Thursday, April 29, 2021

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 9 - The Book of Ruin: Chapter Four: Lyding

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


As Jefferson plans a confrontation with Ishmael, Tobias Whale takes the next step in striking out against every member of the Pierce family. Meanwhile, Jennifer tries to use her Lightning identity to save Garfield High's music program and impress her crush, even as Chief Lopez redoubles her efforts to capture the outspoken teen vigilante.


Daredevil: Born Again (Tobias' plot against the Pierces is reminiscent of the Kingpin's plot against Matt Murdock)


In Lynn's dream, Jennifer makes reference to her mother finding a way to kill the metagene. Based on the previews for an upcoming episode of The Flash, set one year before this episode, this is already common knowledge and used in the legal system as a way to depower criminal metahumans. (It's possible the method used by the American legal system is temporary and what Lynn is proposing is scientifically different or is a permanent suppression like what Cisco Ramon made for himself.)


Christopher A'mmanuel gets some great comic beats here as TC, playing up his obvious (to everyone except Jen) crush on Jen even as he tries to reign in her excesses and be the friend she needs. He also plays well of Laura Kariuki.

Laura Kariuki, it should be mentioned, is better at playing a likeable brat than China Anne McClain was. At the very least, she's better at conveying Jennifer's bad decisions as being made by short-sighted confidence rather than the whims of the writers.


Lynn's nightmare sequence is an effectively directed moment of horror, with some perfectly disturbing visuals.

The action sequence in which Painkiller goes after Jesse Gentilucci is fantastic, particularly the use of color in the background and lighting. 

The final scenes are possibly the best cliffhanger in the show's history.


The title of the episode is an Afrikaans word meaning both "suffer" and "sustain."

Tobias quotes from Matthew 20:16: "The first shall be last and the last shall be first."


In Lynn's dream, she is said to have found a way to kill the metagene and increase a metahumans power.

While studying Lightning, Ishmael notes her speed, acceleration and energy levels.

The new Thunder costume has a sonic trigger that is activated by a finger-snap when Anissa is in her high-density mode. The suit also has a memory function that maintains its density once matching itself to Anissa's body. This will prevent her from being vulnerable the moment she stops holding her breath. It is also bulletproof to automatic gunfire at point-blank range.

Painkiller now has the ability to switch out his poison gland with an antidote one that neutralizes the poison his system creates. 

A full dose of Painkiller's poison can kill an adult male in four seconds.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Lightning has just filmed a social media video to promote Uriah's GoFundMe.)
 Yo, I... I don't know how to thank you enough. 
Lightning: It's no problem. We need more people like you. It takes a special person to do something when everyone else is just standing by. 

(Jennifer is laying the loving daughter act on thick while fixing Jefferson breakfast.)
Jefferson: Now, you know, just because you said you're sorry doesn't mean I'm going to forget that we need to discuss Lightning's IG page.
Jennifer: There's no such thing as grounding a social media page.
Jefferson: No, but you can delete it.
Jennifer: Delete it? Come on, Dad! Really?!
Jefferson: Yes, really
Jennifer: Ugh!
Jefferson: Look, we don't do what we do for attention or applause. And as Lightning, you need to remain focused and vigilant if you want to remain alive. So delete it.
Jennifer: Okay, I lied. How about I just... deactivate it for a while? That's like grounding it.
Jefferson: How about.. you delete it?
Jennifer: Okay. Before you put a period on it... My mistake. I won't go live ever again. But Lightning is a role model. The kids that look up to me need my voice. I get to inspire them without contact. Sounds pretty safe to me.
Jefferson: Okay. Deactivate it for now until further notice.
Jennifer: Did I tell you how sorry I am?
Jefferson: Young lady, don't press your luck. 

Khalil (To Painkiller, as he is torturing Jesse Gentilucci) PK? I can't get information out of a dead man.

(After Painkiller has killed Jesse Gentilucci)
Khalil: (sighing)
Now, why would you do that?
Painkiller: What? Look, you were wrong. I was right. See? You CAN get information out of a dead man.

Jennifer: Hey, you made it possible.
Uriah: Not me. I'm not a hero like Lightning. It takes a special person to do something when everybody else is just standing by.

(Jennifer is smoking weed on the ledge outside her bedroom. TC is with her.)
Jennifer: Do you wanna smoke?
TC: Oh. Uh... I just say no.
Jennifer: Did you quote Nancy Reagan? 
TC: Of course. I grew up with her.
Jennifer: (laughing) How about you "just say no" to mass incarcerations? Isn't the 80' s anymore. A little weed is good for stress.
TC: Aren't you stressed, like, 90% of the time?
Jennifer: Yes, because my family rides me, like, 90% of the time.
(Jennifer's celphone chimes, indicating she just got a text messsage.)
TC: It's Uriah.
Jennifer: Are you monitoring my DMs, like, all the time?
TC: Of course. That's my job, remember?
Jennifer: Well, take a day off.
TC: Didn't you say that your dad said to deactivate that account?
Jennifer: He doesn't know how to use or check social media. Besides, I promised to never go live again, not deactivate it.
TC: Why do you need to be Lightning to be with a boy who already likes you?
Jennifer: You ask a lot of questions. Because it's fun. Ever heard of that? He wants to thank Lightning in person for helping him save Garfield's music program.
TC: Isn't Lightning grounded? Does that mean Lightning can't go out at all, or just stopping crime?
Jennifer: (thinks) Definitely stopping crime.
TC: Lightning shouldn't be friends with a boy that JJ likes.
Jennifer: So I won't post it on IG.
TC: Why can't you just be JJ?
Jennifer: You're a genius. I will go as JJ... and then change into the suit right before I see Uriah. If anybody asks you where I am, just say no.
TC: That is not what that meant!

Tobias Whale: My philosophy has always been, "Do what you love, and the money will follow." Run your mouth and death will follow quicker. 

Tobias Whale: (To his sister's tomb) It's time to show the Pierce family, when you go against God's plan, a great whale swallows away your powers. (breathes deeply) The last shall be first... and the first shall be last.


Lynn tells her therapist about a dream she had where she gassed her family as a way to get rid of their superpowers, saying it was the only way for them to be a normal family.

The therapist suggests Lynn's dream is her subconscious telling her that her family doesn't need fixing.

Jenn approaches Uriah as Lightning and offers to help with promoting the GoFundMe that he started to finance Garfield High's music program. She says she saw a repost from some girl named JJ, referring to her new secret identity. 

Uriah works as a delivery boy for a restaurant.

Jenn records a video using Uriah's phone, logging into her Instagram account, telling people to donate to the GoFundMe.

A CCPD officer is revealed to be monitoring Lightning's social media and alerts Chief Lopez that she's transmitting a live video.

Detective Hassan Shakur texts Black Lightning to warn him about the Chief  coming for Lightning.

Uriah's IG account is All-Eyes-On_Uriah. 

Jennifer feels a sudden twinge of pain while talking to Uriah and flees.

Ishmael is revealed to have been watching Lightning and Uriah, studying her powers up-close.

Gambi makes a new Thunder costume for Anissa. She loves it so much she declares she may never go out as Blackbird again.

Jennifer is grounded, in her civilian life and as Lightning, when Jefferson learns about the video.

Gambi tells Jefferson, Anissa and Jennifer everything he and TC have learned about Ishmael, which isn't much. He has advanced hand-to-hand combat training and is a master swordsman who is good enough to have made a reputation for himself as a metahuman hunter. He's adept with technology, a master tactician and good enough to a digital footprint "as small as a fly's," in TC's words.

Gambi also tells them about how Ishmael is apparently being up for the League of Assassins.

Killing high profile targets is one way to get invited into the League of Assassins, apart from killing 100 Metahumans.

TC confirmed that Ishmael is currently being paid by the Kobra Cartel.

Jennifer cooks a big breakfast for Jefferson as an apology for getting upset about his grounding her.

Jefferson orders Jennifer to delete her social media accounts. He eventually relents and agrees to her not doing live broadcasts and deactivating them until she's no longer Public Enemy Number One in Freeland.

Lynn is locked out of her lab at work. The security guard informs her that all of her personal files have already been transferred offsite.

When Lynn reminds the security guard, Michael, that she fought to let him keep his job even though they had every right to fire him, he tells her that Special Agent Kevin Mason was responsible for coming into her lab and taking everything as evidence.

Lynn does some digging and angrily informs Jefferson that it looks as if his embezzlement funded the last 15 years of her research, all of which has been confiscated by the FBI.

Painkiller goes after Jesse Gentilucci.- the man who cut the checks for Tobias Whale back in his crime lord days.

Jesse Gentilucci. tells Painkiller about a secret ledger Tobias keeps and where it can be found.

Uriah is a piano player.

Uriah tells Jennifer that they got enough funding to pay for the music program in one day, thanks to Lightning's video.

Uriah quotes back the words she told him as Lightning when she says he's a hero.

Detective Shakur coaches an after-school basketball league for at-risk youths

Black Lighting thanks Detective Shakur for the warning about Chief Lopez monitoring Lightning's social media and asks him about Ishmael.

Detective Shakur has heard of Ishmael and agrees to give Black Lightning a 20 minute delay in police response, but says he'll have to clear out an area for a confrontation himself.

TC is straight and straight-edge. (i.e. he does not use drugs recreationally)

TC says he currently has a crush on a girl named Lisa.

Jennifer says that Jefferson is clueless when it comes to social media.

The Lightning Instagram account gets a message from Uriah, saying he wants to meet her in person to thank her for what she did to help the music program. It is revealed this message was sent by a GPD officer who hacked Uriah's account to set a trap for Lightning.

Chief Lopez leads the trap team herself, keeping Detective Shakur out of the loop.

Dr. Darius Morgan confides in Anissa that he began researching the fake cystic fibrosis treatment that Anissa began investigating in 408. He says he got locked out of the system so now they know he was trying to get into the files he wasn't suppose to look at. He asks to meet her at his place that night where he can give her while files he had before he flees town.

Anissa calls Grace and tells her that she'll see her at home later and will meet with Darius alone.

Gambi helps Jefferson to hack Ishmael's phone to send him a challenge.

Marshall Bates delivers the energy emitter prototype to Tobias Whale's home personally.

Val informs Tobias that Lynn made a meta-booster based on her DNA and it is viable. When Tobias gives the order to move against her, Val says it has already been done.

Tobias refers to his sister as the love of his life.

Kevin Mason shows up at the Pierce home and arrests Lynn for Violation of Civil Rights.

Chief Lopez notes that Lightning is now taller but is still convinced it is her, somehow.

Jennifer barely escapes the police ambush.

Lynn is forced to endure a full pat-down, strip search and cavity search after being arrested.

Tobias has the energy emitter moved to his sister's tomb and activates it. Somehow, the emitter has now been turned into a forcefield that prevents metahuman powers from being used within the range of its field.

Anissa discovers Dr. Darius Morgandead in his home and flees the scene. As she leaves, a vehicle speeds toward her as she's crossing the street. She attempts to do her Thunder Clap and it does not work.

Jefferson's powers suddenly stop working as he is fighting Ishmael.

TC is unable to use his powers to hack the computers and find Jefferson an escape route.

Jennifer's powers stop working as she's flying away from the police ambush.

Untelevised Adventures

Dr. Darius Morgan was apparently asked to research the fake cystic fibrosis treatment by Anissa off-camera.

The Winick Factor

Thunder's decision to try and clap a car out of the way rather than get out of the road is stupid and only occurs to set up a cliffhanger.

The Bottom Line

A great episode, in spite of a few rough edges. Easily the strongest episode of the season, thanks to some smart writing and all of the ensemble being given a chance to shine.

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