Black Lightning: The Book of Resurrection: Chapter One: Crossroads

As your father, I have to ask: have you made plans for after the show ends next week?

The end of the road is about here for Black Lightning. I’m still sorry the show is being cancelled, even with vague hints of Black Lightning himself at least possibly appearing again in the Arrowverse in the future. The show did a lot of cool things, and I’ll miss a lot of these characters. Realistically, we won’t see the secondary ones again, and I’ve gotten very fond of this version of Gambi, at the very least. The final section begins in “The Book of Resurrection: Chapter One: Crossroads.”

Following Uriah’s death last episode, JJ is up in her room, mourning. Jefferson comes to talk with her, and offers some fatherly, and superhero mentor, advice. For the first time, JJ hears about how her grandfather actually died, and Jefferson witnessing it. She’s shocked by this, and it’s actually a nice, warm scene between them, which has been rare for a while. Finally, she accepts what he tells her about Lightning being the last meta standing in Freeland, and what that means for her. She reluctantly accepts her costume changer from him, and makes an observation about being a superhero gets both a laugh and agreement out of Jefferson. At Gambi’s place, he and Lauren are working to hack Monovista’s computers, and find out what they can about the stolen metagenes, the missing emitter, and anything else to help overcome Tobias Whale’s many advantages. Grace and Anissa were apparently sacked out on the couch, and now wake up and toss in a few more questions. Finally, between them, they find something useful, decide on a plan, and get, of course, a little something from Gambi that might help.

Whale is being his usual overbearing and dismissive self with Red when he gets a call from the mysterious Shadow Board. I’m really hoping who they are gets cleared up in the final episode, because so far it’s very unclear. They call him out on not getting Freeland entirely meta-free, thanks to whatever weirdness is going on with Lightning. The one who seems to be in charge gives Whale some bad news, and the gangster turned mayor responds as usual, with smugness and violence. Whale lays out what he can do now, thanks to stealing Lynn’s research and Lauren’s invention, and turns the table on the Board. There’s even a rare nod to the show being in the Arrowverse with the other CW DC shows. As far as who the Board might be, there is a Shadow Cabinet in Milestone Comics, but they are a bit closer to good than bad, and I think there’s still an embargo of most Milestone properties being used in DC shows. Aren’t character rights fun? In the Grotto, Gambi manages to take care of at least one complication in Lynn’s life. They come up with a very odd theory to account for the big Promethium discovery they made recently, and Lynn may have an idea on how to find the emitter. Jefferson comes in with an idea about how to handle the threat of Whale that I think is optimistic at best, but they all buy into it and Gambi starts working. Seriously, where would the Pierce’s be without Gambi?

Chief Lopez calls Detective Shakur to her office, and reveals a new plan for the Metahuman Task Force, courtesy of Tobias Whale. We finally hear a bit of her backstory, but only in the most general terms. Shakur makes some decent points, and she agrees, and gives him some more time before having to adopt the new methods. Khalil is returning to Freeland with the captive Looker, arguing with his Painkiller persona along the way. Looker is her usual racist, bitchy self, and Khalil ends up giving her a threat Painkiller would have been proud of. This at least gets her to shut up and pretend to sleep. Jefferson sets up a meeting with Tobias, with a lot of symbolism in it. I’m kind of surprised they have each other’s numbers, but apparently they do. JJ goes to the Sanctum to talk to TC, who is also shaken by Uriah’s death. They talk about a great many things, including the important distinction between justice and revenge. They come up with a plan for Lightning to go after Red that is full of peril, but no one has any better ideas.

It’s a bit surprising to realize they’ve never met, but Gambi introduces Lauren to Lynn. After some awkward conversation that sends Gambi fleeing, the two women work on Lynn’s idea to find the emitter. You know things are bad when even Lynn is rooting for her family to get their powers back. While the two women collaborate, Khalil gets an unpleasant surprise in the form of Ishmael showing up. After a lot of talk, and Looker continuing to be horrible, Khalil decides he’s done with this and gives Painkiller control. Painkiller and Ishmael fight in a really well-done sequence. The slick moves that Painkiller uses drive home how disappointing it is that the Painkiller spinoff show won’t be happening. While that fight comes to an unexpected conclusion, Gambi helps Jefferson get set up with the newest gadget that will hopefully save the day. Jefferson argues with Gambi about going to the showdown, and I disagree entirely with what Jefferson says, although Gambi apparently goes along with it.

Always in favor of direct action, Anissa has brought Grace prepare for their raid. They seem to have a good plan, and might just pull this off despite their lack of powers. Of course, Anissa is displaying proficiency with something we’ve never seen her with work before, but maybe she got a crash course from Gambi. Grace and Anissa debate keeping secrets for someone’s own good, and Grace makes some good points. They get very cute as they pack their explosives. Jefferson goes to see Lynn before his big showdown, and it’s a remarkably peaceful meeting for the two of them. There are even mutual apologies. Of course, Lynn does mock Jefferson for doing something I’d say was both intelligent and practical, but hey, you can’t have everything. Lynn sends him off with an interesting parting line.

With some help from TC, Anissa and Grace pull off their mission. It actually goes fairly well and, if it did what it looks like, should be a severe blow to Whale’s operations. What I don’t quite get is why Anissa was wearing her Blackbird costume and Grace was not only not masked, but wearing some weird flowing sweater top that would have been a nightmare to fight in. There were some really questionable wardrobe choices on this outing. Khalil and Looker come to the end of their journey together, and the fugitive former assassin has a remarkably friendly meeting with two notable law enforcement agents. He even gives them a present. He talks to himself a bit before deciding on what to do next.

Lightning makes a by now familiar trip to get herself in top form before TC tells her that he’s located Red, Whale’s pet meta-hitman. Red calls in to Whale and makes some ominous comments before Lightning catches up with him. The battle has some big ups and downs, and then Red forces an interesting moral choice on Lightning, while TC plays Greek chorus in her ear. Lightning’s decision leads to a run-in with Chief Lopez, which is interesting on several levels. Lopez spews her anti-meta bile, and Lightning took some interesting precautions. Not only was that very in-character for Lightning, but it nicely parallels some of the things police have been caught on video doing. It’s a clever scene. Lightning gets in a great line and flies off, leaving Lopez to stew in the aftermath. The Chief returns to her office (why, we don’t know, since she was on the way out), sees some odd reactions from her officers to something showing up online, and then has a full-fledged breakdown. I suspect all this was setup for a big showdown next episode.

They’ve saved the worst for last, and things take a lot of unexpected turns as Jefferson meets Tobias (which is a lot less fun than When Harry Met Sally). Tobias is smug and boastful as usual, and Jefferson plays possum to an extent. The big plan utterly fails, and it turns into an ugly fight. Tobias tries for shocking news, and then gets his own surprise when Jefferson tells him a long-held secret. Whale keeps mocking him, and it looks like history is going to repeat itself in this room. JJ, home and feeling good about her choices, gets a surprising phone call which leaves on a nasty cliffhanger for next time.

What I liked: It was surprisingly enjoyable seeing Lynn and Lauren together. They worked well with each other. Gambi was his usual invaluable self to just about everyone. Lightning had to make some hard choices, and I think she showed some real growth. Painkiller’s fight with Ishmael was really well done. Anissa is very determined to do the right thing, powers or no, and I admire her drive, and her admitting that Grace was right and she was wrong. TC has the makings of another Gambi, or would if he was going to be given more time to grow. Lightning’s showdown with Lopez worked on many levels.

What I didn’t: I don’t believe Whale turned the tables on such a powerful and secretive organization so effortlessly. That really rang false to me. Jefferson’s plan didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and I’m not at all surprised it failed. Seriously, what was Grace wearing on their little sabotage run?  The cops’ reaction to Lopez’s video was off.

I’m really curious how they will wrap all this up in one episode. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. It’s been an interesting journey, and I’m sorry it’s coming to an end. One more visit to Freeland, and we’re done. I’ll miss this group, some more than others.