SPOILERS AHEAD for Black Lightning Season 1, Episode 7: "Equinox: The Book of Fate."
Accidentally stepping into a brawl with her metahuman father wasn't enough to dissuade Anissa Pierce from imagining a future free of The 100 through their combined powers. The most forward-focused member of the Pierce family envisions a world where a Black family protects their Black town from white supremacist symbolism by day and the dangerous drug crisis by night. We can see it with her, the force of a powerful Black family that features two superheroes, a neurosurgeon and a five-star athlete. But, at the onset, no one could really see it with her. Their attentions drifted elsewhere, to Jefferson's vengeance and Lynn trying to find out why she was targeted last week. They initially stiffed her offer.
Whether their motivation is out of love or self-righteousness, the characters in Black Lightning are suffocating one another in worry. Nowhere is this more clear than the gulf between Anissa and her parents at the beginning of this week's episode. Jefferson and Lynn, having learned of Anissa's power, naturally posture to the protective unit the Freeland community has grown to love. But Anissa doesn't accept their coddling quietly. Coming, she argues, guarantees Freeland's safety in perpetuity. But Lynn doesn't want two loved ones on the superhero high. Her relationship with Jefferson is forever fractured because of Black Lightning -- a fact Anissa suddenly comes to terms with this week. Losing her daughter would be the end of her. Jefferson wants Lynn to convince Anissa that the whole superhero thing "takes more than it gives." Which is ironic because it's the same paternalism undergirding Peter Gambi's warnings against going after Tobias Whale.
If questionable in execution, Gambi's slow-burn reveal as a double agent positioned between Black Lightning and The 100 is concretized this week. After once again referring Jefferson to the moral depravity of cold-blooded murder, Gambi meets with Eve and makes another deal. Gambi complains that Tobias is flexing his power when, according to their deal, he's supposed to be keeping a low profile. Eve acknowledges the Tobias-related issues, calling him "a habitual line-stepper" but offers a more philosophical take on the matter. Tobias' death would upset the ecosystem, Eve argues, but the crime-lord throws him a bone in Joey Toledo. Gambi hunts Toledo down, pops a cap in his chest and leaves ground albino powder on his dead body. Cold-blooded murder. It's still not totally clear what Gambi's motivations are. Is he just trying to avoid a war between the underground crime kings and metahumans, or, does he have a larger stake in The 100's survival than we thought?
Many questions still surround the research conducted by Jefferson's father that ultimately led to his murder. It seems as if Grandpa Pierce's investigation into Tobias' involvement in metahuman development may have led to his exile from local politics. The show continues to remind us of a young, terrified Jefferson watching his father be killed by Tobias. Jefferson aptly questions why Tobias hasn't aged at all in 30 years. He meets Tobias later after getting some stellar info from Detective Henderson. He attacks Tobias, much to the gangster's surprise. The attack at once is the first face-to-face between Black Lightning and Tobias as well as the voiding of a deal between Gambi and The 100. The implications of the attack will reverberate through the final episodes, especially in light of the stray bullet striking and killing Tori Whale in the attack.
At the same time, Eve is also attacked by thugs carrying superpowered guns. She and her bodyguards, "the Cleaners," are zapped to death. RIP Jill Scott's charred crisp shown at the end of the episode. Detective Henderson, on the local news channel, blames Eve's murder on Black Lightning, claiming that the hero had gone too far. If his opinion is shared throughout the police department, which has already been proven corrupt, Tobias just gained an unlikely ally in his fight against Black Lightning. If the show is trying to say something about paternalism, it's that trying to protect the balance of the ecosystem is costly. Tori was against Tobias talking to Eve in the first place, if he'd followed her instructions she might still be alive. If Eve hadn't prioritized diplomacy, she might've picked up on Tobias scheming on her.
But Anissa doesn't stand for the condescension from her parents. She keeps pushing, convincing Lynn that her passion for the community completely supersedes the value she's placed on her own life. Her compassion breaks Lynn and she motivates her husband to reach out to Anissa to train her. She's going to return to the streets regardless, she might as well be trained by the best. Lynn's pivot, along with charging Gambi to create a more advanced costume, shows that she understands what it takes to risk one's life for the possibility of a just society. She doesn't need superpowers to be privy to the depths of love Jefferson and Anissa feel for their community. The death of David Poe only serves to energize her search for truth.
So while we pour one out for the world-shaking deaths of Poe, Eve, Tori, Toledo, and Anissa's old costume, the metahuman family is starting to look more formidable than ever. Just in time for Lala's shocking return.