R.I.P. Gambi. You will always be missed!
The man will sharp style and even sharper knives said his final goodbyes during Black Lightning Season 2 Episode 5 in the flames of glory. (Literally and figuratively speaking.)
His shocking farewell kicked off the hour with a tidal wave of emotions that didn't stop. Though, that's to be expected when we lose a main character and one that means so much to the show. Plus, it's Gambi. (The feels right now!)
My initial thought to Gambi's death was that the entire scene was a red herring.
Gunshots, the car chase, and the ensuing explosion served as the flashy opener that would then reveal Gambi held prisoner by Tobias or the A.S.A. All the elements were there for his miraculous return. And, it's the type of filler plot you'd expect in an action series.
Everything was chalked up to being filler until the reality of the situation kicked in. The twist never came, and Gambi stayed dead by the time Anissa drove away.
This death looked to be permanent. This twist is an interesting surprise when you put it into the context of story structure.
We don't typically lose a main character at the beginning and then spend the rest of the hour mourning them. The tone becomes somber and it slows down the pace.
Gambi got the attention he deserved for his goodbye, but his death probably would've been better as a cliffhanger twist.
Jefferson dealt with the death the hardest, which perfectly suited his character's personality.
Gambi was the closest thing to a father Jefferson had after his own parent was murdered. Losing another parental figure took its emotional toll on him yet again. Plus, the pair were extremely close.
He relied on Gambi for trusted advice and not having him around left a hole in his heart.
As morbid as it sounds, what I loved about watching Jefferson processing Gambi's death was that he quickly went through the five stages of grief. Or more accurately, he lightly touched upon the first few stages to come face-to-face with his loss.
Tobias: Well, if it isn’t the man we all know and love, Councilman Kwame Parker.
Kwame: Tobias Whale. So this is your version of a law-abiding citizen looks like?
Tobias: Depends on what law you’re referring to. I adhere to the law of the jungle. Kill or be killed. Eat or be eaten. Either you’re dining or you’re dinner.
Firstly, he hit "Denial" right away once Deputy Chief Henderson revealed the death to him and Anissa.
Jefferson refused to believe that Gambi had died until he saw proof. Either Gambi hid away after the assassination attempt or he truly died in the car wreck. This stance was his stubborn way of "photos or it didn't happen."
Secondly, the next stage (Anger) happened when Jennifer and Lynn gave him Gambi's pocket watch. His response also blended into the first stage of Denial too.
Jefferson couldn't face anything that might mean Gambi truly was gone, which included being gifted his pocket watch. He snapped at his family members for disrupting the reality he had created in his mind. That disturbance would shatter the walls keeping him together.
And as we saw later on in the tailor shop, Jefferson had not been processing his feelings over this earth-shattering loss.
"Bargaining" and "Depression" are debatable since they weren't overt like the previous two. However, I believe there were enough moments that we saw which meant this could progress further down the season.
After the bar fight when Jefferson let out his drunken frustration on a misogynistic jerk (i.e. Anger), he sought emotional support from his friend, Deputy Chief Henderson.
Jefferson unloaded his feelings, brought up Gambi, and he looked back on the sacrifices that hurt him in life. The theme of "Bargaining" came across in this short scene; it's not always about making a deal.
"Depression," on the other hand, was Jefferson breaking down in tears at the tailor shop. The emotions finally hit him over the loss he suffered. And, we could say "Acceptance" was his chat with Anissa when he came to terms of the death. Thus meaning he went through all five stages.
Though, the last three stages might be a stretch based on how quickly he resolved them.
Jefferson still needs to process and grieve in the future. This moment will be a big character development for him, and I'm excited to see where he goes from here.
Jennifer took Gambi's death pretty well. Based on her past reactions, she handled this news with a calm mind.
Of course, she was heartbroken over losing her uncle; Gambi had been a big part of her life. However, in this case, Jennifer kept things together and stayed strong for her parents.
This development was a nice change of pace for her. This devastating emotional upheaval would've previously derailed her progress, but that didn't happen. The therapy sessions with Perenna must be going well!
Even the way she handled the Khalil developments were surprising and new.
Jennifer kept her emotions in check, and she had control over the situation. She dictated the conversation and determined how she reacted to her ex-boyfriend.
We might actually be seeing a new change to Jennifer.
Whereas Jennifer handled the grief with confidence, Lynn got dealt a bad hand experiencing multiple deaths. We can wholeheartedly blame Dr. Jace for everything!
Thankfully, we never trusted the deranged doctor. Ever since her first appearance on Black Lightning Season 2 Episode 3, Dr. Jace set off all the warning alarms. That feeling never went away, even after she changed her tune about killing.
Her helpful personality should've been the warning sign.
Lynn: What’s happening?! The simulations!
Dr. Jace: I told you what you needed to hear. Fourteen of the vaccine kids WILL survive. Inaction would’ve killed them all. You should be proud of yourself. You’re a hero!
[Lynn slaps her]
Lynn: Security, take her out of here and take her wherever the hell you dragged her from!
Dr. Jace: Congratulations! We saved 14 lives, b****!
Dr. Jace disregarded human life and didn't mind killing to serve a purpose. Her trap hurt because of how effective her deception worked.
My heart goes out to Lynn because she wanted to legitimately save every life in those pods. Dr. Jace took that away from her and enjoyed it. Though, there's a wicked side that hopes we do see the evil doctor again.
Lynn deserves her revenge, and these two characters have great chemistry as polarizing scientific rivals.
In regards to Anissa, she needs to make up her mind about Grace ASAP. Is she in it for the relationship or does she only want a good time?
Anissa delivered the most passionate plea to her not-really-an-ex-girlfriend to only go back on it after getting the sex she wanted. How emotionally manipulative was that?!
Those words pulled at my heartstrings and reaffirmed all the shipping payments. For fans of this coupling, this romantic reunion was for you. Though, you have to feel bad for Grace during all this.
Let's face the facts, Black Lightning fans: Anissa is that dater who goes hot one moment then cold the next. She strings the person she's seeing along because it's "too complicated" in her life without realizing the emotional danger she causes.
If Anissa wants to be with Grace, she needs to show it. Grace doesn't deserve mind games, and she can do better without it in her life.
Anissa: Look, I’m sure I’m selfish for just popping by like this, but my uncle ... he died tonight. Yeah, it was unexpected, but it got me thinking. If I knew I only had one day to live, who, besides my family, would I want to spend that day with? I only came up with one name: you.
Grace: What do you expect me to say to something like that?
Anissa: I don’t expect you to say anything.
Speaking of Grace, what do you think caused her skin to crawl?
Visually, the scene looked mesmerizing because of the movements interacting with her tattoos. You couldn't tell at it first what was caused by the affliction and what was naturally designs.
Whatever the root may be, Grace has been dealing with that for a while.
She seemed frantic at first, but she had her pills and water ready to go. Maybe Grace might be a metahuman too?
Another theory is the connection to the silver liquid.
The way the skin crawled under the sheriff's face almost matched how Grace reacted to the movements underneath her skin. The special effects weren't the same, so there's a chance that they're not connected.
But two plots involving moving and deteriorating skin can't be completely unrelated, right?
Just look to how Deacon reacted to the silver liquid inside of him. The contamination ate away before it spilled out of his body. There are all kinds of creepiness here in this mystery.
Anissa: Thirty-eight weeks! Aren’t you excited that it’s almost over?
Aniyah: Actually, I’m terrified. What if I’m not good at it? What if I’m not built to be a mother? What if I just screw up?
Anissa: Listen, take it from someone who has amazing parents: doubting and questioning whether you’re good enough to raise children, all great parents do that. You’ll be great.
I like that the plot is venturing outside of Black Lightning's main community in Freeland.
Having this mystery extend to South Freeland opens up the possibilities for new enemies and future stories. Plus, we'll see the impact of metahumans and green light in other towns.
Don't get me wrong, green light and Tobias are fun antagonists, but there's nothing wrong in exploring our options. A little silver liquid never hurt anyone (except Deacon, obviously).
Last Thoughts Lightning Round:
- Khalil needs to get out now. Like, right now! Tobias basically said he's going to kill him if he fails again. He can't be dumb enough to risk that?!
- Tobias' control is growing now that he has Councilman Parker in his pocket. You have to give it to the criminal; he plans ahead.
- Khalil and Jennifer are so getting back together.
- Was Wendy from Black Lightning Season 2 Episode 2 one of the people who died in the pods? We need answers.
Now, over to you, Black Lightning fans!
What did you think of "The Book of Blood: Chapter One: Requiem"?
Is Gambi truly dead? What could be the cause of the strange silver liquid? Will Anissa finally quit her player ways?
If you missed the latest episode of Black Lightning, you can watch Black Lightning online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.