Black Lightning 1x08 "The Book of Revelations"
Last week on Black Lightning, Tobias made a pretty big power move, killing Lady Eve and ensuring that it appeared as if Black Lightning was responsible. This week’s episode explores the fallout of Tobias’ actions, and we get some new information about Jefferson’s father figure, Gambi.
I was very pleased to see the episode open with Anissa and Jefferson in the BlackCave, with Jefferson testing Anissa both physical and mentally. The point of the training session, it seems, was to emphasize that Anissa can’t just be reactive, she has to constantly be aware of what’s going on and who she’s targeting. Anissa’s first reaction when confronted with a man wearing a confederate flag shirt was to attack first (an understandable reaction), but when Jefferson pointed out that freedom of expression doesn’t necessarily equal a physical threat, Anissa had to concede the point.
Unfortunately, our fun father-daughter training session had to come to an end, because Black Lightning is wanted by the police and the community has turned on him en masse, blaming him for the murder of Lady Eve, who was apparently a saint in her down time. Jefferson is unable to put on the suit until he can successfully prove that he isn’t responsible for the attack at the morgue.
Gambi is back to his habit of meeting up with people who hate Black Lightning (which is really suspicious when one considers that…he’s Black Lightning’s mentor/tech guy/father figure). This time, it’s Martin Proctor, an agent for the ASA. Proctor wants Black Lightning dead; even he had an attachment to Lady Eve, praising her ability to distribute Green Light at surprising speeds and states that her death “sets the Freeland experiment back.” Gambi suggests that Black Lightning be studied as opposed to killed, but Proctor isn’t dealing in soft touches. He’s sending ASA operatives into Freeland with the explicit purpose of killing Black Lightning.
We’re treated to a nice mother-daughter scene this week as well, with Jennifer finally getting some much-needed screen time (I’ve missed her!) with Lynn, helping her clean up the lab after the break in and attack as she hasn’t picked up a new after-school activity since dropping track. Jennifer’s not blind and takes the time to ask about what Anissa and Jefferson are up to. Lynn gives her a vague answer, but her attention is quickly pulled to the fact that some of Alvin’s original research is missing.
Jefferson and Anissa continue their bonding time, sneaking into the morgue to look at Eve’s body and hopefully gather evidence that supports Jefferson’s innocence. Anissa, medical student that she is, realizes that Eve’s injuries are more consistent with close range burns and don’t carry the typical Lichtenberg scar consistent with lightning strikes (something any good coroner should have realized, but I guess with Lady Eve gone, the town is one short). They deduce that the weapon used was likely nuclear powered and Gambi agrees to help them track down the radiation.
Back with Jennifer, it looks like Keisha is running for student government and needs some help putting up campaign posters. For some reason Keisha decides to climb up scaffolding to put her fliers where they can’t be reached. As she begins her descent, she slips and Jennifer panics. In that moment of panic, a spark is lit and Jennifer (much like Anissa) receives her powers, frying the phone she was holding in her hand.
LaLa has returned to us, although we still haven’t learned who or what brought him back, and LaWanda White is with him and not letting go. He returns to his club and has two of the remaining gang members take him to his home. On the ride there, he has a pretty drawn out conversation with LaWanda who, it turns out, can only be seen by LaLa. The gang members are pretty spooked by what they see, but wisely leave well enough alone. It also appears that LaLa has some form of romantic connection with LaWanda, as she appears to him in the shower, and the two share a kiss, before she disappears. I can’t help but wonder if LaWanda’s “ghost” is simply manipulating LaLa into getting justice for herself and her daughter.
Back with the daring duo of Anissa and Jefferson: Gambi has finally managed to track down the radiation trail, and gives them the coordinates. They search the woods, and find the gun needed to clear Jefferson’s name, alerting Inspector Henderson to its location and settling in to wait for his arrival. Unfortunately the person who arrives (likely an ASA agent—and probably tipped off by Gambi) doesn’t realize what the weapon is capable of and blows himself up along with Jefferson’s best shot at redemption. This probably won’t go to well for smoothing things over with Henderson either.
Elsewhere, Lynn visits Gambi at his shop and shows him the results of her research, that Green Light has similarities to a vaccine that Jefferson’s father researched 30 years prior, meaning someone has been introducing Green Light to Freeland for years (I’m getting serious Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment vibes here—it’s not a coincidence the show highlighted that in a previous episode). Gambi tells Lynn that he can’t give her answers, but he’s not given much of a choice when Jefferson shows up on his doorstep later that same evening. Finally, some of Gambi’s secrets are revealed: His real name is Peter Esposito and he was initially an agent for the ASA, which was trying to give people an experimental vaccine meant to make them docile. Unfortunately, that vaccine backfired and created metahumans. Gambi, in an attempt to shut down the experiments, informed Alvin Pierce, which unfortunately led to his murder. Enraged, Jefferson leaves Gambi’s shop, but not before telling him to stay away from his family
The episode ends with a scene that I loved. I can’t get enough of Anissa and Jennifer’s relationship, and I was worried that the show might go the “build drama” method and have Jennifer keep it a secret. I’m glad to be proven wrong. The first thing Jennifer did after proving to herself that her powers weren’t a fluke was to tell her sister everything. I’m so very excited to see what the next episode reveals now that the whole FamBam is on the secret!
Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.