We recap this week’s Arrowverse episodes: Legends of Tomorrow 3×15 “Necromancing the Stone” and Black Lightning 1×09 “The Book of Little Black Lies.”
This week in the Arrowverse, Sara bonds with the Death Totem and nearly takes out the Legends but is saved by Constantine and Ava (and Gary). Meanwhile, Jefferson and Anissa work to take down the people behind Green Light, and Jennifer learns the truth about her family.
‘Legends of Tomorrow’ 3×15 ‘Necromancing the Stone’
Though Sara has made a lot of progress in working through her demons to see herself as worthy of love and worthy of leadership, those doubts are always going to be a part of her — this much was foreshadowed when she and Constantine traded baggage.
The Death Totem calls to Sara until she bonds with it. This allows Mallus to take her over, creating the silver-haired Death Witch entity that haunts the ship, picking off the Legends one by one. Her first step is to take out Ray, the one who was charged with taking out a possessed Sara.
The episode progresses as if a horror film. Wally, Zari and Nate are haunted by figures from their past, which distracts them so Sara can knock them out. Amaya realizes they will need another totem bearer. Nate recovers the Earth Totem but doesn’t get the chance to use it, which leaves Mick to use the Fire Totem.
He doesn’t want to because he doesn’t see himself as a hero; Sara, he points out, is a hero and look what happened to her. First, I love that Mick off-handedly calls Sara a hero — she’s really the only one who doesn’t see herself in that way, an insecurity that Mallus warps and exacerbates.
I also love that Amaya is the one to support him and call him a good man. Just another instance of the meaningful friendship that exists between these two unlikely figures. And Mick proves himself a hero when he isn’t warped by the totem and instead turns into a Firebender. He does his best to hide his goodness, but it’s there.
Meanwhile, Ava and Gary recruit John Constantine to help rescue Sara. The dynamic between this trio is utterly hilarious, as Ava is jealous of Constantine and Sara having recently slept together. Plus, Ava is pretty straight-laced while Constantine is anything but. Meanwhile, Gary and his Beebo socks (Beebo is my favorite running gag in the Arrowverse) are utterly delighted by Constantine.
Anyway, Nora appears to Sara and tries to recruit her to Mallus’s side, promising a life with no pain or regret — both of which Sara is intimately familiar with. Sara, though, hears the voices of her loved ones, especially Ava, calling to her, and she turns down absolute power and overcomes the possession.
However, this experience pushes Sara to break up with Ava; she is much too insecure about her history after nearly taking out her entire team, and we’ve seen that Sara’s go-to approach when emotionally threatened is to run. She did something similar to Oliver in Arrow season 2. She also went off on her own after her resurrection.
As much as this development makes me sad — Sara deserves all the good things — Legends is quite good about not letting drama like this linger, so I expect these two to figure things out fairly quickly. (Plus, we only have three episodes left this season.)
‘Black Lightning’ 1×09 ‘The Book of Little Black Lies’
After activating her powers in the last episode, Jennifer is understandably confused. Anissa, not exactly the epitome of subtlety, decides to come clean to her sister, showing off her own abilities and revealing her and Jefferson’s superhero alter egos. This is all too much for Jennifer to handle, and when her parents don’t laugh the claim off, she spirals into a mess of anger, confusion and frustration.
I really love this development. We watched Anissa discover her powers and slowly work through what was happening to her. She experimented with harnessing her abilities and went costume shopping. For her, having powers is a blessing — she’s like her father in that way.
Jennifer is not her sister, though, and she tells Lynn as much. Jennifer, unlike her activist sister, wants nothing more than to be normal. And having powers is the opposite of that. Jennifer, like Anissa, also realizes that Jefferson being Black Lightning is why her parents divorced, which is another strike against normalcy. And more than that, there’s no telling in what other ways these abilities might affect her, such as her ability to have children. It’s hard and scary.
Plus, there’s the whole thing about her parents having withheld the truth from her for her entire life. Lynn explains that they didn’t tell the girls when they were younger because they didn’t want them to blurt something out at the wrong time. And by the time they were old enough to hear the truth, Jefferson had retired. Plus, Jefferson didn’t inherit his powers so it didn’t even occur to them that the girls might develop abilities too.
The episode smartly parallels this situation — the Pierce parents protecting their children from hard truths — with Gambi and Jefferson. Jefferson isn’t dealing well with Gambi’s revelation about his true identity and the role he played in Alvin Pierce’s death.
Anissa, though, is willing to listen to her surrogate uncle — as well as accept the new suit he made for her. While she is also shocked at the truth, she encourages her father to listen to Gambi. And perhaps connecting his experience with Jennifer to Gambi’s experience with him will help him start taking steps to forgiving the man who raised him.
As all this is going on, Gambi discovers that the ASA is keeping the kids who developed powers 30 years ago in pods in a lab. He tells Anissa about this, and Black Lightning and Thunder go in together to wreck the lab, though it was being moved. Meanwhile, Jefferson has pulled Henderson into the investigation of the corruption in the Freeland PD, which he sees firsthand when he spies on an arms deal between the ASA and some cops.
(Please don’t die, Henderson.)
By the end of the episode, Jefferson and Jennifer have reached something of a truce, and he promises to be honest with her from here on out. It’s a sweet moment, and it’s another reminder that Black Lightning is at its best when it uses fantastical elements to explore human dynamics and relationships.