Black Lightning: Painkiller
April 13, 2021 4:17 PM - Season 4, Episode 7 - Subscribe

 
I'd been letting all the S4 episodes stack up in my tivo unwatched, but got caught up over the weekend when I read that ep 7 was going to be the Painkiller pseudo-pilot.

I don't know. It was fine, I guess? I didn't love Akashic Valley - maybe it was just my tv settings, but, it was giving me a generic-brand-Wakanda vibe, or bootleg Bladerunner, or something vibe.

I did like episodes 1-6 of the season though. It's great to see Jefferson protecting the people of Freeland from police violence. No idea how they're going to satisfyingly end the series though at this point.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:48 PM on April 13


I'm behind in my viewing, and for whatever reason, BL is never the top of my watch list. But because there is a discussion here, I thought I'd put this on so I could contribute. Lately, I've been feeling like I'm the only speaking into the void.

First off, I've never really liked Khalil as a character, so the prospect of watching a spin-off with him was not compelling to me.

That said, I can see the potential for the new show in what they presented here. It's slick looking with a very distinctive visual style that is definitely ripping off both Wakanda and Bladerunner but isn't too similar to anything I'm familiar with on TV right now. And while the look is generally attractive, some of the elements are making me cringe: the earrings make my lobes ache just looking at how heavy they must be and how much they swing. I can't shake notions of ripping holes. Yes, I realize that's very likely just an issue for me and not for other people.

The exposition-heavy dialogue got the whole team introduced. Fine, set-ups need to set up the plot and characters. While I can see what the writers were trying to do--make them cool, make the edgy, make the "woke" (or whatever the term is we're using these days)--it's not like they stepped too far away from the usual clich├ęs. As for Khalil and Painkiller, I don't think I'd want to watch too much of that internal dialoguing. Also, I felt they did a poor job of signalling when Khalil surrendered to Painkiller in the lobby. I honestly thought he did so way way before he actually did.

As for Maya, she doesn't make a lot of sense. She wanted Grace and her brain and her meta capabilities. She also seemed to be interested in Khalil. Then why did she give the self-destruct order which (presumably) would have led to their deaths? I'm sure there were other alternatives to blowing up the building.

Anyway, the backdoor pilot did its job and laid the foundation for a new series, and it's a series that I'm sure has an audience somewhere. I'm not part of it, and I don't know how easily it will find viewers who aren't watching BL and who will be willing to come into a show spun off from an existing series and universe they don't already watch.

As for the earlier episodes, I can say I like the new Jennifer (or at least what little we've seen of her). I think the actress did a really good job emulating Jen's speech patterns.

I'm not enjoying Jeff wallowing in grief or Lynn's addiction getting worse or the whole interconnected cops and gangs story.
posted by sardonyx at 7:34 PM on April 15


Lately, I've been feeling like I'm the only speaking into the void.

Sorry, I should make more of a point to comment in the Flash/Supergirl threads when I post. Just realized I haven't posted this week's episodes yet either, and am not feeling particularly motivated to do so.

Anyway, the backdoor pilot did its job and laid the foundation for a new series, and it's a series that I'm sure has an audience somewhere. I'm not part of it, and I don't know how easily it will find viewers who aren't watching BL and who will be willing to come into a show spun off from an existing series and universe they don't already watch.

I feel like the odds are against this one getting greenlit, or as likely as the Green Arrow Canaries spin-off. I get the feeling they'll find a new comic to exploit instead and start fresh.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:54 AM on April 16


I don't know. I get the feeling this one would be easier to okay than the Canaries. That one was so tied into the history and continuity of Arrow. You really needed to understand who all the Canaries are, why there are so many, how they're all related to each other (or if not strictly related, are essentially family by choice), why the future is as it is, how much of its existence ties back to decisions and technology that had their roots in Arrow, etc.

I think this is an easier break. Khalil is the victim of some evil tech experimentation and is looking for a way to heal himself. He has come to this city, which is a marvel of modern/futuristic engineering to look for answers, and has found some friends who are on similar journeys of their own. And there are bad people out there that are going to come across his path. End of story.

Don't feel the need to post Flash and Supergirl if you don't want to. I haven't seen SG yet. I did catch Flash, and for the first time this season, I kind of enjoyed it. That's not to say it didn't have flaws and problems and people acting stupid--oh, so stupid--but I kind of enjoyed Frost getting a chance to live it a little. It seemed like the production team had a lot of fun with her fight sequences. I just wish they hadn't gone down the route they did with the bad guy. He would have been much more interesting as somebody Frost could get to know. (I am, of course, skipping over sulky Barry and his issues with SpeedForce Nora.)
posted by sardonyx at 8:52 AM on April 16


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