Black Lightning: Exodus


NOT what I meant about getting the Powerball… 


Things take a turn, and various parental figures are confronted, as Black Lightning deals with “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus.” I’d argue that’s not the best name, all things considered, but that’s getting ahead of things. There are certainly several surprises.


The episode opens with Jennifer and Khalil showing they really haven’t thought their sudden flight through very well at all. Khalil says he needs to make a stop, which goes from an attempted bluff to a major gunfight. When Khalil gets pinned down, Jennifer is forced to action. Whatever else you want to say about her powers, they aren’t subtle. At all.


The rest of the Pierce family goes to Gambi’s hidden sanctum. Delight at seeing the old tailor alive and well is mixed with worry about Jennifer. As they compare notes from a few different sources, they figure out Jennifer is with Khalil. No one is happy about this, and Jefferson is particularly displeased with Anissa for withholding information. Jefferson barks out a few orders, and sends Lynn to speak with Deputy Chief Henderson. She gets to the station amid some more craziness, and Henderson says of course he’ll help, but also shows her how busy they are. The Green Light Babies aren’t making things easy on anyone.


An upset Black Lightning gets involved with a scene of mistaken identity that’s going to end up being a strange call to an insurance agent. Jennifer shows her displeasure with Khalil about the firefight they were just in. They argue about what happened, where to go next, and what to do. They agree to go to Khalil’s aunt, but the peace from that decision is strained when Khalil goes all rage monster over Jennifer’s desire to check in with her folks. A lot of this episode would have been different if she’d made that call.


Anissa comes back from checking in with Jennifer’s friends, finding nothing. Gambi, with his really impressive surveillance network, has captured some video of Jen’s power display earlier. In a seemingly pointless scene, Henderson responds to a dead body call that isn’t Jennifer. Tobias pays a call on Khalil’s mother, in a really unfriendly scene. The lady is impressive, and even wins Tobias’ grudging admiration, although he leaves tossing an insult about Khalil.


The young runaways get to Aunt Yvette’s house, and she’s under an understandable mistaken belief. They get through that confusion and Yvette agrees to help them. Khalil explains some of his fear and his outburst to Jennifer, then tries to make amends by giving her a phone to contact the family.


Following up on Gambi’s video footage, Black Lightning and Thunder pay a call at the bar Khalil visited in the opening scene. The pair of heroes are out of patience, and find a way to get through the “no snitching” attitude prevalent in many parts of the city. Jennifer finally calls Anissa, who routes the call through her costume coms. Anissa loops in Black Lightning and Gambi, who tries to trace the call. Thunder tries to stall her, but Jennifer offers hurried reassurances that she’s fine and hangs up too fast for Gambi’s equipment to get a lock on her location.


After Jefferson goes home to check on Lynn, Anissa confronts Gambi about his faked death. He once again explains why he did what he did, and points out Anissa is keeping secrets, too, like her Robin Hoodie exploits. She claims it’s a totally different issue, but it’s a weak defense. She does thank him for the overwatch via drone in the woods as she clashed with Looker’s Sange. Lynn turns to the bottle again, then tearfully pulls Jennifer’s room apart, looking for clues at first, but just kind of losing it as the scene goes on. Jefferson gets there in time to stop her doing too much damage, but it’s going to take a bit to get the room livable again. There’s some really bad editing in this scene.


Feeling safe at Yvette’s place, Khalil and Jennifer work on disguises and talk about past dreams. She’s giving him a makeover, but resists the same idea when directed at her. She does notice something different about Khalil and worries a bit. Tobias has a disturbing discussion with one of his closest counselors.


Jefferson gets Lynn put to bed, and he and Anissa survey the wreckage of Jennifer’s room. Anissa asks if he did it, and he tells her what happened. Jefferson makes an ill-timed comment, and Anissa isn’t having it. She goes off on her father, and says some unkind but truthful things to him.


Sometime later, Nichelle Payne, Khalil’s mother, pays a visit to the Pierce home. She and Lynn have a talk, and Nichelle is worried about Khalil dragging Jennifer into trouble. Nichelle ends up giving Yvette’s address to Lynn, although how the super-connected Gambi missed the aunt, I’m not sure. Lynn passes on the information, and we see the project Gambi was working on during his time playing dead get introduced. The man really does seem to have an incredible amount of money. Where’s it all coming from?


Tobias has reached out to an old contact, and negotiates sending her after Khalil. The two clearly have a history, and isn’t a good one. Then again, Tobias probably has good history with very few people. They bicker back and forth for a bit, and then Tobias slides her the tracker readout we saw him use last episode. He explains why he’s hiring her, and she really doesn’t seem to care that much.


In no time at all, Stabby Woman, as I call Tobias’ new hire, gets to Yvette’s place. She tries a really questionable bluff that Yvette calls her on, and then the fight is on. Stabby and Khalil battle through the aunt’s place, while Jennifer mostly looks on, but does at least help get Yvette out of the line of fire. Stabby Woman shows she’s very good at what she does, and Khalil is ironically saved by the timely arrival of Black Lightning and Thunder. With more confusion happening, Khalil and Jennifer flee as best they can with some injuries to deal with. Stabby Woman eventually also flees, outnumbered and outgunned by the two supers. Gambi tries to track the running couple via drone, but Jennifer isn’t in the mood to smile for the camera.


Jennifer tries to figure out who Stabby Woman was, and how they are being tracked. Jennifer muses that they don’t have phones to leave a trial… she figures out what’s going on and, after a few rejections of other methods, how to deal with it. Black Lightning searches for the pair, and doesn’t realize how close he came. Too bad the suit doesn’t have any kind of sensors with the other toys. Stabby Woman calls Tobias, and we finally learn her name, but I like mine better. She and Tobias argue more, and Tobias wonders why Black Lightning is involved, proving again that while Tobias is an ugly piece of work on many levels, he’s not stupid.


What I liked: A lot of this one is about family, and it’s done well. It would have been a cheap, easy shot for Nichelle to have a grudge against the Pierces, but she doesn’t. Stabby Woman is an interesting new foe. There are a lot of assassins with gimmicks running around Freeland. I like that Gambi keeps patiently apologizing, showing some real maturity and not prolonging pointless drama. I do like Jefferson a lot, but Anissa was right to call him out on some of what he’s done. Yvette’s concern for Jennifer and the mistaken impression were nicely done. Jennifer is getting a lot better with her powers.


What I didn’t: Gambi’s new toy was kind of neat, but seems really impractical. Also, as I mentioned above, where is he getting all this money? I’m not really sure what the point of Henderson’s second scene was, aside from giving him more screen time, a cheap and oddly short way to build tension, or both.


Overall, this was a pretty good episode. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5. I guess next episode will be more of the Hunt For Jennifer. Maybe next year, Black Lightning will get to play in the crossover with the other CW/DC shows.