Black Lightning 4×09 Review: “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Four”
The Pierce family finds itself in dire straits as Tobias continues to expand his plan in “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Four.”
After the events in “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Three,” Tobias (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) is hellbent on his mission to ruin the lives of Jefferson and his family in “The Book of Ruin: Chapter Four.” The episode raises the stakes in their series-long battle and provides a cliffhanger that puts every member of the family in jeopardy.
The episode opens with Lynn (Christine Adams) in therapy recalling her nightmare of trapping her family in her lab and watching as their powers are extracted. While the therapist is able to help her see that trying to fix her family will hurt them, it’s astonishing that Lynn still dislikes her family’s metahuman abilities after all of this time and especially with her own experiments with metahuman abilities. It seems as though Lynn is one of the characters that has grown the least throughout the series and this storyline remains a never-ending cycle with her.
Later, Lynn finds out that Tobias’ attempt to frame Jefferson (Cress Williams) for embezzlement has caused her to lose access to her lab and research. While Lynn has every right to be upset about it, it’s annoying that she seems angrier with Jefferson for not clearing his name fast enough than Tobias for causing all of this in the first place. While the fact that Lynn didn’t immediately tell Jefferson about the instability of Jennifer’s (Laura Kariuki) particles didn’t come to light in this episode, audiences will no doubt get to see more arguing between Lynn and Jefferson before the end of the series.
Lynn is arrested at the end of the episode, and it becomes clear that Tobias intends to frame her as well. While it is heartbreaking to see Lynn go through the intake process, the extended sequence of a Black female officer reveling in getting Lynn to strip and searching her feels extremely uncomfortable. While this presumably is the show’s commentary or the beginning of commentary on the American prison system, the execution doesn’t work as well as the show’s previous commentary on other issues. Though the rest of the family doesn’t yet know of Lynn’s predicament, hopefully, they will be able to successfully clear her and Jefferson’s names.
One of the episode’s happier moments comes earlier in the episode, where Gambi (James Remar) gives Anissa (Nafessa Williams) a new suit. While the characters of Black Lightning have worn many costumes over the course of the series, this new suit is upgraded with the ability to remain bulletproof without Anissa having to hold her breath for a period of time. Watching Anissa test out the suit by Gambi’s surprise bullets is cool to watch and the new features of the suit will no doubt come in handy later on.
Unfortunately, Grace (Chantal Thuy) doesn’t appear in this episode, but her presence is still felt as Anissa has a cute conversation with her on the phone at one point. Anissa’s storyline this episode revolves around her continued investigation into Monovista and their practices. She has Darius (Todd Anthony) report information to her, and she finds him presumably dead at the end of the episode. While it’s great to see Darius willing to help Anissa, it’s not clear why she sent him on this dangerous mission instead of doing it herself and taking Grace with her.
Jennifer, or JJ, continues her budding flirtation with Uriah (McKalin) as she “recruits” Lightning for a live Instagram to help raise money for the school music program. Despite Jefferson’s request, Jennifer refuses to delete Lightning’s Instagram and falls into a trap orchestrated by Chief Lopez (Melissa De Souza). While Jennifer has learned a lot about being a superhero over the past few seasons, her recklessness and youth continue to remain a problem. Though it appears that Chief Lopez is able to lure Lightning by hacking Uriah’s Instagram, it’s unclear if there’s more to Uriah and this story.
In addition, Khalil and Painkiller (Jordan Calloway) make their return to Freeland and use their previous connections to Tobias to find evidence that will clear Jefferson’s name. As in “Painkiller,” Khalil and Painkiller fight over how to properly handle the situation and the struggle remains compelling as their back and forth is amusing. Both Khalil and Painkiller are able to get some information out of Tobias’ associates that will hopefully help the Pierce family stop Tobias’ plan.
The extent of Tobias’ plan is revealed as he finally receives the energy device from Monovista that Caruso and Gambi were working on. Seeing Tobias pay his respects to his sister and his blaming of Black Lightning for her death makes Tobias’ anger at Jefferson somewhat understandable on his end, even though it’s hard to feel much sympathy for him. Using the vial of metahuman power that Lynn extracted from Val (Helen Joo Lee), Tobias emits her power neutralization ability throughout the city and Jefferson, Anissa, Jennifer, and TC (Christopher Ammanuel) are unable to use their powers.
The timing of this puts Jefferson, Anissa, and Jennifer in serious danger. Jefferson is in the middle of fighting Ishmael (Rico Ball) after contacting him with the help of Gambi, TC, and Detective Shakur (Wallace Smith). Anissa, running into the street after finding Darius’ body, is unable to stop a car that is hurtling towards her. Jennifer, having escaped Chief Lopez’ trap, begins freefalling as she is flying away. It’s terrifying to think about if any of them end up dying or getting seriously hurt. With four episodes left in the series, the show is moving quickly towards a hopefully satisfying conclusion for the Pierce family, their loved ones, and their allies.
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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