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Black Lightning: The Book of Reconstruction, Chapter Four: A Light in the Darkness

"Morning, creepy – I know you're looking out for me."

Dreams are haunting Jefferson Pierce, and the fighting he's been doing as a man is coming to hit him as a superhero – even as high powered guns threaten to fill the streets of Freeland, putting every meta at risk.

This episode at first feels like a filler episode. While there's great moments, every couple of scenes you have something that feels forced – Jefferson just happens to be in this place or that place to make the story move forward. Part of this is because of Tobias however and how he's cleverly stage-managing everything in Freeland. By the ending, however, we're left with one of the greatest cliffhangers in a DC series so far.

Gambi, Spy Extraordinaire: Working with TC Gambi manages to find a way to delay the release of the DEGs – by convincing Lauren that Monovista's design is flawed and, very specifically, 37% likely to fail. I am going to need to learn more horrible things about Lauren because right now I'm not liking Gambi very much – he's doing a great job of making himself indispensable, earning trust, and making Lauren give him cow eyes. On the other hand, Gambi does give Jefferson one of the best pieces of advice in the episode: that just because Jefferson learned something doesn't mean Lynn is done processing that thing and is ready to talk about it.

Tobias is getting his stuff together: The smarmy guy looks self-satisfied in this episode. Jefferson finds him when he heads back to the restaurant; Tobias is even sitting exactly where he sat with Lynn. Throughout the episode you see these little chess pieces that Tobias has thrown out – he's setting up a buyback event in Blackbird's zone for the homeless, he sets up Mayor Billy Black to get murdered – and throughout it all he's set the framework to blame the metas so that when Jennifer, Grace and Anissa show up to help, they immediately become the fall guy. By funding the city and demanding the DEGs are there to protect his investment, Tobias is making sure the Pierces are in constant jeopardy.

Anissa and Grace: Grace is back! They're married! But hey, Anissa can't share her apartment, even with a woman as Wylde as Grace is. On the other hand, every time these two fight, Anissa comes back like an angel with exactly the right thing to say. I'm telling you, I'm half-convinced that Grace is going to be killed in the next couple of episodes. Those DEGs make tremendous holes.

Lala Doesn't Need This Hassle: Lala's my favorite villain of the bunch for this show. On the one hand, he's got the DEGs and he's all ready to destroy Lightning. On the other hand, his relationship with Jefferson Pierce is one of the most nuanced hero-villain relationships I've seen, because both of them have a deep-down love for Freeland. Watching Lala try to get Jefferson to back out of the fight – right after calling him Apollo Pierce; a reference maybe to Apollo Creed from Rocky, the great fighter who's doomed to die – you feel there's a human in him before he gets impatient and leaves Pierce to die.

Jefferson and Lynn aren't doing much better, but they have this incredible moment in the episode when both just break down and apologize to each other for not listening and for letting their internal narratives take over their lives. It's real moments like these that make this couple believable – and Lynn confronting Jeff for pit fighting and letting go in exactly the way he's been telling his family not to was a great moment (Jeff needs to get off Lynn's back for her addiction – she's managing it; he isn't.) Regardless, I think the pit fighting scenes are over and Apollo Pierce has put up his gloves.

TC and Lightning: Is it just me or is our boy getting a major crush on Lightning? It's more than just the sodas. That final scene with TC yelling at Jennifer showed someone who really cared for our girl deep down. Poor Jennifer – she's dealing with newfound social media notoriety, and now with the knowledge that her father morphs out to a savage hulk every couple of days. Is it any surprise that she returns to her own addiction, the ionosphere? It's poor TC who has to witness what happens to her – and poor us who are going to have to wait to find out what happened to... the Incredible Disappearing Jennifer Pierce.

In Sharp Relief

There's one moment when Jefferson hits up a bar in this episode. Verbal criticism of Black Lightning leads to Detective Hassan Shakur standing up and making a speech about Black Lightning and the amazing things he does for the city of Freeland. This is in contrast to a scene where the same Detective witnesses people being willing to put aside morality to get what they want. Jefferson may have internal questions about life, the universe and everything: but it's clear that his superhero half has become a symbol to inspire everyone.


Four out of five fully functional DEGs.

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