REVIEW: Black Lightning S2E06 – “The Book of Blood: Chapter 2: Perdi”

Things get weird this week in Freeland as Anissa (Nafessa Williams) finds herself in the middle of a Romeo and Juliet style war between the Sanje and the Perdi. At the center of the conflict in Black Lightning episode 6, “The Book of Blood: Chapter 2: The Perdi,” is the forbidden love between young Black mother Anaya (Birgundi Baker) and her white boyfriend, Deacon (Rob Morean), who died at the end of last week’s episode. In this segregated part of Freeland, white people, called Sange, have a material called silver element which, along with giving them super abilities, binds them to a meta named Looker (Sofia Vassilieva). While the Black people, called Perdi, fend for themselves in the woods. Anaya’s children, both born with the Silver Element, have attracted the attention of Looker who wants to hunt them down. It’s up to Anissa to navigate the racial tension and protect Anaya and her children. Meanwhile, back in North(?) Freeland, Lynn (Christine Adams) is having a rough time dealing with the fallout of the death of half the Green Light kids. Gambi (James Remar) is alive!! Tobias’ (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) story line spins its wheels, and Khalil (Jordan Calloway) makes a devastating realization.

Looking like a True Blood failed character concept straight out of the Antebellum South, Looker is an original vaccine meta like Jefferson (Cress Williams). And, while South Freeland has been heavily segregated since the abolition of slavery, Looker’s arrival there 30 years ago certainly hasn’t helped alleviate racial tension. Anissa gets dropped smack dab in the middle of this conflict when she goes looking for Anaya. This week, she doesn’t run into any creepy, racist cops, but she does come face to face with some heavily armed Perdi who take her to Anaya’s parents. Initially, I thought it was only Looker and the Sange that would be against Deacon and Anaya’s union, but Anaya’s father’s angry confusion at the mention of Deacon, along with her mom and ex-boyfriend’s displeased expressions, tell a different story.

Anaya’s distress pushes her into labor, and Anissa immediately goes into delivery mode. The first baby is Black, and the new grandmother is happy and relieved. However, Anaya unexpectedly gives birth to a second, unmistakably white, baby, and now it’s even more clear that there is a problem. Anissa implores to put Anaya and their grandchildren first, and, after some persuading, the Perdi rally together around a plan to get the children and their mother out of South Freeland. With the Sange hot on their trail, a fight breaks out, but, thanks to Anissa’s smart thinking, a tracking device leads Jefferson and a very much alive Gambi to her trail. Anaya and one of the twins make it out alive, but the other, dark skin twin, is captured by Looker and the Sange. Looker, although obviously disgusted a Black baby shares her powers, wants to use the baby to find its twin. Why we’ve decided to take this Silver Element detour from the main season plot I do not know (doesn’t Jefferson have a school to fight for? A Whale to catch?), but at least knowing more OG vaccine metas exist could open the door to some more interesting plot lines later on.

Perhaps some of the creative investment spent in world building for Looker could have been spent getting Tobias some new material. He’s been recycling the same “abuse Khalil” story line for at least three episodes. This week, Tobias’ not-so-anonymous donation to re-locate the clinic hits a roadblock when Reverend Holt (Clifton Powell) refuses to accept it. Not only that, the Reverend knows that Tobias was behind the assassination attempt on his life. So, regarding the move of the clinic, Tobias, in the Reverend’s own words, could “kiss his holy ass.” Tobias orders Khalil to kill the Reverend in retaliation, but, in his anger, lets slip that he’s the reason Khalil was paralyzed. Khalil is rocked by this revelation, and begins to re-evaluate all the decisions that have lead him to where he is now. Tobias is the reason he became Pain Killer, yet fear of Tobias’ retribution is also the reason he cannot leave.

Left with few options, Khalil tries to scare Reverend Holt out of town. However, faced with threat of “leave Freeland or else,” the Reverend assures Khalil that he “ain’t gotta do nothing but stay Black and die.” I must admit, I admire Reverend Holt’s resilience. His insistence that it’s not too late for Khalil to turn his life around sticks with Khalil when he goes to report his failure to Tobias. Tobias, none too pleased, muses on his favorite pastime, “ways to torture Khalil,” by drawing from the concept of “Unit Cohesion.” All this brewing tension reaches its climax in an all-out brawl between Tobias and Khalil. While it seems evenly matched at first, Tobias eventually beats Khalil into submission. Not sure how much more I can take of this abuse story line. I hope Khalil now being able to confide in Jennifer will help him break free of Tobias’ choke hold soon.

Finally, Lynn’s internal guilt at being duped by Dr. Jace (Jennifer Riker) is compounded externally by the angry parents she is unable to give answers. Her public statement to the families of the Green Light victims goes off the rails, when she declines to give out information on the names of the victims that were lost. Her shame and guilt follow her home, when one of the parents from the conference rears ends her with the intent to force her to answer his question about the well being of his daughter. She’s unable to find comfort through Jefferson nor at the bottom of a glass of liquor. I really felt for Lynn this episode. She’s so full of love and protection for these kids. Jennifer’s (China A McClaine) blunt-yet-accurate tough love opinion that, although the deaths weren’t her fault, they were her responsibility, does little to pull Lynn out of her spiral. Regardless, there are 14 kids left that need her protection. Lynn may have gotten rid of Jace, but Agent Odell is still very much a threat and Lynn needs to be on her A game.

Misc:

-Gambi tortures his hit man for information on the person that tried to kill him. It’s such a relief that Gambi didn’t die, but I feel like if he had all this energy to send a drone to help Anissa and Jefferson remotely, why couldn’t he have also let them know he is alive?

– Speaking of Gambi being alive, how/why didn’t Jefferson nor Anissa not notice a drone helping them in the woods?

-Anaya’s father being deaf was a pleasant surprise. Hearing impaired characters are rarely seen on tv.