"Black Lightning" Season Two Talkback (Spoilers)

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The Penguin

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Fone Bone

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Black Lightning “The Book Of Consequences: The Rise Of The Green Light Babies: Chapter One”

I like the redemptive moment of Jefferson absorbing Jennifer’s powers. Because honestly? He did everything else wrong in the episode. For a season that looks to be about consequences, Jefferson does NOT seem to be aware of how his actions effect others.

Robert Townsend’s character is furious for him being MIA during last year’s crises. I don’t think Jefferson fully appreciated how bad him being MIA in that specific moment hurt him and how people saw him. The reason it was plausible for Jefferson to fall on his sword at the end is that the parents and board were probably so fed up they would be glad to be rid of him. And if I didn’t know he was Black Lightning, and was actually there the entire time, I’d agree with them.

I also disliked how he’s bossing around Lynn about the pods. Granted, because of Bill Duke’s character, (great actor I’ve always loved, by the way) she is almost certainly in over her head. But Jefferson is in over his head too every week, and it’s not like he lets anybody else make that call for him.

The third thing he did, I am just going to chalk up to bad writing. Because if it isn’t, Jefferson outright sucks. But when Lynn suggests a therapist, Jefferson says he believes those are for crazy people. What the frak kind of high school principle believes something so absolutely backwards and ill-informed? Last season I kept building up more and more respect for Jefferson and how he walked the line between Principle and hero. And this episode obliterated it, especially in that moment.

More bad news for Jefferson: Henderson figured it out. Good. I have previously opined that when Henderson found out he would be extra mad. Not just because Jefferson is his friend, and has been lying to him for years. But because honestly? Black Lightning has always treated Henderson like crap. All of the little digs he gets against him, all of the disrespect he gives him in words and deeds, and it turns out the guy is his longtime friend? Jefferson acts like no friend I’ve ever seen.

I liked the reason Henderson figured it out though. He was the one guy smart enough to realize and acknowledge Jefferson Pierce wouldn’t actually abandon the school and his daughters in that moment. And that him being Black Lightning is the only logical answer left for that.

Jefferson learning his vice-principle was a spotter was another big moment. Because suddenly the notion that everybody saying he did his job poorly holds up to scrutiny. I would think job No. 1 of any principle would be to not hire a child trafficker for vice-principle. But maybe that’s just me.

I loved the scene of the mother decrying her back-from-the-dead son, by saying she was happy he had died. I love that moment because until it happened, I was completely on her side about what a horrible thing the police did to her son was. The idea that those were crocodile tears, and she was secretly glad he was gone turned my stomach. The crowd catching that on their phones is the making of a viral moment. This show is not afraid to push buttons. Including having Robert Townsend of all people use the N word.

I hope all of this season uses animated episode titles and introductions. It certainly sets this show apart from The Arrowverse, if this show actually someday DECIDES to become Arrowverse. We’ll see.

The fight between Tobias and Kara at the end was absolutely sick, in the very best way. Great ending.

This was quite an audacious opening for a second season, because by the end of it, I’m sort of disgusted with Jefferson. That’s pretty brassy to do for a season opener, especially Season 2. But it must be the Book of Consequences for a reason. ****.
 

hobbyfan

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Watched it On Demand this morning before going to work.

Ok, Syonide has been killed off already? Shocker.

Robert Townsend (ex-The Parent 'Hood, "Meteor Man", etc.) joins the show. He was great here. What's next? Tyler Perry?

I'm trying to get a handle on Jennifer floating & glowing when sleeping. Not sure if this is from the books.
 
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The Penguin

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"The Book of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues"
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 @ 9 p.m. ET/8 CT on The CW
Jefferson must break the news to his students and faculty that he is stepping down.
 

Fone Bone

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Black Lightning "The Book Of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues"

I'm not sure if I liked that or not. It wasn't bad, and it WAS only the second episode of the season, but last year was kicking my butt every week, so I'm a little worried because this episode didn't do that.

Lets sort out the goods and the bads:

The goods:

The episode ending on the Dead Poet's Society scene it did of the students having Jefferson recite his future affirmation. Very interesting and unusual way to end a superhero show and that why I like it.

This will sound a bit crass, but because of Twin Peaks, I really, REALLY like seeing Nafessa Williams in a bikini. Like, a LOT.

The truth superpower explains the horror from last week. I also like it because it's a Monkey's Paw superpower, that sounds good on paper but would suck in practice, especially if you didn't know how to control it. It's the kind of power the Troubled had on Haven.

I like Jennifer being cool enough to sit down with the kid and figure out how the power worked. Somehow I don't see Lynn ever doing the same thing in a such a cool fashion, so I see the value of Jennifer. And the lack of cramps tells Jennifer the true value of having powers.

Maybe that DOES mean they can't have kids. Yeah, Jefferson did, but he's a dude, and it might work differently for them. We just don't know yet.

I love Jennifer pushing Kahlil off the roof. I especially love that he doesn't see it coming. But it was the only thing to do in that moment. That kid is such a chump.

I liked the fact that the "bad" picture of Jefferson with a lousy President to contrast with Obama was Bush. I don't much like Bush, but if he donated money to the school (and the Bushes HAVE done some philanthropy in the past) a handshake is okay. If it were Trump, I'd not only consider Jefferson a sell-out, but I wouldn't believe he'd actually donate the money in the first place. Trump would have made Pierce a jerk. Bush makes him complicated. That's sort of how I see America too, as long as we are on that distasteful subject.

The bads:

The second scene of the episode with the green light baby getting loose was outright awful. They should have just called it "Distracting Saxophone". I get that the scene was SUPPOSED to be off-putting to demonstrate the girl's confusion, but surely they can do that in a way that doesn't actually annoy me or get on my nerves. Going back to Twin Peaks, that's pretty much the reason David Lynch had the career he did. Confusing and off-putting people without actually annoying them. And the loud saxophone qualified as an annoyance.

I seem to recall Tobias getting on my nerves last season for the exact same reason, but this episode shows why he is such an ineffective villain. I could have accepted an episode where he beats up Kahlil for losing at chess, or an episode where he kills off his former friends to tie up loose ends. That happening in the same episode just shows why he sucks at his job so much. Tobias inspires no confidence. Beating up a kid for the chess game is stupid, and there is ultimately no loyalty attached to Kahlil because of stuff like that. Kahlil admits to Jennifer he does what Whale says because he's afraid of him. What happens when Black Lightning makes him a better offer, or gives him a more convincing argument? A good mob boss inspires loyalty and respect among his men. Yeah, you have to be cruel sometimes. But not for losing a game of chess. Tobias has no idea that carrots are what make Mob bosses so powerful, and the people that serve them so indebted to them. The legs were a nice carrot. But Tobias is treating Kahlil so badly, he's making it seem like not being able to walk would have been the more pleasant option.

The tying up loose ends things shows it in another fashion. That guy at the home obviously loves and trusts Tobias for some unknown reason. That means he's valuable. But Tobias kills him instead because he knows something Tobais would prefer nobody else knew. But somebody willing to not be angry over being murdered is a valuable friend and ally, and Tobias is either killing all of the strong and loyal men he has, or beating them down until they are no longer strong and loyal. He's going around and killing and maiming all of his Golden Geese. And I don't think villains with no redeeming qualities are actually interesting. I'm not a person who half-roots for the right villain. But I think it's important I don't think the villain is stupid, or that I could do a better job in the villain's place. If both of those things are true, the villain sucks. Automatically.

All in all, it was a decent episode. But after last year starting off so strongly, I expected more from this show. That being said, I admire and like the ending the episode chose for itself. ***1/2.
 

hobbyfan

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I'm with Fone Bone on the point about Tobias killing and/or punishing his subordinates just because. Maybe there was a little something off-air between him & Syonide, and he's taking her death pretty hard, more so than you'd think.

People were talking before this series started about whether or not Static would be in the mix. Obviously, for a number of reasons, chief among them Milestone no longer being affiliated with DC, he's not, but the Green Light Babies are this show's equivalent to the Bang Babies in Static's books and cartoon. This was never more evident than here.

Prediction: Khalil will turn on Tobias----or the opposite---and this will lead him to join Team Lightning, especially after he learns Jen has powers.
 

The Penguin

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"The Book of Consequences: Chapter Three: Master Lowry"
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 @ 9 p.m. ET/8 CT on The CW
Jefferson is forced to watch as all his good work is undone before his eyes when his replacement arrives and begins implementing sweeping changes.
 

Road to Gotham

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Dr. Jace introduced and joins Lynn at the ASA helping with the green light people.

Henderson asks for Black Lightning help. He doesn't like it but its the right move.

I wonder if the development with Whale is all the ploy to get him closer to someone.
 
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Fone Bone

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Black Lightning "The Book Of Consequences: Chapter Three: Master Lowry"

Unimpressed with Lowry so far. Although considering that he was only in the episode briefly at the beginning, he seems a weird thing to name the episode after.

A bit surprised Tobias was taken in. Weird time in the season for it to happen.

Like Cress Williams, Erika Alexander is another actor from Living Single. I like her talking about the complicated history of beauty salons, and how hair straightening evolved into social justice and a fight for civil rights.

Loved Gambi saying that he would help Anissa, but that he might tell Jefferson about it after the fact. As far as I'm concerned, that's fair game.

Also liked the way Jefferson acquired Kahlil's dart.

I enjoyed Henderson affirming that he would have a conversation with Jefferson... just not today. That was a great moment. He is totally Gowron right then.

Solid episode. ***1/2.
 
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hobbyfan

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I'm digging Anissa doing her Robin Hood thing, now joined by Gambi.

Tobias getting caught was too easy. Something's up.

BL now has one of Painekiller's darts. Hmmmm.
 

The Penguin

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"The Book of Consequences: Chapter Four: Translucent Freak"
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 @ 9 p.m. ET/8 CT on The CW
Jefferson confronts Anissa about her reckless and irresponsible behavior leading to a fierce disagreement.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Black Lightning "The Book Of Consequences: Chapter Four: Translucent Freak"

I don't even know why Jefferson was mad at Gambi. Gambi did everything right with Anissa. If anything, he should be thanking him.

Lowry sucks. He needs to get gone and stay gone.

They seem to be going the Wilson Fisk route with Tobias, which strikes me as a mistake. Tobias is too stupid for the mastermind role. Fisk also was problematic in the role, simply because his temper always undid him at the wrong moment, but Tobias is all psychopathic id all the time (and never shuts it off). I do not find him becoming a public power player the least bit convincing. Maybe nobody else saw him murder Alvin Pierce. But there are plenty of people he DID murder in front of multiple witnesses.

Speaking of sociopaths, Lynn's colleague proved that all of the white people on this show save Gambi suck. She should have stayed in jail.

Eliza Maza directed the episode and is the DA! Salli Richardson is STILL a knock-out! And she's freaking 50! How cool is that?

Jefferson is dumb for not realizing she was play acting, and that he was playing it all wrong. That's why he couldn't be put on the stand.

Also, Henderson is right that he didn't quite appreciate the spot he put him in as the chief of police and as a friend. The worst thing about Jefferson wanting to testify is something Henderson didn't point out, but should have. What if somebody asks if he's Black Lightning? Jefferson would have to perjure himself. Even worse, what if at an unrelated trial, a lawyer asks Henderson if he knows who Black Lightning is? I don't think Jefferson quite gets how hard this is. There is a reason Batman keeps his ID secret from Gordon, and it's not because he doesn't trust him or thinks he'll tell the secret. It's just that Gordon would compromised, and would not be able to do his job as Commissioner properly and honestly. It's safer if he doesn't know who he is, or at least can SAY he doesn't know who he is. And that's the only reason Jefferson should have kept the mask on, despite Henderson guessing right: Plausible deniability. Henderson knowing the truth and having to sit on it means he doesn't enjoy that anymore. Now he's on the hook for anything Black Lightning and Thunder do. And considering Thunder is busy robbing drug dealers, he's even more compromised than Jefferson thought he would be when he admitted the truth. It's quite a bind that I don't think Jefferson fully appreciates.

Frankly, I think Henderson was a bit stupid for actually demanding the truth a couple of weeks ago. Guessing it, and then him being all, "It's safer for my job if you neither confirm or deny my totally 99% certainly true theory," instead would have made them both been better off. Henderson owns part of this mess too simply for wanting Black Lightning to remove the goggles. He put the betrayal of a friendship ahead of his legal culpability. And he is the only one of the two in deep enough to really regret doing it.

It was a solid week. ***1/2.
 

hobbyfan

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No, Fone, it's not a mistake with Tobias. In the books, he was designed specifically to be DC's Kingpin, IIRC. As the character of Wilson Fisk has evolved in the books, and in television characterization, so has Tobias.
 

Fone Bone

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I am aware of his role in the comics. But this version of Tobias is too stupid and shortsighted to pull the mastermind role off. If they hadn't shown him being so bad at his job week in and week out I'd think differently. But he is ineffective with his men and inspires no confidence. Wrong man to be pulling the strings. I don't buy the idea of Penguin on Gotham as a master chess player for the same reasons.
 

The Penguin

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"The Book of Blood: Chapter One: Requiem"
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 @ 9 p.m. ET/8 CT on The CW
Jefferson and Anissa work together investigating the hometown of a creepy man at the clinic and make a shocking discovery.
 
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Fone Bone

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Black Lightning “The Book Of Blood: Chapter One: Requiem”

The longer that went on, the less and less I liked it. By the end I was willing to declare it a dud. And yeah, probably the series too. I am about at the point of writing it off with Arrow and Supergirl. Now Black Lightning is not technically Arrowverse, but it’s both Berlanti and DC, so it suffers from the same problems.

Here is my problem. I don’t believe Gambi is dead. That is a major problem. And it might not be had they moved some things around, or not done some other things. But the way things shook out, I am going to be mad whether he turns out to be alive or not. Basically there is no good fate for Gambi, happy or sad.

I’ll try to explain why it sucks if Gambi is dead. If Gambi is dead, that was a sucky death. If this was actually James Remar’s last episode, it was practically a slap in the face to the actor himself. I do not believe shows need to live or die by the midseason, and save their big moments and shocking deaths for them and the season finales. I don’t even necessarily think a huge twist has to be the last thing in a given episode. But doing something like that in a teaser is an unacceptable storytelling move on every level you can think of. I do not actually think this badly of the show, or how it treats its actors. Which is why I am pretty darn sure Gambi IS alive, especially since we never saw a body, which is the dealbreaker in superhero comics.

But by the end of the episode, I will be equally mad if he IS alive. And it was such an unenforced error that the Arrowverse engages in all the time. But if the episode had Jefferson continue to take the tack that “Gambi got out of that unless proven otherwise” I wouldn’t have the problem I did. But Jefferson wound up grieving for him after all. Hugely and devastatingly. In front of Anissa which embarrassed him. And I wound up feeling horrible for him. For the episode to put him and the other characters, not to mention US, as audience members, through that will be beyond unfair and despicable if and when Gambi reveals himself. Shows like the Arrowverse pull that trash all the time. But they shouldn’t. It’s a b.s. move, and I am not going to cut them slack for it just because it happens a lot, and is “normal”. It’s also hacky, and something bad television engages in. And I’m going to pretend it’s simply a trope that all shows should explore at some point. It’s utter b.s.. And because they did it, half of me now hopes they DID actually just show that much disrespect for James Remar and his character, just so it will mean the show isn’t as otherwise awful as I now think it is. If Gambi’s dead, I can actually forgive that level of awful in time. If Gambi pops up all right after the show has put us through that, I will never trust the show again. And this sort of thing should be literally the least a viewer can expect from a TV series. It is deplorable that this kind of crap is actually common.

Lynn’s subplot sucked too. Her problem was believing the crazy white chick to begin with. Sociopaths gotta sociopath. She is another person to prove that Gambi is/was the only decent white person on the show.

Anissa’s plot with Grace outright infuriated me too. Grace says “Promise me you won’t hurt me again,” and Anissa has the audacity to pause over that. As if that is NOT an reasonable expectation for what Anissa is asking of her. Anissa going over there while not being able to promise that means she doesn’t care or understand about what she is actually asking Grace for. And she’s all, “Come back, Grace!” No, Anissa, Grace should NOT come back after that. You actually just need to get dressed and get up the h*ll out of there. She disgusted me in that moment.

Tobias said something that sounded true, but probably wasn’t true. He said a rich guy remembers two things in his life: The first time he tried caviar, and the first time he realized he didn’t have to worry about the price. I truthfully don’t know much about being a rich guy. But I imagine every single one of them has more universally memorable moments in their lives than that. For real. Like the first time behind the wheel of a Jaguar, or the first time a beautiful woman you sleep with isn’t out of your league. Stuff like that. Caviar does not strikes me as one of those particular mind-blowing experiences. Now, I’ve never tried it, but I have never eaten ANY food that I consider a defining experience in my life. And I say this as a fat person. That’s a weird thing to define being rich by.

Tobias saying Kahlil is the closest thing he has left to family is alarming. Because I know what he did to his family. The Biblical parable didn’t help my unease any either.

Honestly, this episode was terrible, no matter the resolution. It’s my fault for expecting more from this particular show after a solid first season. It’s Berlanti. With the exception of Legends Of Tomorrow, they ALL have solid first seasons. It’s once they’ve been on the air a year is when they stop trying. I was stupid for ever getting my hopes up. *.
 

hobbyfan

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In the books, Gambi took a fatal bullet intended for Black Lightning. That said, I was expecting a similar fate if they were writing him off. Don't know what the shooting schedules were, but James Remar did make an appearance on the series premiere of Magnum PI, and I'm not sure if that was a 1-off.

In Tobias' speech that Fone Bone referenced, it's a "successful" guy, not a rich guy, that learns two things.

In the books, Dr. Jace had a hand in the creation of the Outsiders' Geo-Force, and wasn't really a villain. Why she is here, only the writers know.

And Steve Harvey makes an appearance next week? Whaaa?
 
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