Black Lightning: Jefferson's Shocking Connection to Gravedigger Revealed

Tonight on Black Lightning, the battle between the Markovian forces led by Gravedigger (Wayne Brady) and the metahumans of Freeland led by Black Lightning (Cress Williams) continued to face off in "The Book of War: Chapter Two." Last week, the first chapter of "The Book of War" gave fans the lion's share of the backstory necessary to understand what Gravedigger's mission is and why he is doing what he is doing. Tonight, though, Lynn Stewart (Christine Adams) provided Jefferson with some new information -- and it's a game-changer. Her research into the metagene revealed that there is an unexpected connection between her husband and Gravedigger.

Last week, Black Lightning finally revealed the origin story of Tyson Sykes, the villain known as Gravedigger, and in so doing, gave the Arrowverse its version of Captain America...but with a sad twist. Per his official character description, Sykes is "a World War II-era member of the U.S. military who became a "super-soldier" after a secret experiment gifted him with enhanced strength, agility, tactical genius and hand-to-hand combat expertise. After the war, Sykes defected to the country of Markovia rather than return to a segregated America.

This is a big'un, folks. Spoilers ahead for tonight's episode of Black Lightning, titled "The Book of War: Chapter Two." Turn back if you're squeamish.

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Turns out that Jefferson maybe should have put something about that story together. In tonight's episode, Lynn reveals that her husband's genes matched a little too perfectly with Gravedigger's, telling him that the reason he and his daughters were the only stable metas in Freeland is for a deceptively simple reason: they are descended from Tyson Sykes.

Confronted with this revelation, Jefferson first tried to deny it but soon realized that he had heard stories of a great-uncle who never came back from World War II. He had long assumed that meant the man died, but...apparently not.

After lashing out at a pair of racist soldiers who had physically abused him, American GI Tyson Sykes was offered an option: take a court martial, or volunteer for a program that was aimed at building a generation of super-soldiers. He volunteered to be a guinea pig, not realizing that he had a latent metagene in his body. When the experiments -- which had killed a number of previous volunteers -- awakened his powers, Sykes became the first known metahuman on Earth-Prime, and a secret weapon for the U.S. government.

Eventually, he found himself embroiled in a coup in Markovia, where a proto version of the ASA had been experimenting on people during the Cold War -- but when the U.S. was forced out of the country, Sykes remained behind instead, deciding that he had no interest in returning to a country where he had been discriminated against and abused.

In addition to the surface level similarity that Sykes was created using a super-soldier serum, there's another element of his story that closely mirrors a detail from the comics: Sykes was the only soldier who successfully "took" to the serum, and the project was "destroyed," except for him. There is no indication in-story as to how or why it was destroyed (in the Captain America comics, it was a rogue German agent who assassinated the man who had perfected the science). In both cases, the U.S. government spent years, and a fortune, trying to recreate the success, to no avail.

The difference is, over at Marvel, Steve Rogers spent his life fighting for the U.S. government. Tyson Sykes? Well, he's ready to come declare a one-man war on a mid-sized American city.

You can check out the next installment of Gravedigger's war on Freeland in next week's episode of Black Lightning. The series airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, following episodes of All-American.

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