Continuing their penchant for complicated titles, Black Lightning continues with “And Then The Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light.” This new drug is doing a number on Freeland, and dominating a lot of the show’s plot, as well. Another recurring element is Gambi tinkering with Black Lightning’s costume, and we see another new function as the show opens. Black Lightning goes from very unsure to absolutely loving it in moments. While the hero plays with his new toy, Gambi gets a surprising visitor. Not only does the tailor apparently have a history with this unwelcome guest, but we get more hints about Gambi’s past.
Anissa is continuing her research into powers and mutations. She finds a video online and listens to a guy who talks about, among other things, a conspiracy to experiment on poor kids like what happened to the Tuskeegee Airmen, a few of them developing powers, and then later disappearing. Her work is interrupted when Jenn comes in and they have a very sisterly argument about clothes.
Jenn’s subplot this week doesn’t involve her sulking, for once. She and a friend go skating, trying to have fun and mind their own business. Jenn gets hassled by two abusive girls, and, to her credit, tries to do the right thing and walk away. One of the girls ups things to the physical, and Jenn shows that, while she might not be paying a lot of attention in school these days, she definitely learned some things from her father.
Jefferson does a random good deed which just shows what kind of man he is and how the big companies take advantage of people. Anissa returns to her work, and finds a surprising connection to her family. After another lead from Gambi, Black Lightning goes out and finds a warehouse full of drugs. He easily bests the man guarding the supply, but he’s acting a lot more aggressively than usual.
In the course of going after the drug guard, Lightning gets the name Joey Toledo. Apparently, Toledo was a close associate of Tobias Whale, and the hero is wondering how it’s possible for Toledo to be back and Gambi not to know about it. The more we hear about Gambi, the more I’m wondering what in the world his background could possibly be. In mid-rant at Gambi, Pierce suddenly freezes up and falls over. Gambi, not knowing what else to do, calls Lynn. It’s good to have a doctor in on your secrets. Lynn examines him, and can’t figure out what’s wrong. Jefferson wakes up, groggy and confused, and not inclined to listen to Lynn and Gambi’s advice to rest. Gambi’s worried some of his improvements to the suit may be affecting Jefferson.
Tobias and his sister get together for a chat. She mocks his hideout’s decor, and they talk about what Whale has been up to. Tori critiques some of Tobias’ methods, offering some advice. She then tells him she found Eldridge, which is news that makes Tobias smile. Given what we’ve seen of Tobias so far, anything that makes him smile like that is probably not good. The flashback contagion spread from Arrow and we some scenes from Whale’s childhood.
Anissa goes to speak with Jefferson about his father, her grandfather, Alvin Pierce. He was a reporter, and disappeared while digging in to the story about the kids with enhanced powers disappearing. This isn’t something Jefferson wants to talk about, but he does compliment Anissa on a few things. She then goes to Alvin’s old boss. It’s a friendly visit until she brings up that story, and then he throws her out.
Inspector Henderson gets a visit from Black Lightning, and despite all Henderson’s talk about bringing the masked hero in, they just talk. Lightning talks about Joey Toledo being back and involved with Green Light. There’s a joke about a “Black Signal” to get in touch with Black Lightning, and then he vanishes on Henderson like Batman is famous for doing to Commissioner Gordon. It’s a nice nod to comics in general, and to Batman, who was one of Black Lightning’s mentors for a time in the Outsiders book.
Back at the Pierce home, Lynn is examining Jefferson again. Their debate about his heroic career is interrupted when the doorbell rings and they get company. Remember the girl from the skating rink? She has a cast on her arm now and she’s with her mother and… somebody. They fill the Pierces in on what Jenn did, and they’re shocked. Lynn plays peacemaker and they end up talking, which is when Jenn comes home. The visitors leave, Jenn argues her side, and her parents aren’t happy. Jefferson is impressed when he hears Jenn fought two girls, which aggravates Lynn even more.
Anissa, just as stubborn as her father, goes back to the newspaper and confronts the editor again. The man sighs and comments that if she’s anything like her grandfather, she won’t leave im alone until she gets her way. He gives her a box of Alvin’s files, warns her it’s very dangerous and that people are watching, and then sends her along with the files.
Tobias and Tori (I wonder if the Whales have a thing for T like the Luthors do with L) go pay a visit to wrap up old business and show they’re both ruthless. Anissa rummages through her box of goodies and finds a key. Since Jenn took her black hoodie, she puts on her outfit from the cosplay party to go investigate the key. Downstairs, Jenn argues it’s unfair to punish her for defending herself. Jefferson tells her she’s being punished for the sin of omission, since they had to find out about the fight from strangers. Jefferson and Jenn argue a bit more then make up with a Yoda/Padawan joke. Anissa figures out her cosplay outfit isn’t going to work for what she needs to do, and goes shopping, in a very amusing scene.
Jefferson is working out on a heavy bag when he gets a call with a lead on Toledo. Black Lightning goes to suit up, and he and Gambi argue about him going back out. Gambi is worried about a flaw in the suit, and Pierce actually threatens Gambi. Whale gets a threatening note/reminder from Lady Eve.
Anissa goes to the storage unit her key leads to and has to both use her powers and get over a fear to find what her grandfather left behind. Black Lightning goes after Toledo and has another very ill-timed flare up of whatever the hell is wrong with him, letting Toledo beat on him and then get away. Personally, this whole health issue seems to have come from nowhere and I wonder if they’re trying to retroactively justify Lynn’s concerns about Jefferson’s powers.
The show goes on break for a few weeks after this episode.
What I liked: While he has his flaws, Jefferson is a good man and a hero, in both his identities. I’m getting more and more intrigued by Gambi’s past. This might be the first episode I’ve liked both Lynn and Jennifer. Jennifer’s fight scene was well done. Anissa’s quest is getting very interesting, and now that she’s ditched the black hoodie, she’s almost wearing her comic book costume. I thought it was interesting Henderson talked with Black Lightning. The nods to Batman were nice.
What I didn’t: Pierce’s health issues seem to have come from nowhere, and I think it’s a weak story point. I guess they’re trying to flesh him out, but I just don’t care about Tobias Whale’s back story, or his sister. Presumably Black Lightning’s vicious streak is tied to whatever is wrong with him, and it’s a plot I hope they resolve soon
It was another good episode of a series that’s really impressing me. I’ll give it a low 4 out of 5.