Black Lightning: The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Two: The Gift of the Magi


Turns out, teens running away from home is a bad idea. Who knew?

Essentially, most of the cast handle things badly in “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Two: The Gift of the Magi.” The title doesn’t even really work, as it references a very specific short story and none of the circumstances of the show really fit it. I think the only ones really keeping a grip on things are Gambi and possibly Anissa, but she’s making some mistakes, too.


The show opens with Jennifer and Khalil on the run, stumbling through the woods, Khalil wounded from their run-in with Stabby Woman. Yes, I know her name is Cutter, but I like mine better. They end up in a conveniently abandoned barn that apparently has no one anywhere near it, but is intact and even has relatively fresh hay. Jennifer is worried that Khalil’s enhanced physiology isn’t helping him heal up, in fact he’s running a fever. After taking stock, Jennifer decides he needs antibiotics and sallies forth to steal them for him.


Lynn calls Jefferson on the phone to scream at him for not having found Jennifer yet, then hangs up on him. Black Lightning and Thunder talk to Yvette, Khalil’s aunt. She says she shouldn’t have let Khalil and Jennifer stay there, and doesn’t know much else. Thunder, Black Lightning, and Gambi (who really should start wearing a mask if he’s going to keep doing these kind of things) piece together what happened in the fight. Determining that Khalil is wounded, Gambi will monitor databases about hospitals and doctors, while Black Lightning and Thunder go physically searching together for a few different reasons.


After tearing up a good bit of her own house, Lynn pays a call on Nichelle. She gets permission to rifle through Khalil’s room, where she learns a few surprising things about the family. Nichelle doesn’t have a lot of specifics, but it’s enough for Lynn to go off in a new direction. Meanwhile, in a random school that isn’t Garfield, someone we’ve never seen before named Todd loses a grant over what seem pretty clearly to be racial issues. Todd leaves the meeting, really pissed off, and finds a surprise back at his car.


Jennifer decides to further her criminal career by going to a hospital and stealing medications for Khalil. She does find a new and creative way to use her powers, proving the old saying about necessity being the mother of invention. Jennifer manages to slip away, literally behind the backs of Jefferson and Anissa. Stabby Woman is also there, prowling around. Anissa and Jefferson hear about the power issues at the hospital and figure out Jennifer was there. Jefferson calls Gambi to do some computer hacking of the hospital’s systems.


Back at the barn, Jennifer brings Khalil the antibiotics. Points to the writers, Jennifer becomes one of the few people in an action show who doesn’t magically know how to use a syringe. In the van, Gambi pulls up the video of Jennifer getting the drugs, which Jefferson has Gambi erase, after they see Stabby Woman was there, too. Jefferson makes a comment about his daughters both being thieves, and then tries to do something rash. When words don’t dissuade him, things actually get physical between Jefferson and Gambi. For what it’s worth, I think Gambi is in the right here.


Jennifer is worried that the antibiotics aren’t working, and she and Khalil reminisce about the first time they saw each other. Unfortunately, Stabby Woman is just outside the barn, watching them. Todd goes to Tobias’ club and is wowed by the life. Tobias comes on very strong and forceful, and Todd doesn’t seem to be overly impressed. Todd has also done his research, and isn’t impressed with his potential new boss. Tobias’ night gets more frustrating when Stabby Woman calls with some news the crime lord doesn’t want to hear.


Gambi has dug up some more information on Stabby Woman, and she sounds even more formidable the more we learn. They also use a map Gambi pulled up to try and figure out where Jennifer and Khalil are holed up. Black Lightning and Thunder split up to case locations. Gambi uses his video link to talk to Lynn, who has gone to the Sanctum to try and track down Kito, Khalil’s father. He walks her through some searches, and then she does something potentially amazingly stupid on the way out.


A very worried Jennifer gives herself a quick break to step outside and have a little nervous breakdown. When she hears something outside, she snaps to full alert and then involuntarily summons up some version of the beauty shop she’s been training in with Perenna, and interacts with versions of Perenna and another Jennifer. More or less talking to herself, Jennifer works through a few problems with her powers and gets a bead on Stabby Woman stalking them. Stabby Woman comes in to go after Khalil, but Jennifer gets the drop on her and blasts her from behind. Well done, Jennifer. Gambi and Jefferson have a sort of awkward apology scene before Thunder gets back and they all agree they’ve found nothing. Jefferson has a desperation-fueled temper tantrum and can’t bring himself to buy in to Anissa’s attempt to make him feel better.


Jennifer veers a bit to the dark side in getting information from Stabby Woman about what’s wrong with Khalil. I suspect her parents would be disappointed, but Jennifer gets results. Lynn meets up with Kito, Khalil’s father, and despite a lot of buildup, it ends up being a fairly friendly exchange, all things considered.


Gambi and Jefferson combine gadgets and powers to get a lead on where to look for Jennifer. Jennifer is about out of hope when Khalil finally starts to come around. After a cryptic comment about the now unconscious Stabby Woman, Jennifer and Khalil grab up their stuff and run for it. Black Lightning, Thunder, and Gambi get to the barn just after everyone has taken off. Jefferson calls in their lack of progress to Lynn, who breaks down crying.


Todd’s resolve to not work for Tobias stands up to pressure like wet tissue paper in a hurricane. Given what we heard about Todd’s skill set, I’m worried about what this means for Tobias’ empire. Jennifer and Khalil worry about their future. The show ends with what I presume is Stabby Woman’s replacement being hired, and he seems formidable.


What I liked: Jennifer is proving very resourceful. Maybe her problem was she didn’t have enough of a challenge before, although I’m sure she’d disagree with that. The new assassin seems like he could be a very interesting foe. I like that Gambi is being a stabilizing, calming influence on a family that’s falling apart.


What I didn’t: Lynn is falling apart quickly, and she really needs some help. Jefferson is having some serious temper issues. I get they’re both upset, but they need to pull it together, especially with what we see them both doing this episode. I’m hoping the entire rest of the season isn’t Jennifer and Khalil on the run and everyone else looking for them.


It was a good, solid episode. I’ll give a 3.5 out of 5.