The last two weeks of secrets, revelations, and heated family dialogue have shaken the Pierce clan to its core. With adrenaline from the blitzkrieg "Revelations" waning and Jennifer coming to grips with her powers and her metahuman father and sister last week, the tenth episode of Black Lightning is a little more chill. Save for slick tag-team action and the torture of Peter Gambi in the first and second halves, respectively, this episode boils down to each side of the Freeland triad (Black Lightning v. A.S.A v. LaLa) solidifying their ranks.
Oh, and a disembodied ear.
Unfortunately the twist in the final moments of the episode was telegraphed a bit by the "Previously on…" flashbacks, but nonetheless the development prepares us for an exciting conclusion where the larger community of Freeland begins to conflict with Black Lightning and the crew.
The Pierce family is on the mend after troubling secrets were exposed in the previous two episodes. That includes Peter Gambi, who, by the end of "Sins of the Father," it seems, is back in Jefferson's good graces... but not before a healthy dose of chin-checks and water torture. A.S.A big baddie Martin Proctor finds Gambi and takes him to an undisclosed location, where Proctor and a few goons pummel Gambi, fishing for clues on Black Lightning's whereabouts and answers as to why Gambi would betray them.
Ironically, Jefferson is wondering the same thing as he still feels the sting from learning that Gambi's leak led to his father's murder. Anissa is the first to try her hand at cajoling Daddy Lightning into making up with Gambi but Jefferson stubbornly disagrees ... even raising his voice to louder levels than we're used to. Lynn tries a more circuitous route, reminding Jefferson of Gambi's tech expertise and wisdom. This works a little better — his electro-vision malfunctioning also probably had something to do with it, too — but it's not until Proctor calls for Jefferson that he sees his friend in mortal need. Once he sees Gambi's bloodied mug, Jefferson naturally saves his friends from Goon 1 and Goon 2 (Proctor is oddly missing, but he later deduces that Jefferson and Black Lightning are one in the same).
Jennifer is also learning that powers require at least a modicum of moral accountability, even if she doesn't necessarily want to be a hero. Jennifer echoes the refrain from last week, wanting to live a simpler life as a regular teenager. While this angers the socially righteous Anissa — who unlocks Jennifer's power even more this week when she claims that Jennifer quits on everything, including Kahlil (which is NOT accurate, btw) — Jefferson empathizes with his daughter. "I didn't ask for this," she laments, to which Jefferson responds, "I know, believe me, I know. But you still have to deal with it."
The softly spoken conversation in Jennifer's room is one of the episode's best as it finally signals some compromise between the metahumans in the Pierce family. Though one can assume Jennifer will end up on the team at some point, the show taking its time to get there actually feels like a natural progression. It is not so much a screen-hogging mystery like Gambi's involvement with the A.S.A but a meaningful divergence of motivations from within the Pierce family that Jennifer's individualism has pointed to from jump.
Meanwhile, LaLa, aka Lazarus, is spiraling down a nihilistic trail and is ending at sociopathy in the wake of his death. Tonight he begins to regain a piece of Freeland's drug market by reverting back to pushing traditional drugs like cocaine and marijuana in the wake of Black Lightning's drug bust last week. While it isn't totally clear how he'll fit within the season's endgame, his development as a homicidal, ghost-seeing gangster with unshakable luck has been fascinating to watch thus far.
The pieces are moving into place after last week's declaration of war; it's just taking some time to get there. "Sins of the Father" doesn't feel like filler so much as it veers from camp to camp as they reinforce their group's numbers for the coming battle. Black Lightning still has a bounty on his head and if he's smart he'll follow 2 Bits' — who had a hilarious scene where Jefferson zaps a joint out of his fingers — counsel to lay low. 2 Bits, who tips Jefferson off on a student with Green Light-induced powers getting kidnapped, steals the episode and perhaps gains the trust of Black Lightning in the process.
Even still, he probably won't listen to 2 Bits' suggestion to let things die down. That's not how the superhero thing works. In the case that he does mistakenly ignore his old friend's advice, we can expect Proctor, the A.S.A and its newly revealed spy to capitalize on any miscues with a terrifying swiftness.