Black Lightning 4×08 Review: “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Three”

“The Book of Ruin: Chapter Three”

Black Lightning’s story resumes in “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Three,” as Tobias continues his plans to ruin the lives of the Pierce family.

After a brief detour to Akashic Valley in “Painkiller,Black Lightning resumes telling the story of the Pierce family in “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Three.” The episode follows up on many plot points from “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Two,” as the show makes its way towards the final showdown between the Pierce family and Tobias in the battle for Freeland.

The episode opens with Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Grace (Chantal Thuy) returning to celebrate their secret wedding with the Pierce family. The party and Anissa’s heartwarming speech are great character moments. Although, it’s surprising that Jefferson (Cress Williams) and Lynn (Christine Adams) don’t seem to be upset about their daughter getting married without telling them.

The beautiful moment is cut short as the FBI arrives with a search warrant and Jefferson soon finds out that he has been accused of embezzling funds from Garfield High School. This is yet another example of Jefferson being under investigation throughout the series in regards to his role as principal due to false information, and it’s frustrating how often Jefferson has had to clear his name.

Tobias (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) gleefully watches the footage of the FBI raid on Jefferson’s home, confirming that he is behind the accusations, as he discusses the next stages of his plan with Val (Helen Joo Lee) and Red (Matt Roszak). Tobias’ increased presence in Freeland and confidence that Lynn’s predictability will help him succeed are ominous. As threatening as Tobias has been, it will be satisfying to finally see him be taken down once and for all.

Tobias later convinces Marcel (Kedrick Brown), the teacher that Jefferson assisted earlier in the season, to help him in his mayoral campaign by giving him the necessary funds for a new house. It’s strange that Marcel is so quick to agree to help Tobias, especially without consulting Jefferson after all that he did to help him.

Tobias also works to buy out Jefferson’s father’s house and the houses around it in order to to build a new hospital and win over voters. In addition, TC (Christopher Ammanuel) determines that Tobias is actually transferring money to Anissa and Jennifer (Laura Kariuki) to strengthen the embezzlement case against Jefferson. The stakes in the conflict between Tobias and the Pierce family continue to be raised and will make the final showdown between them exciting to watch.

With the amount of arguing Jefferson and Lynn have done so far this season, it’s refreshing that the two are able to work together with minimal conflict in this episode. I appreciate that Jefferson apologizes to Lynn for previously wanting her to jeopardize her sobriety. Lynn also makes a smart decision to not risk her sobriety and instead injects Gambi (James Remar) with Val’s powers. While Gambi doesn’t feel any initial effects, he and the Pierce family are eventually able to figure out that Val has the ability to neutralize other metahuman powers.

Later on, Gambi and Jefferson watch security footage of Red using his magnetic abilities as he threatens a member of Monovista, the corporation responsible for the Direct Energy Guns, and orders him to get the required supplies to Tobias as soon as possible. Though they now know the mayor’s real killer, they still need to find proof of Tobias’s involvement. This will be a difficult task, especially since Tobias knows that they will be investigating him and will most likely know how to stop their strategies.

Meanwhile, Jennifer is nervous about her first day at school in her new body. Anissa assures her that she’ll adjust to her new face soon enough. After so many argumentative family scenes earlier in the season, it’s great to see more bonding time between the two sisters.

The next morning, Jennifer goes over her cover story with Jefferson the next morning. They have decided to introduce her to the world as the Pierce’s cousin JJ, who will now be living with the Pierce family full time. While this is one way to explain the shift in appearance, the plan seems doomed to fail as there are so many ways that it can go wrong.

As Jennifer and TC (Christopher Ammanuel) arrive at school, they witness a student filming a video calling for justice in Jefferson’s alleged embezzlement. It’s disheartening to see how quickly some students have turned on Jefferson, especially when many were so willing to defend him from previous false accusations.

Another student, Uriah (McKalin) defends Jefferson. Jennifer develops a crush on him as they talk and flirt afterwards. The friendship between Jennifer and TC continues to remain strong and his teasing of her flirting with Uriah is funny.

Later, Jennifer hangs out with Grace and Grace suggests that Jennifer should be wary of Uriah. It’s fantastic to see Grace interacting more with the Pierce family outside of Anissa, though her comment creates questions as to where this story line with Uriah will lead.

In addition, Lynn discovers that Jennifer’s particles are unstable since the reconstruction process but chooses not to tell Jefferson about it. This development raises some questions about what will happen to Jennifer and her current form. I can’t help but be frustrated that Lynn’s decision to withhold Jennifer’s condition will surely lead to more fighting between her and Jefferson.

“The Book of Ruin: Chapter Three”

Elsewhere, Gambi continues his work and flirtation with Caruso (Elena Varela) at Monovista. It feels like Caruso has to know about Gambi’s plans by now. His behavior in this episode seems incredibly suspicious, and she isn’t completely naïve.

Seeing Anissa and Grace team up is always satisfying to see, and the scene where they break into Monovista is no exception. I’m worried that Ishmael saw Grace shapeshift to save Anissa, though. That storyline will continue to complicate things, as he know knows Grace’s secret.

TC also communicates with Khalil (Jordan Calloway) and Philky (Alexander Hodge) in Akashic Valley about what has been going on in Freeland. Khalil immediately knows that Tobias is behind Jefferson’s supposed embezzlement charges and offers to use his personal knowledge of Tobias’ operations to help bring him down.

After planting the proposed Painkiller spinoff last week, it will be exciting to see Khalil return to Freeland, reunite with Jennifer and the rest of the family, and assist with the final battle before the end of the series.

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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