Black Lightning | Season 2 | Episode 13 : “Pillar of Fire”
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For a quick read, go to Review. For a complete summary, go to Recap.


KBear Recap [Read  time: 5-7 min]

“So my hot-headed 16-year-old daughter is a walking nuclear bomb?” Jefferson Pierce

Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) is in a bubble in the Black Lightning sanctum. She’s in there to test her power range so that Peter Gambi (James Remar) can make her a suit. Jefferson/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) stands beside him. Gambi asks Jennifer to go to 50%. Jennifer does, and she emits more power than Jefferson in his prime. Gambi asks Jennifer to power down, but her power flares up short circuiting Gambi’s equipment. Gambi is surprised, the sanctum is designed to handle a nuclear strike. Jefferson: “So my hot-headed 16-year-old daughter is a walking nuclear bomb?” Gambi: “Not nuclear Jeff. Like Perenna said, she is powerful. Extremely powerful.”  Jefferson: “With all she’s been through, I don’t think she’s stable enough to keep her powers in check.”  Jennifer: “Dad…”  Jefferson: “Yeah?”  Jennifer: “You know Anissa taught me how to read lips, right? [Awkward silence] So, thank you for your vote of confidence. I appreciate it.”

Lynn (Christine Adams) is in her lab. Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) is trying to persuade her to move the pods. Lynn is against it and asks for the truth for once. Odell is apparently out of options, so he tells her the truth. He explains that Markovia runs their own meta program, which is failing so far. They have heard about Lynn’s work and they are after her. Lynn asks why they are snatching metas off the streets. Agent Odell: “The Markovians live by a very simple rule. Either you are with them or against them. Every metahuman in Freeland, be they in pods, jumping out of body bags, stomping holes in the streets, throwing bolts of lightning, is in danger and will be acquired, or terminated.”  Lynn immediately thinks about her family.

Anissa/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) is in Grace’s apartment looking for clues. She finds an old picture of Grace as a child with an elderly couple and later finds a pill on the floor. Deputy Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) and Gambi are in the location where the pods for the Masters of Destruction (MOD) were stored. They don’t know that, they are looking for clues. Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) and Giselle Cutter (Kearran Giovanni) have a serum that Dr. Helga Jace (Jennifer Riker) has developed to revive the MODs. They decide to wake up one of them. The person they pick is Marcus Bishop (Hosea Chanchez), who is able to control and create vibrations. His codename is Shakedown. Dr. Jace also sent a watch that controls a stem that was implanted in the MODs heads. Tobias: “I’ll give those evil child-snatchin’ bastards one thing. They’ve got great taste in watches.” Cutter plunges the needle in Bishop’s chest and they watch him wake up. Bishop is confused and begins to fight Cutter. She throws some knives at him; he uses his power to stop the knives in their track and turn one slowly in Cutter’s direction. Before he is able to plunge the knife into her, Tobias uses the watch to knock him out.

Anissa is in the sanctum on a computer researching the picture she found. Gambi asks her what she is doing. Anissa tells him that she and Grace are dating, and that Grace has cleared out of her apartment. Anissa: “My gut is telling me she’s in trouble. I just want to know that she’s okay.”  Gambi: “It sounds a lot deeper than just dating.”  Anissa: “Well, folks always say, ‘you never know what you have until it’s gone’.”  Gambi: “That’s true.”  She asks Gambi to analyze the pill she found.

“You always say that Garfield is a place for second chances. Where’s your second chance, Principal Pierce?”  Tavon

Tavon (Jasun Jabbar Wardlaw Jr.) is reciting a poem in Jefferson’s class. When the class ends, Tavon tells Jefferson that the students and teachers in Garfield think that Jefferson should still be principal instead of Principal Lowry (P.J. Byrne). Jefferson tells Tavon that he wasn’t there when the school was under attack so he lost his position for a reason. Tavon: “You always say that Garfield is a place for second chances. Where’s your second chance, Principal Pierce?”  As Tavon leaves class, Dr. Napier Frank (Robert Townsend) enters. He jokes with Jefferson about that uplifting moment and assures Jefferson he isn’t there to bring him more bad news. Actually he’s there to talk about the video of Lowry’s confrontation with Jennifer, the video has gone viral and it makes Lowry look bad. The school board isn’t happy about it. Napier tells Jefferson he thinks he can get his old job back.

Agent Odell tells Lynn that they have intelligence that the Markovians know where the lab is. He wants to move the pod kids that night. Lynn isn’t ready to move that quickly. Her research is beginning to bear fruit. Lynn: “Besides, I think I’ve discovered a way to jump-start the neurotransmitters in the pod kids’ brains, speeding up their recovery and reviving them permanently.” Agent Odell still plans on moving them tonight.

Tobias is talking to his sister’s portrait again when Cutter walks in. She asks was he talking to his sister’s portrait and he admits he was. He was telling Tory how good things are going. Cutter asks Tobias why he hired her, he tells her she is good at her job and that Tory always trusted her. Cutter moves closer to Tobias and they begin kissing. They get an alert from the briefcase that the pods are being disconnected. Tobias knows this means the ASA is planning to move them. He plans on getting the pods first.

Lynn and Jefferson are preparing for bed. She tells Jefferson she thinks she has found a way to stabilize the pod kids using the silver element from Looker. Jefferson tells her that Gambi is making Jennifer her suit. He also tells her that Lowry’s job is in jeopardy and that the board is having an emergency meeting tomorrow, and that he could be principle of Garfield again. Lynn is happy for him, she knows he deserves it.

“I mean your ass has been frozen in that pod over there like a TV dinner for the last 25 years.” Tobias Whale

Bishop wakes up chained to the wall. Tobias: “Let me be the first to welcome you into the 21st century.” Bishop: “What do you mean ‘the 21st century’?” Tobias: “I mean your ass has been frozen in that pod over there like a TV dinner for the last 25 years.”  Bishop easily breaks out of the chain but Tobias threatens to use the watch on him. Tobias introduces himself, Bishop asks if he is ASA, Tobias scoffs at that, he proclaims himself a business man. Bishop tells him he and the ASA are the same, they offer pain. Tobias says he’s different, he offers Bishop a briefcase of money to work with him, and offers Bishop a partnership.

Dr. Jace is with Agent Odell in the lab. She is excited about moving the pods. Agent Odell: “Dr. Stewart will not be joining us, Dr. Jace. She wants you nowhere near the pod kids.”  Dr. Jace: “But it was my suggestion to bring her back in! This is the thanks I get? Ungrateful little bitch.”  Agent Odell: “You’ll remain in A.S.A. custody at this facility to keep you safe from the Markovians. And also, since you’re moving the pods, I’m going to need your expertise … just in case.”  Dr. Jace: “In case of what?”  Agent Odell: “In case the Markovians kill or abduct Dr. Stewart.”

Jennifer is spending the night over at Anissa. She’s glad to get out of the house, Lynn and Jefferson are smothering her with their worry. Anissa is also concerned about her and asks how Jennifer is doing. Jennifer thinks Anissa is going to try to talk her out of going after Tobias. Jennifer: “I know what you’re gonna say. You’re gonna side with Dad and say that I need to be responsible.”  Anissa: “Hell no! Look, Tobias has to go! But what I do agree with Dad is that Tobias is dangerous and we can’t be running around half-cocked with no plan. We cannot take Tobias down if he kills us first.”  Jennifer: “Wait, did you just say ‘we’?”  Anissa: “You thought I was going to let you go out there alone?”  Anissa reminds her they also have to be careful because metas are being snatched off the streets. Jennifer agrees. They now change the subject to Grace. Anissa tells her how worried she is. Jennifer tries to delicately [as delicate as Jennifer can be, ask Lynn] bring up the possibility that Grace left on her own because she doesn’t want to be with Anissa, not because she’s in danger like Anissa fears. Anissa gets a call from Gambi, she has to go to the sanctum and asks Jennifer not to go anywhere. Jennifer acts innocent and asks where she has to go. Of course as soon as Anissa leaves, Jennifer goes out dressed in black to find Tobias. She grabs a 100 gang member and asks him where Tobias is. He thinks she is Black Bird [Anissa’s alter ego] and tells her he won’t snitch. She wraps him in an electric coil and he eventually tells her the runner who took over for Painkiller would know. Jennifer becomes so upset being reminded of Khalil that her whole body charges up. She later goes to the Seahorse motel to confront Tobias’ runner, but 100 gang members suddenly appear everywhere; it turns out she has stumbled into a trap.

The pods are being moved. Lynn orders one of the lab assistants to separate Wendy (Madison Bailey) from the other pod kids. When she hesitates, Lynn pulls rank.

Jefferson runs into Lowry in the hallway. Lowry knows the board is planning to replace him with Jefferson, and tells Jefferson he will have the job until he loses it again. Jefferson doesn’t believe that Lowry cares about understanding and developing a poor and black student body. When the students break one of Lowry’s rules, he suspends them and makes them someone else’s problem. Lowry tells him they need rules and more importantly they need consistency, something Jefferson doesn’t give them. Jefferson goes to the board meeting and thinks about what Lowry said and flashes to images showing all the problems he’s dealing with. When the board asks Jefferson about Lowry, to Napier’s surprise, Jefferson tells them they should give Lowry a chance to see his plans go through. The students need stability.

Gambi tells Anissa he did a facial identification search on the photo of Grace and the elderly couple. Grace Choi doesn’t exist, her real name is Shay Li Wilde, and the couple in the photo were her foster parents, who died years ago. When Grace was 16, she was abducted and became a victim of a human trafficking ring where she was a child prostitute until she was freed. Gambi asks if Anissa wants to keep looking for Grace, since Grace didn’t tell her who she really is. Anissa points out she kept secrets from Grace. Gambi analyzed the pill, it treats schizophrenia. Anissa: “Wait. So Grace is schizophrenic?” He doesn’t know. They hear from police dispatch that an electrified girl is fighting the 100 at the Seahorse motel. Anissa leaves to suit up. Jennifer is beating the gang until she overcharges and faints. Just before the runner can shoot her, Thunder shows up and knocks him out. Anissa picks up her little sister and carries her away.

Cutter and Bishop show up at the lab and begin taking out ASA agents. While the fighting is going on, Lynn is treating Wendy with her new treatment. Dr. Jace watches all of this over the monitors. She enacts a facility lockdown, locking Lynn and Wendy in, but protecting them from Cutter and Bishop. Lynn calls Jefferson and leaves a message. Dr. Jace tells Cutter she knew they were coming once they realized the ASA was moving the pods. Bishop recognizes Dr. Jace as the person who experimented on him and tries to attack her, but Cutter uses the watch on him. Dr. Jace: “It’s so nice to see that the brainstem implants are still working.” She tells both of them to hurry, they have to move the pods.

Napier catches up with Jefferson after the school board meeting. Understandably he is upset with Jefferson. Napier: “I set this whole thing up so you could get Garfield back, and you do what? You side with Lowry.” Jefferson: “Nape, there’s so much going on in my life right now. Now, sitting up there, I realized just how much. The students of Garfield deserve more than I can give them right now.” Napier: “Well, know this, don’t expect any more favors.”  Napier storms away, Jefferson receives Lynn’s call.

Jennifer wakes up in the sanctum. She apologizes for lying to Anissa and going after Tobias. Anissa tells her she’ll fuss at her later and gives her a hug. Anissa gets a call from Jefferson to bring his suit because Lynn is in trouble. Lynn gets an awakened Wendy to use her wind powers to blow the door down. She does and Jefferson uses his electrical powers to catch the flying door. He informs Lynn that he and Anissa were too late, the pods are gone.

“That you will literally explode.” Perenna

When they get back to the sanctum, Gambi tells them that Perenna (Erika Alexander) came and got Jennifer. Perenna and Jennifer are in the psychic beauty shop. Perenna: “You have a lot of rage inside you, little girl. What I fear is that if you let it fester, let it go unchecked, there’s a very real possibility that…” Jennifer: “Then what?” Perenna: “That you will literally explode.” Gambi tells the Pierce’s about Marcus Bishop who was part of the MOD program. He thinks that Bishop is working for the Markovians and that they have the members of MOD and the pod kids. [I forget how Gambi knew Bishop was part of the heist.] We of course know that Gambi is wrong. Dr. Jace is with Tobias helping to set up the pods. She tells him that she can wake them up, but there will be losses. Tobias doesn’t want to lose any since he plans to sell them to the highest bidder. Cutter is sitting at his desk drinking his scotch. He scolds her for drinking his scotch and having her feet on his desk. She tells him she deserves this. Since they don’t need Todd any longer, she bought him a car. Tobias chuckles. Todd is driving and his new car explodes. Bye Todd.

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

While testing Jennifer’s powers to make her a suit, Gambi and Jefferson find out she’s more powerful than Jefferson was in his prime. She is nearly as powerful as a nuclear bomb. Jefferson is afraid she has been through so much that she can’t handle her power. Jennifer proves him right when she goes after Tobias, and gets herself so overworked fighting 100 gang members that she faints. Fortunately, Anissa stops someone from shooting her unconscious sister. Perenna warns her that if she lets her rage continue to fester, she will literally explode.

Anissa is trying to find Grace, she searches her abandoned apartment and finds a photo of a young Grace with an elderly couple and a pill on the floor. Gambi finds out that Grace Choi is a false identity, Grace’s real name is Shay Li Wilde, the elderly couple were her foster parents, and she was kidnapped when she was 16 and forced into child prostitution. The pill Anissa found treats schizophrenia. Anissa still doesn’t know about Grace’s spots condition.

Jefferson is offered a chance to become principal of Garfield again. Lowry is in trouble because of the video showing his argument with Jennifer. Jefferson decides at the school board meeting to ask the board not to fire Lowry but to allow him to continue his program. The students need his stability. Jefferson realizes with Jennifer, Markovia agents, and his duties as Black Lightning, he can’t be there for his students like they will need him to be. He pisses off Napier Frank who was trying to get Jefferson his job back.

Agent Odell wants to move the pod kids because they have intelligence that the Markovians know where they are located. Tobias finds out that the ASA plans to move the pod kids and orders Cutter and his new henchman, Marcus Bishop to grab the pods. Marcus was a member of the Masters of Destruction. He can control and create vibrations. Tobias has a watch that can control Marcus. Lynn has created a new treatment that can safely wake up the pod kids. She is able to wake up Wendy while Marcus and Cutter are invading the lab. They make out with the pod kids, so now Tobias controls the pod kids. He plans on selling them to the highest bidder. Tobias no longer needs Todd, so Cutter buys him a new car that’s rigged. Bye Todd.

This episode primarily was setting up the season’s home stretch.  Tobias finally has all the pods and plans to sell them off as weapons. Team Black Lightning doesn’t know this, they think the Markovians stole the pod kids. Jennifer’s anger and quest for vengeance against Tobias is going to kill her, whether he does it or she explodes. Anissa has learned a lot about Grace, but she still doesn’t know the full story. Even though all of these storylines were going on, the episode didn’t feel cluttered. Jennifer’s fight scene against the 100 and Cutter/Bishop’s take down of the lab were well staged. It was a good episode that did a good job setting up the rest of the season.

When Anissa promises Jennifer to help her take him down Tobias, Shake Your Memory by Andy Allo plays in the background.  

When Jennifer is trying to get info from the 100 gang about Tobias’ location, Godholly’s 100 Gang plays.  

During Jennifer’s big fight with the 100 gang and Cutter/Bishop’s raid on the ASA lab, Top of the World by Kimbra plays.  

At the end of the episode, Snatch It Back and Hold It by Junior Wells plays while Tobias talks to Dr. Jace, Cutter, and Todd’s car explodes.  Bye Todd.

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