What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Black Lightning “The Book of Markovia: Chapter Four: Grab the Strap”! Next stop, Markovia! Who would have thought that team Black Lightning would have come to a point where its the enemy of my enemy? I mean, working with the ASA after everything they have put the city of Freeland through? That’s crazy, though not as much as the idea that this is all leading to an infiltration on foreign soil.
The opening scene was probably the most compelling note that an episode has started on. Normally, we just jump right into the thick of whatever was unfolding from the week before. Yet this week they decided to shake things up and take a step back with Jefferson. You know, to give him that room to really put things into perspective for the guy who up to this point has struggled with getting a break from the weight of the world. In most cases when you say this, it means that the person is ignoring those troubles, but here was Jefferson finding acknowledgement in it all. His origin, his hardships, and overall a journey through what’s going on upstairs with the mission they are about to tackle.
That said, a good portion of this episode went towards building up to the mission commencement. All good stuff because everyone had a reason for tagging along. To be by someone they didn’t want to see fight alone, to save family, to retrieve and asset, to seek revenge on a murderer. All of these things gave this team the motivation needed to jump into this mission with a sense of urgency. Now this isn’t to say that there wasn’t any challenge to putting all of these different people in the same place. Here and there of course there would be tension just because of matters involving trust. Whether or not that would play into the success or failure of the mission was up in the air, though welcomed since this kept us at the edge of our seats for anything that could have happened once they touched the ground.
Now surprisingly this episode more than made up for everything that has been lacking about the Markovians. My only criticism about this story arc was the fact that there was barely anything for us to know about the Markovians. They played too much into the idea that we may have known some things based on other iterations in live-action and animation, but those are different things. We needed to see what we saw from them this week, more consistently. As in seeing how similar they were to the ASA in terms of deceitfulness, inhumane practices, and corruption.
Last week and this week we got a satisfactory amount of screentime from the Markovians to get a good idea as to what makes them just as dangerous as the ASA. Seeing this from the perspective of Lynn and Jace made a big difference since there was no moment sparred in making examples of both to each other that they were not going to get special treatment for their worth as scientists. This was actually one of Lynn’s best episodes for the fact that quickly she was getting back to the character we once admired. I get that some people wanted this to be it for Lynn so that Jefferson could move on to someone better, but that does nothing for Lynn finding some way to rebound from where her addiction led her. It was thrilling to see her get that big brain of her turning again to prove why she is not someone to underestimate. Not when making a cure also led to the ability to give herself powers temporarily. The power she chose this time around was both bold and clever.
The mission itself was a bigger thrill because nothing tops seeing everyone fighting on the same side and doing what they do best. It was awesome seeing Black Lightning engaging in some commendable fight choreography instead of giving it all to Thunder. It was just as awesome seeing Thunder get the opportunity to finding a power dynamic with someone who is able to fight at her speed. It made the biggest difference seeing two of the most dangerous between the heroes and our surprise villain appearance square up and show everyone what a real fight looks like from two people who have the experience and then some. That trouble Lynn finds herself in when confronted by said metahuman on the Markovian side? Credit where it is due for whoever decided on this one to play the big bad.
Overall, Black Lightning “The Book of Markovia: Chapter Four: Grab the Strap” takes the spot as what is probably the best episode of the season so far. Others stick with you because the action was memorable, or the character moments were captivating, but this week stood out for being the full package.