4 out of 5 Koalas
“You can, you are the storm. You can control the storm. Don’t fear it. Own it.” Perenna – Black Lightning
Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) is happily walking down the stairs in her prom dress. Her family Jefferson /Black Lightning (Cress Williams), Anissa/Thunder (Nafessa Williams), and Lynn (Christine Adams) proudly wait for her at the bottom of the stairs. Issa Williams (Myles Truitt) wearing a tuxedo is her date. Jennifer: “What do you guys think?” Lynn: “You look beautiful.” Jennifer: “Thank you mom.” As Jefferson prepares to take a picture of her and Issa, Khalil Payne/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway) struts in. Khalil: “Really J? This dude.” He shoots her family and Issa with darts. Jennifer and Khalil begin fighting. Jennifer has some nice fight moves and ends the fight by hitting Khalil with bolts of lightning. Jennifer: “I can’t stop it!” Perenna (Erika Alexander): “You can, you are the storm. You can control the storm. Don’t fear it. Own it. Pull the energy back into you. Take a minute and know that you are this power. Now put it in the box.” Jennifer puts her energy in the box. It was all a simulation in the psychic beauty shop. Back in the real world on the Pierce’s porch, Perenna tells Jennifer she is doing well. Perenna is teaching Jennifer how to control her power. One thing puzzles her, “Who is this Khalil?”
Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) is in chains, escorted to interrogation. Deputy Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) awaits him. District Attorney Montez (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) observes from outside. Henderson: “How is it you seem to never age?” Tobias exudes confidence because he knows Henderson doesn’t have anything on him, this frustrates Henderson. Henderson: “You forgot something, you translucent freak. You are not going to get away with this.” Tobias: “Deputy Chief Henderson. ‘Translucent.’ It’s a very interesting choice of words. It means you can see right through me. And if you can see right through me, then you know what I’m thinking.” [Henderson leaves the room frustratingly] Henderson: “He orchestrated this whole thing. He killed his former lieutenant, he got rid of our DNA evidence, and he got himself arrested knowing that we would have to let him go. All while rehabilitating his reputation with one stroke.” Montez: “Well, the judge would call that a theory. I need hard evidence of something … murder, obstruction, conspiracy to commit obstruction. Without that, we’re going to have to let him walk. You have about 48 hours if that.” [She walks away from him] Henderson: “As always, Ms. Montez, you’re a regular ray of sunshine.”
Jefferson looks at video in Peter Gambi’s (James Remar) shop of Anissa robbing the ponytailed thugs from the previous episode. Jefferson is upset with Gambi for not telling him and going with her. Gambi explains he told Anissa he would tell Jefferson after the fact. He went with Anissa to protect her, especially with Tobias and some other faction of the ASA looking for them. Now it is time for Jefferson to talk to his daughter. When Jefferson talks to Anissa, he loses his cool. Anissa: “Aren’t we supposed to be helping people?” Jefferson: “We are helping people! But unlike criminals, we have rules that we need to follow.” Anissa: “Rules made by whom?” Jefferson: “Rules made by me.” Anissa: “Guess what, I have a different set of rules because I’m not going to watch my people get taken advantage of.” Jefferson: “They are not your people, Anissa! And as long as you are under my roof, you will follow my rules!” Anissa asks Jefferson if he is going there, he tells her he is. Anissa: “I’ll be out of here by morning.”
Anissa is in her room packing and Jennifer walks in on the verge of tears. Anissa tries to comfort her sister but tells her she can’t let their father try to control her. Jennifer says that is what he is doing to her. Anissa: “You’re 16. You’re fast ass could use a bit of controlling.” Jennifer: “Oh, I’m fast. What are you then?” Anissa: “Grown. And what I do is my damn business.”
That makes Jennifer smile. Her phone goes off; Khalil just sent her another text. Anissa sees the text. Anissa: “Khalil?! Have you lost your damn mind? He killed Dad!” Jennifer: “Anissa, he killed Black Lightning.” Anissa: “Oh, so now you’re sticking up for him? When did he start texting you?!” Jennifer: “A while ago, but I never hit him back, I swear. Not once, I swear!” Anissa: “Yo, you’ve got to shut this down.” Anissa softens and hugs her sister and assures her she will be there for her. Anissa: “Jennifer, whatever you’re going through, this boy is not the answer.”
“You really don’t understand the position you put me in as deputy chief or as a friend.” Bill Henderson – Black Lightning
Lynn and Jefferson are in bed. Lynn: “We’ve put so much attention on Jennifer; we forgot that this is all new for Anissa.” Jefferson is upset that she stole from this gang; he fears it could only lead to blood. Lynn reminds him that early on, even though he didn’t steal or kill anyone, he took things to the edge. She sees the scars on his shoulders and gives his shoulder a kiss. Jefferson apologizes for putting Lynn in the situation where she had to kill a man. Lynn says she is okay, it was a live or die situation, and she chose to live. Jefferson receives a phone call from Henderson. Jefferson meets him at the police station. He tells Jefferson they will have to let Tobias go, all the witnesses are dead and the DNA evidence destroyed. It looks like he set up his capture so they would have to dismiss the charges. Jefferson: “So he’s just been playing you the whole time.” Jefferson quickly tells Henderson he witnessed Tobias kill his father. Henderson warns Jefferson not to perjure himself. Jefferson tells him he saw it but Gambi kept him from telling anyone to protect him. Henderson wonders what other lies and half-truths Jefferson has told. Henderson: “You really don’t understand the position you put me in as deputy chief or as a friend.”
Gambi walks into another secret room in his shop. [He must own the entire building.] He has the former Vice-principle of Garfield High Kara Fowdy (Skye P. Marshall) strapped to a bed. Gambi: “Please try not to move. No one knows you are here. The straps are so you don’t hurt yourself.” [That doesn’t sound sinister for a white man to tell a black woman that.] He tells her the harpoon went straight through her; she lost a lot of blood and developed sepsis. She is going to die. Gambi: “Kara. You’ve got to make your peace.” He asks her who has the ASA briefcase. Kara thinks Gambi is lying to her to get the briefcase. Kara: “I’m not telling you a damn thing.”
Jefferson sits in his classroom with a stanza of Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again” written above his head on the blackboard. He hears a commotion outside his class. Two students are fighting in the hallway. Jefferson breaks up the fight and tells them, “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” He asks who said that and one of the fighters says Coretta Scott King. Jefferson is able to get the boys to shake hands and squash the beef. Unfortunately, Principal Lowry (P.J. Byrne) and school security arrive. Jefferson tells him the problem is solved. Lowry: “If I wanted your opinion, I would have asked.” He asks who threw the first punch. When one finally student admits it, Lowry expels him and suspends the other student for a week. Lowry proclaims in the hallway that the school has a zero tolerance policy to fighting. Jefferson protests but Lowry tells him if he doesn’t like it, he can go too. Jefferson goes to Lowry’s office to talk to him in private. Jefferson: “Don’t you ever talk to me not here or anywhere else.” The two men lay their cards on the table. Jefferson tells Lowry he can’t get rid of him because the school board wants him to provide cover for Lowry. Lowry: “Now I understand why they need their Black Jesus. I don’t. Because no child will be shot, kidnapped, or overdosed on Green Light on my watch. Period.” Jefferson: “Look, if you give that kid another chance, he will become a person we all can be proud of. But if you throw him out in the street, odds are he’ll become someone to be feared.” Lowry restates the school has a zero tolerance policy, it is easy for everyone to follow, and he will enforce it.
“But I’m going to burn this town down and everyone in it until I find him…He’s got to die, and he’s got to die soon.” Tobias Whale – Black Lightning
Anissa shows up at Gambi needing a place to stay. He invites her to crash there, but he will tell her parents she is staying there. Anissa agrees to that. Dr. Helga Jace (Jennifer Riker) is waiting for one of the pod kids to wake up. When he wakes up his pod freezes over. Dr. Jace: “I guess we know what his powers were.” The young man dies. Lynn is upset, “And now he’s dead.” Jace: “Indeed and now we have more data.” Jennifer is watching TV when Jefferson enters. She ignores his greeting and gives him the cold shoulder for kicking out Anissa. Jefferson is not having a good day.
Tobias meets with his attorney and a longhaired thug, one of the members of the ponytailed gang that Anissa robbed. Tobias motions for his attorney to put on his headphones so he can’t hear the conversation. The longhaired thug offers to make a few calls and get Tobias out of jail. Tobias [chuckles]: “It never ceases to amaze me how all you white folks feel this need to be the savior. Makes me want to laugh and at the same time punch you in the face.” The longhaired thug is there as a courtsey, they want to kill the woman who robbed them, but since he controls Freeland, they want his permission. He heard about it and knows she gave the money to the free clinic. He gives his permission, he requests they put facial and body recognition monitors at the clinic. Tobias: “He’s been walking around Freeland every day and no one knows who his black ass is. But I’m going to burn this town down and everyone in it until I find him…He’s got to die, and he’s got to die soon.”
Jennifer gets an email from Khalil. She becomes so discombobulated that she fries the laptop. Lynn is in deep thought when Jefferson asks her how she’s doing. She tells him another kid died in the lab. She informs him that Jennifer fried another computer. Jennifer is costing him a fortune in replacing computers. Jefferson tells Lynn about Lowry. Jefferson: “You know what. I want to take my school back. I mean this guy, he’s just another pencil pusher trying to get a raise. He doesn’t care about the kids.” Lynn: “So then take it back.” As they kiss, Anissa walks in. She needs to talk to Jefferson. Lynn reminds him how sad he was this morning when Anissa left. She tells him that Gambi found out that the ponytail gang is going to attack the free clinic since they know she donated their money to the clinic. Anissa knows her father wants to say ‘I told you so.’ Jefferson wishes that he wasn’t right. He is ready to help his daughter. Jefferson: “And I accept your apology.” [Both hugging each other now] Anissa: “That’s funny because I didn’t give one. But I’ll definitely take yours.” They have squashed their beef. [For now] They are at Gambi’s now and he says the gang is paying someone $50,000 to attack the clinic. They deduce the gang will bomb the clinic, and send it on a person.
“It took long enough for Popsicle Boy to thaw out.” Dr. Jace – Black Lightning
Dr. Jace is preparing to dissect the young man who died. Dr. Jace: “It took long enough for Popsicle Boy to thaw out.” She had corrected Lynn’s program by two seconds. Lynn’s program is for success, Jace’s for failure. Dr. Jace: “I told you, Dr. Stewart. They’re all gonna die. It’s only a matter of how quickly.” Lynn: “I refuse to accept that.” Dr. Jace: “I know, I know. Your optimism amuses me. But death catches us all, Dr. Stewart. None of us gets out alive. I’m here because I’m one of three people in the world who can do what I do, and the other two aren’t nearly as nice.” Dr. Jace asks Lynn about three metahuman samples she came upon. The oldest person got the metagene through Green Light, but the two younger metas, inherited the metagene. She thinks they are a family. She delights in the thought of the ASA getting hold of them so they can experiment on them. Lynn looks worried. [At least Jace doesn’t know the samples come from Jefferson, Anissa, and Jennifer.]
Black Lightning and Thunder are on the roof across from the free clinic watching it. Jefferson offers his dad’s house for Anissa to live in. They watch a pregnant lady enter the clinic while they talk. Jefferson: “If we don’t have a code, we are no better than the criminals.” Anissa: “We’ll always be better than them. We’re fighting for the people, for Freeland, not for money, or trying to make some young girl a sex slave. If we aren’t using our powers to help people, what good are they?” Jefferson: “You had to steal to help those people.” Anissa: “I don’t consider taking money back from people like that stealing, I consider… Hang on.” They see someone in the trash bin, but Gambi’s in the van and he sees that man is just trying to find something to eat. Jefferson notices the pregnant woman they saw enter the clinic is no longer pregnant. Gambi looks at the video and confirms Jefferson’s observation, “It’s the same woman. Whatever she gave birth to ain’t no good.” Black Lightning and Thunder will go inside the clinic to evacuate it and deal with the bomb, while Gambi will deal with the woman. The two jump/fly off the roof and begin to evacuate the clinic. Jefferson finds a bomb in the bathroom and uses an electric ball to contain the explosion. Anissa finds a bomb and jumps on it, containing the explosion. Gambi pulls a gun on the bomber but she’s a skilled fighter. She is able to steal a motorcycle and escape.
DA Montez takes Jefferson’s statement. She shows Jefferson how Tobias’ defense attorney will make it look like he’s lying on Tobias to avenge his father. Montez: “Mr. Pierce I believe you. I do. But right now the truth doesn’t help us. The only thing that helps us make a case is proof.” Later Jefferson is talking to Gambi. He tells Jefferson he destroyed any evidence that would show that Jefferson was there to protect him. In a threatening voice Jefferson says he can’t let this stand. Gambi: “If you hurt Tobias after they dropped the charges against him, then you’re the bad guy, not him.” He assures Jefferson they’ll get Tobias.
Lynn and Jefferson call Jennifer downstairs. Lynn knows she isn’t going to take it well and can’t blame her. For her safety and others, she won’t be able to attend Garfield. They will homeschool her. She can’t control her powers yet, as the fried laptops shows, and too many people are looking for them. Jennifer can’t believe it and goes back upstairs crushed. Kara tries to shoot Gambi to escape. She realizes she is dying. Kara: “I swear I didn’t know that Procter was bent. I was just trying to serve my country.” Gambi asks her to help them again. She requests she be cremated instead of buried. Gambi agrees to do that. She tells him Tobias has the briefcase. Gambi asks where, she hands him her cellphone and she dies. Bye, bye Ms. Fowdy.
Tobias is released from jail, the media is outside to greet him. Tobias: “I’ve always had a strong belief in our justice system.” While Jefferson seethes as he watches on TV, Tobias says he wants to get involved in the community again and his greatest wish is that they find Alvin Pierce’s real killer so Jefferson and his family can find peace. Jefferson’s eyes light up and his drink bubbles. Jennifer is sitting by a locker in an empty Garfield. Khalil joins her. Khalil: “I didn’t expect you to text me back.” Jennifer: “Yeah, well.” The One Hundred is throwing a welcome home party for Tobias. Tobias to the crowd, “I’m back!” The crowd chants, “One Hundred! One Hundred!”
Here is a clip of Jennifer’s astral plane fight with Khalil.
Enjoy Danez Smith’s recitation of Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes.
Tobias grand plan of destroying evidence and killing witnesses works, he is released from jail. He beats the Alvin Pierce murder rap. If this wasn’t bad enough for Jefferson, he has a big fight with Anissa on her reckless behavior. When he pulls the ‘under my roof’ card, Anissa won’t let it intimidate her and she moves out. At Garfield, Principal Lowry proves he is a total dick. In the last episode I knew he was a prick, but not if he was a dick. That is settled. He is at Garfield to establish order, and not bother with any nuance. Lynn isn’t having it much better. Dr. Jace is a mad scientist who doesn’t give a damn about the young people in the pods. She considers them test subjects who are going to die anyway. She’s seen the samples of Jefferson, Anissa, and Jennifer. She doesn’t know who the samples came from, but if she ever figures it out, look out! Jennifer joins her parents in having a rotten day. Perenna is helping her learn to control her powers, but she isn’t there yet. Khalil keeps contacting her. Anissa moves out, losing her only ally in the house. The final straw, her parents won’t let her go back to school, and will homeschool her instead. Jennifer is so despondent that she meets Khalil at school. Nothing bad will happen from that I’m sure.
There is no justice in this episode. Tobias literally gets away with murder, and he plays the justice system like a fiddle. Jefferson can’t do anything about it because Gambi destroyed any evidence that Jefferson saw Tobias kill his father. Jefferson likes to go by the rules, but he might have to follow Anissa’s lead if he wants to see justice for his father. Anissa is fighting the good fight for the community, and she’ll do whatever she has to do to achieve her goals. This philosophy can get her in trouble. It might be time for the Black Lightning/Thunder team to come up with some rules together. Kara Fowdy is dead, all of the female villains from Season one, (Lady Eve, Tory, Syonide, Fowdy) are dead now. Before you call this sexist, except for Tobias, all the male villains are dead too, (Lala, Proctor, Will). Crime doesn’t really pay in the Black Lightning universe.
Playing during the opening title sequence and Jennifer imagining going to her prom was My Side by Lophiile.
The music Tobias attorney was listening to while he spoke to the longhaired criminal was the jazz piece Deconstruction by David Chesky.
Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker) by Parliament jammed during free clinic action scene.
When Tobias was giving his press conference and Jennifer was meeting with Khalil, Stand by Goapele played.
Black Lightning won’t be on next Tuesday, but here’s the next episode on November 13. Don’t forget to vote Tuesday. Jefferson and Anissa will expect you to do your part.