Posts Tagged Jefferson Pierce
This is a bit of a weird week.
In order of pwnage, Supergirl is really tied with Black Lightning this week and The Flash is a very, very distant third. It’s a close call between the leads, but there were a few things this week that just stalled them both. I’m afraid The Flash is going to be sticking with third place for a while, specially with a story about shrinking people. Ok, let’s go.
Supergirl leads with For Good. Barely.
- Literally, the show was pursuing a few things but the one extraordinary diamond in the rough that shines true was Katie McGrath playing Lena Luthor. The character has sort of an ambiguous aspect that always seems to be one step from the dark destiny of her family. It’s seeing Lena balance her act between accepting who she is and deciding who she wants to be that made the show for me and gives it the first place this week.
- I wanted to feel for Samantha. However, I didn’t feel this character has actually had a lot of scenes with the rest of the cast for them to bond. It really feels a bit forced. Plus the fact that the show had to recall that Alex has a medical background (which I had to check, yes it was there) to have her scan Samantha at LexCorp Labs. Something just didn’t work with that scene.
- The other one is the hallmark moment of Kara, Alex and Lena supporting Samantha. I like Samantha’s character because she’s complex, but the whole “BFFs” feels a little too naive for a buildup that is definitely going to hurt. Perhaps that’s the whole message, but this is looking a little too Disney right now.
- Morgan Edge and Lillian Luthor are back. And they’re out. Their only good scenes were both of them confronting Lena Luthor. Also, one extra point for the scene in which Lena confesses to Kara that she tried to kill Edge, a moment that plays with Kara and the audience until we realize she’s talking about that time she went after him in a previous episode. That had us going for a moment.
Perhaps Black Lightning should’ve taken it this week with Lawanda: Book of Burial.
- Jefferson Pierce continues to be the most interesting character in the show. That being said, and I’m definitely nitpicking here I’m not sure how are we going to balance the realism that permeates the city of Freeland with the superhero aspect. Are we going for full dark and sinister? Are we going to be a little lighter sometimes enough to believe there’s hope? Right now, we don’t know the show so without compromise we’re not seeing neither good nor evil get the upper hand yet.
- There’s interesting dynamics never before explored here. Inspector Henderson (Damon Gupton) representing the underpaid and overworked civil servant versus Reverend Jeremiah Holt (Clifton Powell) who lives from his congregation. I do have my reservations on whether the police inspector is dirty or not though…
- The rising story is Anissa Pierce developing her powers and ending her relationship with Chenoa after flirting with newcomer Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy). Whether Anissa will become Thunder or Grace exhibit any of her comics’ counterpart meta-human abilities remains to be seen.
- We also get another plot concerning Jennifer and her blossoming romance with Khalil. The fact that she’s planning to have sex and sharing this information with her parents is something new. However, Jefferson’s interaction with Khalil was just awkward and unnecessary.
- The villains are definitely still at comic-book level. Seems even Tobias Whale (Marvin Jones the Third) must answer to a higher power. We meet Lady Eve (Jill Scott) who seems to be the only one able to challenge him. I know this is a superhero show and all, but switching from real community problems to James-Bond-esque villains chewing the scenery is a bit of a contrast.
And finally, The Flash lags behind with Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash.
- I didn’t like when Arrow threw in shrinking with The Atom and I don’t think I liked it any better in this week’s episode. The baddie of the week is capable of shrinking objects and people in a way-too-convenient fashion. Again, I know this is a superhero universe but to blatantly ignore the law of the conservation of mass is something I can’t suspend my disbelief over. For me, it’s like if Star Wars’ R2-D2 was able to fly all this time.
- Cecille can read minds now. No, I don’t buy it as a coincidence of her pregnancy. It has to be related to something else. If this is really random then… It’s really random. And lazy.
- The one entertaining bit at the end was the warden discovering Barry and hauling him off to what looks like a meta-containment facility. Seems the warden is in cahoots with Amonet Black (Katee Sackhoff) aka the least convincing villain in the show. The fact that we’ll have Sackhoff doing her cringy evil-lyn act already anticipates the show ending in third place yet again. On the other hand, that also might mean some Killer Frost time.
That will do for now.
It’s getting crowded here.
We had our hands full last week covering all three shows, but it’s hard to just stop or drop any. So what we’re trying out this week, is focusing on the things that made and broke each weekly offering for us. This means a little less conversation and a little more action. So, first thing, who wins this week? Well, in a repeat result… Black Lightning takes the cake, Supergirl comes in second and The Flash is still in a funk, beside being behind bars.
In order of win, we’ll start with Black Lightning and this week’s episode, Lawanda: Book of Hope.
Why it wins this week:
- Black Lightning breaks the mold of the superhero with a mild mannered personality and life. There’s no Clark Kent moments here. Jefferson Pierce is living in a city plagued with corruption and crime. He can’t escape, he can’t be oblivious to it, he hurts, he bleeds and it takes its toll.
- The idea of vigilantism and/or heroism is not about born from revenge, it’s a genuinely a sense of justice and the survival of Jefferson’s own kind. It’s his community that is getting killed out there.
- Lynn and Peter Gambi have a bit of showdown. Is either of them right? Is either of them wrong? There is no clear winner.
- Anissa and Chenoa’s love life is highlighted including their intimate moments. It’s an unapologetic sexual relationship. On one side, good for them. On the other side… No, actually let’s not judge.
- We get to know Lawanda, former student of Jefferson and now mother of one of the girls at the Seahorse hotel. When Lala kills her, it’s sudden, it’s brutal and you feel powerless to stop it. That was as real as it gets.
Runner up again this week, Supergirl. It’s an all-female battle with Fort Rozz.
The good, the bad, the Ursa:
- Yes, that is Sarah Douglas who played Ursa from Superman II, in the role of Priestess Jyndal Kohl Rozz.
- Returning female villains Livewire (Brit Morgan) and Psi (Yael Grobglas) are onboard for anything that will stop Reign. I guess the episode was too short to show some shades of grey.
- Imra is basically the getaway driver. We need to define her character and power set a little more. Can she fly? Is she a telepath? What’s her deal?
- Livewire dies because… Well, that’s the thing. She just dies. She hasn’t really been active in a while, so I’m not sure what her death accomplishes here. I guess the idea is to give Supergirl more gravitas… Wait, that can’t be it. It doesn’t work.
- Brainiac 5 and Wynn have a little tech-geek-out contest. I don’t know why we lost time with this, except to make some supposedly last minute save… No, it didn’t work at all.
- We first see Samantha (Odette Annable) grappling with Reign. First through Psi and later with Alex when she realizes there’s entire periods of time in which she doesn’t remember where she has been. Now, I like Samantha but she should get in trouble with Lena over her disappearance. That has to happen sometime.
- Ruby getting Alex to scare a cyberbully was saving grace for the episode. Well, almost but it was a cool moment.
And last again this week, despite being the fastest man alive, it’s The Flash. Well, actually Barry is just hanging out in the big house so it’s time for Ralph to spread his wings.
- Okey, so I’m a fan of Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (bet you didn’t notice ha ha). Only funny moment on the show was Cisco and Wells getting Cait to Frost-up in an instant by mentioning the name of her childhood bully. Of course, then I felt really bad for poor Cait being psychologically manipulated the next second.
- We’re still doing that thing where Killer Frost is supposed to be ineffective just so that Barry -ok, now it was Ralph- can come save the day. Boo. Hiss.
- On top of that, now Vibe is also completely ineffective as well. Guess it has to be Ralph who bravely… monologues? Really? He has time to do that?
- The new suit is an improvement because the previous suit looked like crap. Still, Ralph still sucks and I can’t find him funny or engaging or even mildly amusing.
- Corinne Bohrer reprises her role of Prank from the 1990’s Flash. No Mark Hamill though. And… the new Prankster really doesn’t make that much of an impact at all.
- Barry meets Goldberg aka Big Sir. It’s a comic book villain’s name but here it’s an inmate that was helped by Barry’s father Henry. So Big Sir returns the favor, but almost gets jumped on. Barry has to subtly use his powers to save him. Not a bad scene, but still… Felt like too little too late.
That will do for now.
We’re back from the break!
Starting on the right foot, Supergirl would have easily won this week with Legion of Superheroes with my favorite new cast member, Brainiac 5. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten Streaky the cat either. That doesn’t make The Flash the winner either with The Trial of the Flash, which was a bit of a downer to watch and only spared some levity for Killer Frost’s appearance. No, the winning episode this week goes to the really thunderous introduction of Black Lightning as it debuts with The Resurrection. Not because it was funny or dark but because it brought some real issues to the foreground first and a real need for a return of the superhero motif.
Let’s begin with the Girl of Steel.
Highs, Lows and Quarl Dox:
- Supergirl’s fallout from the battle with Reign is not waved away. She is deep in a coma, one where her conscience seems trapped in her personal comfort zone. That which is her loft.
- This is where newcomer Quarl Dox a.k.a Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath) really steps in as a breath of fresh air. He’s quirky, he’s funny, he’s supposed to be crazy smart yet charming as a button. He’s also playing against type as he might feel like the trope of the computer-alien but he seems to really care about healing Kara.
- Oh yeah, Mon-El is still in the show. Is he? Guess he is. He’s all Back-To-Future-Doc-Brown here talking about not getting involve to prevent altering history blah blah. Imra gets one brownie point for making him change his mind and joining the fight.
- Streaky the cat finally appears! The feline who is comic-book-canon believe it or not, is Kara’s mascot. Too bad it’s just in memory, but he would’ve been the most adorable thing in the show had we not have Brainiac 5.
- We get a scene of J’onn J’onzz playing Kara which means it’s really a scene of Melissa Benoist doing some David Harewood impersonation. You know what? Melissa sold it.
- No, I’m still not sold on Lena and Jimmy Olsen as a couple. It’s not the worst thing in the world but it feels kinda forced. Also, it means that Lena’s storyline right now is going to be Jimmy Olsen. I prefer to see her making power plays, bringing down other would-be billionaires and so forth.
- Thomas Coville is back. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Who? The preacher-like character that seems to know more about the Kryptonian culture than anybody else. Seems he will become an ally of Reign. Yes, Chad Lowe does a decent job creepin’ him up, but I fail to see him as a real threat. Definitely not compared to Reign (Odette Annable), so I don’t think he really adds that much to the equation.
Guess we don’t want to miss the trial of The Flash…
Highs, Lows and Courtroom Drama:
- Well… I’m sorry to say The Flash finishes last of the three this week. I wasn’t really amped for a courtroom drama and we all know that Barry was going to go to the slammer.
- I literally guessed it right down to the point that Barry was given his Dad’s old cell. You knew the show was going there since the midseason finale.
- Cecille Horton momentarily suspends her duties as district attorney to act as Barry’s lawyer. She does ok, but again the only possible ending here was Barry getting convicted. Anything else would just throw out the entire threat of DeVoe and his seemingly infallible master plan.
- The saving grace for me is that moment in which Cisco and Harry Wells have to help scare Caitlin Snow into bringing forth her alter ego, Killer Frost. That was a funny scene and that was the only entertainment I got from the entire episode.
- Have you notice how Killer Frost is often called up to intervene but for some silly contrivance the effects of her actions have to be minimized? In other words, she’s suddenly the obvious solution to a problem but the show will not let her win the day because it has to be The Flash who wins? I know this sounds jaded but it keeps happening almost every time she’s called to action.
- I did like the scene in which Joe West is willing to sacrifice his morals and his sense of justice for his son. He doesn’t do it, but it was a powerful scene because it illustrated in Joe West’s resolution what parents are willing to sacrifice to save their children. To see Joe like that was just heartbreaking.
- There’s a small scene in which Barry interrupts Iris and apparently pulls her into a dimensional pocket of speed just to talk to her. Yes, it was cute. Still, not enough to uplift the show.
- The rest of the show, weighted heavily due to the impending trial was a little bit of a bore. I mean, not only predictable but it just felt dull for the most part. Even the baddie of the week, nuclear meltdown and all, was a bit of drudge to sit through.
And now for the newcomer and best episode this week… Black Lightning!
Highs, Lows and Avenging Justice:
- Black Lightning did not come to play by the same rules than previous CW superhero show. Freeland is so much closer to the real world where racism, injustice, corruption, prejudice and choices are all compromises that real life African-Americans face every day.
- As a matter of fact, we’re given a front seat to the life of Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), a retired superhero, an African-American living in a city that feels it could exist anywhere in the U.S. of A and divorced father of two young girls. That means he has to deal with being stopped by the police, a daughter that gets in trouble for protesting the system, Annisa (Nafessa Williams) and a daughter that just wants to get in trouble, Jennifer (China Anne McClain).
- Jefferson does not want to go back to heroics. His alter ego was just seen as a vigilante. He’s trying to patch things up with ex wife Lynn (Christine Adams) with whom he still has a lot of chemistry. She’s also one of the few that knows his secret.
- The other person and accomplice to Jefferson’s heroics is Peter Gambi (James Remar), a tailor which makes Jefferson’s Black Lightning suit amongst other gadgets. Essentially a mix of James Bond’s Q and Batman’s Alfred. He’s also something of a mentor.
- Jefferson Pierce is an interesting character. In a different setting, a superhero does most of the important talking while the secret identity smiles knowingly. In this setting, Jefferson is a true member of the community while Black Lightning is a force of nature, the means to deliver an avenging brand of justice that then disappears in the night. There are no parties thrown to honor Black Lightning.
- As the school principal, he’s also a man that makes compromises as he keeps the gangs away in person. Already an imposing figure, it’s really hard for him to back down from confrontation even as a former student turned drug dealer admonishes one of his child workers.
- Eventually Jennifer’s antics get both her and her sister in trouble, resulting in Black Lightning’s comeback. First in a club and then in a motel where both Jennifer and Annisa are kidnapped. The danger is then all too real, and even Jefferson’s apparent friendship with police inspector Henderson (Damon Gupton) doesn’t seem to matter.
- Black Lightning himself is a presence, a threat to enemies both from the underworld and the corrupted law enforcement of Freeland. But it’s actually Jefferson Pierce who’s the hero and the inspiration to the community that surrounds him. Unfortunately for him, the criminal underworld is now alert to both.
- Finally the only thing that seemed an ill fit was the villain, Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) who makes an almost James-Bond-esque appearance as he feeds a lowly minion to his piranhas and later on shoots drug dealer Lala with a freaking harpoon gun. Then again, it’s too soon to judge him on such a brief appearance.
That will do for now.