as the dangers of political manipulation of youths and well-meaning individuals for personal gain and profit. If Black Lightning maintains this level of excellence, Season 3 will for sure be one worth watching and remembering.

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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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