Friday, December 14, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 9 - The Book of Rebellion: Chapter 2 - Gift of the Magi

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


With Khalil fatally wounded by one of Cutter's poisoned blades, Jennifer must work quickly to save his life while dodging her family and Cutter. Meanwhile, Tobias works to secure the services of a young doctor who feels abused by the system, as part of his plans.


The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (title, theme of sacrifice) and the Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella.


As Tobias himself points out, Cutter is kind of an idiot. He specifically said he wanted Khalil brought in alive in the last episode and she used a poisoned blade to attack him. Now she's defending her decision to kill Khalil outright and telling Tobias he'd better be ready to pay her for his body. Ignoring that this is not a smart way to treat a client in a gig economy, she is saying this to a man she knows for a fact has no issue with killing underlings who fail to follow orders... given that's the whole reason she sent her after Khalil in the first place!

Lynn's storyline in this episode is completely pointless. Apart from freaking out and playing the hysterical mom, all she does is talk to one man who gives her no new information. It's almost as if the writers have no idea what to do with Lynn now that the Green Light Baby storyline is apparently played out.


Again, China Anne McClain delivers a powerful performance as Jennifer Pierce and sells the fact that Jennifer is capable of doing everything she does in this episode.

Marvin "Krondon" Jones III continues to be a delight to watch as Tobias.  You wish we got to see more of him in this episode, even though nearly everything he does here - apart from talk to Cutter - is a total non-sequiter to the rest of the plot.


The music in the Club 100 scenes is good.

The special effects for the teleporting assassin are good.


The episode title comes from a story by O. Henry, which tells the tale of a young couple who each sacrifice what is most important to them to get a Christmas present for the other. This is probably a reference to how Jennifer gives up her family to try and save Khalil and Khalil tries to get Jennifer to abandon him because he doesn't want her to abandon her life for him.


Khalil's system is so full of toxins that it gave him a degree of immunity to Cutter's poison. While he is still sickened, she says that if it weren't for his powers he would have died in minutes.

Most large appliances and generators operate at 240 volts. Since Jennifer runs hotter than that, by increasing the voltage threshold of Jefferson's goggles, that will narrow down the "hot spots" he can see using his electro-vision.

Dialogue Triumphs

Khalil: I remember when I first saw you.
Jennifer: Are you seriously getting all corny on me right now?
Khalil: (coughs) No. No. No, this This is a memory I'll keep for myself. But... (breathing heavier) I knew then that you were special.
Jennifer:Well I remember all the girls at Garfield going on and on about Khalil this and Khalil that. And I'm like, "What the hell is the big deal? Who is Khalil?" And, um, then I saw you standing at your locker. And I can't lie. First thing that popped into my head was "Well, damn!"
(They both laugh.)

Tobias: Must be tough, smart kid like you, good family, good private schools, always getting passed over despite his superior talents. Why do you think that is, Todd, that you keep getting passed over? It's because it's the black man's burden to carry the weight of white privilege. Without the benefits of being rich or white, you'll never be better than second best. Well, unless of course you change the game.

Khalil: You know Tobias is never gonna stop, right? My family, either.
Jennifer:I know.
Khalil: J, we're never gonna be able to run fast enough. You know that, right?
Jennifer: Then we'll find a place to hide, you know? Get 'em off our scent for a while.
Khalil: I think you should go home.
Jennifer: I'm not going anywhere.
Khalil: J, come on. Look, you deserve better than this. Look, just because my life is jacked, doesn't mean that yours has to be.
Jennifer:  I'm not hearing you right now. I'm the ride or die type, you already know that.
Khalil: Yeah, and it's the dying part that I'm afraid of.

Jennifer:Well, I'm not. We're in this together, okay? And after everything we've been through, what should we even be afraid of?


Jennifer gets Khalil to a barn.

Jennifer determines that Khalil has a fever.  She thinks his wound got infected and that there was some kind of poison that even his body can't cope with.

Gambi perfected the anti-venom to neutralize Painkiller's venom, which he started trying to make in 203. He uses this to treat Khalil's aunt.

Lynn visits Khalil's mother and looks around his room.

Khalil had a brother, Keenan, who was part of The 100 gang, working as a drug dealer. He died when he was 15.

Khalil's mother has no idea if Khalil knows how to contact his father or not. She describes her ex husband as being no good.

Todd Green is a young teacher who is denied a gran for an advanced encryption class. The grant is instead given to Garret Tortolani - a rich white teacher whose dad donated the money to have a new wing built on the local research center.  When he is escorted off the campus, he finds a card in his car from Tobias Whale, asking him to meet him that night at Club 100 because "he deserves better."

Jennifer uses her powers to break an electronic medicine dispenser to get the drugs she needs to treat Khalil's injuries.

Jennifer barely dodges Jefferson and Anissa at the hospital an doesn't notice Cutter tailing her.

Gambi is able to hack the hospital security footage to identify Jennifer and see which way she went after she left wit h the drugs she stole.  He also gets a shot of Cutter's face.

Jefferson has to be talked down from going off flying to look for Jennifer without his costume.

Khalil claims to be on fire inside even after he's been given antibiotics.

Khalil says she knew Jennifer was something special when he first saw her.

Jennifer says that she didn't think much of Khalil until she heard other girls fawning over him and then she looked at him and had second thoughts.

Todd Green graduated college at 17, and earned a Masters and PhD before he was 21. Tobias Whale says he has been keeping an eye on him for sometime.

Todd Green does not like being touched, though he does like women.

Cutter's real name is Giselle Cutter.

Tobias reminds Cutter that he was paying for Khalil to be brought in alive - no exceptions or excuses.

Gambi thinks Cutter is a low-level telekinetic, as it's been said that bullets don't touch her even at point-blank range and she can throw knives around corners.

Lynn searches for any information she can find on Khalil's father, Kito Payne, on Gambi's workstation.

Jennifer connects with a part of her self in the psychic landscape she formed in her head that intuits how to use her powers and recalls old science lessons. This gives her a version of her father's electro-vision that lets her see Cutter in the darkness using a pair of night-vision binoculars, though she can see her bio-electricity as well.

Jennifer is able to taser Cutter to bring her down.

Jennifer reasons that Cutter must keep an antidote in case she cuts herself by accident.

Cutter keeps an antidote to her poison in her necklace.

Kito Payne is working at a diner He tells Lynn that he did keep in touch with Khalil by phone. He told him to stay away from Tobias, but Khalil felt he owed Tobias for the surgery that let him walk again. He said Khalil had told him he had a place of his own now and that he wasn't staying with Tobias.

Jennifer and Khalil tell each other they love each other.

Jennifer and Khalil leave Cutter tied up in the barn.

By the time Gambi, Jefferson and Anissa get to the barn, Cutter has escaped.

Tobias transfers $100,000 into Todd Green's account. He agrees to work for Tobias.

Jennifer and Khalil continue driving off somewhere together.

The final scene shows a teleporter killing several people in a bar. He then takes a phone-call from someone who asks him to come to Freeland.


An unknown location with a bar full of dead rednecks, after the teleporter kills everyone.

The Winick Factor

Granting that Jennifer is supposed to be smart for her age, it's embarrassing that she is able to outwit and evade a professional assassin, her medical doctor sister, her professional educator father and "Uncle Gambi" whose job description in his previous life was "tracker of teenagers with super powers for secret government program."

The Bottom Line

A failure as an episode. An enigma as a mid-season finale. None of the major subplots of the season are settled. Then again, most of them haven't been refereed to in about a month, like Jefferson's job status, where The Green Light babies still alive are standing and whatever is going on with Grace Choi. And then Tobias' scenes are all focused on introducing a new scientist character who - based on how quickly Body Bag Boy and Looker were removed from the show - will be gone in three episodes as well, along with the new teleporting assassin.

The hell of it is the best things about the show right now - the Khalil/Jennifer romance and Tobias' plan - are the only things this episode pays attention to. And yet nothing is done to advance those storylines. All in all, I'm one more lackluster episode away from abandoning this episode guide.

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