Black Lightning: New Outfit

Title: Black Lightning Season 1 Episode 5: “And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction, Superhero
Platform: TV – CW
Director: Rose Troche
Writer:  Adam Giaudrone
Rating: TV-14
Release: February 13, 2018
Cast: Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Christine Adams
Feature image: Source


“I just found my new favorite thing.” Jefferson Pierce – Black Lightning

Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is standing on a rooftop preparing to try out the latest upgrade to his suit from Peter Gambi (James Remar). Jefferson: “Are you sure about this?” Gambi: “In theory.” Jefferson: “That’s not the vote of confidence I was looking for.” The new upgrade allows Black Lightning to fly. After his initial first flight Jefferson gleefully says, “I just found my new favorite thing.” On the rooftop, Jefferson sees some of Freeland’s finest fighting with a youngster on Green Light. They are having trouble bringing him down, so one of the officers pulls out his gun to shoot him. Black Lightning flies down and stops him. He wrestles with the youngster until he shocks him into submission. He orders the officers to call an ambulance and warns them, “Next time, try using a Taser first.”

“The only thing I’m going to measure you for is a coffin.” Peter Gambi – Black Lightning

An alarm goes off in Gambi’s secret lair; Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) and his henchwoman Syonide (Charlbi Dean Kriek) are in his shop. Gambi grabs a gun to greet them. Tobias tells him he is there for a suit. Gambi: “The only thing I’m going to measure you for is a coffin.” He tells him they agreed he would never come there. Tobias knows that Gambi worked for the ASA [American Security Agency] so he wants to know who Black Lightning is. Gambi says he doesn’t know, but he does know about the serum Tobias was given to keep from aging and warns him it won’t end up well for him or his sister. Tobias tells Gambi that not telling him who Black Lightning is won’t end up well for him. Gambi pulls his gun out, Syonide pulls hers out, and Tobias decides he’ll see Gambi later.

“I’ve been waiting to knock you out since the sixth grade.” Alana – Black Lightning

Anissa Pierce (Nafessa Williams) is in her room researching enhanced strength online. A conspiracy nut is on talking about the Tuskegee experiments and the lead poisoning in Flint Michigan; he brings up the nine kids in 1987 who exhibited enhanced abilities in Freeland who disappeared. Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) enters her room to borrow a jacket to go skating with her friend Keisha (Kyanna Simone Simpson). After Anissa chases her out, Jennifer meets Keisha at the skating rink. Two girls from a rival high school confront Jennifer. One of the girls, Alana (Whitney Anderson) dated Khalil and she jokes about him being ‘crippled’.  Jennifer verbally puts her down, so the two girls prepare to jump her. Alana: “I’ve been waiting to knock you out since the sixth grade.” The two girls try to jump Jennifer but she is too quick and skilled for them; she easily defeats them and breaks Alana’s wrist.

Since Gambi adjusted Black Lightning’s suit for flight, Jefferson has experienced headaches. He’s at the drugstore to get pain relievers when he comes upon a young father with his daughter arguing with the clerk about some expired medicine. The clerk says there isn’t anything he can do about it. Jefferson intervenes and suggests the clerk help the young father. Jefferson experiences a sharp attack of pain and hits the counter with his fist; the clerk gets nervous and retrieves a bat from under the counter. Jefferson to the drugstore clerk: “Look, I promise you that bat is not going to end up where you’re expecting it to.” The clerk wisely puts the bat away. Jefferson helps the young father find some more medicine and offers to pay for it. The young father initially refuses the help, but Jefferson assures him he isn’t giving this to him, if the young father sees someone in need of help, he should pass this on by helping that person. The young father agrees. Jefferson gets a text from Gambi about a warehouse.

Black Lightning arrives at the warehouse. The owner of the warehouse appears with a shotgun aimed at our hero. The warehouse owner says, “Look here, you electrified lawn jockey, you’re a wanted man, and you’re trespassing, which means I can shoot your black ass and I’ll be called a hero.”  Jefferson responds “Mother,” and delivers a lightning strike, taking away his shotgun. He asks the owner what’s in the warehouse. It contains chemicals to make Green Light. Jefferson asks who hired him, and the warehouse owner tells him it was Joey Toledo (Eric Mendenhall). Jefferson angrily goes back to Gambi. Joey Toledo was Tobias’ right-hand man. He reasons that if Joey is in town, it could mean that Tobias is too. He wonders why Gambi didn’t know that Joey was back. Gambi pretends he didn’t know. Jefferson rants that if Tobias is back selling Green Light, he has to get him, and even better if he has to go through Toledo. His anger causes him to faint. Gambi calls Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams). He tells her about Jefferson’s headaches and about him acting aggressive. Lynn asks how long has this been going on, Gambi doesn’t know. She asks if this is Black Lightning related. Gambi mention the new function in the suit, which allows Black Lightning to hover. Jefferson creates an electrical surge that affects the machines. He wakes up confused. He tries to get out of the bed so that he can hunt down Joey Toledo but Lynn stops him and asks him to rest while she figures out what’s wrong.

“Wow. This is some ominous lighting.” Tori – Black Lightning

Tobias’ sister Tori (Edwina Findley Dickerson) enters his darken lair. Tori: “Wow. This is some ominous lighting.” She is upset that he went to Gambi looking for Black Lightning. She tells him that it was reckless and warns him that Lady Eve won’t like it. Tobias tells his sister that he isn’t afraid of Lady Eve. Tori: “This is not about fear, it’s about strategy.” He begins ranting about Lady Eve and the board using Black Lightning’s reappearance to keep from promoting him to the board. He is stuck babysitting the One Hundred. When he was still on the city council he had power, and the board treated him as an equal. Tori tells him he has to get over something from the past, their dad Eldridge (T.C. Carson). Tori: “You never dealt with your first enemy, your worst enemy. And you can’t forgive yourself.” She informs him that she has located their father. Tobias goes into a flashback of his childhood. Tori is a little girl, while Tobias is his adult self. Their father comes in complaining about Tobias’ medical bills taking up half his paycheck. He complains that because of his son’s albino condition, he is worthless. Eldridge: “You ain’t black, you ain’t white, you ain’t nothing.” Little Tori (Rayne Caldwell) tries to stand up for her brother, but her father slaps her. Back in real time, Tobias asks where their father is. They show up at their father’s home. Eldridge isn’t thrilled to see his kids. He reminds them he didn’t leave them like their mother did. Tobias agrees and begins to hug his father. He asks Eldridge why he stayed and answers the question himself. His father stayed to make his children’s lives miserable. He breaks his father’s back and drops him on the floor. Tori pulls out a gun to shoot him but he tells his sister to leave their father to die slowly and painfully on the floor.

Anissa does more research on the missing kids. She discovers that the reporter who wrote about their disappearance was her grandfather, Alvin Pierce. One of his stories was about a vaccine. She goes into Jefferson’s room to ask him about her grandfather. Jefferson becomes defensive. Anissa knows that talking about his father is a sore point for him. Jefferson relaxes a little and says, “Your grandfather had a lot of wild ideas about a lot of things,” but he concludes, “Your grandfather always did the right thing…always.” Anissa goes to the Freeland Gazette to talk to its editor David Poe (Antonio Fargas). He is happy to meet her until she asks him about the nine missing enhanced children. He shoots her down and forcefully asks her to leave.

Inspector Henderson (Damon Gupton) heads towards his car when the police cars in the parking lot lights start flashing. He realizes this is the work of Black Lightning. Black Lightning is there to tell Henderson that Joey Toledo is involved in the Green Light trade. Henderson didn’t know that Toledo was back in town. Black Lightning volunteers to work with Henderson in this matter. The toll of Green Light is so heavy on the community that Henderson agrees. Jefferson left a burner phone in Henderson’s car so that he can call him with information on Toledo. Jefferson: “Consider this the Black Signal.” Henderson: “You still got jokes [after Black Lightning quietly disappears]…you still do that.”

“You really want to play with me little girl?” Lynn Pierce – Black Lightning

Alana with her mother Grace (Jessica Fontaine) and her aunt Gina (Vernika Rowe) shows up [with plenty of attitude] at the Pierce’s home to complain about Jennifer breaking Alana’s wrist in the fight. Lynn is able to calm the women down. When Jennifer walks in the house, her parents and Alana’s family are having a pleasant conversation. The women leave giving Jennifer the stink eye. Her parents start in on her. Jefferson: “What the hell were you thinking?” Jennifer: “Okay, look. It wasn’t my fault.” Lynn: “It doesn’t matter whose fault it was. Did you not see the cast on her wrist?” Jennifer explains that the two girls attacked her; Jefferson is impressed she defeated both of them, but Lynn is still mad that she didn’t tell them about the fight. She grounds Jennifer for not telling them about the fight, Jennifer protests and gives Lynn a little too much lip. Lynn: “You really want to play with me little girl?”  Jefferson: “Hmm hmm, you don’t.” After Lynn leaves the room, Jefferson asks, “Two girls.” Jennifer: “Two.” Jefferson smiles, he is proud she could defend herself. Sometime later, Jennifer is on the couch sulking about her punishment. Jefferson talks to his daughter about fighting. Jefferson: “Fighting should never be about adding fuel to the fire.”  Jennifer: “What about when somebody’s trying to regulate upside your head?” He sympathizes with her.

“All this ass. I’m gonna need something that really fits.” Anissa Pierce – Black Lightning

Anissa goes back to the Gazette; Poe gives her a box of Alvin’s research for his story. He asks her to leave this story alone for her own safety but she refuses. David Poe: “Alvin said it then, and I still believe it to be true today, they’re watching.” Anissa: “Wait. Who’s watching?” David Poe: “I’m sure if you find out you’ll get killed.” Back at home, Anissa looks over her grandfather’s files. She sees a story about a crooked politician, Tobias Whale [who looks the same] and a story about a vaccine causing the enhanced abilities of the nine missing children. Anissa finds a key to a storage facility. She plans to wear her black hoodie to investigate, but Jennifer is wearing it. She puts on the cat suit she wore to the cosplay party at the Red Lipstick, but when she practices some fighting moves, it tears. Anissa: “All this ass. I’m gonna need something that really fits.” Anissa goes shopping for a new superhero outfit. We are treated to a cute montage of Anissa, and the sales clerk Ben (Brandon Sauve) looking at and trying different outfits. Anissa finally picks one that they can both agree on her buying. Ben: “Now you are about to be the fiercest and most fabulous superhero on the block.”

Henderson calls Black Lightning about Joey Toledo. An old girlfriend of his is hanging out with him again. He gives Jefferson her address. Jefferson goes to Gambi’s shop to get the control module for his suit. Gambi tells him he found a problem with the suit’s capacitator, he’ll just need a day to fix it. Jefferson wants the suit now to catch Toledo. Gambi suggests he wait, Jefferson is not in the mood, “Give me the control module or I’m going to Black Lightning your ass!” Tobias gets a letter; when he opens it, dust comes out. He flashes back to when Lady Eve told him the story of some Africans grinding Albinos bones to make magic dust. It’s a warning from her.

“Now you are about to be the fiercest and most fabulous superhero on the block.” Ben – Black Lightning

Anissa goes to the Anvil Storage Facility; the lock for the key is too rusted to open, so she uses her strength to break the lock. In her grandfather’s old storage space, she finds a safe, she uses her strength to open it and she finds a vial of the vaccine. Black Lightning spots Joey Toledo’s ex. He takes her phone away from her and warns her not to speak to anyone about this. He sends Toledo a text to meet her. When Toledo shows up, Black Lightning begins to kick his arse and ask where Tobias is. In the middle of the beating, Jefferson gets a severe headache and collapses to the ground. Now it is Toledo delivering the beating. Jefferson is able to get him off him but his suit malfunctions. Joey Toledo: “He may not have killed you before, but the next time Tobias sees you, he’s gonna finish you, and I’ll bury you.” He walks away laughing at Black Lightning.

Gambi made a few changes on Black Lightning’s suit, enabling him to fly. That’s cool except it seemed to cause some side effects; headaches and an increase in aggressive behavior. Jefferson finds out that Tobias is alive and that makes Jefferson even more aggressive and reckless. This leads him to confront one of Tobias’ men in a malfunctioning suit, leading to Jefferson being on the other end of a beating. We are learning more about Gambi, and it’s disturbing. Gambi has some type of relationship with Tobias. It appears that the agency Gambi was associated with, the ASA might have given Tobias a serum that keeps him from aging. We have to question Gambi’s loyalty to Jefferson. He didn’t tell Tobias who Black Lightning is, but we’ve seen him keep secrets from Jefferson. I believe he’s doing it to protect Jefferson, but it will be interesting to see who Gambi really answers to. While researching enhanced strength, Anissa comes upon a story about nine kids with enhanced abilities disappearing over 30 years ago. The reporter who was covering this story was her grandfather. Now Anissa appears to be following in her grandfather’s footsteps as she begins to investigate the case. In her grandfather’s storage facility, she finds a vial which might contain the vaccine that her grandfather thought might have caused the kids enhanced abilities. Jennifer gets in a fight and breaks the other girl’s wrist. That girl and her friend jumped Jennifer but clearly didn’t know who they were messing with. Finally, Tobias and Tori went down memory lane, and ended up killing dear old dad.

This episode was stuffed with storylines. Some like Jennifer’s weren’t that interesting, while other storylines like Gambi and Anissa’s gave a great deal of exposition that will be important to the show later on. We also learned more about Tobias and what makes him tick. He and Tori came from an abusive background. It bonded them and probably led them down the road they are travelling now. It doesn’t justify the type of man Tobias is, but it gives him more depth. I wonder if Jefferson’s problems were only from the suit, or is his coming back to using his powers damaging his body. They haven’t explained how the electricity in his body works. When he uses it, does it damage his body? He isn’t a young man doing this any longer. Maybe Lynn’s concerns about him being Black Lightning again are more valid than we initially thought.

Aside from being overstuffed, it was a good episode, maybe not as good as the first few, but still good. As usual I enjoyed Anissa the most. Her superhero costume shopping trip was very cute. I can’t wait to find out where Gambi stands, and how Jefferson will react when he finds out Gambi has been keeping the truth about Tobias from him. It won’t be pretty. The action was good, and the humor was handled well. The series hasn’t disappointed me yet.

The music was outstanding again. I get to hear a lot of excellent new music I’m not familiar with and also hear some of my old favorites. Tuck ‘N’ Roll by Durand Jones & The Indications played while Jefferson was practicing flying. Time Off by Starro & Kyle Dion played while Anissa was doing her research. Lost & Found by 1-O.A.K. played at the skating rink where Jennifer beat up her attackers. Buyaka (feat. Stush) by Falcons & GTA played when Anissa dressed in her superhero costume heads to the storage facility. Finally, we get to The Payback by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. It plays when Jefferson tries to get his payback on Joey Toledo. I couldn’t find No Games from Stella Mwangi but I did find a clip from the show that shows the montage of Anissa creating her costume, while the song plays.

Grade: B+

















Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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