On Black Lightning, death is not uncommon in Freeland. Between the violence and drugs of the street to the brutal ways of Tobias Whale, several characters have met their end on The CW series. Tonight, another character's story came to a close and it's a loss that has major implications for Jefferson Pierce and his family.
Spoiler for tonight's episode of Black Lightning, "The Book of Blood: Chapter One: Requiem," below.
Peter Gambi (James Remar) is a man with a plan and several backups for any situation which is why when, just a few moments into tonight's episode, a vehicle full of hitmen opened fire on Gambi before forcing him into a car chase it seemed like something Jefferson Pierce's (Cress Williams) surrogate father would get out of. His car? Armored and equipped with additional protective measures. His driving? Expertly evasive. The situation seemed like nothing Gambi couldn't handle.
However, even for all of his skills and preparedness Gambi didn't make it out. He took a sharp turn to evade the hitmen only for his SUV to explode into flames. Henderson (Damon Gupta) broke the news to Jefferson, who in turn let the rest of his family know though Jefferson himself was reluctant to believe that Gambi was really gone. Eventually, Jefferson came to accept that his beloved friend and chosen family was gone, breaking down in Gambi's tailor shop while holding a pocket watch he had given him years before.
Gambi's death is a difficult one. For Jefferson, it marks the second father figure he's lost to murder in his life with Gambi's demise coming on the heels of Tobias (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) being cleared for the murder of his biological father. It also marks a major loss for the family's heroic efforts as Gambi was often their eyes and ears as well as master strategist. There's also the matter of the emotional toll the death will take on the rest of the family, with both Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) handling their Uncle Gambi's death differently, but one thing is absolutely confirmed: Gambi is part of the family.
“Sometimes it recedes into the background, but a sense of duty and a sense of trying to balance things out is a guiding theme for a lot of people I know’s lives," Remar said during a recent visit to the show's set. "And I don’t feel that Gambi is any different. It feels he has a real responsibility to rub out some of the bad stuff of the past, and balance and equalize things. Now there is, in episode 5 of this season...I don’t know what I’m not supposed to tell, but there’s a tension that occurs. And when the tension breaks, there’s a reconciliation that the fact that Gambia and Jefferson are family is clearly stated. There is no ambiguity about it at all. And my kids have been mad at me for long periods of time, but I’m always their dad and that’s always number one.”
And the people behind Gambi's death may complicate things as well. Two Bits, who now appears to be working at a bar while on probation, notes that it seemed like Gambi's death was a government-style hit. If that ends up being the case, it could be connected to the shady A.S.A. and the handling of Martin Proctor in last season's finale, making Gambi's death just one of the many consequences Black Lightning will explore this season.
"We don't have to explain anymore," Williams said in a recent interview. "I feel like [showrunner] Salim [Akil] said, 'let's drop a bomb and see what happens!' So, it's not accidental that our first episodes are called 'The Book of Consequences.'"5comments
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Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.