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Black Lightning 1.8 Review – “The Book of Revelations”

March 14, 2018 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
Black Lightning - Revelations
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Black Lightning 1.8 Review – “The Book of Revelations”  

This week’s episode was aptly named, as it truly was the stuff of revelation. On the one hand, huge plot points and the answers to lingering questions were revealed. On the other, we learned that we are in what could be the last throes of a conflict that’s been building and burning for over 30 years. Conspiracies, experimentation, and the treating of poor minorities like expendable chattel all follow…along with spoilers for Black Lightning 1.8.

If Batman has taught us anything, it’s that a city can totally turn on a hero in a split-second. As ‘Book of Revelations’ begins, Freeland is outraged that Lady Eve is dead. Somehow, she’s managed to present herself as separate from criminal enterprise, even though she was basically the queen of it. Meanwhile, Anissa continues her training. Jefferson trains her the same way the FBI does—by forcing trainees into a situation they can’t possibly win. It shows you where your weaknesses are, helps you devise new strategies, and is instrumental in learning your limits. Apparently all that applies to super-vigilante stuff too. Father and daughter discuss that they’re clearly nearing the source of the drug Greenlight, and therefore close to stopping its flow into Freeland. Sounds logical. Their mission is to clear Black Lightning’s name

Latavius uses his newfound, um…aliveness to visit his old club in an effort to figure out what the heck is up. He’s confused, angry, but not his old murderous self. So that’s fun. It’s Gambi though, that we need to keep an eye on. We see him speaking with one Martin Proctor, who is of the impression that Gambi doesn’t know who Black Lightning is. Apparently there’s no one on this earth that Peter Gambi tells the whole truth to. We know that, because his name isn’t even Peter Gambi—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Proctor mentions that Lady Eve was responsible for the distribution of Greenlight, and that it has something to do with the “Freeland Experiments.” That doesn’t sound good. Proctor wants Black Lightning dead, and Gambi seems to think Proctor can easily get the job done. Watch for the terrifying phrase, “We’re doing God’s work,” which people only bring up when they’re doing something they can’t otherwise defend.

I love Jeff and Lynn’s parenting style, which I was reminded of when Jenn had to clean up Lynn’s lab since she didn’t have another after school activity. Across town, Anissa and Jefferson easily discover that there’s obvious proof that Lady Eve was killed by someone other than Black Lightning. We all learned what Lichtenberg Scarring was, so that was fun too. Jenn leaves the lab to hang out with her annoying friend when we see…

…JENNIFER HAS POWERS!!! Okay, most of us knew that already. But it’s indisputable now. What’s her power? Well, other than the power to accidentally void her AppleCare? It appears that she has powers similar to her dad’s…an outward emission of heat or energy. It also appears that, opposite to Anissa, Jennifer’s powers manifest when she exhales. If true, this drives home the point Jefferson makes tonight—if you breathe at the wrong time even once—you could die. As superhero weaknesses go, that one is very serious. All a criminal really needs to do is catch them by surprise.

Big lulz for the “black people die in the woods” exchange as pertaining to horror movies. Because seriously, where but a horror movie do you really see black people roughing it in the wilderness for fun? You have to have a pretty cushy life before intentionally seeking out dirtier, buggier places to sleep seems like a great way to spend time. Anyway…a search reveals a body (always kill the killer—first rule of hiring a killer), the weapon used to kill Lady Eve, and some random accoutrement that probably could have led someone to the real killers. Jeff tries to accomplish this when he gives Henderson the coordinates of the evidence. Some expendable guy (probably on Shadow Council) manages to explode the nuclear weapon (literally) before Henderson can get to it. But wait…there’s more.

Anissa noticed the danger before Jefferson. Nobody really believed that his ‘stay in the house, Coral’ speech would really work. Because when did “Coral” Grimes ever actually stay in the house? (pause to consider where TV would be without strong-willed children who never do what they’re asked). We presume that when Anissa realizes the danger, she jumps between her dad and the blast. That means, she protected her father and herself from a nuclear blast. Think about that for a sec—a nuclear blast. One billion joules, I think is the term we heard bandied about. Meanwhile, whether Latavius is hallucinating Lawanda or she’s actually talking to him from the beyond is unclear. But Latavius might should stop letting people see him talking to himself. His guys will almost certainly kill him to take his job or whatever.

How annoyed were we with Jefferson when he came home bragging about what a great job Anissa did saving his life? Sure, he’s excited that she did so well. But Jeff didn’t seem to realize he basically asked Lynn to be happy that he almost died in a nuclear blast an hour before. Really? No mom, not even a superhero mom, wants to hear that. Even Elastigirl would have been pretty mad, I think.

It’s around the time that Lynn heads to Gambi’s that all hell breaks loose. It’s also where I’ll point out that every other episode of Black Lightning has ended with a big ol’ crazy fight. This week ends with a similar amount of emotional turmoil, but no fisticuffs. Somehow, it feels more angry and upsetting than lightning bolts and spin kicks. Lynn explains to Gambi what she has discovered—specifically the connections between him, Alvin, and Greenlight. After some prodding and waffling, Jefferson talks to Gambi and it all comes out.

The drug Greenlight has a similarity to a vaccine given to Freeland kids decades ago. Lynn can’t discern where it came from and asks Gambi for help. The horrified look on his face tells us that he’s guilty as shit. Lynn points out that we don’t really know anything about Gambi, which is what I’ve been saying too. In case you don’t know, it has long been suggested by some that the drug crack was purposely distributed to impoverished neighborhoods by the government, for the purpose of thinning out the population. What’s suggested here is similar, but worse. The drug given to all those Freeland children was an experiment designed to make them docile, pliable, easier to control. They pretty much wanted kids to grow up quiet and subdued until they needed them to join the military or for cheap labor. Rather than making them docile, they made “meta-humans,” which is what DC calls mutants or inhumans, depending.

That’s not all. Peter Gambi’s real name is Peter Esposito…because why would you get rid of a name as cool as “Peter?” Anyway, Gambi lied to Jefferson for the same reason everyone lies in superhero dramas—to “protect” him. Of course Jeff doesn’t feel protected, he feels deceived. His dad was murdered by Tobias…because of information Gambi gave him. It almost sounds like Jeff was surprised that his dad was murdered. He knows that already, he watched from under the bed.

Meanwhile, Martin Proctor is determined to find and kill Black Lightning, and Anissa, and probably Jennifer—and he will if Jeff goes out in the suit. We watch Jeff absorb this information, and see his eyes get all electrified. “Stay away from me…stay away from my family.” Fair enough. Gambi would do well to heed that advice.

Before “Book of Revelations” ends, we’re reminded at how real Lawanda’s apparition seems to Latavius. She no doubt has a plan in place for him. Later, Jennifer approaches Anissa, who is too busy to listen until she sees the voided AppleCare phone. Now the sisters have even more to bond over. You know, all along it has seemed like Jennifer is the least honest and most reactionary member of the Pierce family. But she’s the only one who went to another family member on purpose to discuss her powers—within a day of discovering them. That is amazing, and is a credit to Jennifer’s intelligence and problem-solving. For reals.

Wow. A whole lot to take in this week. We got giant reveals from Jennifer and Gambi, progressed the story of the undead-gangster and the murdered ghost pulling the strings, and know that Anissa can stop a nuclear blast if she breathes in hard enough. And we know that Lynn is the best mom in the friggin’ universe, though we’ve known that since episode 2.

What do you think will bring Gambi and the Pierce family back together? What will happen when Henderson gets to the woods? How is Lynn going to handle being the only family member without powers? Stunningly, I bet. Latavius seems like the same old jerk since being resurrected, but is he? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. How’s Tobias going to take that news? Is Tori also coming back from the dead? So much more to see in the five episodes that remain.

See you’s next week!

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
We can't quite say that this week's Black Lightning gave viewers all the information we'd been waiting for. But it was pretty dang close. We speculated about whether Jennifer had powers, what Gambi's deal was, and what might have been up with Lady Eve's murder. Tonight, we took some giant leaps forward with new information, character development, and a long-awaited confession.