13th Apr2018

‘Black Lightning 1×12: The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams | Developed by Salim Akil

BL-101-1

One episode left until the season finale and Black Lightning is racing to the finish with a few surprises and a little more action this week…

This week’s episode begins with the return of Tobias Whale! One of the best characters of the series finally returns after his several episodes absence and he does not look happy. The ASA has helped heal Whale from his gunshot and lightning wounds suffered a few episodes back, and in exchange for saving him, the ASA wants Whale to capture Black Lightning for them.

Proctor does his best monologue by catching the audience up to-date on the reasons for the Freeland Experiments thirty years ago (keep Freeland’s citizens docile and controllable) but they did not realize it could change some citizens into meta-humans. The other side effect of the experiment is the young death of the meta-humans as the drug was too powerful and the meta-humans could not handle the effect of it. Most secret government agencies would give up after this issue but not the ASA. They continued to work on the serum and eventually developed the drug sweeping Freeland now, Greenlight.

The ASA is interested in capturing Black Lightning to study how he overcame the side effects and want to experiment on him in order to perfect the serum and create their own super soldiers. Helping Whale in this task is none other than a new and improved (and walking!) Khalil as the ASA fixed him in the last few weeks. Later on, Jefferson is shocked to see Khalil not only walking down the street but also in dreadlocks and looking like a completely new man. After a failed attempt to get Khalil back in school, tensions begin to rise between the two and Khalil advises Jefferson the future is now him, not Jefferson or his school.

Gambi decides to meet with Hidalgo, the weapons dealer from earlier in the season, to gain more information on Proctor and ASA’s plan for Black Lightning. Gambi, after threatening to expose Hidalgo to everyone he has double-crossed, agrees to help Gambi and advises their “relationship” is over. In a little twist, LaLa, after Gambi leaves, also pays a visit to Hidalgo and I no longer think Hidalgo will be showing up in the series.

Jefferson stops by the house of Khali’s mother for more information and she is shocked to hear her son is not only in Freeland but is walking! His mother was advised by a hospital representative that Khalil was partaking in an experimental test to assist with his injury and she could not see him due to a risk of infection. Jefferson asks for and receives the hospital representative’s phone number and something tells me that it is Whale and not a real doctor that convinced Khalil’s mother about the experimental tests.

Lynn and Jefferson are doing their best to provide support for their daughter Jennifer as she transitions to life as a meta-human and her powers; she still needs some love (and homemade cake) from her parents. Jefferson warns her about Khalil’s new look and attitude but despite his warnings, Jennifer feels Khalil would never hurt her. Seriously Jennifer? You are smarter than that. Unfortunately, as soon as Jefferson leaves, Jennifer receives a text from Khalil and runs off to meet him on the rooftop of her old house. After Khalil lies about how his back was healed, he tries to start up their relationship again but Jennifer has suspicions about him. Khalil feels Jennifer’s dad is influencing her and leaves with their relationship in a worst place than it started.

Whale’s master plan on catching Black Lightning is having Khalil attack Jefferson’s school and drawing out Black Lightning. Khalil is not happy about this plan but Whale lets him know that he gave him “legs for loyalty” and if Khalil does not like it, he can go back to being in a wheelchair. Khalil, with the addition of some new weapons, takes out his frustrations at the school but conflict still rages in him as he warns Jennifer to leave the school, as he will not hurt her. Thunder and Black Lightning arrive at the school to save the day and after splitting up, we get the conflict we have been waiting for…Syonide versus Thunder! Syonide is shocked to see her weapons rendered useless on Thunder so it is a good ol’ fisticuffs between the two to settle the issue. After a fun fight scene, Thunder takes down Syonide with a roundhouse kick but cannot finish the job as her father needs her help.

Black Lightning is shocked to see Whale at the school and Whale decides he cannot beat him based on superpowers alone and challenges Lightning in hand to hand combat. Despite Gambi’s warnings, Black Lightning tries to take Whale down, which works for a bit until Khalil arrives and delivers a Superman punch to Lightning, killing him. Whale is upset with Khalil because the ASA’s orders were to capture Black Lightning, not kill him. Whale and Khalil decide to split after Thunder arrives and unleashes a seismic blast to the villains while also protecting Jefferson’s secret identity.

Black Lightning is not dead long as Jennifer arrives and uses her powers to shock her father back to life. Jennifer basically has defibrillators in her hands, resulting in Lightning breathing again. I knew the main character was not going to die but wish there a little more suspense, especially after Jennifer arrived in the hallway, I knew exactly how they were going to bring him back. The episode ends with the Pierce family hiding in Gambi’s off the grid cabin, the ASA still on the hunt for Black Lightning and LaLa, Whale and Syonide back on the same page and working together again.

One Good Thing:

  • The gang is back together again! The last few episodes has been more about the Pierce family and how they are dealing with their new reality and while that has been presented well, I have missed the focus on the larger storyline involving Whale and his obsession with power. This week’s episode brought all the major players back, LaLa, Whale, Pierce Family and ASA, to set up for next week’s season finale. Everyone is positioned now for next week’s finale and I am excited to see how the series wraps up the first season.

One Bad Thing:

  • Time lapse. After seeing Khalil return this week with dreadlocks, which takes a while to grow, I am left with more confusion over the amount of time that has taken place from episode one to now. It is a small gripe but how much time has really passed in this universe? Are we talking weeks, months or longer? Maybe Khalil’s superpower is just growing hair really fast.

What We Learned:

  • Lynn is conducting her own experiments. Lynn is running tests on Jennifer and attempting to isolate and eventually destroy the meta-human gene in her daughter. Once Jefferson finds out about this, he is not happy as he feels Jennifer’s powers are whom she really is and by taking them away, you take away a part of Jennifer. Lynn feels the meta-human gene is a mutation and is not who Jennifer really is as a person. I appreciate the writers again showing how intelligent Lynn is in this series and the possibility of a meta-human cure storyline in season two if Lynn is successful in her experiment.

Questions:

  • Are Lynn and Jefferson back again? Lynn finally admits after everything they have been through lately has led her to realize she needs Jefferson back in her life, romantically. Everything seems great again in the Pierce family until later in the episode when Jefferson finds out Lynn is trying to “heal” the meta-human side of Jennifer, and once again, they are back to questioning their relationship.
  • Why is Freeland so important to the ASA? Thirty years ago, Freeland was ground zero for experimenting the government’s drug to keep the population docile, which backfired and resulted in the creation of meta-humans. The ASA then used agents as scouts for the next three decades to monitor and capture meta-humans but the ASA never stopped working on the drug, resulting in the formation of Greenlight. Is Freeland the only city the ASA is experimenting with the population? Are there other cities the ASA is using as experimental locations? Finally, what is it about Freeland that made the ASA choose as their private laboratory?

This Episode’s Grade: B+ (Great)

This week’s episode of Black Lightning is like a game of chess. Everyone and everything is being set up for the season finale next week, titled The Book of War, and I am expecting the season go out with a bang. The series finale will pit Whale, Syonide, LaLa and the 100 gang against Black Lightning, Thunder and Gambi but what role will the ASA play in all this? We will be back next week to see if the series continues with its season-long greatness and the fallout from the inevitable battle between good and evil.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.
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