REVIEW: Black Lightning S2E03 – The Book of Consequences: Chapter 3: Master Lowry

There’s a new principal of Garfield High, and this week on Black Lightning “The Book of Consequences – Chapter 3: Master Lowry,” we get introduced to Jefferson’s (Cress Williams) replacement. In spite of having an episode named after him, though, we didn’t really get to see much of Principal Lowry (PJ Bryne). His relationship with Jefferson gets off to a rocky start. Jefferson, unnerved by the newly installed metal detectors, goes to passive-aggressively confront Lowry and receives thinly veiled passive aggressiveness in return. If their first meeting is any indication, Jefferson and Lowry are destined to butt heads more than once over the direction of leadership at Garfield High. Elsewhere, Anissa’s (Nafessa Williams) Robin Hood alter ego and Gambi (James Remar) team up to save a community clinic from being bought out by a shady real estate company, and Jennifer (China A McClain) is surprised by telepathic psychiatrist Perenna (Erika Alexander). Meanwhile, Lynn (Christine Adams), Khalil (Jordan Calloway), and Henderson (Damon Gumpton) all struggle to adjust to a change in their professional and personal relationships.

Anissa dons the black mask again to save a clinic from being shut down.

Following their fallout from last week, it should be noted that Jefferson and Anissa spend zero time together in this week’s episode, each opting to pursue solo agendas rather than team up as Black Lightning and Thunder. Jefferson was able to leverage his superhero persona to help calm an unstable girl exhibiting meta-like super strength due to a Green Light overdose. This was a minor scene in the overall scheme of the episode; however, no less important, seeing as how reaching troubled youth is what Jefferson does best. It’s a skill set I predict Jefferson will have to rely more heavily on as the season progresses. When he’s not saving young lives, he and Gambi continue in their quest to find a legal way to connect Tobias to any crime that they can take to the police to get him off the streets. Anissa, meanwhile, returns to her lucrative scheme of robbing from the corrupt rich and giving to the poor, this time to protect a clinic in danger of being shut down. She also enlists Gambi’s help to uncover a shady real estate developer’s money laundering scheme and rob them to save the clinic they were planning to buy out. Their plan works; however, Gambi’s warning that Anissa was playing with fire sounds like some serious foreshadowing….

Perenna shares some knowledge of Black hair culture with Jennifer.

Whereas Jefferson and Anissa are creating emotional distance between themselves, Jennifer just wants to put some physical distance between herself and the Pierce family home. She’s been on lockdown ever since her powers emerged, not even allowed to go to school. What little freedom she did get this week was abruptly interrupted by Perenna, who surprises Jenn without warning in the park and pulls her into a psychic realm. I’m not sure why three adults thought it was a great idea to surprise a confused and dangerously powerful child on the street (“Stranger Danger” anyone?), but as expected, Jennifer didn’t appreciate her parents making decisions about her body and health without her consent. I like that Jefferson takes responsibility for the stunt and apologizes. Hearing from her dad that “this is not the life I wanted for you” made Jennifer feel as though someone was finally listening to her. Therefore, Perenna’s next (and this time consensual) meeting with Jennifer made some progress. The visuals of Perenna’s psychic “safe spaces” are beautiful, and a clever way allow Jennifer to explore her powers safely. I look forward to getting more scenes between them.

Khalil re-thinking his life choices….

Khalil could certainly use a “safe space” of his own. He continues to exhibit growing pains in his new role as Tobias’s (Marvin “Krondon” III) “right hand man.” I must admit, considering how poorly he treated Jennifer and his classmates last season, I’m hard pressed to feel sympathetic due to the decision he made to get in bed with Tobias. However, I’m sure the writers are banking on the audience’s collective S1 amnesia, along with Tobias’ increased abusive treatment toward him, to convince us that Khalil is not yet too far gone. After all, he is still an impressionable minor. Perhaps the right positive reinforcement can change his path. Black Lightning could be that positive influence, and indeed Jefferson tried this episode to convince Khalil to try another path. However, perhaps because his motivations were motivated more towards finding Tobias rather than actually helping Khalil, his pep talk didn’t really hit home this time. Khalil might not have snitched on his boss to Black Lightning, but somebody sure did. Henderson and his men apprehended Tobias during his funeral for Syonide. Tobias barely trusts Khalil as it is. If he’s able to somehow escape police custody, Pain Killer is surely the first on his list to go after.

Finally, this episode had both Henderson and Lynn begrudgingly pair up with people they don’t want to work with to get the results they do want. There is a lot of damaged trust between Henderson and Jefferson. However, the detective realizes there are some instances in which Black Lightning would be more “persuasive” in finding information. Although it’s strained for now, I’m glad Henderson being in on the secret didn’t erase this dynamic completely. Lynn also wants to keep a strictly “professional” relationship with Dr. Jace (Jennifer Riker), who looks like she’s newly released from Arkham Asylum. This might be one of the weirder plot points of the episode. It’s unclear for now what Dr. Jace brings to the table besides dangerous unpredictability. Even more unclear is Agent Odell’s (Bill Duke) motives as Lynn’s antagonist. What is his endgame for the pod kids? Lynn has proven that she’s not above making deals if it’s in the best interest of pod kids. It will be interesting to see if she will able to handle these challenges, or if she’s getting in a little over her head.

Miscellaneous:

  • The whiplash rollercoaster that is Thundergrace seems to be back on track this week. Anissa apologized to Grace for ghosting her, and Grace seems open to “trying” again. Hopefully, this time there are no more detours, and this ship will finally set sail.
  • Our weekly dose of Black culture took us to the Beauty shop. Perenna dropped some knowledge on Jennifer and the audience about the history of Black women’s hair. I continue to love every time the show adds these little teachable moments.