Not All Heroics Require A Costume
After a few weeks of building things up, the episode lives up to its name as revelations are made and the series begins to rocket forward as the season finale waits right down the road. When the series began, Tobias Whale came off as a sort of stereotypical gangster type individual. As the series has progressed he’s been fleshed out more and now thanks to his recently departed sister Tori, he has struck the biggest blow to Black Lightning. With Lady Eve now dead thanks to electrical weapons, the police, and the city itself are all out to tear down Black Lightning. Clearing Black Lightning’s name is the only way that Jefferson and Anissa can ever hope to truly move forward to help free Freeland from the grip of Tobias, the 100 and more.
Despite the very serious weight that is hanging over Jefferson’s head, the series continues to work its magic when members of the Pierce family are together. Every scene with Jefferson and Anissa as they explore the world of superheroics together is full of heart and a lightness as Jefferson truly tries to imbue information and knowledge upon his daughter to make her better able to use her powers to help. There is even a bit of joy as he imparts wisdom as a father and can see that his daughter is listening. Especially when later in the episode he fails to listen to his own advice, but Anissa proves that she heard everything that he said and rushed in to save his life when someone messes with the weapons that actually killed Lady Eve that the father & daughter had discovered.
For awhile Jennifer’s story has begun to feel somewhat disconnected from the rest of the family with Jefferson and Lynn dealing with his heroics and Anissa secretly dealing with her own hero issues. Now that Jennifer’s own powers have begun to emerge, and she has approached Anissa by the end of the episode it looks like we’re going to get the entire Pierce family on the same page together which is very nice. Superheroics are great, but what made this series really work from the start besides it’s grounding in stark reality was the strength of the family dynamic that it put on display. It’s a family drama wrapped in the packaging of a superhero series.
From The Shadows Emerges The Gambi Truth
All the revelations were dropped about Gambi this week and the tailor father figure has some dark secrets going on. The previously mentioned secret organization known as the A.S.A. comes up again as Gambi has a secret nighttime meeting with someone in the organization. Not only is the A.S.A. using Freeland as an experimentation site with drug Green Light, orchestrated through their relationship with Lady Eve, but they apparently want Black Lightning dead and were told by Gambi that he could find out who the hero was for them. Gambi’s work with the A.S.A. in the 80’s included them using what is now Green Light as a vaccine to pacify the citizens, but he turned on them secretly and leaked the information. To Jefferson’s father Alvin, leading to Tobias Whale being sent to murder Alvin for knowing too much.
In the end, his heart heavy with the guilt, Gambi finally comes clean to Jefferson about everything after prodding from Lynn. What these revelations will do to the relationship of Jefferson and Gambi going forward is interesting, especially since they were close for so long. Based on the teaser for next week, we’re going to learn a whole lot more about Gambi’s history and what he was doing all these years.
A Mystical Turn of Events
Everything about the return of Lala remains a mystery this week, after his mystical resurrection in a hotel last week. The ghost of LaWanda, still tattooed on his chest now through more mystical means, continues to follow Lala around as he moves through the episode. Lala makes out with the ghost of LaWanda in the shower, meaning this show has taken a definite turn into something way beyond superheroics and family drama and that is more than okay. It shows that while they want to keep the show grounded in important ways, the writers and producers are not afraid to really embrace some of the stuff that comes with being in a comic book world. It’s still unclear though how Lala will fit into things moving forward, he doesn’t encounter any characters other than two of the guys that used to work for him before his untimely demise. No doubt it will spell trouble for Tobias Whale, who was absent this week, and even potentially the Pierce family.
Everything that was once secret is moving into the light and the series is better for it. What worked best this week is that the episode was very tightly focused, keeping its spotlight on just a handful of characters and secrets. Shadow government organizations using drugs to pacify citizens seems cliche on one hand but all too true and likely.
Score: 9 out of 10