Black Lightning makes second episodes seem so easy.
One of the biggest compliments I can give this show is how refreshing it is to see a brand new take on the superhero genre that deviates from the overused, typical, villain-of-the-week format. The serialized nature of the show allows for a more gripping experience that keeps us invested in Jefferson’s journey as he discovers that Freeland needs Black Lightning again, now more than ever.
It also helps that the writers are taking a more serious approach with this show and tackling themes that are a bit unprecedented for the genre. LaWanda’s entire journey, for example, is gut-wrenching and brutal, especially as she gets killed in that shocking and horrifying sequence after she goes looking for her daughter. Black Lightning doesn’t treat this death as a case-of-the-week casualty; instead, it turns LaWanda’s death into a pivotal moment for Jefferson as he realizes he could have prevented this had he been wearing the suit. This character development is a welcome change for shows that don’t usually give their weekly cases any long-lasting consequences.
Even more impressive is the beautifully written scene between Lynn and Gambi (quoted below). Their argument about Jeff’s addiction to his powers only proves what a complex dynamic these two have, one that is ripe with possibilities in the future. Even though I absolutely loathe flashbacks, I wouldn’t mind learning more about these two any day now.
– Disturbing moment as a kid walks up to the Pierce home and uses a water gun to shoot at Jennifer. His added line “Lala says hi” is terrifying.
– Cress Williams and Christine Adams are absolutely phenomenal in the bedroom scene where Jefferson says his powers are a blessing from God. Goosebumps, anyone?
– In fact, Adams is delivering some of the best work on this show as the wife of a superhero. How cool is it that she is among the only two people (including Gambi) who know about Black Lightning’s identity? So.darn.refreshing.
– Does anyone else think inspector Henderson suspects Jefferson to be Black Lightning?
– I love Peter Gambi, and James Remar is doing a fantastic job bringing this character to life, but he does look like every Alfred we’ve ever seen in a Batman movie or TV show, right?
– Badass scene as Anissa, who is just discovering her powers, fights off the burglar. The smile on her face as she approaches the counter in the end is priceless!
– I can’t stand Tobias, but at least he kills Lala at the end so he’s not all bad, I guess.
Jefferson: Do you remember what you said when we discovered my powers? You said it was a gift. A blessing from God. It’s still a gift. It’s still a blessing from God. And I intend to use it.
Lynn: You know how this ends, right?
Gambi: The same way it always ends for everyone, Lynn. None of us get out of here alive.
Lynn: He was happy.
Gambi: But what kind of happy? Happy like a lion in a cage? King of the zoo, not of the jungle?
Lynn: Happy like a man who was at peace just being Jefferson Pierce.
Gambi: But he isn’t just Jefferson Pierce. He is so much more than that. And you know that better than anyone.
Lynn: I do, and that’s why I want you to stop him before he gets addicted again.
Gambi: We have a difference of opinion on that. I don’t believe Jefferson was ever addicted to his powers. He was in a war to save this city and its people, and he was winning. Then he suddenly stopped because he was addicted to you.
A solid follow-up and an exciting hour of television.