TV Recap: Black Lightning – Sins of Lying and Of Omissions …

Black Lightning
“And Then the Devil Brought
the Plague: The Book of Green Light”
February 13, 2018

Tonight’s Black Lightning deepens all of the core show myths a bit more while flushing out Tobias Whale’s back story a smidge and maybe revealing some more hidden powers in the Pierce House.

Soak up all the Black Lightning you can because after tonight’s ep, nothing new until February 27!

Without further delay, our deep dive recap of Black Lightning‘s “And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light” (Spoiler Warning!!) … after the jump!

Freeland.   We open on Black Lightning playing around with new features of his suit, namely the power of flight, while Gambi coaches him from the Lair.  From a rooftop, he catches the police in a confrontation with a young thug hopped up on the Green Light.  He intercedes as the cops are about to shoot him dead, scolding them to put away their guns.  Turning to the youth, he has to eventually electro-shock him to get him subdued.  Before flying off, he tells the cops to use their taser first next time.

Gambi Tailors.  As Black Lightning flies off to practice some more, Peter notices he’s got a visitor waiting for him upstairs. Tobias and his girl, Syonide, have come looking for Peter’s services.  Gambi is not happy to see Whale as he is supposed to be dead (even though he knew Whale was alive and if they had history together, he had to guess he’d be showing up sooner or later).

Photo: Richard Ducree/The CW

Exposition and Backstory time ya’ll.  As I predicted a couple of weeks ago, Whale confirms here that he and Gambi definitely have a history and may have worked together in some capacity.  Also, Tobias has a serum of some sort inside him that prevents him from aging.  Also, also, Peter worked (works still?) for something called the ASA (see my thoughts below for a little more on this).

And because of his connection to the ASA, Tobias surmises that Peter knows Black Lightning’s identity and he’d like him to kindly share it.  Gambi plays dumb – says knowing that kind of information can get a man killed.  Whale admits to Black Lightning being back has become a problem for him, but, he says cryptically, Whale guesses its a problem for Gambi too.  He takes his leave but promises to see him again.

What in the world is that story?!? As we asked a couple of weeks ag0 – Peter Gambi, friend or foe? To be determined I guess.

Title Card.

Pierce House.  As we all do in this day and age when we have a question we can’t answer, Anissa is Googling how someone may come to have super human strength.  Her first video selection falls squarely into “Conspiracy theory” land as it starts talking about the “Tuskegee Experiments” (which was a real thing) using syphilis and the Flint Michigan Water crisis using … well, we don’t know what because Jennifer walks in unannounced and Anissa shuts her screen.   They banter over clothes for a second and Anissa successfully gets her sister out of the room.

… Legionnaires. (That’s what the Flint water crisis used.)  Anissa’s started the video up again.  The Conspiracy Theorist cites a CNN report from March 30, 1987 as proof of his theory – allegedly, 9 kids from Freeland, all with “enhanced abilities” were disappeared without a trace.

Roller Skating Rink.  Jen and her girl, Kiesha, are hitting the rink when some mean girls starting jabbing at Jennifer.  Apparently this is a track rival whose ass, Jennifer has kicked and who Khalil also dated (and dumped).  Jennifer drops some sass and moves on but Mean Girl Number 2 pushes her from behind and its on.  They scuffle, Jennifer ducking and weaving like a champ. That is until her jacket (well, Anissa’s jacket) gets ripped.  She goes full Bruce Lee on both girls, leg sweeping Mean Girl #2 and putting Mean Girl #1 into a vicious arm bar hold and snapping her wrist like a twig.  I take and teach martial arts classes and that was some Grade A+ Self Defense right there.  Kiesha comes back around to see the aftermath and is all, the fuck just happened?  Night ruined, Jennifer walks off not without a little smile on her face.  Commercials.

The Pierce girls … getting shit done!

Pharmacy.  In the same pharmacy where Anissa first embraced her powers, Jefferson, while trying to convince a cashier to refund a dad with a sick daughter and expired medicine, almost loses his control over his powers, even dropping to one knee while a high pitched static plays in his ears. This does not look good and he should probably get it checked out.  Besides the head pain he seems to be having, its interesting to note that he was super aggressive in this scene – defending a good cause to be sure but much more aggressive than we normally see Jefferson.

Pierce House.  Anissa is knee deep in the Conspiracy Theory video, taking notes on the Freeland story when she hears the name “Alvin Pierce” come up in connection with an alleged cover up of an expose on a vaccine which was believed to be the cause of the enhanced abilities.  The name makes her perk up because Alvin Pierce was her grandfather. He was murdered a week after his expose series was cancelled and the murder was never solved.

Background: We know from earlier episodes that Jefferson believes Tobias White killed his father, literally shoving Alvin’s own news stories down his throat until he died.  Which is gruesome B T Dubs.

Elsewhere in the Pierce House, Jefferson is taking some medicine and generally, looking terrible, when his cell phone pings. Gambi has located an address on the packing slip Black Lightning boosted last week — this is connected to the Green Light distribution network.  No rest for the weary, Jefferson!

Warehouse.  Black Lightning easily defeats the warehouse padlock with his zapping skills and is just about to have himself a looksie inside when the owner of the warehouse cocks his shotgun behind Black Lightning’s back.  From his point of view, Black Lightning is a trespasser and wanted man so he is comfortable in his legal standing if he shoots Black Lightning dead.  Black Lightning doesn’t take kindly to being threatened and sends some voltage into this old white man racist.  This loosens his lips and he cops to the vast amount of chemicals inside the warehouse being for Green Light.   But, he says, the chemicals aren’t his – he is just pick up and delivery normally but the last time, he was given extra to hold.  He says he doesn’t know who the “he” is that he deals with and Jefferson’s principal voice comes through when he asks in that tone teachers and parents have the world over, “did you just lie to me?”  Old White Man Racist isn’t forthcoming until Black Lighting electrifies the puddle he’s laying in and then he quickly spits out the man in question is Joey Toledo.  This name clearly resonates with Black Lightning.  Another note: Jefferson was very quick on the draw here as Black Lightning; much more aggressive in using his powers than we have seen to date.

Gambi Tailors.  Down in the Lair, Jefferson is scolding Peter that he can’t believe Peter didn’t know Joey Toledo is back? The man with the pulse on the town didn’t know this information – Jefferson isn’t buying it.  Joey Toledo worked for the man who killed Jefferson’s father so, you know, important info Gambi should probably have.  Gambi says that he’s not even sure that Toledo ever left but he can say that he hasn’t heard about the man “in a long time.”  Jefferson has a “you’re a fucking liar” look on his face as he goes on to tell Peter (and us) that Joey Toledo was Tobias’ right hand man.  If Toledo is still around then that means Tobias Whale is still around, then Jefferson has to have him.  If he gets Toledo too, all the better.  And then?   Jefferson locks up like he got hit with a stunning spell and falls right over like a statue.  This at least gets Peter to show some concern.   Commercials.

When we return, Gambi has called Lynn in to help assess Jefferson (hospitals being a no go). He tells her about the headaches and aggression we have been seeing lately though, in her response to whether this is Black Lightning related, he hadn’t been exhibiting symptoms until very recently.  He starts to mention the new flight feature when Jefferson starts to convulse across the room sending the surrounding electronics into freak out mode. It subsides and he comes to.  Not remembering what happened, he starts to get up because he has to get Toledo. Lynn convinces him to stay put and rest.

Whale Lair.  Tori admonishes Tobias for confronting Gambi about Black Lightning’s identity, citing that Lady Eve will not be happy he went to Gambi.  Tobias says he’s not afraid of Lady Eve (lies!) and as the cartel’s best earner, he’s pretty untouchable and in fact, is on his way to having a seat at the table next to Lady Eve. Seeing daggers in the dark, he continues to pontificate that they are using Black Lightning’s return as a reason to not promote him up the power chain, instead, keeping him in charge of The 100.  Tori calms him down and says his real problem is he never dealt with his first and worst enemy and also, she’s “found Eldridge.”  I am assuming Black Lightning was not the first and worst she’s referring to but they’re being a little cryptic here.

Memory/Flashback.  Tobias begins having a living flashback where he (present day Tobias) relives his father, Eldridge, coming home and complaining about the mounting medical bills associated with Tobias’ “Pale ass” – this guy is sweet. Eldridge is clearly talking to a young Tobias on his side of the conversation. Its actually a really well done effect with the Eldridge side of the conversation being done in a grainy memory style and Tobias being in the vibrant colors of the present.  Anyway, Eldridge laments how excited he was to know he was having a son, one he could be proud of watching play sports and do all the father-son bonding things but nope, Tobias can’t even go outside.  They argue about what he can and can’t do and Eldridge drops the hammer telling his son he “ain’t normal.” “You ain’t black, you ain’t white, you ain’t nothing.” Young Tori tries to defend her brother and Eldridge back hands her across the face.  Back in the present, Tori brings her brother out of his memory and says that if he can deal with his childhood issues, he’ll be a new man.  “Where is he,” Tobias asks?

Pierce House.  Anissa comes into her dad’s room looking for some answers on her grandfather.  Jefferson shuts her down pretty hard saying her grandfather had lots of wild ideas.  Sensing the tone, she tries to drop the subject but he relents and tells her that if nothing else, Anissa’s grandfather always did the right thing – and he sees a lot of that in her too.

The Offices of the Freeland Gazette. Not even close to being satisfied, Anissa has gotten an interview with David Poe, the elderly editor of the Freeland Gazette, which is where her grandfather worked.  He’s been there 40 years.  Which seems … unrealistic to me.  But hey, let’s go with it.

The Elderly Editor tells her that her grandfather was a good man but when she gets around to asking her real question – she wants to know about her grandfather’s expose on the missing children, his entire demeanor changes and he essentially throws her out.  Before walking out, she tells Poe she had read he was a “champion for the common people.” The “I guess I read wrong” portion of her statement goes unsaid as she leaves.

Police HQ Parking Lot.  Jefferson, using his Black Lightning voice but hiding in the shadows out of costume, surprises Henderson and tries to convince he’s trying to help. Henderson disagrees.  Jefferson persists though and cites that with Green Light being out of control, maybe Henderson needs Black Lightning’s help more than ever.  Henderson doesn’t disagree with this statement.  Jefferson drops Joey Toledo’s name as being at or near the top of the Green Light food chain. Henderson scoffs that he thought Toledo was long gone but Jefferson says otherwise.  Jefferson proposes a deal – if Henderson can find Toledo, Black Lightning can deal with him without needing a warrant.  He’s helpfully left a burner phone in Henderson’s car so he can get in touch.  “Consider this, the black signal” he says.  Henderson seems mildly amused by the whole thing but as you probably guessed, Jefferson is already gone.  I can see how people that deal with super heroes would find that habit of just disappearing super annoying.    Commercials.

Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW

Pierce House.  Lynn is giving Jefferson a check up while laying on a guilt trip about how other people aren’t her priority, Jefferson is her priority hence not wanting him to rush back out as Black Lightning.  Their meet cute moment is interrupted by the Mean Girls and a mom come to complain about Jennifer snapping Mean Girl #1’s wrist (Mean Girl #1’s name is Lana).  Lynn tries to ratchet down the rising tension (Mean Girl #1’s mom smells money in the offing as she stands in the Pierce’s fancy foyer) and seems pretty successful. When Jennifer comes home some time later, the Mean Girl party leaves and the Pierce Parents lay into their daughter.

Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW

You can’t get into a fight and not tell us and also, you can’t be fighting. Jennifer says there were two of them and she was defending herself when Jefferson stops her — There were two?!?! (I guess the Mean Girl Party left that nugget of information out of Lana’s story) And you weren’t hurt at all? He beams with pride at his daughter’s badass-ness but Lynn reminds him this is not a good thing.  Lynn  clarifies that Jennifer is not in trouble for defending herself but because she lied.  Jen tries to split the age old hair of omission versus lying but Lynn is in NO MOOD.    She even calls Jennifer “little girl” so you know she’s feeling it.  And then turning to a general scolding of her ex husband as well as her daughter, they all need to learn to solve their problems without using their fists.  Once Lyn  is gone, Jefferson just wants to reconfirm that it was two girls. You can tell he’s a proud dad!

The Gazette.  Anissa is waiting for Poe. Not having met her before, he doesn’t realize she doesn’t give up on anything.  As he’s walking into his office, she pleads her case that her grandfather was killed for investigating those kids’ disappearance and she just needs to know what happened.  “You sound just like him,” Poe says.  Resigned to never be left alone if he doesn’t give in to her demands, he hands over a file he’s held on to for 30 years. As she turns to leave, he warns her that Alvin tapped into something bigger and far more dangerous than Poe wants to be involved in and rest assured, “they’re” watching.  When she asks who the “they” are, he says if she finds out, she’ll likely get killed for it.   Also, don’t come back here.

Eldridge’s House.   Tobias and Tori arrive at their father’s house and when he opens the door, Tobias greets him with a punch to the face.  Eldridge says Tobias still hits “like a little bitch” which HA! but really all of these people are despicable.  Tori tells him they’ve got some questions about his parenting style.  He defends himself that he stayed unlike their mother and fed and clothed them.  Tobias acknowledges this and makes to embrace his father. Weary, Eldridge goes in for the hug but Tobias isn’t finished with his questions.  As he begins to do that bear hug power move we’ve seen, Tobias asks why did Eldridge stay? Was it to torture someone or blame someone else for Eldridge’s own failures or was it just to make some money from the state. Because, Tobias says, it sure wasn’t about love.  Whale breaks Eldridge’s back and throws him to the kitchen floor. Tobias stops Tori from shooting him, telling Eldridge that he is going to die, slow and painfully.  They leave as their father writhes in pain on the floor.  Its just like a Father’s Day movie on the Hallmark Channel.  Commercials.

Pierce House.  Anissa is going through Alvin’s records, which include a decent amount of articles about “Tobias Whale: Criminal Politician” and notes on a certain vaccine causing the enhanced abilities. While she’s reading, she’s replaying the end of Poe’s conversation about people watching her grandfather back in the day and now, maybe her.  In the files, she comes across a key to something called ASF. Which Google tells her maybe is the “Anvil Storage Facility.”  She heads to her closet to choose her super hero wear.

Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW

Still in the Pierce House.  Jefferson and Jennifer have a heart to heart.  Jefferson tells her she committed the sin of omission and that’s not how the Pierce’s communicate with each other. She complains that, as his daughter, she’s a target at school, they even call her the Queen of Garfield.  He lays down some quote knowledge.  Quoting Holocaust survivor, Victor Fankl, he tells her “The one thing you can’t take away from me, is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.”   The point is not to fight the fire with fire but rather to try and put the fire out … in other words, walk away.

Anissa’s Room. She’s in her Catwoman leather costume trying out some moves in the mirror when the seam on her thigh rips.  “All this ass, gonna need something that really fits.” Mmm hmm girl.  I am in love. Yum! Cue shopping montage!! With the help of a friendly gay fashion guru, “Monica” and the man get down to outfitting her in something bright and latex-y.  COmplete the outfit with blond wig. As she’s checking out, he tells her that she’s about to be the fiercest superhero out there and to be safe.  Wait, what? She didn’t tell him did she?  I am thinking he was just joking because she can’t be telling strangers about her super hero fighting.  Gurrrrrl.  Yeesh.

Pierce House. Jefferson is working out when Henderson calls Black Lightning on the burner. He tracked down Toledo’s old girlfriend and did some digging.  Seems she’s been seen with a man matching Joey’s description but its not a enough for Henderson to do anything about so he’s sending Black Lightning her info and photo.

Gambi Tailors.  Peter comes down to the Lair as Jefferson is dressing and tells him he’s going to kill himself in the suit.  He says he has located the problem so at least give him a day to fix the issue.   Jefferson wants Toledo and he’s going to have Toledo so give him the control module or else he’ll “Black Lightning your ass.”  Not much choice there, is there?  Jefferson inserts the control module and the suit comes to life.  Commercials.

Whale Lair.  When we return, we are with Tobias who is opening an envelope filled with white dust.  He remembers Lady Eve’s passive aggressive warning that in Africa, they would grind up albinos into dust so … he’s conflicted about his emotions right now and maybe rethinking his whole “I’m not afraid of Lady Eve” statement.

Anvil Storage Facility.   Thunder makes her costumed debut at ASF and girlfriend looks AMAZING! The key snaps off in the lock but that’s much of a problem for someone with super strength, ripping her way into the locker, she finds … a dead rat.  She gives herself some good advice that superheroes aren’t afraid of dead rats and continues her search.  Finding a safe she strong arms her way into, she is rewarded with a small vial of white powder.

Outside some The 100 hotspot, Black Lighting uses his on-board computer facial recognition program to identify Caroline Brown, Joey’s girlfriend. He stops her and intimidates her into unlocking her phone and handing it over.  Again, he’s super aggressive with her.  Alone, he uses the cell to lure Toledo outside.  Once Joy comes out, Black Lightning gets an easy jump on him, kicking his ass initially but soon, the static-y headache returns and Toledo takes it Black Lighting hard stomping him but good.  Black Lightning is able to get him off but his powers are broken. As Toledo scurries off, he tells Black Lightning that he should not have come back and Tobias is going to finish the job this time and he (Toledo) will bury him.  Toledo leaves him laying in the alley while the lights blink in that way they do when Black Lightning is around and using his power.  Something is very wrong with either Jefferson or the suit or both.

And scene.

Thoughts.  I liked how they showed us this increasingly aggressive Jefferson tonight.  It wasn’t an avalanche of change but it was more than a little subtle so you could appreciate the change to how he dealt with issues tonight.    Of course, the important question is what is wrong with Jefferson and/or the suit AND is Gambi sabotaging him?!?

Speaking of Gambi, what’s his story? Where are his loyalties? Why push Jefferson to take up the Black Lightning mantle again if he’s just going to betray him? And, what is his connection to the ASA? In DC Comics, that organization is the American Security Agency , which oversaw the creation of the “Force of July,” a team of “super agents.” Lots of Gambi questions continue to rise to the surface.

The Daughters.  Presumably, Anissa found an example of the “vaccine: which was focus of her grandfather’s expose investigation but what will that mean and how much longer before daughter and father super heroes cross paths?  And Jennifer, did we see the first exhibition of her super powers tonight? Those martial arts move were too fluid to have just come from no where.  Given her young age and her personal issues going on with the bullying and Khalil, its going to be interesting watching Jennifer deal with the mantle of super powers in a responsible way.

Last Thoughts. Did that Tobias Whale Flashback/Memory with his shitty father make you feel the teeniest bit bad for Tobias? Nah, me either.

Lots of balls in motion tonight as we head into a 2 week hiatus.  We’ll see you back on the 27th with an all new Black Lightning!  Thanks for reading!!

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “TV Recap: Black Lightning – Sins of Lying and Of Omissions …”

  1. Excellent recap! And I completely agree. I am so curious and confused about where Gambi’s allegiances lie. I did a little Googling of my own and read about his comic version. Suffice to say, I feel the show might take on a different route from that and I’m down for whichever direction the show decides to play it!

    Another thing I noticed is the absence of Khalil’s character in this episode, where in fact, he and Tobias had a little chit-chat near the end of the previous episode. I’m hoping they address that in the upcoming ep.

    I would like to give the show overall some credit for the nice pacing, not too fast and not too slow. They’ve managed to entice watchers (well, at least, I speak for my behalf haha) and tease them with hints about each character and their back stories. I’m really looking forward to the next eps to shed more light into those mysteries!! And count me in to read your other recaps of this show.

    1. Thanks for reading! And I agree with everything. I like the teasing out of Gambi’s duplicity. Where do his loyalties lie?!? I think Khalil will coming roaring back into the picture in a big way to turn the people of Freeland against BL, a la Tori’s plan.

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