Black Lightning: The Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption


This is what I’m talking about, Anissa. There’s no work ethic anymore. He’s just lying down on the job…

This week’s Black Lightning starts doing a bit of repair work on one of the major relationships on the show, which I’m glad to see. The title is a big hint there: “The Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption.” Jefferson Pierce is so much about second chances as principal, it’s about time he lived up to his own code in his personal life.

The show opens with Two-Bits, who is becoming this series version of Turk from the Netflix/Marvel shows, witnessing a crime. To his credit, Two-Bits tries to stop what’s going on. He’s not exactly the petty criminal with the heart of gold, but he does have his limits.

On her own, Thunder walks up to a building and forces her way inside. I get it as a focusing technique, but I’m kind of hoping she gets over the big inhale she has to do each time she uses her power. It’s getting old. At any rate, she goes in and finds a bunch of tubes with people inside them, and is horrified. Her lessons from her heroic father are sinking in, and, instead of going off half-cocked, she retreats and goes for backup. She gets home and tells her father she had a lead on some of the missing kids from 30 years ago. Personally, with time being of the essence, I might have called him rather than changing clothes and making the trip, but that’s me.

Hanging out in his bar, Lala is catching up on his reading and dealing with his minions questioning his options when Tobias Whale returns. Lala seems utterly unconcerned by this possibility. Of course, the minion in question seems to be the ghost of Will, the punk who played such a big part in the first few episodes, only to be brutally killed. His mortal flunkies are hanging around because there’s no Green Light to sell after Black Lightning’s raid on the supplies last episode. After handling a management issue in his own unique way, Lala sends his thugs out to go sell other drugs.

As the trope usually works, Thunder brings Black Lightning back where she was earlier, and everything’s gone. Not only does Jefferson trust Anissa, his costume’s gear lets him see where things were taken away. They get ambushed, but defeat the gunmen with some clever uses of powers and great teamwork. You can tell they’ve been training together. After this escape, Jefferson tells Anissa about Gambi’s background, the precursor to Green Light, and the start of powers in Freeland. Anissa already knows most of this, and argues in Gambi’s defense, which Jefferson isn’t listening to. They mostly put that argument on hold to focus on finding the missing kids.

Early the next morning, Two-Bits goes to the Pierce home and tells Jefferson what he saw in the opening scene. He admits to his own various wrongdoings, but says this was just too much. After a few details come out, Jefferson has him slow down and start over in much more detail, determination clear on his face.

Lala cuts a deal with a major drug supplier. After some argument and a really harsh form of collateral, they come to an arrangement. Lala doesn’t care about how much of a dick he’s being, although the ghost of William looks on, commenting disapprovingly.

Jefferson is still dealing with what Two-Bits told him when Jennifer comes in to the kitchen, getting ready for school. In a weird role reversal, Jefferson tells her to stay home from school, and Jennifer argues with him. Jefferson prevails, no surprise there, and then cautions Anissa about what he heard and asks her to keep an eye on Jennifer while he checks some things out.

In a somewhat unlikely development, there are fliers being passed out for someone who disappeared last night. The kid handing them out goes into Gambi’s store. Gambi asks a lot of questions and promises to try and help. Despite his past, and even without a masked metahuman to rely on, Gambi is a good man and a hero in his own right. I wonder if he was planning on dressing up like the Shadow again?

Jennifer goes into whiny teenager mode again, complaining about having powers. Anissa tries to talk her down a bit, but Jennifer keeps going with her self-pity dial turned up all the way. Anissa finally loses her patience and verbally smacks her sister down. It was a bit harsh, but Jennifer had this coming. Their argument pisses Jennifer off so much we see a wholly different aspect of her powers suddenly manifest.

Jefferson fills Lynn in on recent events, and she has a few theories and good questions of her own. She also suggests Jefferson goes to see Gambi, and gets rebuffed like Anissa did. Jefferson has dug in his heels about that one. A plan of action devolves into some banter and flirting about an aspect of Jefferson’s powers.

At Gambi’s, Proctor comes in with a thug. He has a very persuasive method for getting Gambi to come with him, and it says a lot about Gambi that he goes along with it. The scene also shows that Proctor is a deeply twisted, evil man. Things aren’t looking great for the ex-spy turned tailor.

Jefferson talks to Jennifer about her earlier display, and does two good things. He assures her she will be able to live her own life, no matter what pressure Anissa puts on her about using her powers for good. He also insists that she learn to control her abilities so no one gets hurt. I think those are both reasonable things. That scene ends with weird questions and laughter.

Black Lightning goes to interrogate Two-Bits. It’s an interesting scene with the hero really seeming to put some effort into making Two-Bits a better person, not just squeezing him for information. There’s some running comic relief as a local citizen tries to collect the bounty on Black Lightning’s head. From a rooftop, Black Lightning sees a drug deal go down and moves to get some intel, also cursing when parts of his suit start fritzing out.

After a scene showing how poorly Gambi is doing in captivity, and what Proctor is after, Black Lightning takes a back seat so Jefferson Pierce can try and approach the dealer he saw before. Again, this shows that Pierce really is trying to make his world a better place by doing more than just fighting bad guys. The kid selling drugs is in a tough spot, and rejects Pierce’s offer.

Gambi goes through more questioning, and Proctor decides to use different leverage and sends thugs to get Jefferson. Anissa, Lynn, and Jennifer run a few tests on the youngest Pierce about her new powers, and get some surprising results. Pierce’s good deed finally bears some fruit, but they get interrupted by Proctor’s muscle showing up. Jefferson is brought to the very bloody and bruised Gambi. Naturally, in no time at all, the two escape.

Jefferson gets Gambi back to the Lightning Lair (hey, it needs a name), and Gambi reassures him that the ASA doesn’t know about this place. That has me really curious what this space actually is. Retail stores don’t usually come with secret hideouts. Maybe it was an old bootlegging space from Prohibition? They patch up some of their differences, and Gambi warns Jefferson that the program he was a part of is going again. Gambi also gives Jefferson a few pointers on how to find the ASA’s hidden agent.

Lala deals with some more labor issues as he sends his people out to make money, having another chat with William’s ghost. Jefferson moves his family into his father’s house for safety while the ASA is hunting them. If the house has been sitting vacant this long, I wonder how Pierce is paying the taxes on a principal’s salary. Jennifer, of course, complains about the dust. I’m betting the family will get captured in part due to her doing something stupid. 50/50 on whether it’s her being bored and sneaking out or using social media.

The episode ends with us learning two important things. Proctor has figured out who Black Lightning is, which is bad news. We also see who his undercover mole is, and I admit to being totally surprised. I didn’t see that one coming at all, but it makes perfect sense. Jefferson is in for a lot of unpleasant surprises.

What I liked: I’m glad Two-Bits took a stand for what’s right. Jefferson is a hero through and through, something that gets forgotten on some comic book shows. Gambi is a tough old man who is determined to do right whether or not Pierce forgives him, and I’m glad they’re starting to fix up their relationship. The reveal of the spy was a great twist. Lala’s situation is an interesting one.

What I didn’t: I don’t buy that Alvin Pierce’s house has been just sitting around empty all these years, but is still in good condition. Not with what they keep telling us about the crime rate in Freeland. Jennifer is really getting annoying, and has supplanted Lynn as my least favorite character.

It was another great episode. I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5.