Richard Ducree/The CW
Christian Holub
February 13, 2018 at 10:00 PM EST

Black Lightning

type
TV Show
genre
CW Superheroes
run date
01/16/18
creator
Mara Brock-Akil, Salim Akil
performer
Cress Williams
Producer
Greg Berlanti
broadcaster
The CW
seasons
1
Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B+

I ended last week’s Black Lightning recap by professing my desire to learn more about the titular superhero’s history with city councilman-turned-crime boss Tobias Whale. I’m pleased to announce that this week I got my wish — or some of it, anyway. Baby steps!

It only takes this episode a few minutes to start dropping tantalizing hints about the characters’ backstories. While guiding Jefferson through a new application on his suit that channels his electric powers into limited flight, Gambi gets an unexpected visitor. It’s none other than Tobias, who apparently has some kind of deal with the tailor. In exchange for Gambi keeping mum about Tobias (even from Jefferson!), the albino stays away from him. More critically, Gambi reveals that Tobias has some kind of “serum” pumping through his body that negates his aging — and, more than likely, allowed him to survive whatever epic fight he had with Black Lightning years ago. Tobias demands that Gambi tell him who Black Lightning is under pain of death, but Gambi is armed and prepared, and even more importantly, Tobias seems to respect him. So he leaves without any violence.

While all that is going on, Black Lightning intercedes a violent confrontation between white cops and a young black kid. Jefferson recognizes that the kid is freaking out on Green Light, so he flies down to stop the conflict. After shocking the kid into submission, Black Lightning orders the cops to call an ambulance and tells them to try tasers first next time. That’s a nice end note to the scene, though it’s always unsettling to see young black men depicted as literal uncontrollable raging monsters. Too many have died in real life because people assumed they were exactly that.

Black Lightning soon finds himself face to face with just such a white person. Upon investigating a warehouse full of chemicals he suspects are being used for Green Light, Black Lightning is confronted by an older white man, who says he’s intruding on private property. The man gleefully declares that shooting such a wanted black man would make him a hero, but he quickly loses his confidence after Black Lightning electrocutes him and slams him to the ground. Now whimpering, the man reveals his contact: Joey Toledo.

Jefferson knows the name. Joey Toledo was one of Tobias’ top henchmen, so if he’s back, then Tobias must be as well. A stressed-out Gambi catches a lucky break in the form of an electric seizure that stops Jefferson in his tracks. After all, Jefferson Pierce is not a young man anymore. Putting the Black Lightning suit back on has renewed his vigor, but these new adventures are taking a toll on his body. Both Gambi and Lynn warn him to calm down a bit, but this Tobias connection is like red to a bull. Jefferson is determined to follow it. (Recap continues on page 2)

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