Black Lightning “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming” Review

What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Black Lightning “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming”! New story arc time again for the heroes of Freeland! Again I am thrilled to jump into this because Black Lightning is the one show that knows how to treat stories as if they are plucked from a comic book. How you build on quality is by focusing your attention where you can say there is definite beginnings and ends. This week we arrive at both the start of a new arc and set of chapters.

Seeing how this is the start of a new story arc, the pacing was set just right for everyone to begin moving into what comes next for them after the mission in Markovia. Some still had unfinished business, resolutions had to be met, transitions needed to be made into new directions. With that said, let’s start with the Pierce family. That was one of the best takeaways from this episode considering every obstacle they have had to overcome. It was about time that we saw this family in a good place again. One where they were real with each other, leaned on each other, understood that there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish working on the same side. That scene at the dinner table was so endearing because everything about the way they comforted Lynn in her time of need was genuine. Addiction is not something you deal with on your own, or beat through neglect of how serious is it. They took a relevant theme to families and nailed the message it could send.

Black Lightning — “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming” — Image Number: BLK314a_0160b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Christopher A’mmanuel as TC/Baron and Jordan Calloway as Khalil/Painkiller — Photo: Annette Brown/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

As for other characters, it was something to see them embrace what a big victory could do for them. That mission seemed to have revitalized everyone in new ways. Grace is more proactive in her activities with Anissa, TC seems to be more confident around people through more consistent exposure, even Gambi finally takes his stand to figure out a way to approach his assailant. Gambi in particular impressed me in this episode when once more we are shown why he is not the guy to underestimate. Not even being pushed into a corner the way Lady Eve did was enough to keep him from sending a message that he was the wrong guy to mess with. Speaking of Lady Eve, I gotta say that her role in this story has been much more appreciated than Lala. She has charisma, she has the experience, and she gets things done when she has the room to make a move.

Now not everyone was met with something positive. For Brandon, he was thrown all over the place when there had to be some backlash to being denied his revenge on Jace. While we knew they were not going to give this to him, there had to be something else to keep his story going. How they managed this was clever for exploring the one area of Brandon’s life that he never attempted to look into.

Black Lightning — “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming” — Image Number: BLK314b_0258b.jpg — Pictured: Wayne Brady as Gravedigger (right) — Photo: Annette Brown/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

There was one twist which was brilliantly executed, and that was the reveal in who Gravedigger is. Even with the mission in Markovia in the previous episode, there was still so much unsaid about this side of the war. Right now it wasn’t enough to know that Markovia wanted the stable metahumans in Freeland, or for their own metahumans to become stabilized. This was the time to get down to the tougher questions involving where this entanglement in metahuman activity began. That was the real treat because we were taken through a whole history behind metahuman origins that I could help but appreciate. As I’ve said before, this storyline in Black Lightning has done much more for us in that area than anything The Flash has had to offer. Oh boy, a dark matter explosion created metas everywhere. What are we going to do when everyone and their mother who got powers is trying to abuse them? That’s good and all, but only covers a small portion of what should be experienced from regular people suddenly having power. What happens when they are treated like weapons? When their lives are uprooted for being different? Struggle controlling something that is only recently a natural part of them? Those are the hard-hitting questions which this show answers and then some.

I only had one problem this week, and that happened to be where they left things with Khalil. Everything up to this point I thought was handled very well. Most of the characters were understanding of the fact that whatever is wrong with him is due to the chip in his head. Yet somehow they decided that for one key moment everyone would suddenly forget this. I was kind of disappointed, especially in Jennifer who has been doing so well lately in being able to see a bigger picture. With that said, the writing for Khalil himself was still great. Particularly when it came down to addressing how far he is willing to fight for control over his own body. Great fight choreography that will be missed from someone who is the most capable in hand-to-hand.

Black Lightning — “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming” — Image Number: BLK314a_0232b.jpg — Pictured: Jill Scott as Lady Eve — Photo: Annette Brown/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
By the end of the episode, a new war erupts at Frreeland’s frontdoor. Great execution, setting of the stakes, and even action itself for who took part in the first engagement.

Overall, Black Lightning “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming” was the start of something exciting. This episode was a breath of fresh air for the new opportunities now afforded to many of these characters who now have a little wiggle room to do more than they had the chance to do before.

Jideobi Odunze Author

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