Black Lightning Recap: The Other Side of the Tracks

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So, remember last week when I said I couldn’t wait to see how this “maybe there are more metas in South Freeland, wouldn’t that be cool?” thing would play out? Apparently Black Lightning heard that and interpreted it as “HERE HAVE AN ACTION-PACKED EPISODE FILLED WITH NEW INFORMATION!” To be clear, I’m not complaining. I’m thrilled that we’re getting even deeper into the mythology of the show. We have a lot to cover this week, so buckle up!

Previously on Black Lightning, Tobias blackmailed Councilman Kwame Parker into working for him, Dr. Jace lied to Lynn about being able to save all of the Pod Kids, Gambi “died”, and a pregnant girl named Anaya from South Freeland introduced us to one of the biggest mysteries of the show thus far.

I’m not going to lie, when the episode opened on a prim and proper white woman making tea, I got some serious Get Out flashbacks. While there is no Sunken Place to be seen (yet), this woman is in fact, a racist. She goes by the name Looker, and the Internet tells me that she is a character from the Black Lightning comics. When we meet Looker, she is holding a meeting of sorts because something isn’t right here. She can sense that there is something near that is of her body, but out of her control. Okay lady, what the fuck ever that means. She goes on about how she saved these men from a life of drugs, and then drains one of the men of the same silver substance that flowed out of Deacon at the end of last week’s episode. What’s happening here and what the heck is a Perdi?!

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Not to say “I told you so” but…GAMBI IS ALIVE! We cut to a scene of Gambi torturing a man in front of his adorable puppies, as if half of last week’s episode didn’t even happen. Apparently, the man he’s questioning was paid in Bitcoin, a very popular currency that definitely isn’t going away anytime soon, to kill Gambi. The man refuses to give up who hired him, so Gambi shoots him dead! In front of his pups! I know he tried to murder you, but come on, man!

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Back at the Pierce house, Lynn is in a dark dark place. I mean, she’s literally sitting in the dark drinking alone, but she’s also having a hard time processing the fact that Jace lied to her, and that 14 lives were lost on her watch. Lynn’s been through the wringer recently, and this might be the thing that finally breaks the Pierce Matriarch.

Meanwhile, Tobias is still having his lackeys do his dirty work for him. This time, he has Kwame Parker go talk to Reverend Holt and offer to relocate the clinic and cover all of the costs associated. Holt’s not dumb though. He knows Tobias’s M.O., and is not about to get into business with him.

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Parker reports back to Tobias and Tobias’ response is to kill the Reverend. Neither Parker not Khalil are down with this plan, and it seems that Tobias is losing control of his operation.

At the school, Lynn is holding a meeting for the parents of the Pod Kids and has to inform them that due to a catastrophic event, 14 of the kids died. The look on Lynn’s face when she gave what was clearly a pre-written speech, ripped my heart out. The parents demanded to know the identities of the children who died, and one father in particular refused to let it go. In fact, later, he rear-ends Lynn’s car and runs to her window screaming about his daughter. The whole scene is so hard to watch and it’s clear that Lynn’s guilt over what happened runs very deep.

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Back to Gambi, and OHO! You tricky tricky man. Jefferson was right when he said Gambi had contingency plans for his contingency plans. You see, once Gambi realized he was being shot at, he engaged a fail-safe and perfectly timed a tuck and roll through the bottom of his car. Of course, we didn’t see any of this because …well because camera angles. So Gambi blew up his own car to make it look like whoever was chasing him was responsible.

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It took awhile for us to get to her, but we finally see Anissa, and she’s made it to South Freeland. Well, she’s made it to the woods of South Freeland. Before getting out of the car, she puts a tracker in her boot. Clever girl. She’s approached by a group of people with lots of guns and zero smiles.

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The group brings her to what turns out to be Anaya’s parents’ house. Anaya’s father is deaf, so her mother signs what Anissa is saying. She’s looking for Anaya because she’s in danger, girl! This whole time, all I could think of was that this is what The Walking Dead would look like if it was all Black. And good. (Sorry bout it.) Anissa breaks the news to Anaya that Deacon is dead and Anaya immediately goes into labor.

At the Pierce house, it’s still nighttime. Why is this episode literally so dark? Khalil and Jennifer are on the roof, and Khalil tells Jen that Tobias is the reason he and the Reverend got shot at the march. It seems like Khalil is starting to question his allegiance to Tobias, but he feels stuck. Killing doesn’t feel right to him, but what other choice does he have? It’s such a similar story to the plight of so many Black men who support themselves and their families for non-traditional means because it’s the only option they have. I gave Khalil a lot of shit about trying to get back with Jennifer, but he seems really sincere about wanting to get out from under Tobias.

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Back in the woods, Anaya isn’t going to make it to the hospital, so they need to delivery the baby right in the house. One of the most hilarious things on TV is when someone has a baby and that baby is a whole ass toddler. I know that they can’t have a literal newborn on set, but it still gives me a good laugh every time. Anywho, once the beautiful brown baby is out, Anaya exclaims in pain because GUESS WHAT! There’s another baby in there and it’s breach. Anissa manages to deliver the second baby, who is noticeably whiter than their twin. Instead of being overjoyed by having two grandbabies (WITH GLOWING BLUE EYES), Anaya’s parents are furious.

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Before Deacon, Anaya used to date a boy named Joshua. Apparently, Anaya chose Deacon over Joshua, so Joshua decided to kill “pale ass” Deacon. According to Anaya’s mom, this murder is the beginning of a war.

And now, it’s time for some exposition provided by Anaya! Since the end of slavery, South Freeland has been home to two warring groups of people. The Sanjay are the white people who get to live in town and were given powers by Looker (remember her?). The Perdi are the Black people who live in the literal woods and make money off the land by growing fruits, vegetables, and weed. Thirty years ago, Looker came to South Freeland and used Bootleg Alex Mack (okay okay, it’s called Element) to turn the white people into Sanjay. The two sides hate each other, and Anaya fears that her father will never forgive her for having babies with a Sanjay. To add insult to injury, Anaya thinks Looker is going to come after her babies. Once the Sanjay and Perdi realize that they have more in common than they thought, Looker’s control over both groups of people would wane.

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Social Justice Warrior Anissa is not about to let this stand. She confronts Anaya’s parents and tells them that their ideas about who should be with whom are played out, and that they need to worry about the safety of the babies first.

While this is happening, the other two Pierce women are having their own deep conversations. Except this time, it’s Jennifer who’s being real with Lynn. She tells her that yes, it’s not Lynn’s fault that the kids died, but it was her responsibility to look after the facility. She compared it to the fact that even though Jen didn’t ask for her powers, it’s still her responsibility to control them. An apt analogy, I thought, but Lynn stormed off.

Later, Jennifer finds her mom drunk and puking in the bathroom and comforts her the way Lynn comforted her so many times. Lynn laments that every single one of those lives mattered.

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Meanwhile, Khalil goes to warn Reverend Holt that he needs to leave Freeland or he’s going to die. He starts to choke the Rev, but can’t bring himself to kill him. Khalil goes to tell Tobias that he didn’t kill Rev, so the two of them fight resulting in Tobias’ giant fish tank being shattered.

Back in the woods, two groups of Perdi are trying to get the babies to safety in Freeland proper. There’s one group for each child, and thanks to Anissa’s beacon, Black Lightning is here to help too! The Sanjay show up for a fight and the two factions battle it out while Gambi follows along in whatever safe house he’s holed up in. Anaya and one baby make it to Anissa’s car, but her parents and the other baby are nowhere to be found. After the battle, Black Lightning sees the Element slinking away and Anissa tells him that Element always finds its way back to Looker.

I think my favorite moment from this scene was Jefferson commending Anissa on what a good job she did. The last few episodes saw father and daughter at odds over what it meant to help their community, so it was a nice change to see him acknowledging her success here.

A group of Sanjay have the other baby and bring them to Looker. Looker can barely stand to be in the same room with a Perdi baby, and by using Element, she figures out there’s another baby and it’s a white baby. She demands that the child be brought to her immediately.

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And that’s where we end the episode! Whew! I had to watch that episode two full times in order to get all of the plot points because they threw so much at us! I missed Grace this week, but I’m curious to see how the conflict between the Perdi and Sanjay impact the events in Freeland proper.

 

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below!

Black Lighting airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW and is available Wednesdays on Netflix in Canada.