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Jefferson tries to turn an admission of weakness into a show of strength, as Tobias prepares for his final confrontation with Black Lightning and his family.
Daredevil: Born Again (a crime boss villain masquerading as a legitimate businessman destroys the life of a superhero)
The trailers for the finale (which first premiered right after this episode aired) kill any sense of suspense regarding the ending of this episode whether or not Jefferson really is dead.
Jordan Calloway continues to impress as both Khalil and Painkiller. It will be a real shame if his spin-off isn't picked up, given the quality of his performances since the backdoor pilot episode.
The visuals of the scene where Painkiller and Khalil are talking to one another while sitting in the front seats of the van while transporting Looker is quite effective.
The Painkiller vs. Ishmael fight is another high mark for the show.
Gambi has a personal Pandora's Box of computer viruses dating back to the 1980s.
Gambi is able to duplicate the signal of Lynn's ankle monitor and place it on a feedback loop showing that she's at home, allowing her to roam freely.
Gambi theorizes that the bedrock of Freeland was infused with Promethium in the past year, as a result of the power surge released by Lightning taking down the ASA's energy shield in 315. The minerals were transmuted into Promethium by the radiation released.
Gambi set up a program to track Red's movement based on his unique magnetic signature whenever he used his powers. TC is able to use this to help Jennifer track him down and set up a confrontation.
Lauren thinks Lynn's idea to track the emitter based on Val Seong's DNA has merit, but it will require a new algorithm. Lynn says she thinks they can modify the original algorithm since Promethium acts as a carrier.
The memory-erasing device Gambi builds targets the lateral parietal cortex, allowing electricity to penetrate the hippocampus, disrupting the brain's ability to access long-term memories. Unfortunately, it's only good for one shot.
Anissa says the process which removed the metagenes from the young mothers Monovista experimented on is irreversible.
A half a milliliter dose of Painkiller's non-lethal venom every 12 hours can temporarily negate a metahuman's powers.
Shadow Board Leader: The Shadow Board does not tolerate failure. Your seat has been rescinded. Effective immediately.
(Tobias chuckles and hmmms. He then raises his right hand over his head and snaps his fingers three times.)
Shadow Board Leader: (scoffing) Am I supposed to be impressed?
Tobias: No. But they sure are about to be.
(Suddenly, a semi-transparent figure fades into view behind the Shadow Board chair and begins strangling him. His image cuts out a moment later as the rest of the Shadow Board look on, stunned.)
Tobias: My assassin was rendered invisible through a meta-power - chromatophores. A power I granted, and much like the good Lord, a power I can also take away. That's right. I now control who has meta powers and who doesn't. Freeland is just the beginning. Star City, Metropolis, anywhere a meta-freak dares to stand in my way will meet the same fate as this pixelated piss-ant. Now, it's past time you all bow down and pledge your loyalty to me. Or...
(Tobias raises his right hand and snaps his fingers again. All the Shadow Board members fall to their knees.)
Tobias: All hail the king.
(Tobias laughs wickedly as he cuts the connection to the Shadow Board. Red smirks as he regards him.)
Red: What's next, Your Majesty?
Tobias: Red, don't get cute. The endgame's upon us. And while I admit to no uncertain joy toying with my prey, the time has come to finally rid the world of Jefferson Pierce.
Jefferson: I think I found a solution to our problems.
Lynn: I'm listening, and which ones?
(Khalil is driving a van. Looker is in the seat behind him in handcuffs. Rap music is playing on the stereo.)
Looker: Can we listen to something other than this jungle jam? I prefer a little bit more treble to bass, if you know what I mean.
(Khalil sighs and turns off the stereo. Suddenly Painkiller is sitting in the passenger side front seat next to Khalil.)
Painkiller: Do you wanna tell Miss Daisy what I prefer to do to her, Khalil?
Looker: You do know that I work for Tobias Whale, right? And when he finds out what you've done with his most prized possession, he will rip your spine out and kill you.
Khalil: Hmm. Been there, done that.
Painkiller: Why can't we kill her?
Khalil: Look, we're takin' her back to Freeland to testify. Clear Mr. Pierce's name.
(Khalil is speaking to Painkiller. To Looker, however, it looks like he's talking to nobody.)
Looker: Third person much? What is that, Ebonics?
Painkiller: (scoffs) Okay. This chick keeps writing checks with her mouth that she can't cash. Now, we gon' find out if she's a beggar or a screamer, huh?
Khalil: Looker? You don't need the use of your arms, legs, or even your pretty eyes to testify. Am I understood?
(Looker pouts but shuts up. Painkiller leans back in the chair, apparently satisfied.)
Painkiller: Turn my joint back on.
(Khalil turns the music back on and keeps driving.)
Jennifer: Uriah deserves justice. Don't you think?
TC: Justice or revenge?
Jennifer: Does it matter?
(Jefferson gives Lynn a revised copy of his will.)
Lynn: Well, this is a little melodramatic. Even for you, Jeff.
Jefferson: Yeah, I mean, with everything that's been goin' on, it's got me thinkin', you know, about us and... our family...
Lynn: What is it, Jeff?
Jefferson: I'm sorry, Lynn. Yeah, I'm... so sorry about all the crazy things our family's been through. I never wanted this for us. Before I go see Tobias, I just wanted to make sure you heard that.
Lynn: I'm sorry, too. I've put you through a lot as well. But now we have three gifted daughters. We saved the world several times, and the multiverse, apparently. And even though it's been difficult, we're still standing. No one really gets the fairy tale they imagined, but I really love the one that I made with you.
Jefferson: I love you, Lynn.
Lynn: I love you, too. Now go do what you do best.
(Jefferson enters his father's house. Tobias is in the kitchen, waiting.)
Tobias: Where are the rest of your lackeys? Forgive me. I mean your family.
Jefferson: It's just me. Let's get this over with. Everything is here. Just sign the deed. House is yours.
Tobias: Is that it? I was expecting some grandiose last stand. All I see is a toothless dog waiting to be put down.
Jefferson: You took everything! My family, my reputation, my powers. Even Freeland. Just sign the damn deed!
Tobias: You know, I've been waiting a decade to hear you cry like that. It was well worth the wait.
(Tobias looks over the deed as Jefferson readies the memory eraser. He strikes, but Tobias counters the attack and catches Jefferson's wrist, squeezing it.)
Tobias: What do you got there? Huh?
(Tobias forces Jefferson to drop the device and steps on it, crushing it.)
Tobias: Not so toothless after all, eh? But I never thought you actually had the stones to kill me.
Jefferson: That was to wipe your memory. I'm not a monster like you.
Tobias: If you were the better man, you'd do what's actually necessary. Not this Tinker Tailor Soldier...
(Tobias throws Jefferson into the next room. Jefferson gets up and takes a swing at him, but Tobias dodges and counter-punches easily. He looks at Jefferson as he groans.)
Tobias: You know, I would've never admitted this. But seein' as that you're gonna die tonight, I might as well tell you, I killed your daddy... right over there!
(Tobias kicks Jefferson against one of the support beams. Jefferson continues to groan.)
Tobias: Get up.
Jefferson: (struggling to stand) I was there. I saw what you did from under the bed. And I dedicated my life... to bringing you to justice.
Tobias: You were there? You mean to tell me you've been trying your whole life to crawl out from under that bed and avenge your dead daddy? Damn!
(Tobias regards Jefferson and nods.)
Tobias: You know what? Take your best shot.
(Jefferson does. Tobias doesn't flinch but takes the punch. It splits his lip and draws blood. He side-steps the follow-up punch easily and walks past Jefferson who goes off-balance and is breathing heavily. Tobias smacks his lips, tasting the blood as he turns around to face Jefferson and starts punching him again.)
Tobias: I made you, Jefferson Pierce. Forged you in pain and anger, and look what you do with my gift!
(Jefferson groans on the ground as Tobias picks up the deed.)
Tobias: Oh, Jeff. You really are your father's son. And you're gonna die like him, too.
(Tobias begins strangling Jefferson while force-feeding him the deed pages.)
(Jennifer is fixing herself something to eat when her phone rings. She sees it is her father. She answers the phone.)
Jennifer: Hey, Dad, you are gonna be proud of what I did tonight.
Tobias: (on phone) Oh, for what? Turning Red in to Chief Lopez? I'm sure your daddy isn't too proud now.
Tobias: Mr. Whale to you. Didn't Jefferson teach you better manners? Lethal Lightning?
Jennifer: What do you want? I'm not playing games.
Tobias: Oh, no game, sweetheart. My city, my rules. I warned you. You made me do it.
Jennifer: What did you do? And why do you have Dad's phone?
Tobias: See for yourself. Jefferson Pierce is dead.
(Jennifer receives a photo. She sees her father' bruised and beaten. She screams and drops the bowl, which falls toward the camera as we fade to black.)
Jennifer is watching the same video of Uriah over and over in her room.
Jennifer tells Jefferson she is not going to school. Jefferson lets it slide.
Jefferson never told Anissa or Jennifer about how their grandfather died.
Jefferson tells Jennifer about how he saw Tobias Whale kill his father as a boy.
Jennifer says she wants to quit being Lightning, but Jefferson gives her back her costume, pointing out that she's the only hero left in Freeland right now.
Lauren helps Gambi hack into Monovista's servers.
Lauren once again asks Gambi how her emitter ties into promethium and the stolen metagenes. Gambi says he trusts her, but it isn't his secret to reveal.
Lauren determines that the Monovista servers were cleaned, but she's able to hack the CEO's personal files.
Monovista's secret metagene harvesting project was called Event Horizons.
Only one gene harvesting device was manufactured by Monovista. It, the schematics, and all of the harvested metagenes have been relocated into one building.
Gambi determines that the one building containing the stolen metagenes is owned by a shell corporation with ties to Tobias Whale.
Grace and Anissa plan to blow up the building.
Gambi offers Anissa the use of his Pandora's Box - a collection of viruses - to completely brick Monovista's computers so they'll be useless, even if they survive the explosion.
Red informs Tobias that Alvin Pierce's home will be his as soon as Jefferson Pierce signs the deed over to him.
The Shadow Board contact Tobias and are confirmed to be The Shadow Board.
Tobias is informed that since he failed to bring Lightning under control, his position on the Shadow Board has been rescinded.
Tobias reveals that he has the power to give metahuman abilities to whoever he wants, by having an assassin with chameleon powers kill one of the other Shadow Board members. After that, the rest of the Shadow Board literally take a knee to him.
Tobias says the time has come to finally put an end to Black Lightning.
Lynn theorizes they can track the energy emitter by searching for Val Seong's DNA signature rather than the energy signature of Promethium.
Gambi decides to introduce Lauren and Lynn so they can work together.
Jefferson comes up with the idea of erasing Tobias' memory of his and his family's secret identities, like he did with the cops who tried to arrest him in 401.
Gambi says he may be able to rig up a hand-held device that can replicate Jefferson's powers in the same way, but he's not sure how he could power it.
Lynn suggests Gambi could use his stolen Promethium to do it.
Chief Lopez tells Detective Shakur about the meta-boosters and bracelets she was given by Tobias in 411. She tells him to start distributing them among his task force and get them ready to go after Lightning once they are comfortable with the powers they get.
Detective Shakur refuses, saying that giving powers to police officers would just throw gasoline on the fire.
Chief Lopez says her job will be on the line if she can't bring in Lightning.
Detective Shakur, after asking permission to speak freely, discusses how Chief Lopez's husband developed metahuman powers, went crazy and killed her brothers. Given that, he asks if she's really sure she wants to risk poisoning good cops under her command.
Chief Lopez relents and agreed to give Detective Shakur until the end of the month to catch Lightning with traditional methods.
Khalil is in the middle of transporting Looker back to Freeland to testify against Tobias.
Jefferson calls Tobias and says he is ready to sell his father's house to him. Tobias asks to meet with him in one hour at Alvin Pierce's home.
Jennifer asks TC for his help in tracking down Red so they can get justice for Uriah.
Jennifer says she can fight Red if she charges up in the ionosphere first, even though the emitter is making it weird for her to use her powers.
Lauren knows of Lynn by reputation.
Lauren asks Lynn what Gambi has her working on and how he said that it wasn't his secret to tell.
Lynn tells Lauren that her family are all metahumans and they need to shut down the emitter so that they can save the city from Tobias Whale, who is secretly a criminal mastermind.
Lauren said she had guessed most of this, but she could keep a secret too until Lynn decided to tell her more.
Ishmael ambushes Khalil's van on the road, saying he had orders from Tobias to kill both him and Looker.
Looker, unbeknownst to her, has a subdermal tracker implanted in her body.
Painkiller cheats in the fight with Ishmael, poisoning the hilt of the sword he took from Ishmael during the fight, so that Ishmael doomed himself when he grabbed his weapon to finish the job.
Jefferson insists on facing Tobias alone, despite Gambi offering to go with him.
Anissa and Grace debate whether or not they should tell all the mothers experimented on by Monovista about what was done to them. Anissa finally agrees that no good can come of traumatizing these women.
Jefferson gives Lynn an updated copy of his will.
Anissa and Grace blow up the Monovista building with the metagenes.
Detective Shakur and Special Agent Kevin Mason meet with Khalil to take Looker into custody outside the Freeland city limits.
Khalil gives Detective Shakur a vial containing the non-lethal version of his venom to keep Looker under control.
Painkiller suggests going to Freeland but Khalil says Jennifer is better off without him in her life.
Jennifer attacks Red as he's in the middle of calling Tobias to let him know a perimeter has been secured.
Red's bracelet is broken after Jennifer throws him to the ground with her powers. He begs for mercy.
Lightning takes Red directly to Chief Lopez along with evidence, on a flash drive around his neck, that he was responsible for killing Uriah.
Lightning records the conversation with Chief Lopez and livestreams it, catching Lopez admitting her anti-metahuman vendetta.
Chief Lopez goes into her office and shoots up one of the meta-boosters.
Jefferson tries to use the memory-eraser on Tobias, but he blocks the attack.
Tobias confesses to killing Alvin Pierce.
Jefferson tells him he already knew, as he was hiding in the house and watched Tobias kill his father.
Jennifer calls Jefferson to tell him about how she caught and turned in Red. Tobias answers the phone and sends Jennifer a picture of Jefferson, apparently dead.
Somewhere on the road between wherever Looker was living and Freeland.
The Winick Factor
Chief Lopez's reasons for hating metahumans are revealed far too late in the season for it to make her into an interesting, sympathetic or effective villain. Had it been established earlier that she lost her family because of her husband being a metahuman who lost control of his powers or went crazy, she might be sympathetic or believable. As it stands, the 11th hour introduction of this motivation makes her into, to borrow a line from Frost regarding a similar character on The Flash, "Cicada with a badge."
The Bottom Line
Largely satisfying, though the story is all over the place thanks to the need to give every character something to do and some of the stories are far more uneven than others. Jennifer and Jefferson's stories are the best, while Anissa and Grace might as well not be in the episode at all and everything Painkiller is doing, while interesting, is completely disconnected from the rest of the narrative. Still, it's worth it for the confrontation with Tobias and the final scene where it looks like the show might be ending with Jefferson's death.