Black Lightning | Season 4 | Episode 5 : “Picking Up the Pieces“
For a quick read, go to Review. For a complete summary, go to Recap.
KBear Recap [Read time: 5-7 min]
“That’s the problem with white privilege, you get to be ignorant and still command respect.” Tobias Whale
Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams), Lynn (Christine Adams), Anissa/Thunder (Nafessa Williams), TC (Christopher Ammanuel) and Peter Gambi (James Remar) are in the sanctum. Jefferson can sense that Jennifer is still alive. TC accesses a satellite and they see that particles are gathering together; they believe it’s Jennifer. Gambi tells Jefferson that maybe they can reconstitute Jennifer by getting her energy back together as matter. Lynn and Anissa are skeptical that it can be done. Gambi will need a Hadron Particle Condenser and he knows that STAR Labs has one, but they need it quickly. Jefferson tells him he knows someone who can bring it to them in a ‘flash’. The condenser arrives and Jefferson suits up as Black Lightning.
Black Lightning goes up to the ionosphere to collect Jennifer’s particles. Her electrical particles are too much for him. As they listen from the sanctum, TC begins to cry and Anissa comforts him. Jefferson becomes unconscious and plunges to earth, Gambi blasts a high frequency sound into Jefferson’s ear piece to wake him up. It works and Jefferson is able to land safely. Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) and his henchman Red (Matt Roszak) detect that something is happening in the atmosphere and access a video showing Black Lightning landing. Tobias orders Red to take care of Jefferson. Back at the sanctum, Gambi is able to take Jennifer’s particles from Jefferson and transfer them to a container with the particle condenser attached. Anissa and TC are talking, she receives a call from Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) but she ignores it. He tells Anissa that he feels guilty for not stopping Jennifer from taking the ionosphere trips. She tells him he can’t blame himself and confesses that she isn’t sure if they can bring Jennifer back alive.
Chief Ana Lopez (Melissa De Sousa) sets up the Meta Task Force and appoints a reluctant Detective Hassan Shakur (Wallace Smith) to head it. He tells her he doesn’t want to be on it, but she tells him he doesn’t have a choice. The Chief shows a picture of the deceased Lydell Jackson, he reads the report and it says that while some of the injuries could have been caused by lightning, he doesn’t think Black Lightning killed him. She agrees, blaming it on Lightning instead. Jefferson sits by the container; Lynn joins him and tells him that she knew about Jennifer flying up to the ionosphere. Jefferson asks why she didn’t tell him. This leads to a fight where each blames the other for the incident.
“I’m not doing Green Light or meta booster, for God’s sake can’t I have a glass of red wine?” Lynn Pierce
Chief Lopez holds a press conference and blames the 100 for the Mayor’s death, she issues an arrest warrant for Lala (William Catlett). She blames Lightning for Lydell Jackson’s death. The family watches the press conference on TV and Gambi makes Jefferson confess that he beat up Lydell Jackson, but he tries to assure everyone that he didn’t kill him. Lynn is disgusted with Jefferson and leaves. Anissa finds her at home, eating a burger and fries, Lynn offers her some fries. Grace calls Anissa, and she ignores it again. Lynn asks what’s up and Anissa explains that she hasn’t told her about Jennifer and just doesn’t feel like talking to her. Anissa sees her mom drinking some red wine and expresses her concern; Lynn asks can’t she have some red wine? Anissa decides to join her and have some wine herself.
Jefferson tells Gambi a story about six-year-old Jennifer going missing at a grocery store. It was the only time he lost a child until now. He asks Gambi if Lynn was right and that this is all his fault. Gambi assures him that it isn’t but that Freeland needs Black Lightning. He has always been their hope. Jefferson agrees that we all need some hope. Destiny (Teesha Renee) facetimes Lala about calling a truce. With Chief Lopez going after the 100, it’s only time before she goes after Kobra Cartel, this isn’t a good time for the two gangs to be at war. Lala agrees to set up a meeting to draw up a truce. He tells Devonte Jones (Rafael Castillo) that he doesn’t want a truce, he wants to flip the script and kill Destiny.
“Like they say, there’s no avoiding war. It can only be postponed to the advantage of others.” Lala
Grace chastises Anissa for not calling her back. Anissa just wants to take a shower and clear her head but Grace accuses Anissa of shutting her out. They are married and she shouldn’t have to chase Anissa to find out what’s going on. Anissa explains that she’s been alone for awhile and she has built walls to protect herself. She asks for sometime to work on that. Grace asks if she is alright, Anissa finally opens up and tells her about Jennifer.
Tobias tells Red the Pierces seem to be getting back together and he’s glad; Red doesn’t understand why. Tobias explains as in chess, he wants his opponent to commit, he wants to know where they all are. Val (Helen Joo Lee) walks in, Red is hostile towards her, they don’t like nor trust each other. Their rivalry amuses Tobias. She informs him that a project he wants is being delayed by the Pierces. Val offers an observation he doesn’t care for; he’s obsessed with the Pierce family and it could upset his project. Tobias advises her to keep checking the schedule.
Black Lightning goes to the gym where the cage matches are held and beats up some of Lala’s men. Lala comes out with a DEG. They talk instead of fight; Black Lightning is closing the fight club and the police are on the way. Lala tells him he and the 100 didn’t kill the Mayor. They went there to kill Tobias. Black Lightning tells him they got to stop killing each other. Lala tells him to tell that to the cops. As the police sirens get closer, Lala tells Black Lightning he is glad that he is back, Freeland needs him.
TC is watching over Jennifer. He tells Gabi the machines are only giving Jennifer a 24% chance of survival. TC blames himself again for not doing enough to keep her from going to the ionosphere, but Gambi tells him it’s not his fault. Lynn and Jefferson are home, she apologizes to him for what she had said earlier, and he apologizes for what he said to her. Lynn breaks down crying and Jefferson comforts hers.
“Something’s not right. Ever since the explosion I’ve felt Jen’s essence, her energy until now.” Jefferson Pierce
Lala goes to the spot for the proposed meeting with Devonte and some of his men. Instead of Destiny and the Kobra Cartel, the Freeland police arrive, Destiny has set them up. Detective Shakur orders Lala not to, but Lala and the rest of the 100 start shooting. Eventually they shoot him down and make the rest of the gang surrender. Devonte tries to make a run for it, but since he’s out of shape, Detective Shakur easily catches him. Since no one is paying attention to his corpse, Lala slowly gets up, knocks out some cops and escapes. Destiny is sitting in her town car, watching the action from a distance and sees Lala escape. She makes a call to hire an assassin who specializes in killing metas.
Anissa takes Grace to the sanctum for the first time. She is nervous, she’s afraid of the possibility of losing Jennifer. The process is over, and they all wait by the container. They see a body, Jefferson can sense that something is wrong, everyone else is hopeful. A young woman exists the container, she knows all of them, but their shocked faces show they don’t know her, it’s not our Jennifer (Laura Kariuki).
KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]
The family unifies over Jennifer breaking up into particles. The cracks that are in their relationships still show. In their grief and guilt, Jefferson and Lynn both try to assign blame to the other. They are worried that it’s actually their fault that this happened. Anissa is worried and doesn’t want to share this with Grace. She keeps wanting to treat Grace like a roommate instead of her wife. Grace finally breaks through to her and Anissa includes her. I didn’t realize this was Grace’s first trip to the sanctum, but Anissa spent so much time hiding her from the family that it shouldn’t have surprised me. TC feels guilty because he wasn’t able to stop Jennifer from continuing to go to the ionosphere even though he knew it must be bad for her, and he didn’t inform her parents. Gambi is guilt free and is able to give perspective to both his two sons, Jefferson and TC. They get a Hadron Particle Condenser from Star Labs, courtesy of the Flash who we don’t get to see. Jefferson collects Jennifer’s particles and they place them in a container, using the particle condenser to make her energy back into matter. The chances of her being alive are slight. After the condenser does its job, a body emerges, but she doesn’t look like the Jennifer Pierce we know. Since we know that China Anne McClain has left the show, instead of killing her off, or putting her in a deep coma, they replaced her with a new actress, Laura Kariuki. What should be interesting is how the rest of the family will react to her. It’s Jennifer, but in a new package. I wonder how much the new Jennifer will act like the old one. Will Jennifer’s personality change with the new body? The bigger question is, is this Jennifer? With her particles being rearranged, is she a new person. It should make for interesting story telling for the rest of the season. Aside from the usual Pierce family drama, Destiny pulls a fast one and turns Lala and the 100 over to the police. Lala escapes so it should be fun watching Lala as a hunted animal, it should make him even more dangerous. Chief Lopez has declared open season on the gangs and the metas, and has made Lightning Public Enemy Number 1. Detective Shakur isn’t on board with this, and this should produce conflict in the future. I can see him secretly joining forces with Black Lightning and fam. Tobias is being Tobias, plotting his next move against the Pierce family and Freeland.
Great episode, the tension was thick throughout. I couldn’t take it in the end when the condenser was done and they were waiting to see what the results would be. Everyone in the Pierce family and friends did a fantastic job, expressing their grief, anger, and fear. This is one of the better casts on TV, even when the material isn’t as strong, the cast lifts it up. The writing was strong in this episode, so they didn’t have to do any lifting. This season has gone back to the tone of the first season, making this season even stronger than the past two. The episode had so many twists and turns that I nearly forgot that Black Lightning is back! It was good to see him back in action collecting Jennifer’s particles, and closing down the fight club. Even Lala said it, it’s good to have him back, Freeland [and us] needed him.
The music was subtle but wonderfully covered the episode’s theme. Beginning with “The Beginning of the End” Klergy, Valerie Broussard
“What’s That Sound?” Pouya, Fat Nick
“Might Not Be OK” (feat. Big K.R.I.T.) Kenneth Whalum
“Carry You” (feat. Fleurie) Ruelle
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