Black Lightning is back, and is woker than ever!
Last year the CW gave us its first true and blue, black superhero in the form of Jefferson Pierce AKA Black Lightning. A former superhero who comes out of retirement to save his daughters from harm and then comes to the realization that his city still needs him. Everything from a corrupt police department, drug lords running amok, and even a shadowy government organization flooding the streets with drugs, Black Lightning had an impressive first season. In a world where we already have the likes of Black Panther and Luke Cage, Black Lightning continued the trend of telling authentically and unapologetically black stories for the superhero genre.
Right off the top, the show continues to push the envelope. The opening consists of a news report of police choking a young black man to death, something we all remember from real life victim of police brutality Eric Garner’s tragic death (among countless others). Here in Freeland, the drug Green Light has started to cause some users to manifest metahuman abilities. In a great allegory of the “crack baby” scare of the 1980’s the police in Freeland now see these young men of color as literal weapons (echoing real life) as the show continues to push the envelope as much as it can.
Even though Jefferson stopped the ASA and revealed that they have been trying to harness metahuman abilities by flooding the streets with a drug that gives people powers, the attack at his school got him in some serious trouble. Being the principal of the school during Khalil’s attack, “Jefferson” was missing in action, even though he was really there as Black Lightning. On top of that, he and his family had to go into hiding from the ASA afterward, the schools been closed and he’s facing disciplinary charges from the school board. Later on, Jefferson decides to resign as principal for the good of the school. His wife Lynne is also having her own issues as she’s being questioned by a new ASA representative, who denies her access to the kidnapped children experimented on, because he knows she’s lying. The new bad guy is none other than legendary director/actor Bill Duke.
Speaking of Bill Duke, it looks like Black Lightning is the go-to place for all famous black actors. Like Black Panther, if you are black and in Hollywood and not on this show, you kinda need to fire your agent, and all the heavy hitters are showing up on this show. Robert Townsend, Bill Duke, Clifton Powell, even political commentator Angela Rye shows up to give the history of the government experimenting on people of color as a fictitious political commentator. And the soundtrack once again is on point!
Back to the episode. In addition to Jefferson and Lynn having problems of their own, so do their children. Jennifer AKA Thunder wants to do more for the Green Light victims as the government won’t let them be released from custody as they need to be studied. Jefferson tells his daughter that they need to devote their time to Tobias Whale as he’s still at large. She takes it upon herself to “raise” money for a local church to sue the government by stealing the money from a drug den. This gives her the chance to go in and kick some serious ass as she takes on about 20 people on her own. Their younger daughter Jennifer is having problems of her own as well. She’s more powerful than her father and sister combined, yet she is unable to control her powers. She floats in her bed Exorcist-style while she sleeps, and her getting agitated makes her lose control of her powers. Jefferson and Lynn fight on what to do about it. She wants her to get therapy, he wants to train her.
Jefferson’s vice-principal (who was secretly an ASA mole) wants out of the life of the ASA and tracks down Gambi for help. In doing so, she agrees to get the ASA briefcase from Tobias for him. She first faces off against Tobias’ enforcer Cyanide to stop her. Surprisingly, she kills Cyanide when they face off, thanks to her high heels which have daggers on the end of them. This angers Tobias who uses his famed speargun on her when she tries to take him down. Although she survives and escapes, Tobias is now intent on getting his justice!