Black Lightning: The Book of Reunification: Chapter Two: Trial and Errors

Note the helpful sign in case Jefferson forgets where he’s drinking.

The end is in sight as progress is being made on several different subplots on the final season of Black Lightning. Tobias Whale seems to hold all the cards, but there’s an impressive array of characters opposing him, and Whale just may have underestimated all of them. An old enemy returns, tragedy strikes, and difficult decisions are contemplated in “The Book of Reunification: Chapter Two: Trial and Errors.”

The good guys are starting to get some ideas about what’s going on, but they need more information to get anywhere. A lot of this episode is different types of information gathering and confirming theories, really. This starts when Anissa sends her partially repowered sister into action as Lightning, stealing valuable material from one of Whale’s many illegal operations. While Lightning is doing better than any other of the metas in Freeland, her powers are clearly not back to their full potential, but she managed to accomplish her mission and fly off. At his luxurious home, Tobias demonstrates a previously unknown skill, gets worried about his late shipment, and then has his pet AI Katie do some checking on a new idea he has.

Jefferson, understandably, needs a drink, and is at a local bar. Gambi meets him for some reassurance and promises. From most people, it would sound like an empty, “Everything is going to be all right” kind of thing, but when Gambi says he’s going to pull something off, I tend to believe it. Jeff has to leave, as he and Lynn have a meeting with Keith, her attorney. Keith has some bad news that no one is happy about, and other tensions rise as well. Lynn snaps at both men, makes a very good point, and storms off. Whale practices his acceptance speech for his mayoral victory when he is interrupted by Chief Lopez. Lopez’s rant sheds a bit more light on why she’s after Lightning so intensely, but gives us no insight as to what started this. Whale offers her a weapons upgrade, and does his best evil tempter approach to make it all sound so reasonable. The man is insufferable and evil, but he’s effective. Whale also gets a theory of his confirmed, and summons his meta-enforcer Red to go deal with it.

Anissa and JJ share what they’ve recently learned and acquired, getting more parental ire about JJ’s recent trip to the ionosphere. Lynn is shocked when she learns more about what’s happening at the clinic, and we see that Monovista is engaging in not one, but many different kinds, of evil. I’m still not sure I understand what they’re up to with the stolen meta-genes. Taking them would, in theory, prevent the kids from developing powers, but they seem to be up more than that, and I see a host of difficulties with where I think they’re going. Anissa also tells them about Darius’ death, and Jefferson realizes that Tobias has, in many ways, picked up right where the ASA left off. Jefferson is very busy this episode, as his next stop is back at the Sanctum, where TC video conferences Jefferson with Khalil. They do some catching up and Khalil fills in Jefferson on what he’s been up to. There’s some nice mutual respect between them that I thought was a very nice tone for the exchange.

When Jefferson gets home, Lynn seems more than ready to fight some more. This gets derailed when he shares some of his good news, and she sees there might be some hope after all. They begin planning for how to proceed, and Jefferson realizes they need more help. The fact that he’s admitting that shows some real growth from where he was at the start of this series. TC finds JJ up in her old rooftop hangout, and brings more good news. He has also gone way out of his way to do something nice for her. There’s a real close brother and sister vibe with those two, at least for now.

Even without her lab, Lynn is still brilliant, and she and Anissa do some home chemistry experiments. Lynn comes up with something that should help, although her lack of certainty makes Anissa clearly uneasy. Jefferson meets up with Detective Shakur, and outlines the strangeness that is happening. Shakur isn’t sure he believes all this, and who could blame him? Jefferson then takes a risky step and reveals a big secret to Shakur. The detective is initially upset, but Jefferson stays calm and persuasive and points out a few things. TC’s efforts bear fruit, and JJ and Uriah get a very nice evening together. It was very sweet of TC, and it’s nice to see pretty much anyone happy on this show.

Finally having persuaded Shakur to help, Jefferson gets a meeting with Agent Mason, the FBI man who seems to have such an ax to grind with the Pierce family. For once, a plan works smoothly, and Mason confirms some of the things Jefferson was telling Shakur. Gambi is hard at work, as usual, although he’s doing things a bit oddly, when Lauren arrives. She’s still pissed at him, and I don’t blame her a bit, but he tells her more about what’s going on, and brings out an ally to back up what he’s saying. He also shows her proof that her company is up to no good, and she is mature enough to realize this needs to be stopped. JJ’s nice evening out ends in disaster when someone delivers a threat. A secret gets revealed during all this, but it’s not going to matter for long.

Shaken and saddened, TC and JJ take turns blaming themselves for the events of the evening. I’d think it would be more important to tell some of the others what’s happened, but I get them having had a rough night. Khalil fulfils his promise, and gets a lot of really cool fight scenes. Finally, he confronts one of Black Lightning’s foes we haven’t seen in a while, and they have a very impressive fight. Khalil and Painkiller even end up working together, and we see that, in some ways, Khalil can be just as ruthless as his darker self. In the tunnels that seem to go everywhere in the city (which finally get explained a bit), Gambi and Lauren seem to be patching up some of their relationship while they look for something important. They don’t manage to find what they sought, but make an important discovery that could explain a great deal, but also seems like someone really should have known about this before. Jefferson and Lynn share a celebratory scene where I think they are having two very different conversations. I expect that’s going to get ugly shortly. Ending the episode, Tobias discovers the source of some of his problems, and makes arrangements to deal with them that set up what should be a very impressive fight soon.

What I liked: It was nice to see the Pierce family collectively making smart decisions for once. Khalil got a really impressive fight scene or two. Lynn and Anissa showed you don’t need to have powers to make an impact. Jefferson took some risks and reached out for help, which was nice. Some of what was revealed here made some incongruities from the last few episodes make a lot more sense. It was nice to see some making up between Gambi and Lauren, and we get to see she’s a very smart and mature woman. TC did something really nice for JJ.

What I didn’t: We’re running low on episodes, so characters not showing up becomes more ominous. Where was Grace in all this? I’m not sure the meta-gene theft project made a lot of sense on several fronts. I’m hoping we get more detail on Chief Lopez’s vendetta. She and Kramer from recent episodes of the Flash should get together.

We only have two more episodes left. I really hope the Pierces go out on top and we see Tobias Whale get what’s coming to him. I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5, and hope for that Painkiller spinoff.

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