Spoilers Black Lightning - Season 4: The Final Season

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by TREK_GOD_1, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I was surprised when I saw that name on the cast list when the episode description was released.
    This has bugged me with shows for quite a while now. Not just with being shot, but just in general people are way to quick to just write someone off as dead as soon as something happens.
    I got caught up and I'm ready for the finale tonight.
    The last couple episode were great.
    Looker showing back up was a surprise, I had forgotten all about her until they started talking about her. I was a little confused how she fought both Khalil and Painkiller at the same time, I don't remember seeing them split like that outside of his mind. I had assumed they were inside his head, but it seemed like they were literally both their physically fighting her.
    I'm disappointed they killed Uriah, I liked him, and after everything Jennifer has been through, it's disappointing to see her loose him.
    I was surprised Lauren Caruso sided with Gambi and the Pierces, I had thought she was the one behind all the bad stuff happening at Montevista.
    The Painkiller vs Ishmael fight was awesome.
    It looks like the police chief, who's name I can't remember, has pretty much lost it now. I think it's a safe bet that Lightning's video is probably going to be enough to take her down.
    That last scene with Tobias and Jefferson was great.
    I'm sad to see the show go, but I'm very excited to see how they're going to end it.
     
  2. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh.... bad news -- NO Painkiller series...at least not on CW (possibly HBO Max, which again might make it a good connect ion with Matrix 4).

    I hope this simply frees up Jordan Calloway for a movie career.... oh and @TREK_GOD_1 (responding to a comment you made earlier)... i definitely would LOVE to see Calloway in more diverse roles...but i think "action star" will pay the bills to allow him to be in ANYTHING he wants, and not worry about its commercial success. That might be the best way for the world to see his greater talents. (Isnt that like what has happened with Michael B Jordan?)
     
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  3. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm hoping HBOMax picks up the Painkiller series, I liked the pilot and was looking forward to more.
     
  4. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think Calloway would be a good Superman.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, they were in Khalil's mind, in the "dojo" set that was established in "Painkiller" as the mindscape where Khalil and Painkiller interact, with Khalil's mental avatar dressed in white and PK's in black. Which made it odd that their powers operated as if they were in physical reality.
     
  6. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know that whole Shadow Board business really brought much to the table. The season has seen so much trimming of the fat keeping the story pretty local and focused on family and Freeland for the most part it just seems fatuous.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah. Tobias taking over Freeland was enough of a threat without all this "Today Freeland, tomorrow the world" stuff.

    Though it might be nice if the Shadow Board showed up as an eminence grise behind the villains on a couple of the other series, to provide some subtle continuity.
     
  8. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, OK. The way it was put together it seemed kind of unclear to me, they didn't really seem to give any clear indication we weren't in the real world any more. Or if there was, I missed it.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As I said, it was the same "dojo" set previously established as Khalil's mindscape, and they were in their "mindscape" clothing rather than what Khalil was wearing in reality.
     
  10. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So good to have China Anne McClain back. :)
     
  11. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Pretty good conclusion. Like the rest of the season, it felt a little diminished from the heights and ambition of the show's previous years, but there was still a lot to love. As I noted mid-show, McClain's return was very welcome; I had tried to adjust to the new actress, and she did well, but I've always thought China had something special. (I've heard rumors that she had some issues with Cress Williams, or he with her, and I notice they didn't appear in so much as a single shot together here, like they were never even on set with each other.)

    Tobias's death was satisfying enough, I guess, though I didn't actually think the Melville-while-impaled-on-a-spire worked all that well. Jones has been fantastic as Tobias throughout the series, but that may have been too much to ask even of him.

    LOVED that Lala got the series' last words.

    This was an incredible series, the most consistently excellent of all the CW's DC shows, and it will definitely be missed.
     
  12. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder if the Shadow Board would’ve carried over into the Painkiller series. Too bad we’ll never find out.
     
  13. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Black Lightning - The Final Season
    Season 4 - Episode 13 - "The Book of Resurrection - Chapter Two: Closure" - SERIES FINALE


    Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning / Lynn: When we last saw Jefferson, he had been beaten, and had his throat obstructed (by Tobias) in the same way the criminal killed Jefferson's father. Calling Jennifer, Tobias says he's good on his word about killing those close to her (everytime she uses her powers) showing her a photo of a seemingly dead Jefferson...

    At HQ, all are angry and grieving over Jefferson's death; Jennifer is fueled with rage and wants to confront Tobias, but she is momentarily talked back into reason.

    Gambi's voice cracks a bit, stating "Jefferson's my son, but its fight now, mourn later!"

    Thankfully, Jefferson was not dead...yet. He was placed in a coffin, buried alive, and running out of oxygen as he yells for help. Suffocating, Tobias' words ring in his mind, triggering him to violently scream the criminal's name...

    Later, Jefferson--in what he feels are his last seconds of life--prays to God:

    "Father God, I pray...with my last breath...please...protect my family...protect my city...
    Father..Father God, I pray..I am worthy...to be received into your kingdom..."


    ..with that, Jefferson's mind recalls the murder of his father...and imagines he's speaking to him--and his teenage self. Despite Jefferson's doubts, his father convinces him that he can do what needs to be done.

    Seconds later, his powers are restored, and Black Lightning bursts through the grave, full of purpose and flies to settle that which should have been 20 years earlier.

    Jefferson flies to Tobias' office, and the last fight begins (and yes, Tobias spits out a stream of self-hating slurs at Black Lightning). Just as Tobias tries to throw Jefferson out of a window, Jefferson breaks free, blasting him out to the balcony...and on a spike. Despite Black Lightning offering to help Tobias, the impaled criminal pulls out two guns, quoting Captain Ahab's final words:

    "..to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee" (SEE NOTES)

    ...and fires at Jefferson, who in turn, electrocutes Tobias, finally ending the criminal's life...and as he dies, the effects of his meta treatments apparently die with him, as he instantly returns to his true age as an elderly man-turned-corpse.

    Even Jefferson had to realize that some people are beyond redemption.

    Gambi:
    Gambi locates the emitter--but its monitored by Drakestone (and their top-shelf guards)...

    Flashback: Gambi tries to console teenage Jefferson about hiding while his father was killed, explaining that his act was a form of self-defense. He promises to help hi use his powers, which he predicts might serve as hope for Freeland....

    Gambi, Grace and Anissa infiltrate the mausoleum where the emitter is stored, with Anissa and Grace taking no prisoners as they use explosives on the guards, and hold their own in hand to hand against the armed men.

    Gambi find the emitter, plants plastic explosives on the device, destroying it--instantly restoring Anissa and Grace's powers, but Anissa is shot by the next-gen DEG's, causing Anissa to collapse into Grace's arms. At HQ, Anissa recovers (assuming her powers provided some protection from the otherwise lethal nature of the DEGs).

    Khalil/Painkiller:
    T.C. has discovered a way to deactivate the kill order (against the Pierces) in Khalil's mind...but the cost will be losing his memories of everything...including the Pierces. Khaill reflects that the knew he would always give his life for Jennifer...but he never believed he would forget her. T.C. removes the kill order, and Khalil is finally the man he was meant to be.

    Jennifer / Anissa / Grace:
    Jennifer returns to ionosphere, trying to absorb more power to be more than a match for Tobias--and anything else. Upon her return to HQ, she nearly faints...

    In the ionosphere, the residual energy particles left by J.J. reconstitutes the real Jennifer, who meets J.J and TC in the tunnels (where the Prometheum vein is located). We learn the backstory: the real Jennifer accuses J.J. of attacking her and leaving her for dead in a realm called "The Glaze", but instead of dying, she's been "in" J.J.'s head all along, and with each trip to the ionosphere, J.J. was releasing enough energy for Jennifer to return.

    The "Jennifers" fight, with J.J revealing she was a non-corporeal entity who had monitored Jennifer and wanted to know what it meant to breathe and feel. She also has Jennifer's memories and refuses to return to her realm...

    J.J. briefly gets the upper hand, but as J.J. tries to kill Jennifer, her mind relives all of her past experiences which inspires her to recover enough to blast J.J., separating the impostor from the energy rightfully belonging to the genuine article.

    Det. Shakur / Chief Lopez: As seen in the previous episode, the enraged and murder-minded Lopez has injected herself with Metaboosters and fled the police station. Shakur calls Jefferson's phone, warning him that Lopez now has energy-absorbing powers and is on the hunt....

    Locating Lopez--who is at the power grid absorbing energy--Shakur and his DEG-armed officers confront the enraged Lopez. Refusing to listen to Shakur, he has no choice but to order the officers to shoot her. The indignant woman attacks Shakur and the officers, only stopping when Jennifer arrives. Hateful as ever, Lopez calls Jennifer a "bitch" which--as you can imagine--did not go over well with the teenager. An exchange of energy blasts proves Lopez is no match for Jennifer, and at last, Lopez collapses, moaning in pain. Shakur--in front of his officers--thanks Lightning, pretty much wiping away the anti-Lightning propaganda Lopez had spread to her officers.

    Epilogue:

    Celebrating at Anissa and Grace's, Lynn thanks Gambi for how much he's loved Jefferson and the girls over time, even when she was not as appreciative as she should have been.

    TC has "bad news" for Jennifer (SEE the Khalil entry), but does not share it. Jennifer who feels she needs to learn how to deal with the fact that most of her family--with the exception of Jefferson--could not sense that J.J. was not the real deal.

    Finally, Jefferson and Lynn announce that they are getting remarried, but Jefferson adds he is retiring from being Black Lightning, entrusting Freeland to his three daughters. Gambi also retires, passing the torch to TC, but promises to be around to "tinker" every once in a while.

    At Tobias' office, Lala awakens...breaking free of the cement block. Getting his bearings, he eventually discovers Tobias' corpse, saying, "Somebody finally stuck it to your ass."

    NOTES:

    Black Lightning--the one great series of the entire CW/Arrowverse franchise--comes to a close. Its so terrible that this series was cancelled while some truly awful shows just continue to roll on. Black Lightning has been one of best DC productions of this century (and that's a short list)--without question--and it will be missed.

    There's so much to say about this very entertaining, groundbreaking series, but that will come in a separate post.

    Khalil's memory wipe (of the Pierces) was another way of giving Khalil (and the showrunners) an "out" of never mentioning/contacting the Pierces again, when his series airs.

    Some of the nerdier viewers probably thought Tobias' last words were a nod to Khan's own dying curse as seen in Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan, but its origin--Captain Ahab from Moby Dick--may have been the direct inspiration, only its reversed as its a "whale" (as in Tobias' surname) who curses the man.

    Of course, I was surprised and very, very happy to see China Anne McClain return as the one and only Jennifer Pierce. Despite Laura Kariuki's good performances as J.J., she paled in comparison to McClain, who made that role her own.

    I cannot wait for a series blu-ray or 4K set.

    GRADE: A+.
     
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  14. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I didn’t even put the “whale” thing together. I think their final showdown could maybe had been a little more but I thought the episode as a whole was pretty satisfying. At least we got some final letter n alliterative insults.

    I thought Jen might return but I thought she’d re-emerge from the ionosphere whole or even teamed up. Wasn’t expecting the whole evil clone stuff with what we’ve seen with JJ.

    I liked that Gambi got a little extra celebration.

    The whole Lopez thing ended up a bit of a wet fart.

    Really looked like he had emerged from some concrete there.
     
  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Might jot a few words down about the series finale and the series overall later but I wanted to say how much I've appreciated your reviews Trek_God_1. Sometimes when I didn't want to look at any episode of Black Lightning (but also Batwoman), or was deciding whether I should look at them, I would just read your thorough reviews and it fit the bill. I'm going to miss your reviews and your enthusiasm for this series.
     
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  16. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just my quick summary before i dive in... i was kinda disappointed by the finale....felt like some fluff/suddenly added material, which could have been better spent on ether reflection (which we DID have), or somehow tying up loose ends or a grateful city, or something (like ending of the WW2 era in Captain America). So the finale itself, maybe a B+ for me, but overall the series a solid A.

    I generally don't like "talking to the dead", but here like in Black Panther, it felt good and right to talk to his father, who we had an opportunity to see the love, care and respect his dad had for him, and would have totally told him had he lived. Jefferson without a doubt did his dad proud, and would have no regrets about Jefferson hiding as child, but then growing and becoming a good man doing the right thing to the best of his ability (which, as it turns out, is more than he realized)

    The prayer, though... seemed like to come from someone who went to church, but was never really confronted with the Gospel of Grace. Going to the Father has nothing to do with what you did but what He did.

    The fight seemed kind of lackluster a bit. Yeah, OK, it is on Tobias' turf this time, but went by kinda quick. I was hoping Lala would awaken to help Jefferson, when the Carbonite fell down. And did Tobias throw something at Jefferson? Because it looked like he clumsily tripped on something and almost knocked himself out.

    Also, a part of me still wants to know how Tobias got his powers, and what is the full extent of them (such as somehow being less affected by the Lightning...is that just for Jefferson or every meta?)

    And regarding "Even Jefferson had to realize that some people are beyond redemption", that part of what makes a hero a hero is that they inspire hope for people to change. That was what I was hoping for Lala.... get him back to the intriguing villain he was before coming back from the dead.

    This would be one of those contrived scenes.... I mean, with all the resoucres Whale has, he could ave/should have 100 members of the 100 guarding the Shrine. And 3 unpowered people defeat would should have been a small army? I mean, i can go with the flow....but one of those nitpicks i have about the show.
    One quick comment -- I had hoped Khalil would have asked TC to watch over Jen...or comment that he trusts TC to help her. Not trying to perpetuate the "men owning women" idea.... but just the idea that people need each other, and showing that he truly cares for Jen, even when he can't be there.
    This just felt like a random scene stuck in there to fill time, and give an explanation for changing back to China McClain. This would have been a good subplot for part of a season, with some kind of hints dropped in. Instead, it felt like they didn't know if China would be back for the end or not, and wrote it in last minute. Do we know if China left first and then the Akils received news of cancellation? If so, i can see them scrambling to bring her back forthe final episode.

    I really think they could have ether gone parallel universe Jen that got picked up, or just adopted her as her cousin after all.
    I was still hoping Shakur would be named Captain or something... he's a good man, and definitely someone to follow . As i mentioned in an earlier post, I wonder if he was meant to be a model for black police officers to help create justice in the system.
    I don't agree that it is the only good show... but certainly the most serious of them, and handling that seriousness in a great way, and certainly the one most tackling relevent social issues directly. Flash has been more "comic booky", but also one i can watch with my younger child. ANd early on, for sure, it really showed respect to the comic/TV past of not just the Flash but the genre in general. That really made me a fan for episode 1 of Flash.

    But as you said, without question, one of the best DC productions.

    Part of the problem for BL in terms of ratings (which could have extended its life) was that they didn't market it well. At least in Chicago... i saw several Billboard ads for Supergirl (coming up on the Dan Ryan expressway on the black South Side), but i don't recall seeing any for Black Lightning. Also, in a Nextdoor social media post, centered on the blakc middle class neighborhood of Bronzeville, many people had expressed they never heard of the show. Not that it should have been solely a black audience, but that market was never fully tapped. If we could have had watch parties or discussion groups in our black-owned restaurants, it could have added to much needed buzz.

    Also, i think the glut of DC shows in general, but especially on the CW, contributed in dividing audiences, instead of creating a core that would follow them all. They should have limited the DC shows to 2-3 per season (3 seasons)... that would have given Black Lightning a better chance to succeed.
    Definitely look forward to it...and if a separate thread, would you mind tagging me on it, so i can jump on it right away?

    I would also humbly suggest a couple of points

    1) Weaknesses .... not that they were strong or kept me from rating the series as less than an A... but things like how they seem to fudge time would be worthy to discuss

    2) Dangling threads -- What kinds of things could have been dealt with had they gone one more season?.

    3) General questions -- like why we didn't see Jill Scott at all? She was excellent when she appeared, and a shame they had Destiny step in.
    which in someways is good, because the the Vibe of the show is a big disconnect with Black Lightning (Afro-futurism vs. "reality" of our world) . But the news is that the CW will not show Painkiller (i have a link a couple posts up)... Maybe possible for HBO Max? We'll see. ANd if not, I hope Jordan Calloway gets some good roles ASAP.
    Like @Mr. Adventure , it didn't click for me at first either. Yes, technically, this was actually an even MORE appropriate use of it (with the irony you pointed out of the Whale). But 2 things for me... 1) it sounded a bit muffled to me (I also had the volume a little low to not disturb my family), but 2) also it is REALLY hard to top Ricardo Montleban's delivery of that speech. That's why it is so ingraned for 2 generations.
    I think if Laura Kariuki had more time, she would have been able to own it. She certainly did the best she could, and it still felt like Jen...well, until this last episode.
    HBO Max has nothing like Netflix's top 20 list, right? Because i wonder how BL could get a 2nd wave of fans to discover it?
    Yeah, that just seemed like a random bit thrown in to excuse China not being in most of the season. It would have been better, fo rme, if they adopted her as a cousin after all (making the return of Jen at school a lot more plausible), or could have made her change back for whatever reason.
    Maybe for budget reasons... but where is his girlfriend? That would have made his "retirement" just a tad more believable.
    I agree about that end of Lopez.... felt like it should have been more than what it turned out to be. I mean, i guess it is fitting that Lightning defeated her, and Shakur even thanked her. But yeah, felt like filler rather than a tied thread like Khalil.
    Yeah, a little TOO much...would have been nice if he could have been dusted off before his final words.


    I too very much apreciate the reviews of @Trek_God . They have been well organized, and help me to focus my thoughts. I don't agree with every point , but I just about always find something I connect with (especially when he digs deep at the cultural implications), and is a great place to hash things out. I too have glanced at his Batwoman reviews (i don't have muchtime to watch a lot, especially not CW like i used too), and regularly comment on his Fear The Walking Dead reviews, which has a similar format.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I was disappointed that JJ turned out to be evil. I liked her better than the original, and it feels like a waste of her journey to prove herself and rebuild her life if it was all fake. Still, from a story-structure standpoint, I can appreciate Jen's transformation turning out to be an obstacle the real Jen has to surmount to triumph in the end, rather than just a random plot twist to justify a recasting. I wonder if there would be more hints to the truth if I went back and rewatched (in JJ's words and behavior, not just Jeff's suspicions and the occasional shots of yellow lights in the ionosphere).

    Also, how come JJ was naked when she "re"constituted but OG Jen was in her Lightning costume -- and still wearing an earring, no less? I can excuse the costume as being some sort of magic nanotech or "unstable molecules" or whatever, but the earring? Come on.

    Not crazy about how Tobias's fate went down. Instead of having Black Lightning accidentally kill him, I think it would've been better if Lala had emerged from the "carbonite" and dragged Tobias out the window with him, so Jeff's conscience would be clear (and Lala would recover anyway). After all, Lala has been the proverbial gun on the wall for weeks now, so he should've been relevant in the climax, not just tacked on as an afterthought. And it would've worked better than ending the entire series with Lala gloating over Tobias's body which has somehow just been left there on the spire after enough time has passed for the Pierces to clean up, dress up, and organize that party, which must've been the following night. At the very least, they should've put Lala's scene earlier and ended the series with the party.

    And yeah, it took me until nearly the end of Tobias's dying rant to realize, "Oh, yeah! Whale! Moby Dick! I get it!" Although I'm sure there's a depressingly large number of viewers out there who must be thinking, "Why the heck was he quoting The Wrath of Khan?"

    I'm also disappointed that we got no followup about the police situation now. Sure, Lopez flipped out, but does that mean the meta task force is disbanded and the charges against Lightning dropped? Is Shakur the police chief now? Will Tobias's crimes be exposed and the Pierces cleared, or is Black Lightning now wanted for the murder of Freeland's mayor? A lot of loose ends were left dangling. Would've been nice if they'd spent more time on that rather than Lala and Painkiller.
     
  18. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why the costume? Plot convenience, so they can just get right into it. Maybe that last trip into the Ionosphere clicked something in O-Jen to put it altogether. You can excuse a complicated nanotech costume made out of "nothing", or a person torn apart a the molecular level and then reconsituted the same way , but you have trouble with an earring? Come on.
    Well, we all aren't as smart as you. SOme of us have lives, or the next generation have also had lots of other literature (especially multicultural) to read.
    Were you not watching the show?
    First, Lopez attacked police officers, to the point their lives were in serious danger. EVen with the "blue line" this would be one where enough officers would testify against her. So she would be out completely.

    And Shakur was in charge of the task force. At the VERY LEAST, he prevents them from going after anybody but a bona fide bad guy, so they are only activtated as truly needed.

    I would have liekd Shakur named police chief, and would have been a good coda where Jefferson tells him that Henderson would be proud, and that Freeland police are in good leadership.

    Did you not see that Red and Looker were captured? They would have nothing to lose by blaming it on Tobias, and the Nullifier wouldn't have a defense for her actions either (and no power to stop it). They made a point of reminding us about Looker.


    I would agree that we didn't need Lala as presented (the trailers form last week made it seem like he would be a player) and not sure if Painkiller could have been dealt with last episode. That one MIGHT have been needed to help set up the Painkiller series (which, at the time of filming, SEEMED like a go)
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
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  19. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know how the "science" would work but Jen wasn't reconstituted in Gambi's machine like JJ and she went from matter to energy so why not back again?

    That's an interesting idea though it would leave an issue of what Jefferson should do with Lala. We can excuse him not dealing with him if he never knew he was there.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    She did, and as I said, I can buy the conceit with the super-high-tech uniform, but why would it affect her earring too? It's not a part of her. I find it annoying how shapeshifters and people who turn incorporeal always somehow magically extend the effect to their clothes, makeup, and jewelry. There's so rarely an explanation for how that works.


    As I recall, it generally takes Lala a while to recover from a "death," so if he fell with Tobias -- presumably missing the spike and falling to the pavement below -- he'd be dealt with for the time being.

    If anything, they should have had some final interaction between BL and Lala, to bookend the Jefferson/Lala relationship that's gone back nearly to the start of the series. Maybe have BL let him walk away because he's suffered enough and because his twisted sense of honor and concern for the community makes him a stabilizing element for the gangs. Having it end without any closure between them is another neglected loose end.
     
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