BLACK LIGHTNING S1x09 – The Little Black Book of Lies

Family secrets are revealed as Black Lightning and Thunder wage war on the people pushing the drug Green Light to the streets of Freeland.

Previously, on BLACK LIGHTNING

It feels like this show is finally finding its footing as a family drama that revolves around people with superpowers. Of course, it helps that everything that doesn’t revolve around Jefferson Pierce and his family feels like it’s been pushed to the back-burner. While Pierce is still hunting down the people putting the drug Green Light on the streets and keeping Freeland safe, it’s been a few episodes since we’ve seen Tobias Whale, who seemed like Black Lightning’s main antagonist.

Instead, Pierce’s one-time confidant Gambi is now the gateway to an even bigger threat: a shadowy government agency looking to round-up and kill people with superpowers. I prefer the more personal story of Pierce looking to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Whale – and I imagine that will come back eventually – but Gambi’s role in the ASA and what they want with the people in Freeland may end up being the better fit for the show’s first season.

There’s a lot of potential here for some low-level DC Comics cameos, specifically the members of Force of July mentioned in last week’s recap. The group may not be recognizable to anyone save really hardcore comics fans, but it means the showrunners can really present them any way they want, which is becoming a staple of the Arrowverse.

With the shifting antagonists, the constant in BLACK LIGHTNING is his family, though they aren’t immune to change. Here, the Pierce family deals with Jennifer’s discovery last episode that she can fry cell phones with the squeeze of her hand. Anissa decides to tell Jennifer about her own powers, which escalates into Anissa lifting up Jennifer’s bed – with Jennifer in it – and admitting that Anissa is Thunder and their father is Black Lightning.

Jennifer does not handle the news well.

Actually, she handles it like a teenager probably would – she freaks out about it a little bit, gets stand-offish with her mother and eventually lands on acceptance, all within an hour of television. It’s a compact arc that just as easily could have been spread out over two or three episodes of Jennifer pouting or avoiding her family or any number of other TV tropes that would’ve just been frustrating. Instead, we get a couple heart-to-hearts and Jennifer and Jefferson end the episode watching a movie together, and we are ready to move on to whatever comes next for the family.

Jefferson has a much easier time relating to Anissa, and the two of them out in the field – along with an undercover Inspector Henderson – manage to take down a drug den that was being run by Martin Proctor, the man Gambi was answering to at the ASA. Proctor was portrayed by Gregg Henry, and I’m hoping he sticks around for a while, because he is fantastic and making viewers hate his guts.

Show Notes

• When Jennifer talks to her mother, she mentions she is neither Vixen nor Supergirl, which continues to muddy the waters as to whether this show takes place on an existing Earth in the CW Multiverse or one completely on its own, since the two heroines occupy different Earths of their own.

• This is the second or third time the show has mentioned Supergirl, which leads me to a theory that Green Light is somehow related to Kryptonite and is helping to give people powers in the same way the meteor rocks gave random high school kids powers in SMALLVILLE. It’s probably way off base, but just plausible enough that it could be true. As long as Supergirl and Vixen aren’t just comic book characters on this Earth…