We gave it an A-
1/16/18 - 1/1/70
- TV Show
- CW Superheroes
- Mara Brock-Akil, Salim Akil
- Cress Williams
- Greg Berlanti
- The CW
- In Season
Well that was a big one, huh? Last week finally brought Anissa face to face with her father in his superhero costume, but it turns out Black Lightning was just getting started.
We begin with two warnings. First up is Lynn, who is trying to calm Anissa down from the ecstatic high of discovering that her MLK-quoting no-nonsense father is Freeland’s hard-fighting vigilante. Lynn is trying to warn her from taking a path that has caused herself and Jefferson much hardship, but Anissa is too excited, too full of the possibility to help other people at a meaningful level, to heed her. A similar story is unfolding not far away, where Gambi is warning Jefferson not to attack Tobias with lethal force. Something we know that Jefferson doesn’t is that Gambi has likely killed a lot of people, so he truly is warning Jefferson away from his own path. But Jefferson is too passionate about punishing Tobias, and too distrustful of Gambi by now, to listen.
For his part, Tobias is in a cage fight with a muscular opponent when the man suddenly falls dead. Searching his belongings, Tobias and Toledo find a packet of Green Light. As much money as this new drug has been making him, Tobias realizes it’s no good if it kills the customers. Addicts can’t keep buying drugs and putting money in his pockets if they’re dead, after all. Tobias sees this as a problem with his boss Lady Eve, and he resolves to fix it — and not by talking, either. If you’re like me, you may have started to get some serious Kylo Ren/Snoke vibes right about now…
In fact, both ends of this relationship are fraying. Gambi comes to Lady Eve and tells her that Tobias is getting out of control. He’s even opening a new jazz club and making too big a name for himself, drawing the kind of attention that might eventually bring down their whole villainous operation. Tobias is a moneymaker for Eve so she’s loath to get rid of him, but she does want to send a message. She orders Gambi to take out Toledo and hopes that Tobias finally gets the message.
When Jefferson learns that Anissa took some of his father’s research to Lynn’s lab shortly before the break-in, he realizes that must be the cause. He tells her to warn the newspaper editor David Poe (who gave it to her) about the possible danger he’s in, but they’re too late. Poe is dead already, and the burglars themselves get “cleaned up” shortly after. (Recap continues on page 2)
The only thing that remains to clean up this mess is to deliver the message to Tobias. Gambi is happy to do so, putting on a black duster and shooting Toledo twice in the chest while Run the Jewels plays in the background. Listen, when Run the Jewels comes on, anyone could get hyped enough to cause some damage. To add insult to injury, Gambi leaves a little golden box of albino ashes on Toledo’s lifeless chest. Unfortunately, that may have been a bit too much.
As Gambi and Eve admitted to each other earlier, Freeland is a delicate ecosystem; it’s hard to tell how affecting one part could ripple out to all the rest. They thought they were fixing things, but instead things spiral out of control.
Toledo was Black Lightning’s only lead to Tobias, which is probably another reason Gambi killed him. But Henderson’s good old-fashioned detective work connects Toledo to the new jazz club opening in Freeland; it doesn’t take much for him and Black Lightning to realize the club must belong to Tobias. After thinking back once more to watching Tobias kill his father, Jefferson doesn’t hold back. He storms the club and immediately blasts Tobias in the chest with a full-frontal lightning blast. He’s able to take out most of Tobias’ henchmen, but unfortunately the big guy gets away. Instead of killing him, Jefferson accidentally deflects bullets into Tobias’ sister, who ends up as the battle’s main casualty. She was pretty freaking evil herself so I wouldn’t shed many tears for her, but it clearly tears Jefferson up just as much as Gambi warned him it would.
Tobias isn’t the only target that night, however. At the same time that he was being attacked by Black Lightning, his own men attack Lady Eve at her funeral parlor. Although Eve demonstrates the fighting skills that made her Freeland’s top crime boss by taking out two assailants, she’s caught off guard by a third hitman hiding in a coffin. He blasts her with a weapon based on Black Lightning’s powers and literally fries her face off. Boom, roasted. Now was I right about the Kylo/Snoke comparison or what? I love this kind of twist because it does away with the abstract Big Bad and makes the villain we’re much more engaged with the center of attention.
That’s not even all! This episode still has one last twist, and it’s the return of LaLa! The gangster we thought was choked to death by Tobias instead bursts back to life in a hotel room, and even has a vision of Lawanda (the woman he murdered) asking him if he believes in the resurrection before dissolving into a tattoo on his chest. I hope this means he’s somehow the Tattooed Man, one of my favorite obscure DC villains.
So that was a lot to take in! We’ll have to wait for next week to really digest all this, but I really love how this show just keeps upping the ante. Can’t wait to see where we go from here.