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‘Black Lightning’ S1 Ep.13: ‘Shadow of Death: The Book of War’ Review

Everything in Black Lightning’s stellar, game changing first season has been leading to this episode.

We open with a flashback of Jeff and his father running into Gambi, who tells Alvin that he shouldn’t have named names and things are too dangerous.

We then see Alvin’s funeral, followed by Jeff being harassed by some cops during the riots and developing his powers. He is found by Gambi and this is where their story starts.

In the present, Jeff is still recovering from injuries he got during the fight with Tobias.

Quick question: As the government searches for them, isn’t a satellite blackout going to be suspicious?

Once again, Jennifer is feeling sorry for herself. Gambi finds her and in explaining the bad guys gives the audience a nice exposition dump about Tobias, Syonide and Khalil.

Apparently Syonide was abandoned as a baby, raised to be an assassin by Tobias and has a carbon fiber exoskeleton under her skin. We really need a separate web series chronicling her life.

Khalil is now going by Painkiller, because he has a neurotoxin that causes paralysis. Tobias doesn’t care that Black Lightning is dead, because he plans to take out Proctor.

Proctor needs more metahumans to keep his study going and that’s why he needs Jeff and Anissa so badly.

Side note: the Make America Great Again line was overkill.

Tobias brought Lala back from the dead and is controlling him with a hypnotic phrase. He tells him that everyone he killed will haunt him eventually and tattoo themselves on his body.


Gregg Henry as Proctor in The CW’s Black Lightning. Source: Heroes Vue

We cut back to Alvin yelling at Jeff for getting suspended for fighting. It turns out Alvin is where Jeff gets all his positive sayings from.

The ASA has tracked down Lala, but Tobias had him booby trapped with explosives. It appears we’re done with Lala again, but there’s no telling on this show.

As he fights for his life, Jeff gets to see his dad again. He apologizes for not saving him from Tobias and for being Black Lightning. Alvin gives him his blessing, understanding about how much he’s sacrificed to help people.

As it turns out, a hole in satellite imaging is a red flag. Proctor is sending agents after the family.

Due to everything he’s been through, Jeff loses his powers, but during an emotional family moment Jennifer uses hers to charge him back up.


Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce/Thunder in Black Lightning. Source: Heroes Vue

They are now ready to face down the troops, with Earth, Wind & Fire as the soundtrack. That’s how you know it’s a black superhero show.

Tobias and his crew are headed for Proctor’s headquarters, while the police are going to the big fight.

The entire family gets in on fighting off the agents and make it out before the police get there.

Proctor abandons all his people and escapes. Unfortunately, he runs into the Pierce family at his metahuman lab.

Having heard enough of his racist nonsense, Gambi shoots Proctor.

They make the operation public and are now considered heroes.

Tobias ends up with Proctor’s briefcase, so he now has all his mysterious, dirty secrets.

And with that, we have reached the end of Black Lightning’s absolutely excellent season one. It wasn’t perfect, but it definitely kept us invested in the characters and fascinated with the world they live in.

Going forward, the show should eschew The CW standard and continue to do tight, complex 13 episode seasons. It really helped the storytelling.

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