Black Lightning: The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Three: Despite All My Rage

Guess who’s coming to dinner.

The fourth, final, and darkest season of Black Lightning continues with nothing looking good for the heroes, and things lining up well for the villains. There are a lot of complications, a few good surprises almost in spite of the circumstances, and some ugly twists. Freeland is starting to sound almost as bad as Gotham is traditionally shown to be. The Book of Reconstruction continues with Chapter Three: Despite All My Rage.

Jefferson opens the show with a nasty confrontation in his home that turns out to be a dream, which he is later relating to the Therapist With No Name. They talk about what his dreams might mean, and Jefferson sounds like he’s in an even worse place than it has seemed so far. I don’t agree at all with his decision to give up being Black Lightning, but it’s making a tiny bit more sense. Elsewhere in Freeland, we see Lala’s newest endeavor, and what Marcel, one of Jefferson’s teachers, is doing to make ends meet. It’s not pretty. After that, Lala deals with an issue left over from last episode. He uses his usual rational management techniques, and we see a side effect we haven’t in a while.

At the Pierce home, Lynn is taking a bath, mixing work and pleasure, and Jefferson is displeased. His initial concern is valid, but both of them fall into their recent habit of ripping into each other. They both score points off each other, which pretty much means they both lose. The news airs a report about Lightning’s recent fight, and they’re giving it a very anti-meta, anti-hero, anti-Lightning slant. None of the Pierce women are happy to see this, but the daughters end up bickering yet again. Anissa leaves, Jennifer gets lectured by Lynn, and there’s a minor continuity glitch when Jennifer shows off with her powers. Gambi gets a tour of his prospective new workplace, and we see some more detail on the Direct Energy Guns. Personally, I think this was a missed opportunity. Very powerful weapons are a big part of the back story of Steel, who is both another inventor and another Black hero. I would have loved to see him, or even just his civilian identity of John Henry Irons, show up. Or at least get mentioned.

In a rare appearance of Jefferson’s actual job, we see him talk with Marcel. Jefferson is worried about the man, and Marcel’s story doesn’t really hold together. Anissa spends more time at Grace’s bedside, taking care of her wounded love, and finally gets some good news. Back at the school, Jennifer meets up with TC, who we haven’t seen since last season. She convinces him to help her do some damage control with regard to her unflattering news coverage. Lynn takes her turn at therapy, where we learn more about her background and she makes a painful breakthrough. We also hear the cover story the Pierces are giving Therapist Woman, which I was wondering about.

Still refusing to either suit up or mind his own business, Jefferson follows Marcel to his new job. Devonte, Lala’s right hand thug, apparently has history with Jefferson, which the principal uses to get past the front door. Devonte actually tries to look out for Pierce, which I thought was a nice touch. Jefferson is shocked by what he finds, and, as things go on, makes a bad decision. Up to his usual no good, Tobias has a meeting with the mayor, and continues his attempts to completely screw with every aspect of Jefferson’s life. The mayor stands up to him, and lives, which is rare. Lighting soars over the city, still very much enjoying her powers, and then finds someone she’s looking for to make a deal.

In the new Grotto or whatever it is, Gambi continues his examination of the DEG’s. He gets a hand from TC, and they make a few disturbing discoveries about the new weapons. They run a test and things get worse. Jefferson gives in to some darker urges and barely manages to keep himself under control on a few levels. Afterwards, Jefferson does his best to make things better for Marcel, and they go back and forth arguing about being nice.

Back home, Lynn gets a surprise present and she and Anissa leap to a series of conclusions. Gambi’s work gets interrupted when Jefferson drops by, and they have an odd conversation. Jefferson is the happiest we’ve seen him so far this season, and he leaves Gambi with a gift that Gambi isn’t happy about. Lynn goes out for what she thinks will be a great night, and gets a series of unpleasant surprises, topped off with an ugly carrot and stick combination. Jefferson finally gets home and makes his own wrong assumptions.

The show ends with a series of scenes that are all over the place. Jennifer, with TC’s reluctant help, fights back against an anti-meta newscaster. Personally, I think there’s more ego than concern for justice here, and she ignores a very valid warning. Anissa, carried away by her earlier good news, makes a choice she might want to have taken a bit more time to think over. She also involves a few other people. We’ll see where this one goes. The episode ends with a spin on the classic Romance Novel trope The Misunderstanding, as someone sees something that isn’t quite what it appears, and stalks off without bothering to find out what’s actually happening. I suspect next episode is going to get ugly.

What I liked: It was nice to see a few of the characters happy, although it clearly won’t last. I’m glad to see that Gambi is continuing to do what’s right pretty much in spite of everyone around him. It was nice to see TC again.

What I didn’t: It seemed like they were building up to something big with both the new police chief and the detective that messaged Black Lighting, and they’re both just… gone? I’m sick to death of Tobias Whale and his smug self. Jefferson and Lynn need to actually talk, not argue and yell at each other. Jennifer was way too cocky before she got her powers. Now, she’s insufferable and won’t listen to anyone.

Things are a mess in Freeland, and I hope they find a way to fix it all. This would be a bad series of notes to end a series on. I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5.