This article contains spoilers for the Black Lightning season 1, episode 12, 'The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain'.
With this being the penultimate episode of the season, we get a lot of answers, some of which we get hit with right out the gate. We see Tobias Whale (Marvin 'Krondon' Jones III) getting dressed and see the scars from where Black Lightning (Cress Williams) tried to fry him. Whale meets with Martin Proctor (Gregg Henry), head of the ASA, and we find out how all of this ties together.
It seems the ASA did their original experiments on Freeland, but of those who gained power, they began to die before the powers kicked in. Now they're trying again with Green Light, and Whale says he figured it was a pill to help make better fighting marines. The problem is that people are still dying, but they figure Black Lightning comes from the original experiment, and they need him brought in alive to examine him and figure out why he lived. Whale is told to bring Black Lightning in alive and is given help in the form of Khalil Payne (Jordan Calloway), who is walking again and sporting a horrible dreadlocks wig. Proctor tells Whale they finished the project he had started with Khalil.
Lynn (Christine Adams) calls Jefferson over needing his help, only to be waiting in lingerie when he arrives. The two have an intimate time together before talking about getting back together but not telling the girls yet. It seems everything going on has just made Lynn feel closer to Jefferson.
Meanwhile, Gambi (James Remar) visits his gun dealer friend Thomas Hildago (Morgan Brown) and gives him 48-hours to find where Proctor is hiding. The next morning Jefferson sees Khalil on the street and tries to find out how it's possible, as he was never supposed to walk again. Khalil pushes him away and gives him attitude. Jefferson goes to Khalil's mom (Yolanda T. Ross), who believes he's off in California with a Mr. Martin, who chose Khalil for a special procedure. Jefferson tells Jennifer (China Anne McClain) about Khalil and warns her to stay away… so when he texts, of course she goes right to him.
Khalil wants his girlfriend back, and while Jennifer is happy to see him walking, she wants to know how. We see that he has some kind of replacement spine thing worked into his back. When she asks more questions, he gets pissed and leaves. Lynn has been working with Jennifer to find a way to block her powers if she wants — this doesn't sit well with Jefferson when he finds out, the fact Lynn didn't tell him she was trying to "fix" Jennifer. Getting back together seems to be on hold.
Lala (William Catlett) is disciplining one of his guys when he gets a phone call and hears "The devil deals the cards." He then goes into a trance and just walks out. He goes and finds Hildago and kills him.
Jefferson, Gambi, and Anissa (Nafessa Williams) are still trying to find the missing kids and come onto the idea of looking at energy use over the years. They realize they must have switched to solar and are about to start scanning for solar panels when an emergency call goes out for Garfield High. We find Khalil there, tossing teachers and students around. He's wearing a par of gauntlets that are launching out darts with some kind of chemical in them. Jennifer confronts him and he doesn't hurt her, but she can't stop him either. Black Lightning and Thunder arrive and split up. Jennifer is told to get out of the building, but she doesn't.
Thunder comes across Syonide (Charlbi Dean) holding a gun on students. She goes in and the kids are released. Syonide empties both guns to no effect against the bulletproof Thunder, who then does a thunderclap and sends Syonide flying. She gets up — her arm is cut, and we see something green inside the broken skin. The fight ends up going hand-to-hand and Thunder is winning until Syonide plays possum and waits for her to breathe. Then they beat each other up a bit until Thunder finally knocks her out.
Meanwhile, Whale and Black Lightning square off. BL hits him with a bolt, but it does nothing — he's wearing a special suit. It goes hand-to-hand as well and BL holds his own. He even gets the advantage until Khalil joins in and hits him with one of the darts, which takes out his electrical powers, and then Khalil punches him in the chest, stopping his heart. Whale checks for a pulse but doesn't find one. He's furious that BL is dead, but is going to take the body — until Thunder arrives and chases them off. Jennifer runs over, trying to get her dad to wake up, to no avail. She gets upset and her powers go off, shocking him. Gambi tells her to do it again and she does. Jefferson's heart starts beating, but he's still out of it. Thunder gets him out of the school and safely to Gambi, who takes them all to a safe house where Lynn starts to work on Jefferson.
Fowdy (Skye P. Marshall) reports to Proctor that Black Lightning is believed to be dead and that Thunder took the body. He is furious. He can't let the experiment fail and demands that she find Thunder and get Black Lightning's body. Meanwhile, Lala arrives to see Whale, and we find out that it's Whale who brought him back to life and is controlling him with the phrase. It seems Whale's plan is to not only replace Lady Eve (Jill Scott), but now he wants to take out Proctor so he can run the whole city. And he plans on using Lala to make that happen.
Since the season began, we've been expecting to see Tobias as the big boss, but we kept getting other bad guys like Lady Eve, Lala, and Proctor. However, it looks like this was an origin story for Whale as he takes over the city, and that makes sense. If the end of the season sees the end of the experiment and Proctor, Black Lightning still gets his victory — but his arch-enemy becomes more powerful as well. A pretty interesting story choice.
Even though we now see how a lot of things are connected, there are still so many more questions to answer. They've laid down a lot of really good groundwork for season 2 and beyond while making a compelling first season. I look forward to the season finale. My guess is that Jefferson is going to be out a while based on whatever the chemical was he was hit with — possibly Green Light — and it causes the black-and-white flashes we see in the trailer below. But that's just a guess.