Reviews TV

DC TV – Black Lightning 1×08 “The Book of Little Black Lies” review

The revelations continue & the Pierce family tackles their new dynamic & Gambi tries to redeem himself.

Black Lightning 1x09

Once a hole was poked in the dam that was holding back all the secrets held by the various characters on this series over the last few weeks, it’s gotten so big that the revelations keep coming. With the finale just a few weeks away it makes sense that the show has taken on a more rapid pace with more and more answers being given. This week started off with Jennifer Pierce in the aftermath of finding out she has powers and being confronted with the fact that her sister and father are both heroes and her family has kept things from her for years.

Jennifer’s anger at the lies are understandable, but Lynn’s speech to Anissa about parenthood being a series of slightly lies or holding back of information to protect one’s child is a truth. Everything from Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy to holding back information about some of the darker or harder parts of the world till older years is just what happens between parents and children. As I’ve mentioned time and time again in these reviews, at its core this show is a family drama that just happens to feature people with superpowers trying to protect their city and that is where it’s strength lies. The relationships between all the members of the Pierce family are strong but also have their flaws as is common for families. They love, they fight, they squabble, they protect one another.

Anissa leapt at the opportunity when powers emerged, quickly following (unknowingly at the time) her father’s footsteps into the hero world. Jennifer offers a very different look at finding out about powers this week, as she wants nothing to do with it. She just wants to be a normal teenager and go to prom and grow up and have a family and kids and not have these powers always possibly standing in the way. It’s a more than understandable feeling for her to be having. Being a hero is a dangerous profession, and her own parents are an example of what can be lost in the process as their divorce stemmed from Jefferson’s superhero life. While she’s more on board with her family again, bonding with her father again, ultimately how she copes will be a question.

Father’s Doing Their Best To Protect Their Kids

Despite the fallout between Gambi and Jefferson last week, after Gambi’s role in what happened to Jefferson’s dad was revealed, the tailor father figure was doing his best to get to the bottom of things to continue to protect the Pierces who are a family to him. Using his impressive wealth of skills to poison a man to get a name (offering up the anti-venom in return for the info), hack and blackmail another person and other things he got to the bottom of the weaponry used to set up Black Lightning issue.

Originally all the secrets that Gambit was hiding were somewhat annoying, but as the weeks have gone on we’ve gotten to see more of the man. He’s fully hurting this week by what he’s done to his adopted family, feeling guilty for what he’s done in the past after he finds some of the kids he scouted 30 years ago with powers now dead. His moments with Anissa were heartfelt, and her using the current family situation to point out to her dad that both he and Gambi are similar in the sense that they were fathers trying to protect their children with holding back secrets.

Gambi’s efforts paid off though as he set Black Lightning and Thunder on the trail of those that are the secret power behind everything happening in Freeland. Watching the two get to beat down on a bunch of the evil government guys was good to see as they were able to start wiping out the facilities and apprehending the doctor behind Green Light production. Cool heroes don’t look back at explosions, and Thunder and Black Lightning are pretty damn cool. Interesting to note was how the heavily armed guards they fought were under orders to capture Black Lightning and had weapons that could take down his powers temporarily. Clearly, they are looking to likely study him much like the other powered folks they’ve taken over the years.

Black Lightning 1x09 Jefferson

A World of Dangerous Investigations

A hero is only as strong as their supporting cast, and this series has been building a good supporting cast so far. Detective Henderson has been an interesting character. He’s one that knew about and worked alongside Black Lightning years ago the first time around and has been there to help this time around (outside of a brief moment when it was thought that Lightning killed Lady Eve). Things felt ominous at first as he took off time from the force to help with the investigation, because of all the corruption. Yet he got to help take down the facilities and doctor with the heroes.

A Bigger Universe?

Despite the series being said to stand alone from the rest of the CW DC ‘Arrowverse’ shows, over the last nine episodes the show writers have not been shy about teasing the rest of the DC Universe. Previously there were mentions of other heroes and even a comic book about the DC Comics team The Outsiders that Black Lightning and Thunder were both part of over the years. This week they dropped firmer names as Lynn and Jennifer spoke, after the big revelations Jennifer learned, and daughter and mother both mentioned Vixen and Supergirl.

It seems unlikely that we’ll find out anything about if this show takes place on the same Earth as The Flash and Arrow (somehow being aware of Supergirl too) or if they exist on their own Earth in the multiverse that has all the heroes. Being a family drama series focused on the Pierce family and Freeland their home, there isn’t a lot of room to branch out this season at least. Perhaps something for season two.

Final Thoughts

The formula of this show to spend a lot of time focused on family and regular issues, saving the action for the later portion of the show works wonders. There was growth and connections & expansion of relationships along with moving the plot along a bit more. Plenty of questions remain but this episode delivered another solid week for this great series.

Score:  9 out of 10

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