[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Tania McKiernan
Writer: Jake Waller
Starring: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvon Jones, James Remar
Finally there is an episode that centers on the Jennifer/Khalil subplot. The star crossed lovers go on the run – after Khalil collects some money for Tobias not realizing that Tobias had put a price on his head. Thanks To Jen’s powers the two escape and lay low at Khalil’s aunt’s house. Khalil loses his temper when Jen says she is going to contact her parents to let them know she is OK. He downplays it, but it could be a dangerous precedent to their future relationship. Tobias’ mercenary shows up and the teens narrowly escape thanks to the intervention of Black Lightning, Thunder and Gambi. The lovebirds manage to stay on the run, but for how long probably will be up to Jen since Khalil would be lost without her.
I mentioned last week that the Jennifer/Khalil subplot was moving slowly. Well that was remedied this week pretty decisively. Khalil’s temper and the complexity it brings with it provide for the possibility of some story telling opportunities to make the important statements this show is so keen at making.
Tobias wanting Khalil back alive. Complicated villains are the spice of a good superhero story. Tobias doesn’t want the info that Khalil has to leak out to the public. So why not just kill him and be done with it? It’s likely that Tobias does have some feelings of this relationship with Khalil, seeing himself as a father figure for the troubled teen. This is a lot more layered than just evil for evil’s sake. And, once again this can open up story telling opportunities that can be deeper and more complex.
The teens in this show act like teens. This can be a nice dose of realism. Nobody expects superhero shows to be realistic, to be sure, but this far from the ridiculous, albeit fun, portrayals in a show like Riverdale.
Jennifer’s disappearance was enough to shake the Pierce family to the core, as well it should. But it would have been nice to have Gambi’s death death (and return) dealt with a little more gravitas.
Lynn trashing Jennifer’s room seemed a little out of character.
I hope that over the next few weeks that Khalil grows into himself a bit more. Becomes more stable and more reliable. Will that take away from the over all arc of the season? Time (and Khalil) will tell.
We finally get to see the Jennifer Khalil storyline come to a head in an episode that dives in to the complexity of family. At the core this is a series about family. Family are multifaceted and intricate. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. This episode focuses on a dark time in the family (having a daughter run away certainly isn’t easy to deal with) but the Pierce family persists. We know that it will take more than this to destroy the family and it still fun to root for them.
The episode was faced based and the writing was tight. The action was deftly directed. Another reminder of how well the CW is handling its DC properties.
We are living in very exciting times to be a pop culture fan. Never has the superhero genre been taken so seriously or beloved by so many (despite what Bill Mahr may say), and shows like Black Lightning are capitalizing on that moment to take itself seriously enough and still be fun.