16th Nov2018

‘Black Lightning 2×05: Requiem’ 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 Lightning returns after taking a week off and starts off with a bang as Gambi, after visiting old friends in Freeland’s Chinatown, is targeted in a drive-by shooting by unknown assailants. Gambi is always prepared, as evident by his bullet proof car windows, but his luck runs out as his car flips over a curb and catches fire. The assumption is made that Gambi is dead but tip of the day…always check to make sure your target is dead before driving off. Anissa decides her life needs a change and after stepping down as a teacher at Garfield High, she applies and is hired at the clinic, the same clinic her alter-ego Thunder stole money for and saved. Anissa working at the clinic shows how much influence and inspiration her father has on her as not only is she saving the clinic as a superhero, she’s also stepping up by putting her medical background to good use for the citizens of Freeland.

Detective Henderson has the difficult task of telling Jefferson of Gambi’s death, a twist that shakes the Pierce family to the core. Detective Henderson didn’t know Gambi was working with Black Lightning and it’s a secret that the Pierce family will not let Henderson know of either. With no body found in the wreckage, Jefferson doesn’t believe Gambi’s dead as Gambi always had “backup plans on backup plans” and until a body is produced, Jefferson has faith Gambi is alive and well.

Gambi’s death affects everyone in the Pierce family differently and Anissa responds by looking for solace in the arms of her ex-girlfriend, Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy). It’s a decision that does not have a good outcome as not only does Grace tell Anissa she does not want to see her again, due to the fear of getting hurt, Grace begins to have spots appear on her the next morning. Did Anissa’s meta-human powers “spread” to Grace? Gambi’s death causes Jennifer, after a few episodes of rebelling, to appreciate her mother and father again, an action Jefferson is happy to oblige. The little moments in this episode were top notch and handled very well without being too “on the nose”. Lynn, who had a tumultuous relationship with Gambi, resorts to pushing Jefferson to accept his mentor’s death, something Jefferson is not ready to do. It’s a reaction that causes Jefferson to leave and meet up with Detective Henderson and first season fan favorite character, 2-Bit! Jefferson has a few too many alcoholic beverages and decides to intervene in a domestic disturbance between two bar patrons. After knocking out the bar patron, Jefferson breaks down emotionally to Detective Henderson and admits he doesn’t know how much more he can give to the city.

Whale has an intense talk with Khalil and warns him if Khalil ever fails Whale again, it will be a death sentence. The parallels between how Syonide’s death has affected Whale (he’s more focused) and how Gambi’s death is affecting Jefferson (he’s becoming lost) is a wonderful contrast and is interesting to see. The episode ends with Jefferson, in a drunken stupor, stumbling into Gambi’s tailor shop and breaking down in tears as the gravity of Gambi’s death finally hits him. Luckily Anissa is at the shop, in her own mourning, and the friction bubbling up between them fades away as father and daughter share a hug over their love of Gambi. It’s a nice scene and watching Jefferson finally accept Gambi’s death, a man that is like a second father to him, creates an emotional punch.

One Good Thing:

  • Jefferson is breaking. Jefferson started the season in a good place, minus the work demotion, but for the most part, everything has been going smoothly for him. That all changes with Gambi’s death and Jefferson is starting to unravel due to the stress of his job, protecting the city, and his home life all coming to a head. It’s something we haven’t seen much of in the series as Jefferson is always portrayed as being in control but it should be interesting to watch the other side of the coin.

One Bad Thing:

  • Doctor Jace and Lynn’s scene. I’m a fan of the character of Doctor Jace. I’m a fan of the character of Lynn and her development since the series started. I’m a fan of the actress, Christine Adams, who plays Lynn. I was not a fan of their scene at the end of the episode and it borders on the worst acted scene I have seen in the series.
  • Doctor Jace has created an antidote for the pod people but when Lynn administers the antidote, half the pod people die. Doctor Jace justifies this action by declaring she saved the stronger half of the pod people by killing the weaker people. Lynn goes into a fit of rage over this action, resulting in Lynn punching Doctor Jace and sending her back to prison. The whole scene was as cheesy as a cheap horror film and it falls on the director for this episode. Seriously, what editor and director saw this finished scene and said “This looks television worthy”?

What We Learned:

Whale is making some very powerful friends. Whale takes a bold measure by kidnapping Freeland Councilman Parker in hopes of turning Parker into an ally. It appears the squeaky clean image Parker portrays to his constituents may not be so clean as Whale confirmed Parker took money for his re-election bid from ASA agent (and now dead) Martin Proctor, a fact that would not sit well with the Freeland voters. Parker has no choice but to work with Whale, a development that results in Parker announcing an “anonymous” donor donating the money to assist in moving the clinic away from the “gang infested” area. This relocation is the final hurdle for Whale to complete the master plan he has for Freeland.

This Episode’s Grade: B+ (Very Good)

This week’s episode is the most emotional episode of the series as it revolves around how each character reacts to the death of Gambi. Jefferson finally breaking down emotionally, after weeks of pressure and stress on him, is a good payoff and seeing how his family rallies to his side reaffirms how close this family is, despite their differences. Now the question is when will Gambi return to the series because the old trope of “no body, no death” applies here and it’s just a matter of time until Gambi makes his triumphant return. This is also the first episode of the series that no superheroes make an appearance but given the emotions in this episode, I didn’t even notice it till the episode was over. Overall a very good episode and sets up Whale taking control of Freeland while Jefferson is falling apart.

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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