REVIEW: Black Lightning S1E7- Equinox: The Book of Fate

This week, Black Lightning continued to elevate its storytelling in “Equinox: The Book of Fate,” resulting in another exciting hour of television and ending in some back-to-back, head-spinning bombshells. In a conversation with Gambi (James Remar), Lady Eve (Jill Scott) advises caution against disturbing the “ecosystem” they’ve cultivated in Freeland, but that’s exactly what happened when several characters made some rash decisions, leading to some major unforeseen consequences. Jefferson (Cress Williams) and Lynn (Christine Adams) deal with the fallout of Lynn’s kidnapping and learning their daughter Anissa (Nafessa Williams) has powers. Last week’s episode started bringing Lynn into the forefront, which continued this week as she provided support to Anissa, and reached common ground with Gambi. While Lynn builds on her relationships, Jefferson’s are starting to erode. He flat out can’t trust Gambi, and his modern day Batman/Detective Gordon dynamic with Detective Henderson (Damon Gupton), with text messages to “The Electrician” instead of a Bat Signal, hits a snag thanks to Tobias (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) and Tori (Edwina Findley Dickerson), who have a plan to kill Lady Eve and damage Black Lightning’s image at the same time.

Jennifer be like, “Sounds fake but ok.”

I’m gonna get this out of the way right off the bat: Jennifer (China A McClain) only had ONE scene, and it was a scene in which her sister and father are lying to her. The only thing that saves it for me is that Jennifer knows they’re acting shady and might not fully believe the excuse they gave of why Anissa and Jefferson weren’t talking. I don’t get what the point is in lying to her. I would think, of all people, Anissa would think Jenn had a right to know, and Lynn already suspects she might have powers. So why is she being kept in the dark? Why include the same flashback scene of Alvin’s death two episodes in a row (if we aren’t learning anything new), rather than another scene of Jennifer noticing her family is hiding something? But I digress…. What was interesting about the new Pierce family dynamics is the sort of role reversal Jefferson and Lynn have in response to Anissa’s powers. Jefferson finally seemed to understand Lynn’s fears, at least with respect to their daughter’s powers, adopting a “Do as I say not as I do” approach. However, Lynn surprised me (and Jefferson) by asking Jefferson to train her. Kudos to Adams, who brings such an emotional vulnerability to Lynn’s portrayal. She may not be bulletproof or able to shoot lightning from her hands, but above all else, Lynn just wants the people that she loves to be safe. She made the right decision to trust Gambi to build Anissa’s suit; although I shall miss the flair of Anissa’s prototype.

Speaking of Anissa, her and Jefferson’s stories continue to parallel each other. This time they both have to deal with the casualties that come with them rushing into situations recklessly with thinking of the consequences. Anissa let her eagerness and determination to save the world by herself get the best of her, resulting in endangering her mother and experiencing her first superhero loss: newspaper editor David Poe (Antonio Fargas), who was killed in a hit-and-run “accident” just days after she pressed him for her grandfather’s research. Jefferson finally gets Tobias right where he wants him, but in a shootout at the opening of Tobias’ new Jazz club, it’s Tori that becomes a casualty of his vendetta against her brother. We know Tori is far from the innocent bystander Jefferson believes her to be, but her death does serve the same sobering purpose that Poe’s death held for Anissa. For his part, Jefferson resolves to do better as a father and superhero by training Anissa not to make the same mistakes he did. As for Anissa, she applies her mother’s advice to finding happiness for herself by calling Grace (Chantal Thuy), and immediately my fingers are crossed for some ThunderGrace scenes next week.

While he may gaining traction with Lynn, Gambi is losing trust with Jefferson, and it’s this distance between them that causes Gambi to make some rash decisions of his own to convince Lady Eve to take out Tobias. They compromise on killing Joey Toledo (Eric Mendenhall) to send Tobias a message, unaware that Tobias is already planning moves of his own. In fact it was Lady Eve’s desire to be petty, having Gambi leave miniature coffin with albino bone dust on Toledo’s body, that sealed her fate. Tori’s idea to send hitmen with electricity charged weapons to frame Black Lightning for Lady Eve’s murder was a genius move. The news reports on the death of Lady Eve, a “respected” member of the community, already seem to be negatively swaying public opinion against the superhero. It’s certainly swayed Detective Henderson. It could have gone really badly if Lady Eve had survived, and she almost did, but I totally was not expecting the third hitman in the coffin. I’m devastated that we lost two compelling female villains in one night, but if the ending is anything to go by, Lala’s (William Catlett) surprising resurrection gives me a little hope that it may not be the last we see of them.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to note how jazz music played an important role in terms of the tone of the episode. Black Lightning in general does a great job incorporating music into its episodes, but in this episode in particular, the use of jazz along with vibrant colors to light key scenes throughout, tied all the angst, death, love, and revenge together beautifully.

Misc thoughts: How is Lala still alive? And why is Lawanda’s ghost haunting him in the form of a tattoo on his chest? Is he a secret project of Lady Eve’s, or is there someone even more powerful than she, like the Shadow board, pulling the strings?


Let me know your theories and what you thought of the episode below!