Black Lightning: Training Day

Title: Black Lightning Season 1 Episode 8: “The Book of Revelations”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction, Superhero
Platform: TV – CW
Director: Tanya Hamilton
Writer: Jan Nash
Rating: TV-14
Release: March 13, 2018
Cast: Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Christine Adams
Feature image: Source


“You can’t be reactive.” Jefferson Pierce – Black Lightning

Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is training his daughter Anissa/Thunder (Nafessa Williams). In the background is a newscast with the citizens of Freeland talking about their newfound distrust and dislike for Black Lightning since Lady Eve’s murder. Jefferson has a training hologram on and when Anissa sees a white guy with a confederate shirt on she strikes him. Jefferson: “Why did you hurt that guy? He wasn’t a threat just because of the t-shirt he was wearing. He might be racist, but he wasn’t a threat.” He tells her they are there to protect the public, they have to be careful and think. He continues, “You can’t be reactive.”  Listening to the newscast he tells Anissa, “This attempt at framing me. You know what it proves? I’m getting under someone’s skin.” For her first training mission, they are going to clear Black Lightning’s name and find Lady Eve’s killer. Jefferson gives Anissa this instruction, “Now listen to me, do whatever I tell you and hopefully you’ll learn a few things.”

“Dead?” “Yeah I think I was.” Lala – Black Lightning

Godholly (as himself) and LaShawn (Al-Jaleel Knox) are in an empty club performing when a creepy acting Lala (William Catlett) walks in. They are shocked to see him. Godholly: “They told us you weren’t coming back. That you were dead.” Lala: “Dead?” “Yeah I think I was.” He tells them to continue performing as he creepily walks out.

“He was a nuisance, now he’s a danger.” Martin Proctor – Black Lightning

In a deserted parking lot, Peter Gambi (James Remar) waits for another car to pull up. The person in the other car is Martin Proctor (Gregg Henry), the ASA regional director. He thinks that Black Lightning killed Lady Eve and he plans to return the favor. “He was a nuisance, now he’s a danger,” says Proctor. Gambi urges caution, but Proctor doesn’t want to follow his advice for this case. Proctor: “I don’t like power I don’t control.” They discuss what the ASA has been up to. Lady Eve was distributing Green Light for them. They were behind the vaccine test 30 years ago, and once they mistakenly created meta humans, they rounded them up and studied them. Proctor tells Gambi, “the only thing the people here are good for is experimentation,” and assures him “we’re doing God’s work.”

Jefferson and Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) are in the kitchen discussing their daughters. Lynn is going to have Jennifer (China Anne McClain) work in the lab as an unpaid intern. Jefferson hopes cleaning up the after the break-in will either get her back on the track team or learn to clean up after herself. Lynn is mostly concerned about Anissa’s training. She is worried what will happen to her out in the streets. Jefferson tries to reassure her that Anissa will be alright. They both know how Anissa is concerned about others and will jump into trouble without thinking to help others. Jefferson: “It won’t take her long to realize that if she wants to change the world, she has to change herself.”

Jennifer is at the lab moping about being there. She asks Lynn what’s up with Jefferson and Anissa. Lynn pretends like nothing is happening. She asks Jennifer if she has seen the papers in the box that had Alvin’s materials in it. Jennifer hasn’t seen it. Lynn lets Jennifer leave early. Jennifer asks Lynn if she can help Kiesha (Kyanna Simone Simpson) put up posters at school, she adds might be late getting home, Lynn isn’t paying attention so she agrees.

Anissa and Jeff [with Gambi on coms] break into the morgue to inspect Lady Eve’s body. Gambi is not in favor of this but he goes along. When they get to the wall to break in, Jefferson asks Anissa, “How much force do you need?” She isn’t sure so Jefferson tells her to use a finger. She shatters a brick. He tells her to use more force, Anissa hits the wall and creates a big hole. Girl doesn’t know her strength yet. When they get to Lady Eve’s badly burned body, Jefferson starts lecturing Anissa on the value of life, while Anissa and Gambi notice there isn’t the pattern you would find from someone struck by lightning. Lady Eve’s burns came from a powerful weapon. Gambi tells Jefferson that a weapon that can produce that much power has to use nuclear power. Jefferson asks can he track the weapon from its nuclear signature, Gambi affirms that he can.

Lynn goes to the lab that she sent Alvin’s sample to. The clerk tells her that thieves broke into their lab and destroyed most of their computerized records looking for drugs. Lynn asks if there could be a written copy of the results. The clerk thinks for a moment and thinks that because she has been so busy, there might be a copy she hasn’t filed. Lynn looks over the sample results, Green Light and the sample from Alvin are the same.

Jennifer and Keisha are putting up posters at school for Keisha’s class treasurer campaign. Keisha against Jennifer’s advice, climbs up a tall ladder to put up one of her posters, she nearly falls and it scares Jennifer. Jennifer’s eyes blaze and her cell phone catches on fire along with the posters she was holding. Keisha is unhurt and she doesn’t see the small fire. She only sees the damaged phone on the ground and tells Jennifer that she’ll be able to get a new one.

LaShawn and Godholly are driving Lala to his crib. The ghost of Lawanda White (Tracey Bonner) joins Lala in the back seat. Lawanda doesn’t think it is a good idea to let the two drive him home since they didn’t know where he lived before. Lala tells her he can trust them. She thinks they can’t be trusted and she suggests that Lala kill them. LaShawn and Godholly look back at the backseat watching Lala talk to himself. Godholly: “Everything cool Lala.” Lala: “Yeah.” This has to be the most uncomfortable drive ever.

“You’re just so damn stubborn Jefferson.” Peter Gambi – Black Lightning

Jefferson and Anissa are back at Gambi’s shop, ready to find the weapon that killed Lady Eve. Gambi has tracked the weapon to Hampton Woods. Gambi volunteers to go to the location alone. Jefferson tells him that Anissa needs the training so they will do it. Gambi tells him that it is dangerous for him to be out there. Jefferson asks why this is more dangerous than the other times he has been out there. Gambi gets up in frustration and says, “You’re just so damn stubborn Jefferson.”

Anissa and Jefferson are in the Hampton Woods tracking the weapon with a device from Gambi. Lynn calls Jefferson to inform him that the vaccine from 30 years ago has the same components as Green Light. Jefferson is surprised and wonders if someone has been working on this vaccine all of these years. Lynn had called around to find out if anyone knew anything about this, but she has been unsuccessful. Jefferson suggests she contact Gambi, he probably doesn’t know anything about it, but he has been in Freeland for 30 years and might know someone who does. Gambi is at a church looking damned. A parishioner, Mrs. Johnson (Marion Guyot) asks Gambi if he is okay. She knows him because he made the dress she wore to her daughter’s wedding. The song the singer is singing seems to have touched Gambi. They discus the Lord and the ways he helps us. I don’t think Gambi thinks he has any help coming his way.

“I guess we can be grateful for the second rule of high-profile assassinations.  Always kill the killer.” Jefferson Pierce – Black Lightning

Considering they are in the woods looking for a deadly weapon, Anissa and Jefferson are having a great time. Anissa: “Dad, black people die in the woods.” Jefferson: “Yes, only after the monster kills the white nerd. We don’t have one of those with us, so you’re good.” She asks Jefferson about what he did with his powers when he found out about them, who trained him and why he quit. He tells her he did a few things before he became Black Lightning, Gambi trained him, and Anissa guesses Lynn had something to do with him quitting. They find the weapon and the dead assassin in a shallow grave. Jefferson: “I guess we can be grateful for the second rule of high-profile assassinations.  Always kill the killer.” Since they need the police to recover the weapon and body to clear Black Lightning, Jefferson calls Inspector Henderson to give him the location of the body and weapon.

Jennifer is in her bedroom holding her phone trying to recreate what happened at school earlier. She concentrates until her phone catches on fire again.

Lynn walks into Gambi’s shop and hands him the material about the vaccine. Gambi looks stricken, “Lynn, I can’t talk about this.” Lynn looks at him and it strikes her that he knows more than he is saying. Lynn: “Thirty years ago…You never talk about your life before Freeland… Gambi, Jefferson trusts you.” Gambi: “I know, I think it’s time I have a talk with him. Excuse me Lynn.”

“Dad, I could tell he didn’t know that those weapons were dangerous.” Anissa Pierce – Black Lightning

Jefferson and Anissa are still in the woods waiting for the police. Anissa hears some footsteps, it is one lone man. Jefferson tells her that Henderson would have sent uniform cops to secure the area, there are dirty cops in Freeland, he thinks they have intercepted Henderson’s request and sent someone to destroy the evidence. Jefferson is going to get closer to the dirty cop to watch him. He orders Anissa to stay put. Anissa watches the cop and realizes that he doesn’t know what he is doing and that he is messing with the weapon. She runs towards Jefferson and takes a deep breath so that the explosion won’t hurt her and him. Anissa: “Dad, I could tell he didn’t know that those weapons were dangerous.” Jefferson gives Anissa a big hug, he is so proud of her. [The explosion causes a big crater and the weapon and body are destroyed.]

Lynn and Jefferson are in the kitchen, Jefferson is getting food out of the refrigerator and he is excited. He is so proud of Anissa and thinks that he has to be careful not to blunt Anissa’s caring and observant nature. Lynn is silent the whole time and Jefferson finally realizes something is up from her ‘sad eyes’. She tells him about her conversation with Gambi. He needs to ask Gambi questions about himself they had never thought to ask him. Lynn: “Just go talk to Gambi.”

Lala is in the shower sobbing asking Lawanda how he came back. They begin to kiss and then she disappears in a mist, with only her tattoo on him. Lala starts sobbing again.

“He will find you and he will kill you. Even Anissa.” Peter Gambi – Black Lightning

Jefferson walks up to Gambi’s living quarters in the shop. Jefferson: “Lynn said I needed to talk to you.” Gambi: “I was just…trying to protect you. I’ve kept secrets from you.” He tells Jefferson his real name is Peter Esposito. He was an agent with the ASA and 30 years ago he was sent to monitor a program of a vaccine that was developed to make the black citizens of Freeland docile, but instead it created meta humans. Once he found out the vaccine was killing kids, he leaked the story to Alvin. Alvin’s investigation led to his death. Jefferson reminds him that his father was murdered. Once he found out Jefferson had powers, he worked to protect him. Jefferson accuses Gambi of giving him these powers, Gambi assures him he wasn’t part of the experiment. He tells Jefferson that Martin Proctor has put a hit out on him. Gambi: “He will find you and he will kill you. Even Anissa.” He tells Jefferson he’ll have to stop being Black Lightning. Jefferson eyes light up and he orders Gambi to leave him and his family alone.

Jennifer rushes into Anissa’s room. Anissa doesn’t want to be bothered with her sister but she sees the scared look on her face. Anissa: “Are you pregnant?” Jennifer assure her she isn’t and shows Anissa her phone. She tells her how she caused the damage. Anissa realizes Jennifer has powers.

So, everyone has powers now. Jennifer has some type of heat power. It is probably close to Jefferson’s electric powers. Thankfully for us the audience, she didn’t keep it to herself for the rest of the season, but immediately told Anissa. It looks like Jefferson’s superhero class has just grown. Lynn has linked Green Light to the vaccine, and she figured out that Gambi knows a lot about it. Lynn is a smart cookie. All of the events from the season have gotten to Gambi, it even forced him to church. Peter Gambi or should I say Peter Esposito confessed his sins to Jefferson, and as you could have guessed, Jefferson wasn’t pleased. After having the man lie to you all your life and be one of the causes for most of your problems, he is done with Mr. Esposito. I believe though that circumstances will pull them back together. [If Gambi doesn’t join the long list of dead characters in this show.] The ASA is going to play an increased role in the show. Now they are gunning for Black Lightning, but I think he and his kids will be gunning for them too. We still don’t know why or how Lala is alive, but he seems to be haunted by Lawanda White, whether she is a ghost or a manifestation of his guilt. Him making out with her in the shower was weird as hell. Give Lawanda credit, if you watched the scene closely, she never got her hair wet. A true sister.

There wasn’t as much action as there had been the past few episodes, but the episode was packed with revelations [hence the title of the episode]. I really appreciate that they don’t drag things out. On a lot of shows, the Jennifer reveal would have been the last scene in the season finale. The show’s pace was swift, but not too fast. They had time to cover important character beats. I especially enjoyed Jefferson’s training session with Anissa, and their mission in the woods. It proves again why Jefferson is such a great dad. I’m really glad they’ve made Lynn an important character in the story, and not just the nag, trying to keep Jefferson and the kids from doing their thing. The show continues to make smart decisions.

The music this episode was good, but not as good as the music from the previous episodes. How could I ever hate on Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas. Loved it as a kid. It played during the training session and the news interviews about Black Lightning and the community believing he killed the ‘respectable community leader’ Lady Eve. Standing in the Need of Prayer by the Supreme Jubilees played while Jefferson and Lynn discussed Anissa’s training in the kitchen. Godholly [himself] and LaShawn were driving Lala home while Now I’m Gone by Durand Jones and the Indications played. Lala is definitely ‘gone’ in the brain now. As I Am by Curtis Harding played while Lala was in the shower with Lawanda. That’s a scene I won’t forget anytime soon.

Grade: A-

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
Latest posts by Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief (see all)