This Tuesday’s Black Lightning was centered on change: a change of heart for Jennifer… a change in the Pierce household… a change in policies at Garfield… and a change in pod research methods. (Tobias can be counted on to remain the same, though, despite being incarcerated.)
In a session with Perenna, Jennifer has a vision: She comes down the stairs to take pictures with Issa, so her family can take pictures of them before a dance. Khalil shows up, shocked to see she’s moved on. He kills Issa and all of the Pierces except Jennifer, who engages him in a fight to the death. This exercise is being done to control her emotions, which will in turn help her control her powers.
Processing her feelings for Khalil won’t be easy, especially since he keeps contacting her via text and IM (which causes her to destroy a replacement laptop). Realizing that she can’t control her powers without working through things Khalil, Jennifer asks him to meet her at Garfield. Khalil says that he didn’t expect Jennifer to text him back. “Yeah, well…” she says before he sits down next to her.
Gambi shows Jefferson the footage of Anissa taking the mob money, and confirms that she delivered it to Reverend Holt. Jefferson gets upset but is reminded of the dangers facing them. He explains that he accompanied Anissa to keep her safe.
At home, Jefferson and Anissa get into a shouting match. He tells her that her actions were illegal and have now made the clinic a target. She disagrees, saying that Freeland is already a target, and that her actions are bigger than stopping some secret redevelopment project. Jefferson tells her unlike criminals, they have rules; when Anissa argues that she has different rules, Jefferson plays the Dad card: “As long as you’re under my roof, you will follow my rules.” Anissa says she’ll be out by morning and starts packing. She asks her Uncle Gambi’s for a place to stay, and he takes her in.
Kara is also staying with Gambi, although hidden and restrained with wrist and ankle straps. She realizes she’s dying, and says she joined the ASA to save her country. Gambi asks where Proctor’s briefcase is, and she names Tobias before giving Gambi her phone and dying. (And like that, the killing of Syonide makes even less sense.)
Anissa briefly returns home to tell Jefferson that the clinic is in danger. Since there’s no definite time for the attack, the police can only monitor the clinic, not shut it down. Black Lightning and Thunder do some monitoring of their own, and stop two bomb explosions.
At Garfield, Jefferson sits at his classroom desk in contemplation, with a stanza from Langston Hughes’ timely “Let America Be America Again” poem on the chalkboard behind him. He leaves to break up a fight, but Principal Lowry intervenes, expelling one student and suspending the other with smug, self-righteous look on his face. (Can he be the next one to die, please?) Jefferson argues that at Garfield, no one is beyond redemption. Principal Lowry tells him that he can leave if he can’t get on board with the new policies. Jefferson later tells Lynn that Lowry doesn’t care about the students and is just a pencil-pusher looking for another raise. He says he wants to take his school back and she supports it.
Dr. Jace is monitoring one of the pod kids when he wakes up and freezes himself to death. Lynn is angry that another child has died, but Dr. Jace insists he couldn’t have been saved. Dr. Jace, who sees these children as test subjects and not actual people, says that they now have data can be analyzed for future use.
Lynn and Dr. Jace further clash over research methods — the former is testing for improvement while the latter is testing for failures. Dr. Jace mentions that she found samples of stable metahuman DNA, and that the samples must be from relatives. She looks giddy at the possibility of poking and prodding a family of metas, while Lynn looks worried thinking about what could happen to her family.
Now that Tobias is in police custody, Deputy Chief Henderson is able to question him, though Tobias has a fraudulent answer for everything.
Henderson calls Jefferson to the station to let him know that Tobias will be released, and asks his friend who his source is. (So that explains how the police were able to find and apprehend Tobias so easily!) Jefferson won’t reveal his source (damn!), and since the evidence against Tobias is gone he asks to be put on the stand as a witness to his father’s murder — a detail that was never revealed. “You really don’t understand what position you’ve put me in as the deputy chief or as a friend,” says Henderson.
Tobias is visited by his lawyer and the mobster whose money Anissa stole. Tobias declines the offer to be sprung from jail because he doesn’t need a white savior. (Will Tobias ever run out of racially-charged one-liners?) The mobster wants permission to kill Anissa, and Tobias agrees on the condition that facial recognition and body recognition monitors will be set up outside the clinic in case Black Lightning shows up. Tobias is later released and goes to Club 100, ominously telling the crowd, “I’m back.”