We did it, you guys! Season One is officially in the can! Thanks for rocking with me through these last twelve episodes. It has been my personal joy and honor to discuss this acclaimed and greatly needed show all the way through to the finale. And what a finale it was! My Lord! Jefferson’s father’s murder was revisited, ASA got violent and Freeland crowned a king! But before I get into any of that, this is the last warning you get for Season One. Be ye warned—there are definitely spoilers ahead.
So, What Happened?
The show kicks off with a flashback to old Jefferson, back when his father was alive (before Tobias killed him by stuffing articles down his throat). You can tell that a lot of his personality was imprinted onto Jefferson, as Jefferson practically grew up to be just like his father. We learn that Gambi practically adopted Jefferson right after his father was killed, and also that Gambi is at least somewhat responsible for his death. Jefferson has held himself responsible for the way his dad was killed his entire life…and it’s heartbreaking to watch him tell his father about what happened. But like any good parent, Jefferson’s father is just glad to see that his son is happy and healthy. It’s just what Jefferson needs to hear to heal.
Back in the waking world, though, Jefferson is still struggling. He took a really bad beating from Tobias in the last episode. And, after he wakes up, his powers are gone. The family is distraught, they have no idea what they’re going to do now. While stepping outside for a breather, Gambi tells Jennifer about how most of the other people in Freeland got their powers, including Tobias, Syonide and Khalil.
Meanwhile, back at Tobias’ condo, we get to see what leadership training looks like when you work for a homicidal maniac. Tobias is mentoring Syonide and Khalil (now nicknamed Painkiller) to follow in his own murderous footsteps. Learning that he’s raised Syonide from childhood, and how he basically adopted the teenage Khalil helps us figure out how he does what he does—Tobias is basically brainwashing them into a little murder cult.
After Tobias and co. are finished, they invite Lala over and send him on a special mission—to take out Agent Proctor. Tobias’s plan fails, though. The bomb he put inside Lala doesn’t end up exploding on time, and Agent Proctor escapes. He’s furious that Tobias is making moves on him and decides to send his entire roster of agents out to the cabin that the Pierce family is hiding in.
The ASA agents are closing in around the cabin, and just when we think we’re going to have to suffer through one of those “hero jumps into the line of fire” death scenes featuring Jefferson Pierce—Jennifer saves the day. Somehow, hugging her father goodbye sends her powers into overdrive. She actually recharges his batteries, and you know what that means—Black Lightning’s back!
Black Lightning and Thunder take out most of the ASA agents, but they had some nice backup in Lynn and Gambi. We even got to see Jennifer using her powers on purpose and in an active way…pretty much for the first time ever. The look on Lynn’s face when she did it showed she was just as shocked as we were.
We then head over to ASA headquarters where Proctor’s plans continue to fail. It turns out that if you send most of your henchmen out to attack someone, you won't have much left to defend yourself. Unfortunately for Proctor, Tobias figures this out first and proceeds to raid the ASA headquarters. They pretty much kill anyone left in the building, but before they can deliver the final blow, Proctor escapes death AGAIN!
The little weasel holes himself up at the facility where they are holding the majority of kidnapped Freeland children—and in walks Black Lightning! But not just him, Thunder, Lynn, Jennifer and Gambi are there too! Proctor ends making some kind of super weak welfare joke and gets “black lightninged” by Jennifer. At this point, I’m thinking the Pierces are going to turn him over to the authorities when…BANG. Gambi just shoots Proctor and drags him out of the room! (Remind me to go back and watch these episodes for a Gambi body count, because who is killing more folks on this show than Gambi?) Wow, that was just…unexpected.
Later we see Jefferson, Anissa and Jennifer running the streets (just like in episode one), Sly Stone’s “Family Affair” playing in the background. But unlike last time, when they get to the house, Lynn is waiting with open arms. Seeing their family become whole again after thirteen episodes was a beautiful way to wrap up the season, and listening to Jennifer embrace her powers and the responsibility that comes with them in the voiceover was icing on the cake!
Right before the credits roll, we learn that Tobias didn’t leave ASA headquarters empty-handed, and now that he has complete access to everything ASA, he really just might be the new king of Freeland.
It’s All in the Family
I’m not really sure how the finale impacted me, you guys. There were so many things! First, I’m still kind of surprised that Gambi survived all the way up to the finale. This whole episode, I was waiting for the dead Gambi shoe to drop and we never saw it. I’m not mad, though. Gambi has started on his road to forgiveness, and (even though it’s going to be a super long road) he seems dedicated to the cause and completely genuine in his want to make amends.
Tobias’ family (I still think they are going to bring Tori back) is really growing on me. I like that they are a motley crew of broken human beings and I love the loyalty they all share for one another. It’s nice seeing that, even though most of the show is about how horrible Tobias is to and around the people of Freeland, he still finds ways to mentor and support the people on his team… It’s almost honorable.
The Pierces are all good now. Lynn and Jefferson have reconciled. Jennifer is coming to grips with having powers and no longer sees them as a curse. Anissa is owning her abilities and leaning into her new role as a hero in the community. They’ve really hit their stride.
Also, I’m really looking forward to possible futures featuring Freeland and the Pierce family. For instance, will Lynn take over the research on the subjects of the Green Light experiments? I’d like to see her maybe work with Gambi more too. I think with her expertise, they could really make some serious improvements to the tech that Jefferson and Anissa use fighting crime. Will Jennifer get a costume and join the family Freeland force? (Freeland Fighters?) Or will she actually join the debate team like they hinted at earlier? Plus, you know that it’s not over between her and Khalil. And what about Anissa? Whatsup with the dating scene for her? They kind of touched on it early in the season with Grace, but then she got so caught up with superhero work we haven’t seen her do anything else. In Season Two, I’d love to see more of what happens when she explores the world of dating from the perspective of superhero vigilante.
- The music in this episode was so good, particularly as Jefferson climbed the stairs from his dead father.
- Proctor’s last words were basically a full-on bigoted rant. At least he died doing what he loved?
- Henderson’s thankful shout-out to Black Lightning might be the olive branch both sides needed.
- I hate the design for Khalil’s costume, it’s hideous. The locks are fresh, though.
- I loved watching Tobias bully Lala. As bad as his situation is, I cannot find sympathy for him.
- Tattoo Man is just...a really hilarious codename.
That’s it. Season One is done and it was a dream! I hope you all have enjoyed watching this show as much as I have, because I REALLY loved the debut season…and I’ll admit, I didn’t always feel that way out of the gate. It has really been a slow warm up for me. But right about now? I’m on fire! Feel free to hit me up about it in the comments below, or, if you really can’t wait to say that thing, I’m always available on Twitter at @RegularEtCetera. Until next season, y’all.