If you hear a sort of low, rumbling buzz in the background, that’s just me, grumbling and growling about the Olympics interrupting my enjoyment of and commentary on my lineup. Gotham and Agents of Shield both return right after the games are done. Black Lightning is still showing, though, and what a show it is. 🙂
1.05 “And the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light”
Apparently, Jeff’s Black Lightning suit doesn’t just direct his electrical energy, it interacts with his physiology in both directions, influencing how the electricity flows through him, not just away from him. This means updates in the suit let him use his abilities in diverse new ways, but it can have an effect on him too. Case in point, the newest update lets him hover through the skies, but something about it makes him more aggressive and ignites debilitating headaches without warning, even to the point he loses consciousness.
So, not good.
It builds up to that gradually, though, so while it begins right at the start of the episode, as he’s testing it out and saving cops from a kid raging on Green Light, and saving the kid from the cops who are defending their lives, it doesn’t reach a breaking point until the end of the episode.
While Jeff is practicing, Gambi gets a visit from none other than Tobias. It seems Gambi’s skills and equipment come from his association with a group called the ASA. Or ASF, we see that too, a little later, so either I misheard the last letter when Tobias said it or we’ve got two organizations running around, but I digress. Bottom line, Gambi is known as “the Tailor,” his store is a front, and only those in the know realize he works for a secret organization. He’s a spy, of sorts, and information is their bread and butter. Tobias figures Black Lightning must be a thorn in their side, and thus Gambi’s, so he goes to him looking for Black Lightning’s true identity.
Heh, lucky he doesn’t realize how backwards that is, but while Gambi reveals nothing, except for some deal he has with someone where Tobias is never supposed to enter his shop, I still have to question his loyalty to Jeff. What’s he really doing, as a spy, running around with an illicit superhero, a metahuman vigilante?
Gambi also mentions a serum that Tobias and Tori were injected with. It keeps them from aging, among other things, and Tobias says he’s figured out whatever he wasn’t told. It’s interesting they mention this serum in the same episodes that Anissa goes looking for answers about her abilities and stumbles onto some conspiracy theory involving a vaccine, kids exhibiting metahuman abilities and being kidnapped by the ASF, and a reporter, her own grandfather, looking into the matter shortly before his death.
From what we’re told, Jeff’s father was researching nine children who just vanished shortly after displaying some unusual ability, a superpower. Then he suddenly dropped the case, said something to his boss about, “They’re watching,” and turned up dead, murdered by Tobias Whale, a local politician he disgraced with his articles. There’s way too many connections here to be a coincidence.
Interestingly, it was Eve’s “partners” who pushed the Green Light into Black Lightning’s community, so it seems the people who use it are the guinea pigs of some shadowy organization, the same one that used Tobias to kill Jeff’s father. I wonder if Jeff’s abilities come from the “vaccine” as well. I also wonder, very much, if Gambi is part of the same group, or if his is a different group. I mean, if Tobias worked for people who already knew Black Lightning’s identity, he wouldn’t have to go asking Gambi, would he? So, I’m thinking the ASA and the ASF are not the same, and probably not friends either. Too bad the names are so similar, this is going to get confusing at some point.
Anissa’s adoption of a superhero alias is also beginning in this episode. As Anissa is looking into her abilities, and her grandfather’s death, she takes the threat of “someone watching” very seriously. With Jennifer borrowing her hoodie and her catsuit proving far more aesthetic than functional, she buys a new outfit, very tight and bright, with a wig to disguise her hair and her face marked up as well, all so she can poke around with a semi-guarded identity. It’s not much, but it’s all she’s got, and in lieu of an actual mask, it might even be smarter than it looks. If she can’t properly use stealth, she stands out instead, disguising her features by directing attention away from them. Clever.
Leaping into the deep end of the pool as she is, she needs all the “clever” she can get.
On a completely different note, Jennifer went out roller skating with her friend and got into trouble with a couple girls from school. They talked smack at her, she talked it better back at them. They got aggressive, she defended herself and did so capably. She didn’t tell her parents, though, which backfires pretty quickly when the girl brings her mom and some other related lady over to see Jeff and Lynn. The adults are looking for them to pay the bills involved with a supposedly-broken wrist, leaving out the part where it was two-on-one. Jennifer gets in trouble for the fight and for not telling her parents about it.
Jeff does have a good talk with his daughter about fighting, both verbal and physical. It ought to be about putting the fire out, not adding more fuel to it. True. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, to stand strong and morally superior as a defender of ourselves, others, and our ideals. But, as I have learned, sometimes it really is better to just walk away. But, at the same time, what Jeff says also means that when one is fighting, one must be as effective as possible. The point of fighting is to end the fight.
Unfortunately, Jeff himself is suffering from increased aggression at the moment, and he’s going on the offensive. He talks to Henderson, who knows, really, that the system is against him and the people he’s sworn to protect. That gets Jeff a lead on one of Tobias’ top men, a familiar face which clues Jeff in that his old enemy is in town. He practically runs right over Gambi – yep, I’m guessing he was protecting Jeff from himself when he deleted the footage of Tobias at the march – to go after the man. But he goes unconscious again at a critical moment. He fails, and now he’s clued he enemy in that he’s on their trail.
Tobias goes after an old enemy of his own, alongside his sister. It seems their mother ran out on them when they were little, and their father was severely abusive towards them. Yeah, he stuck around, provided for them, but that is insignificant when he also treated them like his own personal punching bags. Now they come back, finding him so very old and weak, while they stand strong. Tobias breaks his back and leaves him to die very slowly. His first and worst enemy, defeated at last, when he couldn’t even do anything to defend himself.
Tobias’ victory dance is cut short, however, as Eve delivers a message in the form of white powder. It’s a warning that her partners are unhappy, and they will turn him straight into dust. He’s not looking at a seat at the table, he’s looking at his imminent demise if the Black Lightning debacle continues.
Jeff just might get his revenge best simply by avoiding capture or death as he continues his activities. Once he gets up off the ground, that is. But, then again, that would still leave Eve and her partners running around, and they are the real problem besetting his home.
It seems like pretty much everyone is fighting for their life in some way.