Well, *deep breath* "The Book of Consequences: Chapter One: The Rise of the Green Light Babies" (with two, count'em two colons!) was a downer. Granted, it's the second season as opposed to, say, the cheerier more upbeat The Flash. And Flash is a different type of show, drama/comedy-wise. But still, nobody really "wins" in this episode, either as a result of what happened at the end of last season or what happens tonight.
There's also not a whole lot of action, if that's what you're tuning in for.
The city of Freeland has learned the ASA and thus the government were using them for Green Light experiments, and aren't happy about it. The police are rounding up black youths and we get to watch them choke one boy, Issa Williams (Myles Truitt), to apparent death. Reverend Holt (Clifton Powell) is preaching against it. The government won't turn the Green Light babies (i.e., test subjects) over to their parents, and Holt is trying to put together $500,000 to sue the government.
Kara (Skye P. Marshall), the ASA spotter and Garfield's vice principal, is on the run. She gets into a fight with Syonide (Charlbie Dean) and eventually stabs her in the neck with a stiletto high heel. That seems to be the end of Syonide, but since we never found out what her powers were and she's a Green Light baby, and we see one other Green Light baby resurrect from the dead later, Syondie could return.
The school board points out to Jeff he was (supposedly) on vacation when Tobias, Syonide and Khalil attacked the school. They kind of/sort of threaten Jeff, and he kind of/sort of makes pacifying noises.
Jeff and Lynn argue about how to treat Jennifer. Lynn also gets questioned about what went down with Proctor by ASA Agent Odell (Bill Duke). She gives him some cover story about how she found the pods, Odell makes it clear she doesn't believe him.
Jeff's buddy Napier Frank (Robert Townsend) tells Jeff he might have to take a bullet for the good of the school.
Kaya goes to Peter (James Remar) and asks for his help getting away from the ASA in return for Proctor's briefcase.
Jeff's other daughter Anissa (Nafessa Williams) hears Holt needs the $500,000 and goes vigilanting in a black hoodie and mask, taking the money from drug dealers. That gives us the big and well-filmed action sequence of the night, as Anissa takes out about a dozen drug dealers with a combination of martial arts, bulletproof skin, and her "punch the nearest surface" shockwave power.
Black Lightning meets with Inspector Bill (Damon Gupton). Bill has worked out Jeff is Black Lightning and Anissa is Thunder. Jeff unmasks and Bill is none-too-happy his long-time friend has been keeping secrets from him.
Issa comes back to life because dying and coming back to life is his power? It's not clear at this point. when Issa's mother rejects him, and the ASA want to take him into custody, he runs off.
Khalil (Jordan Calloway, now credited as a series star) leaves a message to talk to Anissa. She isn't having it, but then she starts glowing and previously she was levitating in her sleep. When she hides in the bathtub, Jeff manages to get past her energy field and holds her until it fades away.
Kara goes after Tobias (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) to get the briefcase. He's none too happy Kara killed Syondie, and shoots her with... a harpoon, I think. Kara pulls free and runs at him, but then goes past him and leaps out the window. So she'll presumably be back.
Linn has an off-screen meeting with Peter and has him pull some strings to get her assigned to check out the Green Light babies in the pods. Odell warns that he's waiting for her to screw up and reveal what's really going on.
Napier tells Jeff the board is going to close the school. Jeff offers to resign if they'll keep it open.
At the end Issa is hiding out in a basement. Anissa is levitating in her sleep. Christine is working with the Green Light babies.
Needless to say, there was a lot going on in the episode. None of it good for our heroes. Jeff is apparently going to lose his job, Lynn is being watched by a suspicious ASA, Anissa has her powers running out of control, Bill is ticked at Jeff for not letting him in on his secret. Peter doesn't have much to do. All Bill does tonight is play the irate "Why didn't you tell me?" cop.
Proctor and his goons from last season seems to be dismissed as a "rogue ASA operation". I don’t seem to be following the politics of the show: would the public really buy the "rogue operative" excuse and let the ASA not only interrogate a leading doctor, but show up at a funeral home to collect a body as they do when they get Issa's body? And Tobias was working with Proctor, as I recall. So what's his status with them now that Proctor is bye- bye?
Overall, "Rise" gave us more of what we expect from Black Lightning. There's drug lords, and shady government types, and a little bit of superhero vigilanting. And lots of family drama. Jeff spends more time arguing with Lynn and Anissa than he does in the Black Lightning costume, much less fighting crime.
Tobias remains an interesting presence on the show, so it's a shame we don't see more of him. Heck, even Syonide was impressive in a creepy kind of way, so it's a shame if she's gone for good. Khalil, who we only hear and don't see tonight, doesn't cut it.
So "Rise" did what season premieres for returning shows are supposed to do. It explained what has been happening since last season's finale, it reintroduced everyone significant, gave us a couple of new players--Odell and Napier--and set up what will presumably be at least some major conflicts for the season. Jeff's job is at risk, Jeff's reunion with Lynn is at risk, Jeff's friendship with Bill is at risk, Tobias is still lurking out there in the dark, Anissa is continuing her vigilante career, Jennifer is having trouble with her powers and wants to just have a normal life. Lynn is kind of going to work for the ASA but Odell doesn't trust her, so conflict ahoy there.
"Rise" gave us plenty of what made Black Lightning distinct in season 1. Lots of family drama (some of which The Flash is emulating by bringing in Barry and Iris' daughter), lots of thinly-disguised social commentary. Unless they badly misstep, I can't see them doing any worse--or any better--than last year.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Written by Gislef on Oct 10, 2018