Saturday, June 22, 2024

Black Lightning Lets the Pierce Family Shine

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After last week’s aptly titled “Revelations” episode, the rest of this season is going to speed towards the end. Last night in “The Book of Little Black Lies” we finally got the most important reveal yet: Jennifer knows her dad’s Black Lightning and Anissa has powers too! It’s the best episode for China Anne McClain so far, and for the show’s original premise about the Pierce family.

Pierce Family Fight

Jennifer’s reactions felt real to me. She’s mad, hurt, and not about this power life. Realistic for a teenager with enough already on her plate. And are you really a teenager if you haven’t yelled at your parents about trusting them at least once? Lynn and Jefferson yell at Anissa for disrespecting them and telling Jennifer before they were ready. Not that Anissa had much of a choice. Still, they all realize that the situation (in general) could have been handled differently and then Jefferson and Anissa make plans to get Black Lightning’s name cleared.

Jennifer’s first conversation with Lynn was especially touching, where Lynn doesn’t push Jennifer but tells her that she loves her and is there for her. Even better is the Vixen reference. It’s unclear whether this means Vixen is a character or a real hero (like with the Outsiders comic) but it’s hilarious.

“No I’m not Vixen, or Supergirl. I’m just mom.”

I love it.


While Anissa and Jefferson investigate, Gambi does his own thing and poisons a dude to find out who made those lightning weapon thingies. I too wish I had access to snake venom. (It’s a joke, but damn if Gambi isn’t always surprising us.) At this point, Gambi just makes me go shrug emoji and I am actually kind of intrigued to see how ridiculous he will get by season’s end.

He finds a dude on the dark web selling unauthorized assault weapons and through him finds whoever was selling the lightning guns and that sends him to the lab where they’re making Green Light!

In his attempts to find the guy, we see a flashback of Gambi finding another one of the kids except now he’s dead in the Green Light lab along with some other kids. Oof.

Gambi calls Anissa and we get more information: Gambi was a scout for the ASA to find the kids with powers and though the Pierce family might not trust him, he will always care for them all. Which is why he gives Anissa her new outfit! It’s beautiful!

The parallels between Jefferson not telling Jennifer and Gambi not telling Jefferson the truth were also really well done. Obviously the latter is way harsher but they should have told her once Jefferson was back as Black Lightning.

Dad Daughter Detective Duo

We learn that Jefferson’s dad moments are totally from Alvin who would write GTC instead of gotcha. I almost wish we could have met Alvin! He was probably really cool. Anyways, a company named BendsCORP regularly makes payments to another company Onshore Inc and had one point tried to bribe Alvin. Thanks documents in City Hall!

So they get the necessary information from the company’s crooked lawyer after some extra hilarious moments from Anissa and figure out where the Green Light lab is.

Later as the threads of the episode come together, Anissa and Jefferson go out as Black Lightning and Thunder to destroy the lab where everything hits the fan and Henderson is there too!

Detective Henderson Gets a Heading

Finally, Henderson gets to do more than just talk about Black Lightning as a vigilante, because the episode opens after Jefferson burns some steam off with a conversation between the two. Jefferson knows Henderson is a good man working with a lot of corrupt men. Henderson decides he’ll take some vacation days to investigating but if he dies, Black Lightning better tell Mrs. Henderson and the family the truth.

Hope that wasn’t foreshadowing….welp.

He confirms that Deputy Chief Cayman (the one who took the phone call from Tobias a while back) is dirty and takes photos of Cayman and Martin’s arms deal. Corrupt Cayman is a more subtle “know your police” moment of this show, but it works!

Later we find out that Martin from the ASA has ordered the lab moved. So the three follow all our baddies where Henderson arrests the doctor working with Martin.

Martin escapes, but Black Lightning and Thunder are able to take out Martin’s hit squad. Martin orders the lab moved so Henderson follows, with Black Lightning and Thunder close behind.

Then it cuts to black after the entire lab goes boom! (Hopefully this means no more Green Light production and whatever’s currently on the streets runs out ASAP.)

The episode itself ends with Jefferson telling Jennifer he’ll be honest with her moving forward and that he won’t treat her like a little girl anymore, and then they sit down to watch Princess and the Frog. It’s the most wholesome ending the show has given us! Which means it’s the only wholesome ending we’re ever gonna get.

Random Tidbits

  • Thunder has more fans online than Black Lightning and a dude autotuned his commentary about her butt… I cannot.
  • That mention of Erika Garner though in the rap. RIP.
  • I loved that Tobias and LaLa actually weren’t in the episode because ultimately Green Light is really about the ASA and it makes sense that we go all the way up. Including one or both of them in such limited time would have pushed this week to the limit.
  • But I’m still hoping we get a tiny bit more of Grace.

As I mentioned at the start, I really enjoyed Jennifer’s reactions to finding out these big secrets from her family. China Anne McClain really dug into what she was given and now everyone Pierce can go forward knowing the truth about one another. Her fear and frustration? Incredibly portrayed.

Same goes for the sister’s conversation about what finding out about their powers means. Not everyone wants to be a hero, but Anissa can’t imagine living in a world where she’s not out there protecting women from violence. Yet Jennifer’s not Anissa! She just wants to go to prom, go to college, get married, have kids, and live a normal life. The moment she and Lynn realize they have no idea if she can even have kids is heartbreaking. The entire bit about Jennifer having a normal life goes beyond most versions of this story precisely because Jennifer is a Black girl! We know that maternal health outcomes for Black moms are beyond terrible so though it’s not an explicit mention in the episode, I immediately thought of the connection.

Even worse is Jennifer breaking down into tears when she realizes why her parents divorced. And this is immediately after Lynn states she fell in love with Jefferson despite his powers. It’s definitely one of my top ten scenes of the entire show so far and I’m so glad we got to see McClain shine.

Now next week is really going to set the tone going forward. As indicated by next week’s title, maybe some redemption for multiple characters? If nothing we’ll see the old missing kids and the new ones (!) in another lab being kept alive in tanks of some kind!!!! And Martin kidnapped Grandpa Gambi!

Which, the titles continue to tell their own story. In two weeks, I expect the most intense chapter to this story with “Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion.”  Hopefully, Jefferson isn’t harmed too badly. And whatever does happen, it’s definitely going to tee up a duo of incredible finale episodes!

Thoughts on this week?

Image courtesy of The CW

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