What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Black Lightning “The Book of War: Chapter Two: Freedom Ain’t Free”! Freedom ain’t free, if those aren’t ominous words to take in? Then I don’t know what is. War is right around the corner for Freedland, and it mattered a lot that up to this point everyone has been hit with this realization that what’s coming for this city is bigger than anything they have ever dealt with. An excellent mindset to be thrown into when also hit with the realization that this is the second to last episode of the season.
There was a solid transition between the previous episode and this one. First they adjusted to life for these characters where they are all coming down from an experience none of them have ever had invading foreign land. Some got what they wanted, others did not. That was a good week to set each of them on a new course, or change things up moving forward. When this week’s episode rolled around, they then did even better allowing these characters to both prepare for what’s to come, while at the same time enjoy what time is allowed to be normal before crap hits the fan. Some might not enjoy episodes like this because they want to jump in with the same momentum or see it pick up. However, these are the moments to appreciate for your characters, especially when based in a comic book world, when they have the opportunity to remind you of the importance of the person behind the mask.
In the case of Anissa and Grace, they made this statement loud and clear. Tomorrow is never promised for people like them. Not for someone who has experienced so much hardship in their past, or for someone who consistently runs into the fire for the greater good. Nothing is certain either when getting in the right frame of mind to be on the frontlines for a war. It was beautiful that they could give these two a period of clarity for the things they want, and let them go for it with little regret. Of course you could say being this ambitious for happiness could lead to predictable outcomes, but you can never say for sure till the war kicks off.
The Pierce family did try to make the best of their time together, and what we got out of that leaves you with many reactions. On one hand you have the big decision made by Anissa, but then you also had the reveal which Lynn hit Jefferson out of left field. Not a bad one, but certainly changes things since in more ways than one Gravedigger is going to be different from most enemies this family has taken on. No time was wasted to once more make sure we are all understanding what family means to them. They have arguments, they have disagreements, but family is family for some.
As I said last week, the best thing to come from this last stretch of the season has been the shifted focus towards the Markovians. Who would have guessed the big bad could turn out to be someone more terrifying than both Tobias and Odell combined? Not this guy! For most of this season you would have thought the Markovians to be an afterthought for how much of the conflict they spent barely being acknowledged. Though when they got their time in the spotlight? They stole it! None more than Gravedigger himself too. I was over the moon when they dropped the bomb on our laps that he was the first official/unofficial meta. Then this episode spent an ample amount of time explaining what drives Gravedigger currently to go the lengths he has to liberate the metas of Freeland. What I admired most about the way this guy was written was the cold confidence he carried in his actions. Unlike Tobias, Gravedigger was serious about what he wanted. Unlike Odell, Gravedigger didn’t care to wear a face. He had the power to be upfront, and the kill-count to be bold enough to get things done himself. That is a combination to fear.
THE BEST takeaway from this episode was getting a taste of what meta vs meta battle looks like. If there was only one thing we were denied of this season, it was getting too few encounters where two sides of a conflict are superpowered. Not that this is something required, but it also makes the stakes very real for heroes who are pretty capable on their own, let alone working together as a team.
Now when it came to characters like Lady Eve and Khalil, even Grace, the time was spent well leading them towards progression, even if there isn’t too much that you can really do with characters like them so late in the game. When it came to Khalil, there was only two things that could happen with him at a time like this. He was either going to disappear to figure himself out, or he was going to lose himself and become one more obstacle to deal with at the worst possible time. What they went with wasn’t too much of a shocker, but I do hope they find the right point to bring him back in to the story where he isn’t just a plot device used for the sake of convenience. As for Lady Eve, it hurt giving her the time to genuinely get down to what she wants. There’s no way a character like her is going to be satisfied with what she now has. The next step she took was bold for all the things that could go right or wrong if she didn’t play her cards correctly. That aside, it was also welcomed when the decision was decided to show us something new with Grace. There was no better time than now to establish that there is more to what she can do than what we are seeing on the surface.
You couldn’t have asked for a better episode to set things up for the season finale next week. Black Lightning “The Book of War: Chapter Two: Freedom Ain’t Free” was an endearing hour of everyone taking in the reality that a war is about to begin, and anything can happen once feet hit the ground.