Black Lightning makes his long-awaited return as the Pierce family comes together to save Jennifer in “The Book of Ruin: Chapter One”.
This week’s Black Lightning closed “The Book of Reconstruction” and opened a new book with “The Book of Ruin: Chapter One.” After the Pierce family discovers Jennifer’s potential fate, Jefferson (Cress Williams) is adamant that Jennifer can still be saved. He suits up and travels to the ionosphere to collect Jennifer’s particles. With the help of a device from Central City hand delivered by The Flash, Gambi (James Remar) puts the particles into a pod in order reconstruct Jennifer.
Jefferson’s long overdue return to the Black Lightning suit was a welcome sight to see. The sequence of Jefferson collecting Jennifer’s particles was well-done, particularly with the concern of his family below as his suit overheats and he temporarily loses consciousness. The mention of The Flash and the reminder that Freeland is now officially connected to the rest of the Arrowverse was great, but it was unfortunate that the audience didn’t get to actually see Barry Allen and another conversation between him and Jefferson.
As the family waits to see if the very first ever attempt at particle reconstruction works, they each deal with their grief over the potential loss of Jennifer. Jefferson and Lynn (Christine Adams) get into yet another argument, this time over who is at fault for Jennifer’s condition. Much of this argument feels like a similar retread of the arguments the two have had over the course of this season and the constant conflict between the two is tiresome.
After Chief Lopez (Melissa De Sousa) refuses to take no for an answer and appoints Detective Shakur (Wallace Smith) to her new metahuman task force, she names Lightning the primary suspect in a lightning-powered murder. These developments present a new danger for the Pierce family, especially that Black Lightning has now officially returned.
After the Pierce family watches Chief Lopez’s press conference, Jefferson admits to his family that he is the one that murdered the man. This worsens the argument between him and Lynn, who calls out his hypocrisy for using his powers without his suit. Though the two are once again able to resolve their argument by the end of episode, there will hopefully be less arguing between them in the last few episodes of the series.
Anissa (Nafessa Williams) consoles TC (Christopher Ammanuel) over his guilt and shares a drink with Lynn while ignoring the phone calls of Grace (Chantal Thuy). The scenes between Anissa and both TC and Lynn are great emotional moments, but Anissa ignoring of Grace’s calls is frustrating. As Anissa returns to their apartment, Grace confronts her about ignoring her and the two get into an argument. Grace rightfully points out that they are married now, and that Anissa should be telling her what’s going on in her life. She also points out that Anissa hasn’t told her family about their marriage.
The storyline for Anissa and Grace this season has been a mess, particularly in Anissa’s case. A conflict involving Anissa not wanting to tell Grace the truth would make sense during the beginning of the previous season but not now. Throughout the last season, Anissa and Grace had gotten to a place where they were living together and had become a team in life and in battle. Anissa had no issue telling her family about marrying Grace and had been moments away from a full wedding surrounded by friends and family in last season’s penultimate episode.
This season began with Anissa sitting by Grace’s bedside while she was in a coma for an entire year and hoping for her to wake up, getting married in the hospital once Grace finally woke up, and then having subsequent conflicts after their wedding that suggest that Anissa doesn’t want Grace living with her or involved in her life. Anissa has grown so much as a person that this inconsistent writing does a disservice to both her and her relationship with Grace. Thankfully, Anissa is soon able to admit that she was wrong and tells Grace about Jennifer. Hopefully, the writing will be better for the two going forward.
In addition to Anissa’s conversation with TC, Gambi also does a great job of consoling him in this episode. He also has a great conversation with Jefferson in which Jefferson reminisces about his memories of Jennifer. Gambi is a good father figure to the both of them and he shines in this episode in helping the Pierce family deal with Jennifer’s dire situation.
As Tobias (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) sees Black Lightning back in action and plots his next move, Black Lightning shuts down Lala’s (William Catlett) underground fighting ring and even Lala is happy to see him back in action. It’s amazing to see that Black Lightning is so revered by Freeland that even a gang leader like Lala is happy to see him back.
Destiny (Teesha Renee) later sets a trap for Lala that exposes his metahuman abilities when the newly formed metahuman task force shoots him. Upon witnessing Lala’s resurrection, Destiny declares that she needs an assassin that specializes in metahumans. This will most likely be a way to bring back an assassin we’ve previously seen on the series, and it will be interesting to see how both Black Lightning’s return and the new metahuman task force will affect the war between Lala’s 100 gang and Destiny’s Cobra Cartel going forward.
The episode ends with the Gambi, Jefferson, Lynn, TC, Anissa, and Grace waiting around the pod and hoping that the particle reconstruction was successful. To their relief, the reconstruction works, and the pod opens up. However, the family is shocked to see that Jennifer has a completely different face as she steps out of the pod.
While it has been known for a while that actress China Anne McClain was leaving the series this season, it is a shock that the role of Jennifer may have been recast completely with actress Laura Kariuki. Though this plot point was most likely born out of necessity, it will be interesting to see where this in-universe recasting goes and how it impacts the rest of the Pierce family. While China Anne McClain has done an amazing job playing Jennifer over the course of the series, it will be interesting to see what Laura Kariuki brings to the role.
Author: Jessica Wolff
Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.
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