Superheroics Is The Family Business
Black Lightning has to be given props for avoiding a big sort of cliche. Generally, the situation with Anissa gaining powers and her parents finding out would have been saved by many series to be some cliffhanger season finale. This series easily avoided that last week when the secret was revealed. Instead of a secret hanging out there waiting to be discovered we’re now in the position of what happens once a secret has been fully revealed. It means a lot of worries, getting to the bottom of things and a bit of parental hypocrisy.
It’s eye rolling in superhero stories when one veteran hero tries to talk a new hero out of being a hero, especially many times when they themselves are continuing to do the hero thing despite announcing all the cons of it to talk someone else out of the role. In this case, it’s not as eye rolling. Parents and hypocrisy go hand in hand so it’s very understandable that Jefferson would be trying to talk his daughter out of taking his path while he’s still on that path himself now. What was very interesting is the turn that Lynn took from concerned mother trying to talk her daughter out of it, to understanding mother that realized that denying her daughter from taking this path would not work. Training her and keeping her close would be far more successful than the alternative.
Jefferson’s turn was a bit more expected, but it still felt very real after all he went through in the episode. He also comes to the realization that he can’t do this alone, and also has a chance to make sure his daughter is better than him in all aspects even as a hero.
What Is Up With Gambi?
Freeland’s friendly tailor started out in a father-son relationship with Jefferson Pierce, the person that was there to convince him it was time to get back into the hero game. Slowly it was made clear that he was keeping secrets and making sure Jefferson didn’t learn about certain things. At first, it was easy to assume it was to protect his son-figure from other forces. Now it’s so much more. Not only do Gambi and the villainous Lady Eve know one another, something we saw last week, but he reveals in conversation with her that together they have been building something in Freeland. Something that he’s afraid Tobias Whale will ruin.
James Remar is wonderfully playing the roles given to him of a concerned and helpful father figure but also a man with secrets and a set of skills that make him very dangerous. In just a black coat and mask the man plowed through a nightclub to take down Tobias’s trusty right-hand man Joey Toledo, leaving a golden box full of dust either resembling or was ground up albino as a message to Tobias. At this point, it’s hard to tell how to really feel about Gambi overall. Clearly, there is more to be uncovered, but it’s likely that whatever is revealed is sure to drive more wedges between him and Jefferson before the season’s end. It might be cliche, but honestly, I’m kind of hoping for one of those flashback type episodes that can shed the light more on Gambi’s path and more on the past of Jefferson and Gambi together.
Everything Takes An Unexpected Turn
At long last Black Lightning and Tobias Whale come face to face, but it doesn’t go the way it was likely planned. Jefferson took down Whale but in the ensuing fight, the man escaped but bullets from one of Tobias henchmen were sent spraying as he was shocked by Lightning. One of those bullets struck Tobias’ sister in the back and traveled through to strike him in the shoulder. His sister left dying, he was dragged away screaming by his henchmen. Unfortunately for Lightning, Tobias not only will likely be seeking a lot more revenge but already found a way to get some revenge ahead of time.
Tobias started as a flat stereotypical villain and while he’s not the best villain quite yet, he’s definitely gotten better. Lady Eve though was imposing and powerful from the first moment we barely saw her many episodes ago. Unfortunately, that imposing villain figure is now gone. Tobias mentioned that if he offed Eve without the permission of a council it would get him killed too, so he pins the murder of Eve on someone else. Henchmen with electrical weapons take Eve down making it appear as if Black Lightning has finally crossed the line in his war on crime. Being a hero isn’t going to get any easier.
What is taken away though is something gained at the same time. Local drug dealer Lala was a more fleshed out villain at the beginning of the show but Tobias choked him to death at the end of season two. Death though didn’t keep. At the end of the episode, Lala suddenly awakens on a motel bed and something resembling LaWanda White, the mother of a missing girl Lala murdered previously, asks him about the resurrection and then turns into a cloud and bright light that makes a tattoo of her on his chest. What this all means is super unclear but clearly, we’re about to find out next week.
Secrets are surely going to come back to haunt these characters as they move forward. Losing Lady Eve is a blow as there surely was more to her that we might never find out, but hopefully, Lala can somewhat fill the villain gap a bit with his return. The series body count is getting a little worrisome but it also continues to keep this being the most grounded and real series of the lot, as things are shown to have consequences.
Score: 9 out of 10