“Uh, yeah. Modern day Basquiat.” Khalil Payne
Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams), Anissa/Thunder (Nafessa Williams), and Peter Gambi (James Remar) are still searching for the runaways. Giselle Cutter (Kearran Giovanni) hides in a pile of leaves and emerges once Team Black Lightning leaves. Her hands are still bound, so she jumps up to a sharp object to cut herself loose.
Jennifer (China Anne McClain) and Khalil Payne/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway) are at the train yard, they board an abandoned train. Jennifer asks where they are, Khalil says it is his apartment and starts the generator. The lighted train car is full of drawings on the wall. Jennifer: “Did you draw all of these?” Khalil: “Uh, yeah. Modern day Basquiat.” On his drawing pad is a sketch of Jennifer.
Lynn (Christine Adams) is on the phone with Jefferson. Jefferson informs her that they have lost the kids’ trail. They figure that the couple are holed up somewhere, trying to wait out their pursuers. Lynn brings up that Khalil has his own place, she found out about it talking to Khalil’s father. Jefferson is disturbed that Lynn talked to this felon by herself. Gambi will use the texts that Khalil and Jennifer sent to each other to find Khalil’s place. Jefferson: “Lynn, no more moves without backup, please.” She agrees for now.
Khalil: “Hey, do you remember that time I asked you to be my girl?” Jennifer: “Yeah, how could I forget? You said that if anything had happened to me, the thought of not being able to ask me out messed with you. Yeah, I remember. You was all shy and cute.” Khalil: “Wait … “was”?!” Jennifer: “Don’t worry, you still cute now that we cut off those promoter dreads.” Khalil pulls out the necklace he gave her back then. He tells her she doesn’t have to accept it, but he thinks it belongs with her. Jennifer accepts it and they kiss. Khalil: “See. No glow, just beautiful you.” Jennifer: “I can’t. I can’t do this. I’m sorry, but I’m not ready. I didn’t leave home to lose my virginity in a train car like this.” Khalil: “Yeah.” Jennifer: “I left home to keep you safe, to keep you alive. And I don’t regret that because you are alive. But I don’t want it to be like this. We’re on the run in a train car, you know? I’m worried. I’m worried about what’s going to happen to you. I’m worried about what’s going to happen to me. I’m worried about what my family’s thinking about.” Khalil: “Hey, it’s okay. I will wait.”
After a moment of silence, Khalil: “What are you thinking about?” Jennifer: “I’m wishing this was all a dream.” Khalil: “Yeah, well it ain’t.” Jennifer wonders where they will go after they leave Freeland. Khalil suggests California, but Jennifer wants to go out of the country. They begin wondering what foreign languages they will need to learn to speak. They agree on French since Jennifer can speak a little already.
Gambi has narrowed down the search to a two-mile radius of abandoned factories. Jefferson suggests he and Gambi search half of it, Anissa and Lynn search the other. Lynn says they should all split up to cover more ground. The three object to her plan, thinking it will be too dangerous for Lynn to be alone. Lynn cocks the shotgun she picked up from Gambi’s armory. Jefferson agrees that they should split up, as he and Gambi share a look.
Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) and Todd Green (RJ Cyler) are at the dinner table listening to jazz. Tobias lectures on jazz symbolizing black excellence. He tells Todd he knows about his encryption skills and produces the ASA briefcase. Tobias: “I have a problem that requires an intellectual musician.” Before he can go on, Cutter calls him. He slides the phone to Todd, “Answer it. Open those thick lips and use your white voice.” She tells Todd to tell Tobias she has lost Khalil, Tobias grunts in anger, Todd informs her that Tobias isn’t happy. She asks for the three most visited places Khalil’s implant was.
Gambi searches a building calling out for Jennifer. Thunder rolls up inside her location calling out for her sister. Black Lightning is in the air, using one of his hands as a spotlight. He sees two men recording the beating they are giving to a homeless man. Black Lighting uses an electric lasso to throw the two bullies out of the room. He produces a hologram of Jennifer and Khalil and asks the homeless man in English, and then Spanish if he had seen them. He hadn’t. Lynn shows up at the trainyard. She is calls out for Jennifer. Khalil turns off the lights, so that Lynn won’t know they are there. Lynn begins speaking to the ether, “Please come home, baby. I know it may seem like running is the right idea, but it isn’t. There’s no finish line for you or Khalil if you keep moving. You’ll get hurt … or worse. Let us help you! Please come back, we’ll help you. I promise! We’re not a family without you, Jenn. Home is not home. We just need you to come back; no one’s mad at you. We just want you home and safe. I love you, Jennifer! I love you.” Lynn leaves brokenhearted. Khalil and Jennifer begin to talk after Lynn leaves. Khalil can sense where this is going. Even though Jennifer isn’t eager to go back to her ‘prison’ she thinks Lynn has a point. Khalil says they have avoided Tobias so far on their own. Jennifer: “Yes, but I don’t want to survive. I want to live. I want to live a good life with you.” Khalil is afraid that if they go back Tobias will get him. He takes a moment and realizes he is being selfish. Khalil: “It’s time for you to go home.”
“You’re lucky my family’s here… ‘cause I would whoop your ass.” Jefferson Pierce
Anissa, Jefferson, and Lynn arrive home and Jennifer greets them. The three rush towards her and the family shares a big hug. Khalil says hello to Jefferson. His family must hold him back. Jefferson: “You’re lucky my family’s here… ‘cause I would whoop your ass.”
Using the severed thumb of the ASA agent, Tobias opens the brief case. It has a numerical code he hasn’t been able to crack. Tobias does have info on the corrupt public officials the ASA bribed, and the land deals the ASA made over 30 years ago. Tobias has bought all the land in the area, but the clinic eludes him. Todd wonders why the ASA would buy all this land in the middle of the ghetto. Tobias tells him that is what he is supposed to find out. There is something about metas in this too. A pissed off Cutter shows up for the info she requested. An overly confident Todd mouths off at her. Tobias: “Give her what she needs.” Todd: “Woah, woah, woah. Hey now, is that a good idea? When I looked up Khalil’s three most visited locations, I did a little bit of extra research. And Cutter has some holes in her resume.” Cutter: “I’ll slit your throat you little bitch!” Tobias: “Give her the list.” Todd: “Okay, just … trying to look out for you.” Tobias: “I know. And I do really appreciate the initiative, Todd. But you might want to tread lightly around natural-born killers.” Todd hands over the list. Cutter makes it to the train and finds a picture of Jennifer, “Little bitch.”
The Pierce’s living room is tense and quiet. Khalil finally breaks the silence, he apologies for getting Jennifer involved. Jennifer speaks up and admits she left with Khalil of her own free will. Lynn appreciates the two standing up for each other, and she accepts Khalil’s apology [to Jefferson’s annoyance] but she points out that Jennifer is still in danger when she’s with Khalil. Jennifer asks, “Tobias?” Jefferson quickly points out yes, he wants Khalil dead and he will kill her if she’s in the way. There are things that Khalil knows that he doesn’t want Tobias to find out. Khalil: “You mean about Jen having powers or you being Black Lightning?” Jennifer tries to say she didn’t tell Khalil, but he cuts her off to explain she didn’t tell him, he figured it out. Jennifer is electric and both Black Lightning and Thunder were looking for them. He promises he won’t do anything to hurt their family. Jefferson scoffs remembering Khalil did kill him once. He tells Jennifer that to keep everyone safe, Khalil will have to turn himself in. Jennifer objects, but Khalil agrees with Jefferson.
Jefferson calls Deputy Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton), asking him to help Khalil, Henderson isn’t interested. Henderson wonders why Jefferson would want to help the boy since he’s caused him all this trouble. Jefferson points out if he hadn’t have gotten shot, none of this would have happened. Henderson: “A lot of people have bad things happen to them, and they don’t go to work for a psychopath and run around shooting people in the ass with poison darts.” Jefferson tells his old friend he is doing this for Jennifer, and he appreciates Khalil brought her back safely. [Actually, Jennifer brought them back safely.] Henderson still objects to helping Khalil. Jefferson: “I know man, I know. But I guess I’m just glad that he’s, that he’s the person I thought he was.” Henderson: “Sure you are. Always wanting to help people.” Henderson finally agrees to help, but Khalil will only get protection if he turns state witness. He will make the arrangements. Jefferson says that Khalil wants to see his mom before he leaves, Henderson sighs in exasperation but agrees.
“Girl, two good-looking teenagers on the run, in danger. I ain’t gotta be Miss Cleo to figure that out.” Anissa Pierce
Jennifer is straightening up her room, after Lynn tore it up. Anissa tells her there were a lot of feelings. She chastises her sister for running off. Jennifer says she had to do it to protect Khalil, and her time on the run was better than being locked up in the house. After they settle that, Anissa has a question. Anissa: “Come here. Did you have sex with him?” Jennifer wonders how Anissa knew they discussed it. Anissa: “Girl, two good-looking teenagers on the run, in danger. I ain’t gotta be Miss Cleo to figure that out.” Jennifer tells her they didn’t, and now she is afraid they never will.
Todd is busy trying to crack the code. Tobias receives a phone call from ADA Montez giving Tobias detailed information on Khalil turning himself in and becoming a state witness against him. In exchange for the information, Tobias will buy her an expensive blue car. He tells Todd to contact Cutter.
Jennifer is sitting on her landing when Khalil pokes his head out the window. She hurries him away from the window. Khalil jokily asks if Tobias is in the back yard. Jennifer tries to apologize for having him go to the march with her. He assures her it wasn’t her fault, he was going to the march anyway, going with her was a bonus. Khalil tries to cheer Jennifer up by telling her once Tobias goes to jail, they can be together again. They hug, but Jennifer can’t see the doubt on Khalil’s face.
Khalil is at the dock surrounded by Freeland SWAT and the FBI. Black Lightning and Thunder are on the roofs observing the area. Henderson signs Khalil over to the FBI. Anissa: “What, you’ve got to sign for him like he’s a package?” Jefferson: “Law enforcement love their paper trail.” Khalil’s mother Nichelle (Yolanda T. Ross) rushes over to her son. He apologizes for all the pain he has caused her. The cops put him in the armored van and take off. The caravan is in a tunnel, one of the officers spots a car blocking the tunnel and a wounded woman on the street. The other officer tells him to drive around her, but he wants to check to see if she’s alright. Unfortunately, for him, the wounded woman is Cutter and she repays him for his kindness by slashing his throat. The other officers see this and draw their guns. They order her on the ground. Henderson calls Jefferson and tells him he’s heard on the radio that the caravan has run into trouble. Jefferson says he’ll meet him at the tunnel. Henderson calls him back when he arrives, “No need. Everybody’s dead.” Jefferson: “Khalil?” Henderson: “There’s no sign of him.”
Jefferson calls Lynn, she must deliver the bad news to Jennifer. She turns off the TV and tells her Khalil was kidnapped. Jennifer breaks down in tears and is inconsolable. Cutter escorts Khalil into Tobias’ lair. He delivers a sinister laugh when he sees him. Khalil tells Tobias he forced Jennifer to come with him and she has nothing to do with this. Tobias isn’t interested in ‘the Pierce girl’. He blames Khalil for Syonide’s death again. Tobias: “I wanted you to be great like Alexander, but you’ve got the heart of a stooped share cropper, happy to spend the days tending to master’s land. We’ve got no time for small dreams here, Khalil. So, if you can’t walk with the giants, then you shall crawl with the snakes.” Tobias picks Khalil up, and even to Cutter’s horror yanks the spinal implant out of Khalil’s back. Todd nearly throws up. As Khalil lies on the floor screaming in pain, Tobias says, “I told you I’d always have your back.” He orders Cutter and Todd to take out the trash. They dump Khalil and the implant out on the street in front of Rev. Jeremiah Holt’s (Clifton Powell) church. Holt goes out to the street to comfort Khalil and pray over him.
Late that night, Todd screams and wakes up Tobias. He has finally gone through the firewall and broken the code. He shows Tobias the pods in the ASA lab, and he informs Tobias what the ASA was doing with the clinic 30 years ago. The ASA administered the vaccine there. They also had pods there for four super metas. It was called Project Masters of Disaster (Project MOD). Todd doesn’t know where the pods are located now, but he can track the vital signs of the four super metas from the original project. Tobias grins and proclaims he is ready to begin the next phase of his plan.
Khalil takes Jennifer to the apartment Lynn found out about from Khalil’s father. The apartment turns out to be an abandoned train car. Khalil has it decorated with his own drawings, and he has drawn a sketch of Jennifer. He gives her the necklace he gave her when he asked her to be his girlfriend. For a few moments they are innocent kids again. Before it gets too romantic, Jennifer tells him she doesn’t want her first time to be in an abandoned train car while they are on the run. Khalil assures her he can wait. Everyone else is still looking for them. With Lynn telling Jefferson about Khalil having a place, Gambi is able to use Jennifer and Khalil’s texts to narrow down the area to search to a two-mile radius. Lynn convinces them [with a shotgun] to divide up to cover more ground. Lynn ends up at the train yard, and without knowing Jennifer can hear her, eloquently begs her daughter to come home. Jennifer hears her and decides it’s time for her and Khalil to stop running. At first Khalil is against it, but he realizes he is being selfish and says it is time for Jennifer to go home. The Pierce’s are overjoyed to find Jennifer already home, but the women in the family have to keep Jefferson from jumping Khalil. The young man apologizes for getting Jennifer involved and Lynn accepts his apology. She points out that Jennifer is still in danger if she is with him. Tobias will kill her if she’s between him and Khalil. Jefferson convinces Khalil to turn himself in to the authorities and turn state witness against Tobias. Jefferson convinces a reluctant Bill Henderson to set it up. Unfortunately, the corrupt justice system in Freeland rears its ugly head again, and an ADA contacts Tobias with the plan. Cutter ambushes the police caravan with Khalil in it and kills everyone except Khalil. He probably wishes she had killed him too, because she takes him back to Tobias. In an extremely cold and vicious act, Tobias tears the spinal implant out of Khalil’s back and has Cutter and Todd toss his body along with the implant in front of Rev. Jeremiah Holt’s church.
Tobias wines and dines Todd with toficken. He tells Todd he needs him to breach the firewall and break the code in the ASA briefcase. Using his advanced encryption skills, Todd succeeds. He has video of the lab where the pod kids are, but more importantly, he has info on an ASA project called Project Masters of Disaster (Project MOD). It is four super metas from the original tests and they can track them through their vital signs. Tobias is ready to move to the next phase of his plan.
This was one of Black Lightning’s best episodes. There isn’t any stand out actions scenes, but everything else was top notch. The acting was sublime, with China Anne McClain and Jordan Calloway deserving top honors. They broke my heart. You knew this was going to end badly and subconsciously they knew it too. They played all the hope and fear the two had beautifully. The adults in the cast were no slouches either. Someone I don’t usually mention is but I have to this time is Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III. He does a great job portraying Tobias Whale. He brings a twisted humanity to the character. Tobias was on fire this episode, showing his true menace. He’s done a lot of terrible things before, but what he did to Khalil was operatic. There is one thing I wish we had gotten to see, Cutter taking out the police. I assume they couldn’t because of budgetary restraints. If they had shown it, this would have been the best episode of the series.
The music matched the episodes excellence. Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love) by the Delfonics played at the beginning of the episode when Black Lightning, Thunder, and Gambi are searching for Jennifer and Khalil.
While Jennifer and Khalil discuss the first time he asked her to be his girlfriend and he gives her the necklace he gave her then, Emeli Sandé’s Happen plays.
The Pan Piper by Miles Davis plays during Tobias and Todd’s dinner.
During the search scene where Lynn, Gambi, Black Lightning, and Thunder search separately for Jennifer and Khalil, Darkest Light from Lafayette Afro Rock Band plays.
Battery (featuring JF) by Ashley Leone plays in the background when Anissa asks Jennifer if she slept with Khalil.
Tobias removes the spinal implant from Khalil’s back while Broadway by David Chesky plays in the background.
In the final scene, with Khalil laying in the street across from Rev. Holt’s church, and Todd breaches the firewall and cracks the code to discover Project MOD, Time Has Come by Psychedelic Soul Crew plays.