The Pacing Speeds Up on Black Lightning
In contrast to last week’s episode of Black Lightning, focus returns this week. We get more information on the conspiracy surrounding Freeland as Black Lightning and Thunder unravel new leads. Both Peter and Lala have interesting arcs, positioning them for the homestretch of the season.
Warning: This review does not discuss major spoilers for episode 10, but openly discusses events from previous episodes. As always, it’s a good idea to catch up.
Off to Lala Land
Lala finally has more screen time this week. As I noted when he first came back, Lala is far more intriguing post-resurrection. It’s clear the writers had a plan for the character, rather than just killing him off and then arbitrarily deciding to bring him back (as is often the case with superhero properties). Before his death, Lala was an irritating bully. It was honestly a relief to be rid of him. Post-resurrection, he’s intimidating, authoritative, motivated, and insane. William Catlett is superb to watch in the role as the character gains more depth.
But with the focus on one villain comes the absence of another. The show isn’t doing much with Tobias or his plot to turn public opinion against Black Lightning. Part of this is due to there being a lot of story to go over. Still, it feels like the writers have dropped the ball. Black Lighting’s status as an outlaw is referenced here and there, but it doesn’t feel very weighty. The impact on our hero is negligible. Moreover, this is the third episode in a row in which Tobias doesn’t make an appearance. Even as a deeper conspiracy unravels, nothing has happened to unseat Tobias as the primary antagonist. To let this much time pass without so much as seeing him seems like a mistake. Furthermore, no matter how interesting Lala has become, I don’t want this to be a bait-and-switch with the two villains.
Moving to the Endgame
This episode gives us some great superhero action early on, which hasn’t often been the case so far. This could signal that things will move very quickly now that we’re in the homestretch of the season. Without getting into spoilers, there continue to be more climactic moments throughout the episode. Despite what I think are some missteps when handling Tobias, the writing is strong as the show is moving swiftly now.
A lot of that escalating action has to do with Peter. He’s been on the outs with Jefferson since revealing his dark past. Despite this, he’s still working to aid and protect Jefferson and the Pierce family. I won’t reveal any details, but this week he certainly goes above and beyond to keep them safe. The events of this episode seem to be moving toward a reconciliation between Peter and Jefferson. This is a result of not only Peter’s actions, but Anissa’s.
The writers seem to have found a formula that works with Jefferson and Anissa. They’re both stubborn and opinionated characters, so they naturally butt heads with each other. When they’re not having vigilante adventures together, one of them is straightening the other out. This week it was Anissa’s turn to pressure Jefferson, imploring him to forgive Peter and rebuild their relationship. Even though Jefferson wasn’t ready to hear this, treating Anissa as equal to her father reminds the viewer that moral authority in Black Lightning doesn’t belong to just one character.
Only three episodes remain! Things are set to move and shake in the coming weeks. This episode got me excited to watch the final stretch of the season, which means overall it was a successful installment.
Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 PM on the CW.