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Black Lightning - S1E13 - Shadow of Death: The Book of War

Previously on Black Lightning, “The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain”

Despite mentions of Vixen and Supergirl, Black Lightning’s executive producer Salim Akil made it clear that it is not part of the same universe as Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, or Supergirl. And though I don’t believe for one minute we will not get a crossover between them, this just confirms what the viewers have already felt: Black Lightning is in a world of its own.

Images: The CW

In its freshman season alone it has introduced queer characters, and tackled colorism, police brutality, and a government-sanctioned attempt to control, poison, and then exploit a predominantly Black city. Those other shows won’t get that deep. The closest The Flash came was having characters say, “Hashtag feminism” three or four times in one episode. There will never be a very special episode of The Flash that examines what it means for WestAllen to be an interracial couple. And if Arrow hasn’t addressed the difference between a Black man (Diggle) and a White man (Oliver) violently being a city’s vigilante/protector, that’s a missed opportunity.

This disconnected feeling served the show well during a season finale which felt both sluggish and rushed. Everything took place in neat little pockets with little to no outside interference, and we were given an explanation for it by episode’s end — even if it was a bit outlandish.

The first half was mostly exposition delivered by the series ultimate explainer, Gambi. As Jeff was unconscious in their middle-of-the-woods hideout, Gambi relayed how Jeff first came to realize and use his powers (this was effectively accompanied by flashbacks) and Tobias’ connection to Syonide and the ASA. He also counseled Jenn on how to deal with Khalil going forward: Basically, he was dealt a shitty hand, but he chose to side with Tobias and all that came with it. Don’t cry for him too hard.

Meanwhile, Jeff relived his final days with his father and was able to get some much needed closure when he actually spends time with his dad - whether the show is dipping its toes into spiritual waters or if this was just Jeff’s subconscious is unclear.

There was some clarification as to what’s going on with zombie Lala. Tobias admits he spent a lot of money on an experimental program which allows him to control Lala. The visits from LaWanda and Will are mere side effects and he can expect visits from all the people he killed, who will then turn into tattoos on his body to keep him haunted. This explanation - like most of the exposition dumps - felt weak and rushed, and with Lala presumably dead after being sent to be a human bomb to kill Proctor (he blew up, but Proctor lived), it’s not certain we’ll get to explore the consequences of this plot line further.

The action picks up when Tobias, Syonide, and Khalil attempt to kill Proctor themselves (they fail) and Proctor learns the location of Black Lightning and Thunder. Everything has gone to shit for the racist villain, but if he can walk away with the two meta-humans and study them to preserve the other test subjects, it’ll be a big win. Fortunately, he sends his C-team and the superheroes, with assists from Gambi and Lynn, are able to prevail.

In a not-so-shocking ending, Proctor tries to strike a deal with the super-powered Pierces after they find the location of the pods. They decline, of course, and Gambi (exposition chief) reveals that Proctor has been acting outside of the ASA’s purview. It explains why he never called in more help, and how Black Lightning and Thunder have been able to effectively evade them thus far. This is a little unbelievable — especially when it’s revealed that Tobias is now in possession of a ton of Green Light and in charge of the city’s criminal element — but at least they bothered to explain how they’ve been able to get away with so much with no real interference from a secret agency that is supposedly as powerful as the ASA. Proctor taunts the family, knowing that even if they refuse him, they won’t kill him and he won’t see any jail time. Then Gambi puts two hot ones in Proctor’s chest because he has consistently been ’bout that life.

With Proctor’s experiments exposed, the Pierce’s secret identities protected, and Tobias’ new power position solidified that leaves us open to many possibilities for season two.

What did you think of the finale? Leave your brief thoughts below, email them to, or leave them on our Facebook post for this review and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast. 

Black Lightning S1E13 Review Score
  • 7.5/10
    Plot - 7.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Dialogue - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Performances - 8/10

"Shadow of Death: The Book of War"

Black Lightning - S1E13 - “Shadow of Death: The Book of War” | Starring: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III, Damon Gupton, James Remar, William Catlett, Gregg Henry, Jill Scott, Chantal Thuy, Skye P. Marshall

User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

11 Comments on Black Lightning - S1E13 - Shadow of Death: The Book of War

  1. For the podcast:
    Just to start out, I hope you are feeling better Nina. Thank you, John, and Donald for podcasting this Black ass show. It has truly brought me joy. So about this episode. It was a lot. There was a lot going on. A lot of exposition. Tobias was being extra Tobias this episode, Gamby had a whole story time, the #JenPop agenda paid off in a big way, and Anissa was bad acting in a bubble. All in all, the quintessential Black Lightning episode. They laid it on thick with the music but sometimes you have to just enjoy the cheesiness of this show. My only complaint was Lala possibly being dead but I’m going to raise my hands ( because I’m Muslim) and pray that he is still alive next season.

    BAM: just everything this episode. Jeff even went to the ancestral plain

    Thank yall again!

  2. For the podcast:

    BAM- the CW playing Desiigner-Timmy Turner. The way Jennifer rolled her eyes when she gripped Proctor up literally, and all the news interviews. Blacks do love a conspiracy

    This whole episode fell flat! Even the flatness of Jefferson running in his joggin pants. NO bump or nothing! 👀Smh

  3. For the podcast:

    This show is so black!! I’m sure others are leaving feedback so I’ll make this quick:
    1. Damn why lala have to die again?
    2. Fuck that MAGA loving bitch ass Martin glad Gambi finished him off..
    Last for the show to play Desiigner (the guy who rapped the song Panda if you didn’t know) during the fight scene so great….

    Can’t wait for the next season

    Love the podcast!

  4. For the podcast
    #TeamJenerator #JenPop
    They needed another actress for Lynn that “I want my life back” line was corny the way she said it.
    Whoever directed Anissa flailing in that bubble? They don’t like her. She looked a mess.
    #BlackFatherhood Shout out to Granddaddy Pierce though that “live it by any means necessary” quote really doesn’t convey the message he thinks it should.
    Glad MAGAt Proctor is dead. Can’t wait to seen Jen’s suit next season. Love y’all!

  5. For the podcast

    I enjoyed the finale! It was just so much fun. Plus I’m finally on #TeamJen #Jenpop. That scene where she fries Hollis’ MAGA ass was EVERYTHING!

    What’s in the box? I thought it had something to do with the metas more than green light.

    My #BlackAssMoment was all that old school music they played. Reminded me of my daddy.

    Thanks so much for podcasting this show! Can’t wait to listen to it! And I hope you’re feeling better Nina.

  6. For the podcast: I just want to say that Jennifer is the MVP of the episode for me. She has had no training, yet she gripped up Proctor like a pro. Plus, she is a recharging station. #TheJENerator Also, I am liking Painkiller’s locs now. He shaved/faded the side of his head a little which gives it more style. I see you. 👀

  7. Haven’t posted since Black Panther. So my quick recap on this finale.
    1. Jen saving daddy in death and when he was going out to fight without his powers fell flat on me. I get it but that was bad. It was too obvious. They could skip that whole part and just used her at the moment she realized she needed to defend her mom. BUT she gets props for the Proctor slam and eyeroll.

    2. Tobias and Lala. still not feeling that. But I’m guessing LALA is still going to be alive ie. the resurrection he spent a mil on.

    3. Proctor NOT being able to shoot the case locks off straight BS. But he ultimately got what he deserves.

    4. Gamby got his story told and his role as a savior and a monster.

    So, in the end, it was always going to be Black Lighting vs Tobias. Meta vs Synthetic. I wonder what the level 2 children will become.

    Looking forward to the podcast.

  8. For the podcast:

    This show has been fun! Anissa still can’t act right, even in a motherfucking bubble tho!

    I’m happy Gambi got the kill, because no one gives a fuck about the white guy’s soul or whatever for once.

    You just know that Gambi is gonna use that in the future to get some good food from Jefferson again. Lynn is on the out, Alfred is back in.

    I’m glad Latavius and Tobias are sticking around for a season two, because that means another season of shower sex and DCTV workout plan jokes!

    The bad “Black Lightning is back” rap needs to die in a dumpster fire tho.

    Cheers for the coverage, and putting me onto this great show. ❤️

  9. For the podcast:
    I liked the finale. Though we didn’t get BL-Tobias part deux, this episode provides interesting storylines for next season.

    Tobias is the THE MAN now that he got that briefcase courtesy of proctors thumbs😄 Will Ms Thirsty become his side piece or she joins BL side?

    I like Jennifer is coming into her powers.

    Lala was formally named “tattoo man” but now that he’s blown up will he be reanimated?

    I’m glad that maga racist a** Proctor got his comeuppance.

    Black ass moment-the soundtrack throughout the show

    That’s all I have. Glad there will be a S2.

  10. FOR THE PODCAST: LAST NIGHT I SAW A SUPERHERO HE WAS BLACK, HE SAID THIS IS THE STREETS, BLACK LIGHTNING’S BACK… This was a great first season of Black Lightning. I enjoyed the shit out of it. I also really enjoyed this finale. We got some cool flashbacks, new information, some great action, and my girl Jen is now in the mix with the family business. *Initiates #JenPop intricate dap sequence with Rod and John*… I liked the pacing of this episode. It really felt like a lot was done in that one hour block of time. Yo, do y’all think Dat ‘Tavius is dead? I don’t. I feel like since we didn’t see him die he’ll be back and still ain’t shit next year. I also hope Jen fully embraces this superhero shit and becomes the Serena of the team. Anissa still needs to calm her ass down. Also, since she answered one of my questions on Twitter the other night, I’m gonna have to ask y’all to refrain from slandering her acting on the podcast next season. We go together now and I can’t have her upset with me like “I heard what your lil podcast friends said about my acting today.”. So, please respect my relationship. Thanks! Anyway, that’s about it. Looking forward to next season!

  11. For the Podcast:

    Gonna keep it short because my BAMusic and my BAMoment are one and the same.

    Unholy war By Jacob Banks
    Stairway to Heaven by the OJays
    Shining Star by Earth Wind and Fire
    Timmy Turner by Designer
    Family Affair by Sly and the Family Stone

    When the OJays came on I knew this was gonna be the Cookout of Black Ass episodes. They should’ve just Electric Slided at the end.

    Great season and Tobias is the best Gillian on Tv. Oh and fuck the Flash.

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