Black Lightning Becomes a Mentor and Loses One

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. When you call your episode “Revelations,” you’d better deliver. That’s the lofty promise Black Lightning made this week, and it came through. I was already excited about this show, and last night’s episode made it even better. Black Lightning is wanted by the law, and his standing in the community has suffered. Lady Eve’s criminal activity was apparently not known to most people. As far as they’re concerned, Black Lightning killed a successful woman. That’s a bad look. The superhero himself though, is more concerned with training his daughter. It’s fun watching them fight together, though the moment when he drives home the importance of not harming civilians is a little awkward. It’s totally within Jefferson’s character that he feels everyone needs to be protected. But there had to have been a better way to do it than “racists are people too.”That ends soon enough, and we get back to Gambi being shady as hell. He meets with a mysterious man in a parking lot who’s convinced that Black Lightning is behind Lady Eve’s death. See, she wasn’t an ordinary crime boss. She was a shadowy organization’s liaison to the 100. It’s an organization Gambi is apparently involved in. Her job was to distribute Green Light to the streets of Freeland. Whoever this group is, they’re using the citizens of Freeland as guinea pigs in some kind of mass drug experiment.James Remar as Gambi (Photo: Eli Joshua)Gambi keeps going back and forth about whose side he’s really on, too. As Jefferson and Anissa investigate Lady Eve’s morgue, Gambi brings up the fact that there’s a price on Black Lightning’s head now. He pretends not to know, but to us, that’s clearly a lie. Jefferson is such a dad in this scene; it’s kind of touching. He goes to great effort to turn every detail into a teachable moment. How much force to use and the importance of remembering that lives are worth protecting. He’s so focused on being a good mentor/father, he misses a big piece of evidence. Good thing both Anissa and Gambi are paying attention. The burn marks on Lady Eve aren’t consistent with electrocution, at least not from a lightning blast. Burn marks like that suggest some kind of portable superweapon. A nuclear powered portable superweapon. That’s a decent clue.Gambi’s able to track the radiation from the murder scene to the woods outside town. He insists on investigating by himself, but Jefferson is having none of it. He wants the opportunity to better train his daughter. To him, Gambi’s frustration seems like concern. It’s clear to us though, that he’s just nervous about what Jefferson will find. There’s a decent amount of intrigue in this episode that keeps things tense. While Jefferson and Gambi work to clear Black Lightning’s name, Lynn tries to recover her research into Green Light. She finds a connection between the drug and a 30-year-old vaccine that Jefferson’s father was working on. The trail runs cold there. She only has one option left.Christine Adams as Lynn (Photo: Bob Mahoney The CW)She goes to see Gambi to find out if he’s got any information. He instantly shuts down, and Lynn puts two and two together. This series doesn’t just tell you she’s the smarter parent; it shows you. She figures out that Gambi came to town right at the same time the vaccine entered Freeland. She connects it to the fact that Gambi never talks about his life before moving to Freeland. He doesn’t even deny it. He just says it’s time he talked with Jefferson. It’s such a shock to her that she can’t even enjoy Jefferson’s story of how Anissa saved his life. While investigating the woods, they found the bodies of the assassins that took out Lady Eve. They also find a disposable henchman set to retrieve them, not knowing they’d explode. Anissa catches on quicker than Jefferson, who’s stuck in lecture mode. She saves his life and at that moment, Jefferson realizes exactly what kind of superhero he raised.He can’t celebrate for long, though. Lynn is oddly distant as he shares the exciting story of how his daughter saved his life. She tells him he needs to talk to Gambi. Finally, we get the answer to the question this show has been dancing around since week two. Gambi is part of a government agency called the ASA. When he came to Freeland 30 years ago, they were experimenting with a vaccine that would subdue and pacify a population. Gambi was sent to administer the experiment. When he found out it was giving some kids super powers, and killing most of them, Gambi leaked the information to Jefferson’s father. That’s what got him killed. The government using drugs to keep down an already marginalized population is the kind of conspiracy this show is uniquely poised to handle well. It’s already established itself as a show that uses superheroes to talk about systemic racism. Even if it can be a little hamfisted about it at times, I don’t see many other shows taking quite this big a swing. It should also make for an enthralling story. If I weren’t already way into Black Lightning, this would do it.Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce and Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce (Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW)This is one of those rare cases where a thing where a thing with the word “Revelations” in the title actually contains legitimate, surprising revelations. It wasn’t too heavy on the superhero action, but every scene moved the story forward. Plus, the few action scenes it did have were filled with character development, drama and humor. Black Lighting is awkwardly trying to strike a balance between father, teacher and superhero will never stop being funny. And it looks like we’re going to get even more of that. Another fun part of the episode centered around Jennifer discovering her powers. When she gets scared, much like Anissa at first, her eyes start to glow and energy shoots from her hands. More family superheroism is coming.And then there’s the whole story with LaLa. He’s back, he’s scary and he’s talking to a ghost. Of a woman that he killed. He’s making out with the ghost. Of the woman he killed. He’s freaking out his two underlings along with the rest of us. I think the show is building him up to be the end-of-season villain. Tobias Whale is turning out to be more of a series villain. Someone they want to keep around like a bad guy for multiple seasons. Lala, whatever’s going on with him now, could turn out to be a more immediate threat to Black Lightning as it heads toward the end of its first season. Top Movie and TV Trailers You Might Have Missed This Week’Black Lightning’ Season 2 Finale Recap: Preparing for War center_img Stay on targetlast_img read more