“Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion” — aka this week’s episode of Black Lightning — is the kind of title that lets you know what’s going to happen: a good man will get punished even though he committed no crime.
And while Jefferson Pierce uses both of his identities to save Freeland, it can never be said that he has a God complex. He knows that he needs help to make a change, and it’s his allies who step in to rescue him from the ASA’s latest tactics.
We begin with Kara getting an update on the status of the pods after their latest relocation. She wants the pods monitored 24 hours a day because she’ll require more subjects to fill her quota if another one dies… which is exactly what later happens. Black Lightning and Thunder break into a warehouse, under Gambi’s direction, to search for the pods, but it turns out the abnormal energy field spotted via satellite was actually emitted by an arsenal of weapons. Black Lightning destroys them before they can cause him (or any other metahumans) harm.
Gambi apologizes to Jefferson and Anissa about leading them to a dead end, but Jefferson curtly cuts him off before he can finish explaining. Gambi knows he’s let Jefferson down again, but tries to make up for it, saying he can find the pods by using a radio signal to track their energy signature.
Deputy Chief Cayman and Detective Glennon meet with Kara, who’s dramatically cloaked in shadows. She tells them to check the nearby trash can, but the officers think it’s a setup and begin to leave. Once red dot sights from unseen rifles start dancing around their chests, they change their minds. As they pull out a large bag of drugs, Kara tells them they needs to be legitimate and fast. “Who’s the target?” Cayman asks. “Jefferson Pierce,” she answers, visibly amazed to be uttering her kindly colleague’s name.
The next morning at Garfield High, Jefferson interacts with a group of students, but the sudden arrival of Freeland police diverts their attention. While the officers are searching Jefferson’s car, a bag of Green Light is planted in his trunk. The officers then search his office and find more Green Light. Jeff is rightfully outraged when they proceed to arrest him, but when a gun is drawn, he puts his hands up to show that he is complying and not resisting arrest. Jefferson tells both of his daughters to remain calm, i.e. keep their powers in check, as he is stuffed into the back of a squad car.
At the station, Henderson is angered that his friend is in cuffs and demands to see the search warrant. He and Cayman clash over Jefferson’s bogus arrest, but his superior gives him a warning: “I’d hate to see anything happen to you.” After doing a lackluster job of reassuring the students that she’ll keep them abreast of any news on Jefferson, Kara uses her work computer to update the ASA via an encrypted link. (She isn’t the first person to handle business for one job while working at another, but I digress!)
Jefferson goes through the motions of police custody: Mug shot, fingerprinting, cavity search (worthy of a lightning crackle in his eyes). And the police officers thrown in some physical assault for good measure. Lynn goes to the station and talks to Henderson because she needs answers. She doesn’t trust the inspector, but knows that Jefferson does, and that’s good enough for now while she finds a defense lawyer.
Anissa goes to Gambi to see if he’s heard the news, then impetuously decides to suit up. Gambi stops her, telling her that she must maintain her cover to keep herself, her sister and her mother safe. But he has a solution: Prove to the ASA that Jefferson is not Black Lightning using a hologram. They have to move fast, because once Jefferson is whisked away to a black site, the ASA will confirm his secret identity and kill him. Anissa walks through a busy part of Freeland with the hologram at her side, mimicking her moves, and that stirs enough attention to get them featured on the local news. Kara appeals to her boss via computer to get Jefferson released, but is told that her only job is to “monitor and facilitate.”
Henderson has had enough of the crooked cops in his department, and starts with Detective Glennon. The officer seems to have “hit the lottery” — his son just bought a new house in cash, and Henderson threatens to alert the IRS. After Glennon confesses to planting the evidence, Henderson goes to Jefferson’s cell and tells him he’s cleared for release. He then gives Cayman retribution for his dirty police work, and hands him off to be arrested. He probably wanted to kick Cayman’s ass (as most of us do), but sees the bigger picture and becomes the new deputy chief, promising Freeland citizens a better police department.
Once Jefferson is reunited with his family, Gambi joins them. Jefferson says he doesn’t know how things will be moving forward, but wants to find a new balance in their relationship. Their bond seemingly on the mend, and they’ll definitely have to work together to solve the problem at hand — saving the missing Freeland children.
What did you think of this week’s episode and Gambi’s solution to Jefferson’s arrest?