Black Lighting S01E09 "The Book of Little Black Lies"

After so many episodes in the background, it's finally Jennifer's time to shine in this episode of Black Lightning. Last week ended with Jennifer telling Anissa that she thinks she has powers. It's understandable that Jennifer thinks the entire thing is made up (a product of smoking too much weed) but when Anissa comes forward to come clean, we’re reminded of how young Jennifer truly is. Anissa had initially chosen not to tell Jennifer about her own powers but quickly undergoes a change of heart. Jennifer doesn't believe her when she declares that she has powers as well, which Anissa then proves by lifting up Jennifer's bed. The sheer panic Jennifer goes through is very understandable—everything is changing so suddenly! She might have powers, her sister has powers, and her sister says their dad is Black Lightning? Running down the stairs to her dad proves Anissa's claim: Jefferson Pierce is Black Lightning. No one told her.

From an older sister perspective it kind of felt unfair at how angry Lynn and Jefferson were at Anissa for revealing the secret. They had a point, of course, but when they realized that Jennifer might have powers they shouldn't have continued keeping her in the dark. Anissa was trying to help Jennifer out in a scary moment and considering how she had to find the truth for herself, it's understandable that she didn't want to watch her sister go through the same struggle.

The secret being out allows the rest of the family to connect with Jennifer in what would become their new normal. When Anissa comforts her sister, she repeats the refrain her father had used and followed as Black Lightning—the powers were a blessing, a gift. Jennifer makes it clear that the last thing she wants is powers. Life is confusing and difficult enough without being able to react abnormally. It was a difficult conversation for the two of them to have, but it was cheered up by Jennifer revealing that she's been looking stuff up about her superhero family. Apparently Thunder has more hits than Black Lightning does—and a fan page. And a video meme focusing on her ass.

Still in a mood, understandably, Jennifer disrespecting her mother results in the pair having a very difficult conversation about exactly how having powers can completely affect Jennifer’s future. This scene is possibly the best acted scene in the series to date. We see Jennifer explode in frustration before going into a spiral about what this means for everything. She's right, having powers is what impacted her sister's breakup and her parent’s divorce. Her mom not having all of the answers doesn’t help (and wow, hearing her wonder if she could even have children was especially heartbreaking). But Lynn shows her unconditional love and support for Jennifer, promising that things would be figured out and be okay. Which is sometimes the most one can hope for from a parent.

Gambi is more terrifying than ever. It's been proven that he can kill without any qualms but torture? A new level of horror for this show. In trying to clear Black Lightning's name, he finds who purchased the weapon used to kill Lady Eve. From there he finds out who supplied the weapon in the first place. His search results in a shocking discovery: a room containment containers, one of which holds the body of a kid he had reported to the ASA three decades ago is in what appears to be a lab. It doesn't make sense that the ASA would keep the bodies of children unless they were still doing medical experiments. But for three decades? If nothing else, the discovery is unsettling. He passes this discovery off to Anissa who questions why he and her dad aren't working together any more. Gambi tells her the story of the white lie he’d been keeping for years but without going into detail. Anissa tries to use this circumstance to get her dad to understand why Jennifer was so angry, but as usual, Jefferson tries to wave off the parallels between his behaviors and others.

As Jennifer deals with her world being blown up, Thunder and Black Lightning team up to take down green light once and for all. It's known that there's only one distributor of green light and to find that, there's a paper trail that exists. Since Black Lightning is wanted for murder, Anissa and Jefferson go a different route by breaking into the office of a BendsCORP lawyer wearing Hillary Clinton and President Obama masks—referring to him simply as "Barack" makes Anissa immediately. It;s a funny scene in the midst of everything else, including the lawyer telling "Obama" that he voted for him twice. Anissa's visit with Gambi does her well and we get to see the debut of her official Thunder costume set to her own hero music. Thunder and Black Lightning make a good fighting team with Thunder playing crucial backup to prevent Black Lightning from getting riddled with bullets. As they destroy the lab green light was manufactured in, the ASA team drops in to take Black Lightning out once and for all. Luckily, they fail and the crime fighting superhero duo do a slow walk away from the lab being destroyed behind them.

Henderson plays a rather useful role in this episode. In trying to find information about green light for Black Lightning, he finds a group of men who are trying to kill Black Lightning. No matter how much Henderson wants to catch Black Lightning, he doesn't want to see the man dead. He manages to save the day by shooting a guy who was aiming for Black Lightning's head. It's noteworthy that he did this all while off duty. Corruption is happening in the police force and in the end it was a friend who saved Jefferson instead of an officer.

Jefferson has the last conversation with Jennifer of the episode. He acknowledges and validates her anger and fear of powers. It's nice to see a dad own up to his shortcomings, even though his actions were technically justifiable as Jennifer is still a teenager. The episode ends with a compromise between the two of them before Jefferson joins his daughter in watching a movie. For the first time this season, it feels like things will be OK. A reprieve from the nightmare, at least. It's unlikely that this feeling of peace will remain but it feels nice to be able to take a deep breath before more madness ensues.

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 PM EST on The CW
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Beatrice Onyekachi's picture
on April 12, 2018

I'm a Black lesbian ask me how. I'm a student who spends more time creating fandom content than focusing on her studies. I'm very excited to be a part of Geeks OUT!