Black Lightning | Season 4 | Episode 6 : “Theseus’s Ship”
For a quick read, go to Review. For a complete summary, go to Recap.
KBear Recap [Read time: 5-7 min]
“It’s not who you are on the outside that matters, it’s who you are inside.” Grace Choi
Jennifer ‘JJ’ Pierce/Lightning (Laura Kariuki) walks out of the container. Jefferson/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) asks Peter Gambi (James Remar) where is Jennifer, and what happened. Gambi is confused, he thinks something went wrong. Everyone continues to look in shock, Anissa/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) finally asks Jennifer what happened. She tells her she went flying and woke up here. Jennifer asks what’s going on. Finally, TC (Christopher Ammanuel) produces a mirror and asks her not to freak out, she looks at it and screams in horror. Jennifer runs out; TC tells them to let her go, she probably needs the time alone. Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) assures them that it’s Jennifer, her leopard sense of smell can tell it’s her. They try to figure out what happened. Lynn (Christine Adams) and Gambi figure out it’s her genes. They expressed themselves differently. Even though she has the same genes and DNA, Jennifer’s appearance gene rearranged itself. Jefferson asks how to get her back, Gambi tells him it’s a miracle she’s alive, Jefferson should accept it. Grace finds Jennifer and talks to her. She tells her about her shapeshifting experiences. Grace assures Jennifer that she’s the same person. Grace takes her back to her family. Lynn and Anissa run to embrace her. Jefferson stares at her and bails.
Lynn’s at her lab doing additional tests on Jennifer. She comments that Jennifer is taller, but that means there is more to love. Val Seong (Helen Joo Lee) shows up for her appointment to be tested for ALS. [She is the friend Tobias told Lynn had ALS.] Lynn nearly tells Val Jennifer is her daughter, she and Jennifer stumble through an explanation that Jennifer is her niece who they call JJ. Val looks at them suspiciously. The newscaster announces that Lala (William Catlett) is still on the loose. Jefferson tells Gambi that he still doesn’t believe JJ is Jennifer. Gambi tells him the gene and DNA tests show she is his daughter. Changing the subject, Gambi tells Jefferson that going by the angle of the shot, Lala didn’t kill the Mayor. Someone shot him from above, but the only building the shot could have been taken from is four miles away. No one could make that shot. Tobias appears on the TV, flanked by Lauren Caruso (Elena Varela) and her boss. He is displaying the new DEGs the Freeland police force will be receiving; he has contributed financing so that each uniformed member of the department gets a DEG. To Jefferson and Gambi’s dismay Tobias announces he’s running for mayor.
Black Lightning meets with Detective Hassan Shakur (Wallace Smith). He gives Black Lightning the ballistic report of the bullet that killed the Mayor. The bullet wasn’t fired from a gun, someone with magnetic powers directed the bullet into the Mayor. He also informs Black Lightning that the Chief has ordered no knock warrants in Eastside. Black Lightning points out nearly everyone is armed, so this will be bad. Detective Shakur says they need Black Lighting, is he going to disappear again. Jefferson says he is back for good.
Lauren is in her lab testing the emitter’s range. Gambi walks in and tell her to shut it off, it looks like it’s going to overheat. Lauren tells him she’s feeling like a failure with the DEG design flaw [which Gambi caused] and the emitter’s limited range. Gambi attempts to cheer her up telling her she added a stun section and increased the power or the DEGs, it gets him thinking if the problem with the emitter is its power source. He thinks promethium would be the solution, Lauren agrees, but Gambi doesn’t think they’ll be able to get enough of this rare mineral. Lauren has a surprise, in another room, Monovista has a large stockpile of it.
“My brand new ass will be right here when you get back.” Jennifer ‘JJ’ Pierce
Anissa and Jennifer are watching TV, the movie they are watching concerns bodies changing. Jennifer doesn’t want to watch it; Anissa jokily goes over all the other body changing movies they could watch in its place. Then she messes with Jennifer about being taller and playing in the WNBA. Anissa compliments her new skin. Jennifer agrees, she likes her new chocolate look. Anissa advises Jennifer to try to look for the positives to the change. Jennifer’s worried about Jefferson accepting her. Anissa assures her he will. Anissa announces that she and Grace got married. Jennifer is happy for them and asks questions about the wedding and whether they’ve had their honeymoon. Anissa tells her they haven’t. Jennifer wants Anissa to have fun and not worry about her.
Destiny (Teesha Renee) and members of Kobra Cartel discuss what to do about a church that isn’t paying them protection. Lala and what’s left of the 100 ambush them and kills everyone but Destiny. She tells Lala she knew he’d never accept a truce. Destiny has another trick up her sleeves, she has backup, an assassin named Ishmael (Rico Ball) who uses his two swords to deflect Lala’s bullets. His men appear and capture Lala’s men. Lala drops his guns and picks up a pole to fight Ishmael, who stabs Lala with one of his swords. Lala tells him he can’t die. They begin pouring cement over his body and Ishmael tells him he’ll die over and over forever.
“I believe you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you Ms. Caruso?” Peter Gambi [Player]
Gambi brings Lauren a Go Board, to commemorate the time she beat him. No one who isn’t Japanese had beaten him until she did; he knew she was special then. She’s pleased to get it, not knowing that the board is taking a scan of her eye. Gambi’s face betrays that he’s feeling guilty for using her but he changes his expression when she asks what’s wrong. Lauren locks the lab up and begins to undress to properly thank him.
Lynn is looking over Val’s blood results. Jefferson walks in, he’s supposed to be watching Jennifer but he has TC doing it for him. He asks about Val’s results, she actually has ALS, Tobias wasn’t lying about that, but she also has the meta-gene. Jefferson wants to know what her powers are. Without seeing Val use them, the only way to find out is if Lynn used Val’s blood to make a meta booster and try it on a human. She’s been able to use meta boosters so the best person would be her, but she isn’t going to do it because of her sobriety. Jefferson tells her to do it anyway. Lynn is shocked he’d suggest it, he doesn’t see the problem, she orders him to leave. Val meets with Tobias and tells him about her lab visit with Lynn. She tells him about the teenager who was there, Tobias says it was probably her daughter Jennifer. Val says it wasn’t her and shows him a picture of JJ. He runs a security check on the picture and finds out it doesn’t match anyone in the data bases. Tobias chuckles and says we have a new Pierce in town.
“You shouldn’t have to thank me. You’re my daughter and I’ll always love you.” Jefferson Pierce
The Freeland cops break into an apartment not announcing who they are, a man (Jachin Hasan Myers) and his girlfriend (Denisha Gillespie) think it’s her ex breaking in. He grabs his gun and shoots a cop; the police open fire and kill her. We see her family crying at her memorial and the city protesting her shooting. [It’s footage of real BLM protests.] Quickly we find out that this tragedy is prevented because Black Lightning arrives before the police can start shooting. He takes the cops out quickly. Once he’s outside the arriving cops use their DEGs on him, the DEGs begin to lessen his shield, but Lightning appears. She joins her dad and strengthens his shield. They work effectively as a team to take down the cops. Back at home, Jefferson joins Jennifer at her favorite spot outside her room. She thinks he’s going to ground her for showing up without permission. He’s not there for that, he came to offer her an apology, she showed up for him when he didn’t show up for her. She says he did show up for her and thanks him for going to the ionosphere to save her. He tells her she doesn’t have to thank him; she’s his daughter and he loves her. They hug, it’s clear that Jefferson accepts JJ as his daughter.
Grace comes home with dinner, Anissa pops up from behind a screen and shows Grace some outfits; (1) a snow bunny outfit to go to Vail Colorado, (2) an outfit to go to New Orleans, (3) and an outfit for Akashic Valley. She wants to take a few days off to go to one of those cities for their honeymoon.
We are at the Kobra Cartel bar, they have Lala encased in a cement block, with his face and hands sticking out like Han Solo. Ishmael is preparing to leave Freeland, he is trying to join the League of Assassins, and he needs to kill 100 metas to join. He has killed 94 so far, Destiny wants to put him on retainer, he can kill all the metas he would like. She has four in particular she wants him to kill, she lays out the photos of Black Lightning, Thunder, Lightning and Wylde.
KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]
Jefferson is not on his best behavior. He initially rejects Jennifer, because she doesn’t look like her former self. He pushes Lynn to make and use a meta booster to find out what Tobias’ henchwoman, Val’s meta powers are. Lynn is rightfully angry and hurt that Jefferson would ask her to do this and not care about the consequences of her breaking her sobriety. Their relationship is in a very dark place, he asked her to work with Tobias, knowing Lynn is afraid to do it, and now he’s willing to risk her health to get a leg up on his old enemy. If he’s willing to do all this, he should have just killed Tobias like Anissa and Lynn wanted. I think subconsciously, Jefferson is punishing Lynn for lying to him about her addictions, and making him feel bad about using his powers all those years. He finally accepts Jennifer only after she rescues him, showing that she’s still his Jennifer. If she hadn’t, would he still be avoiding her? He’s not being a good Jefferson Pierce at the moment, but he was an outstanding Black Lightning, saving a young woman from being killed in her home by the police. This alludes to the Breonna Taylor case, with the Freeland police using no-knock warrants to break into people’s homes. At first the episode made us think they were replaying Breonna Taylor’s police sanctioned murder but this being a superhero show, we got to see our superhero Black Lightning prevent this tragedy in Freeland. Wish fulfillment at its best.
In other storylines, Anissa tells Jennifer that she and Grace got married. Jennifer tells Anissa that they should go on their honeymoon. The show doesn’t tell us where they are going, but if you know about the next episode, which will be on April 12 after a month’s hiatus, it will take place in Akashic Valley. Grace is a godsend for Jennifer. Grace helps the family accept that this is Jennifer, and because she’s a shapeshifter, she can honestly tell Jennifer she knows what she is going through. Anissa accepts her sister immediately, along with Lynn and Gambi. TC proves to be a great friend too, only Jeff didn’t step up until later in the show. Things aren’t going too well for Lala, Destiny continues to be a step ahead of him. She hires an assassin named Ishmael to kill him. They put Lala in concrete to make him a bar decoration. She also gives the assassin another assignment, kill Black Lightning, Thunder, Lightning and Wylde. I think he will find out this is an assignment he shouldn’t have taken. Finally, Tobias announces he’s running for mayor. He has Val going to Lynn for ALS treatment, and she tells him about JJ. He doesn’t know she’s Jennifer yet, but knowing Tobias, he’ll figure it out.
Another strong episode, Laura Kariuki appears to be a great addition to the cast replacing China Anne McClain. She didn’t try to do an imitation of her, but she was able to convey the essence of Jennifer. Her scenes with everyone were well done, making us the audience agree that she is Jennifer. She is tall though, and the show kept pointing it out. The action scenes were great, beginning with the fight between Ishmael and Lala. The fight between Black Lightning, with Lightning joining him against the police was excellent. It was exciting, and with the element of him preventing another innocent black woman being killed by the police, and connecting with his daughter, it turned out to be an emotional scene.
The music was excellent as usual. “Where Did I Go?” Jorja Smith
“Survival” The O’Jays
“You Can Always Count on Me” Johnnie & Joe
“I Can’t Breathe” H.E.R.
“Jaguar” Victoria Monet
“The Game” Louis FX
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