The final arc of Black Lightning has begun. I have to say, I’m going to miss the show. It’s been great seeing an important character from comic book history finally appearing in live action, and even getting his own show. While some of the emotional messes and ongoing bad decisions are things I won’t miss, some of these characters really are, and I hope they pop up elsewhere in the Arrowverse. But I guess we’ll see. For now, Tobias Whale seems to be coming out on top, Freeland’s metas are having some serious problems, and the Pierce clan is so tangled in Tobas’ webs it’s difficult to see how they’ll fight free in just these last four episodes. The end begins in “The Book of Reunification: Chapter One: Revelations.”
Last episode ended with the sudden surprising loss of power for all of Freeland’s metas. Lightning, off doing what she’s not supposed to, suddenly found herself plummeting from the sky, Black Lightning’s fight against Ishmael got a lot harder, and Annisa’s rather poor choice in confronting an oncoming car grew even more serious. However, in short order, Lightning was saved by Gambi’s reactions to recent events (I think all the Pierces would be dead many times over if it wasn’t for him), Black Lightning showed there was more to him than his powers (in the comics, he started off without powers), and Anissa was saved from her own aggression by a timely arrival. With those cliffhangers resolved, we also got to see Black Lightning take Ishmael down a peg, Freeland’s finest with their DEGs, and some trust from Detective Shakur for our hero.
Anissa, frantic to find something after her friend Darius’ death last episode, searches his place with some reluctant help. She finally finds what she needed, and then worries about the cops being on the way. Generally, if you’re worried about doing illegal things, maybe wear gloves? Her prints probably aren’t on file, and could be explained away as her being a friend, but even so, it seems like a weird choice. Regrouping at the Sanctum, the team deals with some complications from their lost powers, and Gambi comes through again. TC is also having problems, but says he can reach out for some tech support. It would have been fantastic if he called Felicity (I know, impossible) or Cisco (also unlikely, I get it), but the show is staying in its own barely-connected corner of the Arrowverse. Things get even worse when Shakur calls Jefferson to warn him Lynn’s been arrested as we saw last episode. I’m not real clear on how this worked. I know Shakur is Black Lightning’s inside man on the force now, but does he know Jefferson is the masked hero? Did Henderson, in addition to leaving a way to contact Black Lightning, ask Shakur to look out for the Pierce family?
With Shakur’s help, Jefferson manages to get in to see Lynn. She’s shackled to a table in interrogation, which is wrong on many levels, but we’ve seen this show doesn’t really care about details in the criminal justice system, especially if they can make the police look bad and/or heavy handed. We find out a bit more about Lynn’s charges, she gets updated on the power problem, and Jefferson finds out he wasn’t the one Lynn was relying on for help. In Anissa’s loft, JJ, Grace, and Anissa have a sleepover, a sweet moment, and some banter. In a much darker scene and setting both, Tobias demonstrates how his power damper is working, and unnerves his hench-meta Red.
Anissa lets a few things slip that make Jefferson uncomfortable, which is a plot thread we’ve not seen in a while re-emerging. I’m a bit curious about the details of how that’s working, or at least being explained, but I suspect that’s not the kind of thing we’re going to find out about. As this goes on, JJ presses Gambi for an explanation about the power issue, but he doesn’t have answers so far. TC, as it turns out, has called Philky for help (I’d love to find out how these two know each other), and gets some compliments and assistance before Philky turns his attention to helping Khalil with a mission he’s on. Things get complicated, and once again Khalil becomes Painkiller, so things go much worse for the guards he runs into.
Lynn finally gets released and she has a slightly awkward scene with her lawyer, Keith, who is also an ex-boyfriend. Things get even more tense when Jefferson shows up, although it’s handled relatively maturely. While Lynn expresses her displeasure about how Jefferson handled that, JJ and Anissa talk about their parents’ need for space and then get a visitor. TC comes bearing gifts, in this case information from Darius’ files. Anissa directs the investigation and makes a very troubling discovery. Tobias and his crew have branched out into eugenics and, arguably, genocide. Speaking of the Whale, he gloats over the imprisoned Lala, confronts Destiny, and engineers yet another betrayal. The man does have a talent for that. Speaking of betrayal, Lauren has made her own discovery and confronts Gambi about his recent actions. It’s a tense scene in which Gambi sort of explains, but not really, and learns something important.
One thing that hasn’t changed with all the recent problems is JJ’s utter cockiness. She’s convinced she has a way to solve at least one major problem, and Anissa is not at all on board with this. Despite Anissa’s objections, JJ goes ahead with her plan after an emotional speech. Jefferson and Lynn have a very heavy discussion and then get interrupted by the arrival of Gambi with food. Between the three of them, they manage to figure out what Tobias has done, but there are a lot of details still to go. In his office, Tobias has a very strange VR meeting with mysterious figures. This would have been another great opportunity to tie the show more closely to the Arrowverse, but they don’t. We get a bit more of an idea what Tobias is up to and what some of his aims are.
Grace and Anissa talk about JJ’s newest scheme, and Grace says a few things that really surprise Anissa. They both make some valid points, and Anissa doesn’t handle it well. The Pierce clan, in addition to the meta-gene, seems to have an immaturity gene. JJ tries out part two of her plan, again against the advice of everyone who knows about it, and gets some last-minute help from TC. JJ’s scheme seems to work because yay, comic book science, but the last scene we see raises a few questions. I have a theory, but we’ll see what happens in these final few shows.
What I liked: I can’t stand Tobias, but the man does have a great plan, or series of them, going. I was impressed that Black Lightning stood up to Ishmael even without his powers, and came out ahead. As an aside, if all powers are shut off, is Lala finally dead inside his Empire Strikes Back themed prison? I like the ties they are making between the main cast and the notional Painkiller spinoff. JJ is nothing if not determined. Grace has some very valid insights. What Anissa finds out from Darius’ files (poor guy, I liked him) is both clever and disturbing. Painkiller got another great fight scene.
What I didn’t: Anissa isn’t handling much of anything well, from her going after the car that was trying to hit her (we never do learn who was in that) to her conversations with JJ and Grace. The scene with Lynn shackled to a table was wrong on many levels. I have questions about Shakur’s call to Jefferson. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t like what happened with Gambi and Lauren.
Not a bad first act of the final chapter. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5. It will be interesting to see how they wrap all this up as the show ends.