Black Lightning: Thunder Rumbles

Title: Black Lightning Season 1 Episode 6: “Three Sevens: The Book of Thunder”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction, Superhero
Platform: TV – CW
Director: Benny Boom
Writer: Charles Holland
Rating: TV-14
Release: February 27, 2018
Cast: Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Christine Adams
Feature image: Source


“Jefferson is in the hurt locker and it’s bad.” Peter Gambi – Black Lightning

Inspector Henderson (Damon Gupton) is walking through a busy police station, the cops are preparing to roll out to capture Black Lightning. Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is lying in the parking lot where he fought Joey Toledo (Eric Mendenhall). Peter Gambi (James Remar) drives up in his van to rescue Jefferson. Gambi: “Breathe, Jefferson, Breathe!” Jefferson: “Tobias is in Freeland, Gambi.” Gambi calls Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams), “Jefferson is in the hurt locker and it’s bad.” The squad cars pass by the van, so Black Lightning gets away.

Joey stumbles into Tobias Whale’s (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) lair. Syonide (Charlbi Dean Kriek) is lurking in the background. Tobias: “What the hell happened to you?” Joey: “I just fought Black Lightning. One more minute and he would have been dead. Something’s wrong with his head.” Tobias: “So, why didn’t you finish him?” Joey: “I tried, I was holding my own. He trashed my gun. I tipped our guy at the department.” Tobias: “There was a time you could depend on white boys to be professional. Nowadays, white boys are just as lazy and predictable as your brothers.” Tobias orders Joey to call their contact at the police station so they can know if Black Lightning is in custody. Tobias barks out: “Black Lightning doesn’t live out the night.” Back at the police station, Henderson’s boss Deputy Chief Cayman (Anthony Reynolds) is mad that they didn’t capture Black Lightning. Henderson asks him suspiciously about the tip he received about Black Lightning, Cayman brushes him off when he gets a call [probably from Toledo].

Lynn is at Gambi’s shop examining Jeff. Lynn: “Your powers turbo-charged your recovery system. You don’t heal as fast as you use to but it’s still twice as fast as normal.” Jefferson tries to turn this moment into a romantic one, but Lynn won’t have any of that. She tells him that she is pissed off that he is dragging her back into this. Jeff tells her about Joey Toledo and his need to get Tobias. Lynn doesn’t care, Alvin Pierce is dead and nothing he does can change that.

“Look, you are a black woman. You don’t have the luxury of being naïve.” Jefferson Pierce – Black Lightning

Anissa Pierce (Nafessa Williams) is at a campus protest over a confederate statute. She and a group of campus activist use their water guns to spray the statue with red paint. While their classmates cheer on, campus police rushes in and arrests the activist. One of the campus cops pushes Anissa into the ground; she tells him, “Get off me.” Lynn is at her lab when her lab assistant Kam (Matt Mercurio) shows her an ex-ray from a Green Light addict’s brain, he asks if she has seen anything like this. She tells him no, but after sending him away for coffee, she compares it to an ex-ray of Jefferson’s brain, they are nearly the same. Kam is in the hallway watching her and he places a phone call. Jefferson and Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) show up at the police station to bail Anissa out again. Jennifer sasses her sister, “Damn, you stay getting arrested.” Jefferson isn’t amused like Jennifer, he expresses his disappointment in Anissa’s behavior. He tells her how dangerous it was for her to have a gun during the protest. She reminds him it was only a water gun. He tells her it looked enough like a gun for a ‘nervous’ cop to shoot her. Jefferson: “Look, you are a black woman. You don’t have the luxury of being naïve.” He continues: “I love you and I don’t want to lose you because of something you should have walked away from.” Anissa somberly considers her father’s message.

Anissa is back in her room going though the material she got out of her grandfather’s storage. Jennifer pops in and asks her sister to check her pre-calculus homework. Jennifer: “I would be the only one in the family who is bad at math.”  Anissa: “Everyone winds up in the mud somewhere in math.” She informs her sister her work is perfect. Anissa can tell something else is bothering her little sister and coaxes it out of her. Jennifer is feeling guilty about Khalil (Jordan Calloway). She had been excited about getting a boyfriend, and being able to go to dances with him, but now she’ll be on the sidelines with Khalil watching life go by. Jennifer: “I’m awful.”  Anissa: “No, you’re human, with a hard choice to make, that’s all.”

“You raised him to be Black Lightning. His father raised him to be Jefferson Pierce, but he was formed on the streets of Freeland.” Lynn Pierce – Black Lightning

Gambi is checking on Jefferson’s suit. He explains to Jefferson, “Your powers are largely neurological. Your brain can pick up and use electricity the way a normal person can pick up a pencil or use a hammer.” The suit helps him keep his power in check. He asks how Jefferson is feeling, Jefferson tells him he feels fine and now he is ready to put Tobias in his grave. Gambi tries to talk him out of taking this action. He is Black Lightning, and that isn’t what he stands for. Jefferson wonders out loud why Gambi is trying to protect Tobias. Gambi points out that since he was last Black Lightning over nine years ago, the One Hundred have grown more sophisticated and powerful. Jefferson doesn’t care, “I’m gonna take him out, period.” The next morning when Lynn arrives at her lab, Gambi is waiting for her. He tells her that Jefferson is planning on killing Tobias and he asks her to stop him. Lynn: “You raised him to be Black Lightning. His father raised him to be Jefferson Pierce, but he was formed on the streets of Freeland. And no amount of education or the Olympics gets that out of you. He’s complicated.” Gambi knows that and thinks that Lynn understands Jefferson better than Jefferson understands himself. She tells Gambi this is his problem, not hers.

“Dad is married to saving the world. You didn’t like coming in second.” Anissa Pierce – Black Lightning

Jefferson in his office and thinks about something Henderson said about catching criminals, so he goes online to research albinism. Jennifer shows a nasty video Alana (Whitney Anderson) made about her to Kiesha (Kyanna Simone Simpson). Jennifer wishes she had knocked her out. Anissa brings her grandfather’s research to Lynn for help. Anissa knows that Jefferson and her mom have had a falling out recently. She remembers them fighting when she was a child. She knows that Lynn doesn’t like being his mistress. Lynn points out that Jefferson has never cheated on her. Anissa knows and responds, “Dad is married to saving the world. You didn’t like coming in second.” Lynn wants to know what is going on with Anissa but she won’t answer. Lynn tells her she can tell something is up, but she’ll wait until Anissa is ready to tell her. Anissa promises to tell her one day. Gambi gets one of his alerts, he sees that Jefferson is visiting Tobias’ doctor who specializes in albinism. He reminds Jefferson there is a difference between him and Tobias. Jefferson isn’t listening. Jefferson talks to the frightened doctor, Dr. Henry Mayfield (Eric Goins). He only treats Tobias because he has threatened his family. Jefferson gets the doctor to call him the next time Tobias shows up for an appointment.

“Khalil, I’ll pray for you.”  “Yeah, you can keep your damn prayers. Now, get out!” Jennifer Pierce and Khalil – Black Lightning

Vice Principal Kara Fowdy (Skye P. Marshall) runs into Jefferson in the school hallway, she tells him that Jennifer is being cyberbullied and shows him the video. Jefferson goes to find his daughter, she is in an empty room in the school’s gym. Jefferson tells her that because of slavery, some black people can’t stand to see others get ahead, causing the ‘crabs in a barrel’ mentality. Jennifer tells him that most of the kids turned on Alana for her negative message, but what hurt her was Khalil’s comments to the video, calling her Becky, and questioning her blackness. Jefferson: “Look, no one is an expert on who or what is black, because black is everything under the sun.” Jefferson points out this could be the pain talking, or the pain is revealing the type of person Khalil is when things aren’t going his way. Jennifer wants to talk to Khalil. Jefferson thinks both of them should take some space, but he consents to take his daughter to talk to him. Khalil is acting like a total jerk, he blames Jennifer for being paralyzed. He tells her he wouldn’t have been at the march if it hadn’t been for her. He calls her Becky again and tells her she has everything and he has nothing. He played by the rules and this still happened to him. Jennifer: “Khalil, I’ll pray for you.” Khalil: “Yeah, you can keep your damn prayers. Now, get out!” Jennifer asks Jefferson to take her home, before they leave, Jefferson gets a call from Dr. Mayfield, Tobias is coming to his office this evening at 6:00.

Anissa is at the high school and the TV newscasters are reporting on the protests over the confederated statue. The protests have gotten violent, and a person from the alt-right ran over a protestor killing her. Fowdy asks Anissa if she knew the dead girl, Anissa answers that she barely knew her. Fowdy: “Makes you wish you could do something to stop this madness.” As she walks away Anissa gets an idea. She shows up later at the statue which is surrounded by mourning students in her superhero outfit. She stomps on the ground and causes the statue to explode. Some of the broken pieces strike the students. Anissa is crying in her car and calls her mother, Lynn tells her what she is doing with the material Anissa brought to her. Anissa tells her mom she is ready to show and tell her what is going on with her.

“This isn’t me fighting with you anymore. This is about me reminding you that you are a hero, not a murderer.” Lynn Pierce – Black Lightning

Gambi calls Lynn to keep Jefferson from killing Tobias. Jefferson is on a rooftop waiting for Tobias. When his crew drives up, Jefferson has a flashback to the night Tobias killed his father. A young Jefferson is hiding under a couch and he watches Tobias and two of his henchmen kill his father. Tobias: “So you want to write about me huh Uncle Tom. [Stuffing ripped newspapers down his throat.] It’s time for you to eat your damn words.” Jefferson is ready to kill him, but Gambi patches in Lynn. Lynn reminds him of his daughters’ dates of birth and tells him how important he is to them, but he can’t be as good a father to them if he kills Tobias in cold blood. She realizes in the past that she didn’t like coming in second to his mission as Black Lightning, but she is through fighting with him. Lynn: “This isn’t me fighting with you anymore. This is about me reminding you that you are a hero, not a murderer.” Jefferson hears someone breaking into Lynn’s lab so he flies away, leaving Tobias unharmed. Anissa is walking into the lab in costume when she finds a knocked-out guard. She finds her mother tied up and gagged with two men in the lab. Lynn helplessly watches one of the assailants shoot at her daughter and with shock watch the bullets bounce off her. Anissa easily tosses him and heads to the other assailant. He stares in shock and Anissa taunts him, “What, you thought he missed?” She tosses him away. Both men get-up and run for their lives. While Anissa is trying to untie her mother, her father shows up. He doesn’t recognize Anissa and thinks she is the one who broke into the lab. The two superheroes begin to fight. Anissa can more than hold her own against Black Lightning, but using his experience, he is able to knock her out. When she starts moaning in pain he realizes it’s Anissa.

“You will know strength, be strength, and believe me, it’s so much fun.” Syonide – Black Lightning

In Gambi’s van, Lynn is crying. Jefferson: “What the hell was she doing?” Lynn: “What you do. She has powers, Jeff. She has powers.” Lynn thinks Anissa has a concussion, along with some burns and bruises. Khalil is in a car with Tobias and Syonide. It appears he has joined the gang. He isn’t sure what he can do for them since he can’t even walk. Tobias assures him he’ll walk again. Syonide: “You will know strength, be strength, and believe me, it’s so much fun.” Gambi shows up at Lady Eve’s (Jill Scott) place. They are apparently old comrades from their days together at the ASA. He reminds ‘Evelyn’ that the Pierce’s are off limits and he wants to know why she sent two goons to Lynn’s lab. She tells him Lynn is doing research on a matter that concerns her. The goons were only going to steal the research, they didn’t know Lynn would be at the lab. She asks Gambi if he knows who the new meta is. Gambi lies and says he doesn’t. He reminds her he has kept quiet about Tobias, she knows, but if Gambi gets in her way she’ll eliminate him. Back at home Anissa begins to wake up, Lynn says, “Hey Honey.” Anissa tries to say “Hi” but spots her dad dressed as Black Lightning, “Dad?”

The friction between Jefferson and Gambi is growing. Gambi is trying to keep Jefferson from killing Tobias, and Jefferson is suspicious of Gambi’s motivation. I am too, it seems like with Gambi, everything he does has at least two different motives behind it. He cares about Jefferson and is trying to protect him, but he has ties with Lady Eve and Tobias going back to his ASA days. He is also motivated not to have any of that coming out in the open. “Evelyn’ use to be under Gambi back in the ASA but something happened that caused her to decide to go into the private sector. Gambi didn’t join her, but they must have done some messed up stuff to keep him quiet about her and her activities. Jefferson isn’t going to be pleased when he finds out. I wonder if Gambi had anything to do with Jefferson father’s death? It would explain his devotion to Jefferson and his family. Jefferson is on the warpath, and Gambi gets a reluctant Lynn to stop him from killing in cold blood. Lynn is more wrapped up in the superhero business than she could have ever planned when she finds out that Anissa is in the family business. We got the great fight scene between Jefferson and Anissa. I believe that Anissa is more powerful than her father, but he was able to use his years of experience to defeat her. Jennifer has her own problems, she still has Alana attacking her, this time on the internet. Jennifer can handle that, but Khalil joining in the attack is too much. Unbeknownst to her and Jefferson, Khalil is in Tobias’ orbit. Tobias tells him he will help him walk again, and Syonide tells Khalil he will have strength, and enjoy it. I’m sure Lady Eve has something to make him strong. I’m thinking that Green Light, is a test run to develop enhanced strength, and Khalil will get the finished product. With Jennifer having powers too, this appears to be a future show down.

This is my favorite episode of the season. All of the storylines were interesting and important. They also have weaved Lynn into the storylines and made her as interesting as everyone else. Christine Adams was great this episode, and her scene in the van with Anissa and Jeff was her best. Lynn and Jefferson know about Anissa, and Anissa finally knows about Jefferson, I’m glad they didn’t wait until the end of the season to make the reveals. It really kicks the storylines up a notch. It is also interesting that we are shown how the One Hundreds’ tentacles are all over Freeland, from the Deputy Chief Cayman, to Kam in Lynn’s lab. Jefferson doesn’t know how deep this goes, he is going to need all the help he can get.

The music was good as usual, not the best of the season, but still good. For Whom the Bell Tolls by J Cole played when Henderson arrived at the police station and when Gambi rescued Jefferson. HEAVN by Jamila Woods played while Jennifer and Anissa discuss math homework and Khalil. Goodholly reappears with Power, when Jennifer tries to comfort Khalil and is kicked out for her efforts.

Grade: A


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