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Review-Black Lightning,S2, EP5/ The Book of Blood (Chapter 1) – Requiem

Black Lightning - "The Book of Blood: Chapter One: Requiem" - Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW - © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Episode 5: The Book of Blood (Chapter 1) – Requiem
Directed by: Michael Schultz
Written by: Lamont Magee

The second “book” in season 2 of the Black Lightning opener with Gambi acts as a catalyst that drastically impacts the Pierce family, no more so that with Jefferson himself, and to a lesser extent Anissa. Take from the subtitle “Requiem” what you will. Sadly, this emotionally riveting exploration had to share the runtime with some less than stellar plot progression.

One of the vignettes of interest includes a focus on Anissa taking up a job at the Freeland clinic which has been a centerpiece for much of the season so far. In essence, she is taking after her mother in her civilian identity, and following her father in her secret one. This segment acts as the jump-off point for a weird and eerie divergent subplot involving an expecting interracial couple who visit the clinic which feels straight out of X-Files. Meanwhile, Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy), who cameoed in the first season, has been given more prominence in Jennifer’s life with some romantic tension.

Elsewhere, the Romeo & Juliette drama of Khalil and Jennifer continues to play out, but to its credit, more sincerely than I’d imagined. Seeing these two star-crossed puppy-love teens try and navigate their feelings given their conflicting baggage is endearing, with equal portions doomed-to-fail and hoping-to-succeed. Khalil once again finds himself begrudgingly under Tobias’ austere mentorship, as he virtually has no one left in his life that he can depend upon or trust. It’s only inevitable that this dysfunctional master-apprentice dynamic will come to a head.

Ostensibly, the “pod kids” (or “freezer kids”) sub-arc with Dr. Stewart and her cartoonishly villainous lab partner Dr. Jace (Jennifer Riker) remains the lowest part of the season thus far. It’s contributed very little to any meaningful degree and feels ever more ostracized from the rest of the show/world with every passing episode. The lack of Bill Duke isn’t helping either. This leaves me quite ambivalent as to their fate in the grander scheme of the season. I’m not even sure the writers have any genuine use or purpose for them up to this point – or maybe it’s just my impatience and I’ll be eating my words in a week or two. Nevertheless, Christine’s performance as Dr. Stewart in these scenes was the only one with life in an otherwise lifeless pantomime. It may be time to cut their losses with this segment of the season, which based on current events may be that change of course.

Ultimately, “Book of Blood” is off to a good start, but I sincerely wished they could have given the Gambi-related portion a wider berth as it was the best part of this episode. A new “book” also means a new phase one for a new stage for Tobias’ ominous magnum opus. And while Jennifer’s evolution continues to provide surprises, I’m not sure how this new wrinkle in her side-story ties into anything else, if at all. I, however, withhold final judgment until all the plates Black Lightning is trying to set up are spinning.

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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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