07th Mar2019

‘Black Lightning 2×14: Original Sin’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, James Remar, Marvin Jones III, Damon Gupton | Developed by Salim Akil


Black Lighting returns after a few weeks off and maybe the series is still in vacation mode as this episode struggled from the beginning…

LaLa is back in the series again and as much as I enjoy the character, his presence seems a little odd as LaLa hasn’t been mentioned, much less shown this season. LaLa, still haunted by his previous victims of Lawanda and Will, decides to seek revenge for his best friend’s death, Earl, the guy hanging in a basketball hoop. It seems LaLa and Eddie were best friends and grew up together and Jefferson was their failed mentor years ago. A gun-toting LaLa surprises Jefferson, the only teacher working late at the school, as LaLa, with insistence from the spirit of gang member Will, believes Jefferson is the one responsible for Earl’s death. Jefferson attempts to plead his case and advises LaLa the 100 Gang is the true responsible party but LaLa isn’t believing him and shoots Jefferson in the shoulder. Luckily Jefferson has super powers and cauterizes the wound with his electrical powers and doesn’t bleed out from the gunshot.

Throughout the episode Lawanda and Will play the proverbial angel and demon on LaLa’s shoulder, pushing him to either good or evil. After Jefferson cannot provide the answers LaLa seeks, the end appears near for Jefferson as LaLa holds a gun to his head, only for spirit Lawanda to knock it out of LaLa’s hands. I have no idea how this happens or the physics of it but we’ll let it slide as it provides the opportunity for Jefferson to pick up the gun and end LaLa’s threat. Instead of turning him over to the police or shooting him, since LaLa would just be resurrected again, Jefferson tries to reason with him by taking him down memory lane and how LaLa and Earl had so much potential in high school.

Long story short, LaLa realizes that he is the one that killed Earl due to Whale’s influence and sets off to finally put an end to Whale. LaLa has tried and failed two other times to stop Whale but realizes this is the only chance at redemption and to finally rest in peace. Meanwhile Jennifer is at the Lightning headquarters helping Gambi design a superhero suit for her new persona. Gambi is none too pleased as Jennifer isn’t taking the safety of her suit seriously and rather, according to Lynn, is more worried about the look than functionality. Later on, Gambi finishes a suit that lives up to Jennifer’s standard and after Jennifer almost explodes putting the suit on, she realizes that safety is much more important than style.

Anissa, with Jennifer’s insistence, continues to search for her girlfriend Grace after she ran off in the last episode. Anissa tracks down Grace’s adopted father, or so we think, but it may be too late as Grace’s father now has meta-human powers that Grace probably transferred to him. Later, Anissa returns to the apartment as Thunder but Grace is no longer there and her adopted father, after warning her several times, gets into a fight with Thunder. This is the only fight scene in the episode and ends on a whimper as Grace’s father decides he has had enough and escapes out a window. Thunder does some investigating around the apartment and discovers Grace has a love for eating raw deer in a pretty nasty looking visual.

Agent Odell realizes Lynn is more of a liability than an asset as Lynn feels compassion for the meta-human teenager from last episode. Lynn doesn’t try to push the meta-human during physical testing, resulting in Odell removing Lynn from the project. We learn later that Odell has cameras hidden in the Pierce family household in order spy on them and it looks like the family’s superhero secret is no longer secret.

One Good Thing:

  • The Pierce family comes together to regroup. It’s obvious everyone in the Pierce family had a rough day and the best highlight of this episode was seeing all of them come together for a family meal at the end of the day. Its little things like this that allows the audience to feel genuine affection for the characters and shows they really only have each other (and Gambi) to rely on at the end of the day. One question… why do you need three full pizzas and salad for only four people in this family?

One Bad Thing:

  • The lack of Whale. After setting the stage for Whale and his rebuilt army, the audience did not get any follow up with Whale or any plot to move his plan forward. The series suffers whenever Whale doesn’t play a decent role in an episode and with how this episode felt like a “filler” episode, more Whale would have been much appreciated.

What We Learned:

  • Team Lightning is Detective Henderson’s number one resource. Detective Henderson is attempting to track down Whale’s accomplices in order to get one of the henchmen to turn on Whale. Unfortunately the henchman Henderson has his eye on is tech guru Todd. After using Gambi’s sophisticated tech to locate Todd, Henderson thinks he has Whale where he wants him, until Todd’s burnt body is found in the exploded car from last episode. Sorry Detective, try again.
  • Jefferson’s original costume. In a throwback to the original Black Lightning comic book, Gambi shows Jefferson’s original suit to the Pierce family, much to their amusement. The suit, which seems better fitted for the 1970s, is a great “Easter egg” for die-hard comic book fans of the series and provided some levity in an episode that needed it.

This Episode’s Grade: C- (Below Average)

The first episode back after a mini-break was pretty lackluster and outside of moving a few storylines along a little, felt like a filler episode. Overall, this episode was the worst one of the season as the lack of Whale, Cutter, and the Markovians really brought the tension down. The only bright spot is the return of LaLa but that wasn’t even enough to make the episode interesting.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.

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