Black Lightning: The Perdi


She might be a looker, but this is no hero…


A great many strange things happen during “The Book of Blood: Chapter Two: The Perdi.” I’ve been a big fan of this show since it started, and have been saying I thought it was one of, if not the, best one out there. I don’t know what happened in this episode, but they made some truly incomprehensible choices. There will be some spoilers, because I’m not sure how to write this without them.


The show opens with our introduction to Looker. In the comics, she’s an ally of Black Lightning and they are both on the Outsiders, the team Black Lightning is probably most strongly associated with. There, she’s a powerful psi, with telepathy and some telekinesis. Here, she’s… I’m not quite sure what she is, honestly. But the people she’s apparently enslaved aren’t that happy with her.


Next up: a big piece of last episode was the apparent death of Paul Gambi. He just sort of shows up on screen, like it’s no big deal. He’s going to find out who tried to have him killed, and he’s being utterly ruthless about it. It’s not a pretty scene.


At the Pierce house, Lynn, who I guess doesn’t have her own place anymore(?) is in shock over the events of last episode’s developments with the Green Light/pod kids. She just sits there, stunned, and incoherently tells Jefferson bits of what happened. The very compromised Councilman Parker pays a visit to Reverend Holt. Parker isn’t pleased that Holt has seen through him, and sends him packing. I’ve had issues with Holt a few times in the past, but he’s not lacking in courage or bravery, you have to say that. Tobias Whale receives this news with his customary grace, making various racial statements before sending Painkiller on a new mission and dismissing the young man’s concerns and conscience. Whale truly is irredeemably evil. It’s not even one of those “I can see where he’s coming from” sorts of missions he’s on, he’s just selfish and greedy and morally bankrupt.


In another inexplicable choice, Lynn holds a press conference and announces the deaths of half of the pod kids. For some reason, someone, somewhere, decided it was a good idea for her to make this announcement without releasing the names of the deceased or notifying the families. So in a big public setting, several families found out their loved ones may or may not be dead, but “We’re not going to tell you.” This was both stupid and heartless and I can’t believe Lynn agreed to do it. A very distraught man, desperate for news of his daughter, rushes the lectern, and Lynn is hustled out by security.


As Gambi washes up after his interrogation, they drop a few interesting things in the scene. In flashback, we see how Gambi survived, which was part skill, part luck, part pre-planning, and a slightly unbelievable action sequence. The news covers a story about events in Markovia, which in the comics lead up to another Outsider, Geo-Force’s, origin. Gambi’s flashback gets interrupted when some of his machinery sets off an alarm. He sees Anissa is out in the rural part of South Freeland. I’m not sure what he’s tracking, since she’s in her black hoodie Robin Hood outfit, not her Thunder costume. Maybe her phone? While she’s out there searching for Anaya, she finds a large group of heavily armed people instead. All that was missing was some version of “You ain’t from around here, are ya?”


Anissa gets brought to Anaya’s parents, who apparently are in charge of the gun-toting mob. They have a discussion about the spelling and meaning of Anissa’s name, the death of Deacon, and then Anaya goes into labor just after the parents finish telling Anissa that everything’s fine. Gee, if only there was a doctor there…


Lynn has a literal run-in with the frantic parent from earlier and runs away. Jennifer gets another visit from Khalil/Painkiller. Khalil tells her a bit about what’s going on with Whale. Jennifer makes the contradictory statements of being sorry he’s going through this alone, but we’ll figure it out. I attribute that to the general odd writing on this episode, not Jennifer herself. These two clearly care about each other, although I suspect that’s going to end in a really bad scene. Anissa helps Anaya’s labor, and there’s a surprise involved as it turns out to be twins.


Jefferson goes to Gambi’s sanctum under the tailor shop, for reasons we’re never shown, and sees the readouts placing Jennifer in South Freeland. He gets even more worried when he sees her Thunder costume is still on its CW show mandated display mannequin. Jennifer has a very odd talk with her mother about honesty and responsibility that goes horribly, in part because of how she chooses to approach it. Again, I’ll lay this one on the writing.


The birth is successful, but the parents react very badly to one of the twins being white. There’s a lot of angry discussion which we don’t get the details of. Anaya’s mom confronts one of the gun thugs from earlier, and we find out how Deacon ended up dying at least. The newborns demonstrate they are not quite normal when they are put down next to each other.


Lynn has an ugly reaction to the events of the night, and there’s a bit of role reversal as Jennifer ends up taking care of Lynn. Khalil goes after Reverend Holt as ordered, but not the way he was ordered to. Khalil is trying to walk a middle path, and it’s not working. Again, Holt displays a great deal of courage and conviction. Anaya fills in Anissa on this weird race war she’s stumbled into. Looker lead the whites, called Sanjay. Looker’s power seems to be giving them powers and being able to both see through their eyes and control them. The blacks are Perdi (from the Spanish for lost?) and don’t have powers, living/hiding in the woods and more rural areas, selling organic fruits and vegetables and weed. We get some background on Looker and a possible origin, and we see why it’s such a big deal that Anaya had bi-racial twins.


Khalil interrupts Whale’s reading to report his failure to kill the Reverend. This provokes another of Whale’s rambling tangents, and eventually turns into a fight. Whale kicks Painkiller’s ass badly, clearly being both stronger and better skilled. Anaya finishes telling Anissa what’s going on in their neck of the woods, and Anissa attempts to reason with Anaya’s parents. That goes about as well as any younger generation confronting an older one about racial idea does. Anissa comes out of it looking good, and Anaya’s parents don’t.


Somehow or other, what they decide makes sense is to split up the two babies, and have two different groups each take one with the goal of getting them to a hospital in Freeland. The kids seem perfectly healthy so I’m not wholly clear on why this is so important, but they do it anyway. One group gets attacked by a pack of Sanjay, which is when Black Lightning makes a very timely appearance. The Sanjay have power, but Black Lightning has a lot more combat experience and it shows. Anissa also joins in in her Robin Hood outfit, and Gambi provides air support in an armed drone. Really, how many toys does this man have and how is he paying for it all? The group with the white baby make it to the rendezvous spot, which still isn’t a hospital and is just another point in the woods.


Black Lightning searches the woods for the other group, and finds the aftermath of a fight. The baby and grandparents are all not there, but a lot of dead bodies are. The surviving Sanjay bring the black baby to Looker, who isn’t pleased. Apparently her power is also racist, and it only works on whites. Black Lightning and Anissa chat a bit over coms (I didn’t know she had hers with her) and he gives her a good compliment.


Khalil, battered, bruised, and lonely, comes back to Jennifer. At first he tries to hide from her, but she makes him come closer. He shares with her some disturbing things he learned during his confrontation with Whale. The general tone of Khalil’s comments makes Jennifer nervous. Looker ends the episode by working out that Deacon is missing and ordering her super-posse to find the other baby. What happened to the missing grandparents we aren’t shown.


What I liked: When the fight finally happened, Black Lightning, Robin Anissa, and Gambi made a good team. The background info about Markovia is interesting. I’m glad Khalil is showing some signs of still being more or less human in his outlook, and that Jennifer is calling him on his choices.


What I didn’t: There was a lot of weird this episode. Building up Gambi’s “death” last time to just sort of casually reveal he’s fine this episode is a really odd choice. The press conference with no answers and “Hey, your kid might be dead” was both horrifically badly written and a bad choice for Lynn. I don’t get the trend of taking an old character, using just their name, and changing everything else about them from hair color to powers to good guy is now a villain.


I’ve been loving this show but this was not a good episode. I’m giving this a low 3 out of 5.