The secrets of the past start to rise up in Freeland and Black Lightning has some problems with his powers.

Previously, on BLACK LIGHTNING

As Jefferson Pierce continues to hunt down the source of the drug that’s plaguing Freeland, we learn more about the histories of the principle players in the show, and they’re more complicated than we’ve seen so far. The fifth episode of the series explores the mythology behind Freeland, including Jefferson’s murdered father, Alvin, who was a reporter for the Gazette. After watching a conspiracy video about missing children online, his granddaughter Anissa goes to the paper’s editor to find out more about the series of articles he was writing before he was killed.

Anissa’s search leads her to buy her own spandex outfit – complete with a wig – as she searches an old storage locker with her grandfather’s notes

On the other end of the ideological spectrum, Tobias Whale, head of the 100, delves into a couple of different branches of his past. First, he visits Black Lightning’s partner, Gambi, trying to coax him into telling Black Lightning’s true identity and we get hints of a past connection between the two. Then, he and his sister visit their father, an abusive piece of work who punished Tobias for being light-skinned. Tobias breaks his dad’s back and leaves him for dead.

Jefferson also has to deal with some physical issues with his powers and his daughter Jennifer, who was attacked by mean girls at a roller rink and broke one of the girls’ wrist when she defended herself. Meanwhile, Black Lightning is on the hunt for Tobias Whale’s former right-hand-man, after Lightning learns that he’s been heading up the sale of the Green Light drug. Black Lightning’s physical issues allow Joey Toledo – the villain names on this show are great – to get some shots in and get away.

This was probably the least compelling episode of the young series, even with the hints to a larger history between the characters in the show. The focus of the episode was split in too many disparate directions and I think that hurt things. While the sub-plot with Jennifer defending herself against the girls at the skate rink shows that she can hold her own in a fight, it felt really superfluous to everything else, especially when everyone else’s storylines dealt with family history. The five minutes or so devoted to Jennifer could have easily been given to one of the other parts of the episode so that one of them could have felt dominant. Instead, we got a lot of minor advancement and, overall, an unfulfilling episode.

It’s clear the showrunners are trying to jam a lot into a truncated season, but they need to find a happy medium between giving everyone a spotlight and telling a cohesive story in the time allotted. With no new episode next week – the show returns on February 27 – BLACK LIGHTNING needs to come back with a strong episode. From the trailer for the next episode, it could be a doozy. Let’s check it out: