Jefferson continues to investigate the source of the new drug Green Light, discovering that his old enemy Joey Toledo is back in town. Unfortunately, Jefferson's started suffering headaches and acting more aggressively in a way that has both Gambi and Lynn worried. In the meantime, Jennifer rivalry with another girl turns ugly as Anissa's exploration of her superpowers leads her to discover an unlikely connection to her grandfather, reporter Alvin Pierce.
The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella.
There's some great non-verbal acting on the part of Cress Williams and China Anne McClain, in the discussion of Jennifer's fight.
The fight between Joey Toledo and Black Lightning is great, well-blocked and well-shot.
The packing slip seen in the opening of the episode identifies Freeland as being in the state of Georgia and having the ZIP Code 30318. This coresponds to a real-world ZIP Code in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tobias Whale is said to have taken some kind of serum that prevents him from aging. This is likely a reference to how, in the original DC Comics Universe, the crime lords who led The 100 used alchemical and magical rituals to prolong their lives by feeding on the suffering of the people who lived on the lands they owned.
It should be noted that the original Tobias Whale from the comics did not reach the ranks of The 100 that earned this immortality power, acting instead as the face of the gang called The 100 that fed the member of The 100 who drew power off of the Metropolis neighborhood known as Suicide Slum.
This episode reveals that Peter Gambi is part of some organization called The ASA. In the original Black Lighting comics by Tony Isabella, Gambi was a former hitman for the mob in Metropolis, who reformed and became a tailor, sharing his profits with Jefferson Pierce's mother as penance for accidentally killing Jefferson Pierce's father.
The man responsible for distributing Green Light is identified as Joey Toledo. In the original Black Lighting comics by Tony Isabella, Joey Toledo was the operative with The 100 who was responsible for killing one of Jefferson Pierce's students, inspiring him to become Black Lightning.
The DCTVU version of Joey Toledo is Tobias Whale's right-hand man.
Jefferson stealthily disappears while in the middle of a conversation with Inspector Henderson. More than a mere nod to how Batman does the same thing to Commissioner Gordon, this is likely a nod to how, in the comics, Batman trained Jefferson Pierce in several disciplines Jefferson had not studied, including stealth.
Jefferson also pays tribute to The Bat Signal by calling the burner phone he gives Inspector Henderson "The Black Signal."
Anissa buys a blonde wig to wear as part of her superhero costume. In the Outsiders comics, Anissa did wear a blond wig as part of her original Thunder costume.
The bodysuit we see Anissa wearing as part of her costume shares the yellow boots and bracers and general purple/pink color scheme of Anissa's first Thunder costume in the comics, though her catsuit covers her entire body. The costume from the comics is cut rather low in the front and would probably require double-stick tape in order to maintain Anissa's modesty.
An enhancement Gambi added to Jefferson's suit in this episode now allows him to "fly", though honestly he hovers and uses his electrical blasts to enhance his ability to jump father than achieving true flight. He is, however, able to manage an impressive swoop as he moves to save a drug addict strung out on Green Light from being shot by two police officers.
Inspector Henderson says the number of Green Light overdoses is becoming so bad that the first responders in Freeland have all started carrying Naloxone. This is a drug that is used to treat narcotics overdoses in emergency situations.
An issue with the capacitor relay in the new suit is what caused Jefferson's headaches and blackouts.
A control module controls all the programming within The Black Lightning suit.
Jefferson is able to magnetically pull Joey Toledon's gun out of his hand.
Black Lightning: Call for an ambulance! This kid is definitely high on Green Light! And next time, try using a Taser first!
Cop: ... yes. sir.
(Black Lightning nods as blasts emit from his hands and he begins to slowly fly upwards as the cops watch in shock.)
Whale: What I need from you is a name. Who is Black Lightning?
Gambi: I can't help you.
Whale: Oh, I think you can.
Gambi: Knowing things about Black Lightning gets men killed. I do my best to avoid knowing things that can get me killed.
Whale: Not telling me what I need to know can get you killed too.
(Inspector Henderson opens his car. He finds a cel-phone in a brown paper bag.)
Inspector Henderson: Are you serious?
Black Lightning: Hey, I'm old school. It's safer. Consider this... The Black Signal. (chuckles)
Inspector Henderson: You still got jokes, huh?
(Henderson looks up to see that Black Lightning has disappeared from the shadows where he was standing.)
Inspector Henderson: And you still do that.
Jefferson: Jennifer, how do you expect us to feel when someone shows up to tell us you were involved in a fight and that we didn't know about it?
Jennifer: There were two girls. They both run for Booker T.
Jefferson: (impressed and stunned) Two girls?
(Lynn gives Jefferson "The Look" as in "The Look all wives give husbands to let them know they are saying precisely the wrong thing.")
Jefferson: (defensively) Lana didn't tell us that part. (To Jennifer) You weren't hurt at all?
Jennifer: No. You taught us how to defend ourselves.
(Again, Jefferson look stunned and oddly proud.)
Lynn: Jeff! This is not a good thing!
Jefferson: ... right! (To Jennifer) Right!
(Jennifer rolls her eyes quickly.)
Jefferson: That's no excuse for hurting someone.
Jennifer: I barely touched her.
Lynn: Jennifer, her wrist is broken! And since grounding seems to have no effect on you-
Jennifer: Wait - so I'm not getting grounded?
Lynn: Oh, you are!
Jennifer: Why am I getting in trouble for defending myself?!
Lynn: You're grounded for lying!
Jennifer: I didn't lie. I just didn't tell you guys about it.
Lynn: Oh, you really want to play with me right now, little girl?
Jefferson: (shaking his head) Mmm-mmm. You don't.
Lynn: Exactly! And you need to figure out how to resolve conflict without fighting or losing your temper. And as your father taught you how to fight, he can be a big help, because believe it or not, not everyone solves their problems with their fists!
(Lynn leaves the room. Jefferson turns to Jennifer.)
Jefferson: Two girls?!
Elridge Whale: At least I stayed, huh? I didn't leave in the middle of the damn night like your damn mama did. Instead I fed you. And I clothed you. Even tried to take care of them twitch-ass eyes of yours.
(There is a long pause as Tobias finally nods.)
Tobias Whale: You're right. Mom left and you stayed. You did feed and clothe us. And I can appreciate that. Now. (pauses) Yeah, I can appreciate that.
(Tobias Whale opens his arms and steps forward. Cautiously, Elridge steps forward and hugs him.)
Tobias Whale: The question is why?
(Tobias begins to squeeze Elridge, who begins to cough as we hear the sound of bone crunching.)
Tobias Whale: Why did you stay? Was it so that you could have someone to torture? To beat on? To blame for your failures? Or was it about collecting money from the state? Because it certainly wasn't about love.
(Tobias drops Elridge on the floor, as Tori Whale draws a gun.)
Tobias: You stayed.
(Tobias puts his hand on Tori's gun hand and gently pushes it down.)
Tobias: Leave him. Your back is broken, Elridge. You're gonna die. And you're gonna die slow.
(The two turn their back on their father, as he screams Tobias' name and coughs, writhing in pain.)
Jefferson: "The one thing you can't take away from me, is the way I choose to respond to what you to do me. "
Jefferson: Viktor Frankl - Holocaust survivor. How you respond in a crisis is your choice, but to exercise that choice you have to recognize your emotions and regulate them.
Jennifer: Okay, well what about when someone is trying to regulate upside your head?
Jefferson: (chuckles) Look, fighting should never be about adding fuel to the fire. Fighting should only be about putting the fire out. And often... I mean, not the best choice, even when it is so hard to do, is to walk away.
Jennifer: (scoffs) Easier said than done, Yoda.
Jefferson: Yeah. I know, my little Padawan. I know.
Anissa: (to herself) Okay, listen - if you wanna be a superhero, you cannot be afraid of dead rats.
Freeland is in the state of Georgia and has the ZIP Code 30318.
Jefferson starts to suffer some kind of strange headaches whenever he uses his powers or comes close to losing his temper,
Tobias Whale had some kind of deal with Peter Gambi where Whale was supposed to leave Freeland forever.
Tobias Whale is confirmed to have taken some kind of serum that prevents him from aging.
Gambi alludes to the serum having some kind of side-effects which The 100 didn't tell Whale about. Tobias sais he figured out everything they didn't tell him.
Tobias Whale says that Gambi works for some organization called the ASA.
Anissa has moved back in with her father and Jennifer.
Anissa finds a video by a conspiracy theorist who claims that 30 years ago in Freeland, around March 30, 1987, there were nine children displayed enhanced abilities before suddenly disappearing.
Lana is a track star at Booker T. Washington High School in Freeland. She is also Khalil's ex-girlfriend.
David Poe was the editor of The Freeland Gazette for over 40 years. He canceled a series of stories, written by Alvin Pierce, about the children with the enhanced abilities and how it tied into vaccinations the children had been given.
The man behind the distribution of Green Light is revealed to be Joey Toledo - Tobias Whale's right-hand man.
Lady Eve is identified as part of the ruling council of the organization backing The 100. Tobias Whale has been working to become part of the same group for years, but was denied promotion due to Black Lightning's efforts.
Elridge Whale was Tobias and Toria's father. He was abusive towards both his children, but particularly Tobias, whose medical care took up half his paycheck.
Jefferson Pierce says that his father always did the right thing and that he sees a lot of him in Anissa.
Black Lighting gives Inspector Henderson a phone that he can use to contact him.
David Poe gives Anissa all of her grandfather's old files.
Tobias Whale breaks Elridge Whale's back and leaves him to die a slow death.
Reference is made to Lady Eve's conversation with Tobias Whale on the African beliefs on the magical properties of albinos from 104 after Tobias receives an envelope full of white powder - presumably the ground bones of another albino.
Anissa wears her new costume to inspect her grandfather's old storage unit. She finds a safe containing a vial filled with some kind of powder.
Joey Toledo's girlfriend is a woman named Caroline Brown.
The Bottom Line
Another solid episode, though much more slow-paced than previous episodes. Still, we get a bit more insight into Tobias Whale's background and learn a bit more about Gambi. Not enough to explain everything, of course, but enough to build the respective mystery around both characters. Anissa's subplot is further expanded with a few interesting twists. The only weak spot is Jennifer's story and that's only due to how disconnected it feels to everything else. Still a great episode of a great series.