The Book of Little Black Lies was probably Black Lightning’s most eventful episode yet. This was probably the biggest testament to the outstanding casting across the board. Black Lightning has continued to not feel like a traditional CW superhero show simply because the characters act far more nuanced and not behaving stupidly for the sake of a questionable agenda.
After last week’s tease, we shifted right in to Jennifer’s struggle with having powers. Anissa tried to calm her down by revealing her powers and outing Jeff as Black Lightning. Anissa is definitely the act first, apologize later type and I was glad both Jeff and Lynn tore in to Anissa for her rash decisions. On the other hand, this saves the show from having to endure another round of secrets. With everything out in the open, the family can act as a unit and not mini factions.
This provided Jennifer a meaningful showcase directly related to the main plot. China Anne McClain was outstanding here. She really sold Jennifer’s emotions of fear, shock and disappointment that her family lied to her. I really like that Jennifer’s immediate reactions weren’t to rush in and become a hero, but to worry if powers will prevent her from normal things like going to college, getting married and having children. These are standard concerns we’ve seen for decades in the X-Men books, but the CW shows make everyone so desperate for powers it’s a conversation that rarely comes up.
Christine Adams was terrific throughout the episode, first with Lynn’s annoyance with Anissa and her firm, but comforting reaction to Jennifer’s concerns. Black Lightning is starting to pass The Flash in how it handles the family interactions in the midst of superhero drama. And the Vixen and Supergirl references were nice although now this invites the question if Black Lightning is on the same Earth as Supergirl.
The interrogation scene with Anissa and Jeff tracking down the green light warehouse was hilarious. I cracked up when Anissa said ‘Call him President Obama! It’s disrespectful to call him by his first name.’
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Jeff and Henderson get back on the same page and Henderson agrees to do some investigating on his own. I didn’t like Jeff’s one black ally who wasn’t family to be against him. I figured Henderson was a goner when he asked Black Lightning to tell his family he wasn’t a crooked cop. Even more so when he took a million pictures on the rooftop after spotting his partner/supervisor fellow cop on the take. Why do people not just get that one money shot and roll out? It’s like they’re begging to get caught.
Gambi continues to be a really fascinating supporting character. Whatever sins he committed in the past he’s trying to atone for them by helping Jeff and family by any means necessary. That includes finding out who framed Jeff for Lady Eve’s death and making a suit for Anissa.
I really wish CW hadn’t spoiled this with all the early promotional material revealing it before we even saw her get powers. It really diminished her big moment. Gambi seems to like one style of costume and stuck with essentially making Thunder’s outfit a yellow version of Black Lightning.
It seemed a little weird that Proctor just managed to get away when Black Lightning and Thunder appeared to have the place surrounded. But it wouldn’t have made much sense for the big bad to get caught that easily.
File Closed: The Book of Little Black Lies was a very strong episode and as this season nears its home stretch it’s nice to see the stakes raise and Team BL start taking the fight to the main villains.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW