Black Lightning: 1:10 Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption
Regrettably, this is another episode that I’ve found Black Lightning to be missing something. I mentioned last week that I must be having villain withdrawals due to the lack of bad guys and this did nothing to quench that thirst. Admittedly Lala is once again given screen time, but it’s more confusing than ever as to what’s going on with him. This particular story isn’t melding with everything else. Perhaps the most annoying aspect is the lack of continuation from last episode; at no stage was the blown up Greenlight factory, or detective Henderson mentioned.
The last episode left off with a very touching father-daughter bonding session between Jefferson and Jennifer where he promised to be honest with her from now on. Well, this didn’t last too long as by the end, the whole family is in hiding thanks to the ASA and both girls are none the wiser, even if it is for their safety. Jennifer’s superpower discovery continues on, even though she doesn’t want it. She’s made to realise she needs to at least control her abilities in order to not hurt those around her. Lynn does some tests and discovers Jennifer’s powers are the same as Jefferson’s, with one exception. He’s like a battery, drawing in and manipulating energy around him, and she is more of a generator of sorts. Basically she is Black Lightning version 2.0.
The main plot for this episode surrounds the ASA. It’s discovered they’re still kidnapping powered kids. Following a tip from Gambi, Anissa discovers that the ASA has kept the people they captured 30 years ago in stasis pods. This leads me to believe one of two things: the ASA are either trying to extract the powers for themselves (most likely), or they’re simply incompetent and haven’t figured out what to do with the bodies for 30 years (a distinct possibility!). Either way, it’s odd.
Overwhelmed, Anissa gets Jefferson’s help. However when they return, all the pods have disappeared and ASA agents are ready and waiting. The two superheroes then show off their ever-improving talents together in one of the best action CGI scenes there’s been thus far.
Wanting to know the identity of Black Lightning, the ASA kidnap Gambi, knowing at the very least he can contact him. To do so, they threaten to kill innocent civilians torturing Gambi in an attempt to learn Black Lightning’s identity but he refuses to divulge the information, showing his love for Jefferson. The leader, Martin Proctor, instructs his agents to bring in Jefferson Pierce, the man Gambi raised as his own son, in order to get him talking.
This was another downhill moment for me. Prior to the agents apprehending Jefferson, he attempts to stop a young student of his going down the path of drug dealing and extortion and Jeff invites him to join a mentor program at the school. When the kid reluctantly attends, the agents take Jefferson away before he can really convince the kid otherwise, simply asking him to read poetry. I loved the idea of this development but its execution needed more finesse. As it stands, it’s a pointless arc that’s only there to remind the audience the show cares about real life issues, not just the superhero 'nonsense', but gives it no real attention.
Once Jeff is put in front of a tortured Gambi, it only takes the two to lock eyes to know each other’s next move. Jeff turns the lights off and Gambi shoots the agents dead. It doesn’t take Martin too long to work out that Jefferson is Black Lightning (finally, someone logical). This develops the biggest reveal of the episode that’s surprisingly very dull. Now that Jeff has rescued Gambi and taken him back to his hideout, Gambi tells him that he needs to find the Scout (remember what Gambi used to do for the ASA) in order to find the old and new missing kids. The audience then learns that the Scout is none other than (drum roll please) the Vice Principal, Jefferson’s second in command at the school. We’ve not seen too much of her, so her true intentions are unclear, but after being told who Black Lightning is, she seemed shocked, so her next move is a mystery.
If you’ve read my past reviews, you’ll know I feel Lala’s return is poorly written. This episode seems to spend a surprisingly large amount of time with him, as he attempts to rebuild the “normal” drug industry. Rather than selling Greenlight, he wants to go back to old fashioned cocaine…yawn! His character has become a convoluted mess; he sees the ghosts of his victims and has become crazier. Aside from some small mentions of Tobias, simply to remind you he exists and isn’t dead, the whole sequence could be removed without affecting the overall story.
Apart from some small comedic moments and an excellent action sequence, I found this episode to be all over the place. With only three episodes remaining, Black Lightning is going to need to ramp up the excitement and start closing in on some specifics. A cliff-hanger for some may be essential but leaving with nothing concluded would be disastrous. I have my fingers crossed.