When I try to think back through this week’s episode of Black Lightning, it feels like very little happened. That’s probably because last week was a banger of an episode with a huge battle that took up most of the runtime and introduced an awesome new villain played by, incredibly, Wayne Brady. This week is the aftermath of that battle, and it’s not surprising that an event with so many characters is going to come down in some pretty messy ways. Spoilers follow for Black Lightning Season 1, Episode 14, “The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming.”
“The Book of War: Chapter One: Homecoming”
Things pick up moments after the team gets back. Incredibly, it seems Odell is honoring the deal that Major Gray set up. The ASA database has been scrubbed of the identities of everyone involved in the recovery effort from last week. Odell asks Jeff if he can depend on him to fight Markovia with the ASA, and Jeff replies that he’ll protect Freeland.
Back at the Pierce household, all four members of the family are around the table, just as the episode title suggests. The reunited Pierces try to reset things. In turn, all four members of the family reveal their secrets. Lynn places some Green Light on the table that she found but didn’t take. Jenn burns it off and reveals that Odell coerced her into killing Markovian agents. Anissa, being her normal perfect self, says she thinks Grace is The One. Jeff tells the family about that whole Crisis thing.
It’s a nice, slow scene that’s very necessary. This show is focused on the family dynamic of the Pierces and the family has been split in pieces all season. It’s short, and it’s here where things start to get messy.
You get a scene, you get a scene!
The show tries to give us an update on just about every primary and secondary character in one episode, and ends up just feeling discombobulated; it’s setup for the finale, more than anything.
Jenn takes Brandon to see Dr. Jace on his promise that he’ll just talk. He immediately lights up and attacks her, only for her to tell him that his father is still alive. Back at Gambi’s lab, people are afraid Khalil will revert to Painkiller. Gambi tries to get him to work on his PTSD while TC runs checks on him. And then, Painkiller breaks out of his firewall and nearly kills Jenn, only for Khalil to Painkiller in his mind and send him back to his prison.
As with every other fight featuring Jordan Calloway this season, the fight is quick and exciting, and probably over a few seconds too soon. While Khalil defeats his demon, it proves everyone right. He and Jenn break up again, but it’s hard to feel much about it when they’ve broken up so many times throughout the show.
The plotline with Lala and Eve finally comes to fruition this week, too. Lala believed he had the upper hand on Eve previously, but this week we learn that the programming that Tobias had used on him was done by Eve herself.
A briefcase full of story
Eve gets the briefcase from Lala and brings it to Gambi, who we saw earlier in this episode torturing one of her men. And by torture, I mean removing his eye. I think it was supposed to be a revenge thing but it seems out of character for him. Eve makes a deal with Gambi. If he promises to take down the ASA, she’ll give him the briefcase, and they let bygones be bygones.
Gambi takes the briefcase downstairs and TC opens it to find two things inside: lore and exposition.
The briefcase contains a record of every metahuman to ever exist on earth. Here we learn that, in the Arrowverse, Gravedigger is a sort of reverse Captain America. As a young soldier in WWII, he faced a court marshall and chose to be experimented upon instead. The experiments unlocked his superhuman powers, and then the records of the experiment were somehow lost.
In an absurd turn of events, Wayne Brady is now the first metahuman of the Arrowverse. That’s a weird sentence. And then Lynn reveals that in an unfortunate round of Whose Powers Are They Anyway, she left the formula that let her “borrow” metahuman powers in Markova. Cut to Gravedigger getting an injection.
Finally, the Markovians are attacking. They hit the Perdi camp to which Anissa had been sending refugees. The metahuman members of the Pierce family show up to fight.
With only two episodes left in the season, it feels like Gravedigger was introduced a few episodes too late. I’d love to see more of him, and the next episode is definitely promising that much.