There were a lot of things to like in this week’s episode of Black Lightning, but it had a few drawbacks as well. I have the strong suspicion that budget issues were at the core of what problems there were.
For the first ¾ of the episode we are told that Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is training his crew for their assault on Markovia, but in reality we spend a lot of time watching Anissa (Nafessa Williams), Jennifer (China Anne McClain), Grace (Chantal Thuy), Brandon (Jahking Guillory), TC (Christopher A’Mmanuel), Gambi (James Remar), and Gardner Grayle (Boone Platt) talking with each other, working out their interpersonal relationships. And of course doing their best to convince Khalil (Jordan Callowy) to join them on their mission.
These scenes are all, in and of themselves, good scenes. The writing and characterization is strong, and the cast acquit themselves very well. But it’s a lot of talk, and an absence of actual training.
Once the assault takes place we get the action we had been denied earlier, though I still felt that Brandon’s Geo-Force powers were not shown as well as they might have been. As I said earlier, I suspect budget issues.
Lynn (Christine Adams) doesn’t just sit around waiting to be rescued. She has plans of her own, and a new meta as her antagonist, Gravedigger (Wayne Brady). The character has little connection to the World War 2 hero of the same name who appeared in Men of War back in the 70s and 80s, though I was impressed that they gave him an identical facial scar. He is endowed with the ability to have people obey his vocal commands, which Lynn and Helga Jace (Jennifer Riker) have to figure a way around.
The episode has just the right touches of humour, and with a little more cash pumped into it would have been a perfect outing.