Black Lightning Guest Review

Black Lightning 1×05 – And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light

“If you wanna be a superhero, you can’t be afraid of dead rats.”

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One of the reasons I’ve been enjoying this show so far is that it’s kept Black Lightning’s backstory a compelling mystery instead of focusing on the origin story as a major plot point.

That’s not to say I was completely disappointed in learning that Jefferson’s dad had something to do with Black Lightning getting his powers before he was murdered, but the show sadly relies on multiple clichés to move the plot forward this week, often reminding me of how The Gifted used its own super-powers to squander every bit of potential at the end. Whether it’s Anissa stumbling onto evidence in, you guessed it, a storage place or a forced flashback shedding some light onto Tobias’ disturbing childhood memories, this episode checks every superhero trope in the book. Let’s hope the writers are wise enough to avoid repeating this mistake again.

If there’s one thing this episode doesn’t stumble at is the way it finally gives us a glimpse of Jennifer’s strength. It’s no secret she will grow to become a superhero just like her dad and sister, and this slow-burn is intriguing enough to keep me invested, but seeing her kick ass is incredibly satisfying. The cherry on top is Jefferson’s reaction upon learning what his daughter did. Can you imagine these two fighting crime on a regular basis? The mind boggles at the endless fun encounters and possibilities.

Lightning Bits

– The opening teaser with Jefferson using his suit to fly is admittedly amusing, but how does it make it any different from Iron Man’s suit? Or the Atom’s?

– The only show that can confidently pull off displaying text messages on-screen is Jane the Virgin (sadly, I gave up on that show after the first season). Please, Black Lightning, don’t attempt to pull this off again.

– Disturbing scene as Tobias and his sister visit their abusive father and violently threaten him.

– How many times do we see characters changing into different outfits at a retail store in a montage? Again with the clichés!

– Anyone else get Arrow vibes as Black Lightning tells Henderson to reach out to him via the “black signal” just like Oliver and Quentin Lance used to back in the good old days?

– Minor yet cool detail as Black Lightning tells the woman used as bait to unlock her phone before she hands it over to him so he can contact Joey. I appreciate little moments like these because they’re extremely rare on superhero shows.

– Unexpectedly bleak ending as Jefferson falls on the floor defeated after his powers fail him. However, wouldn’t Joey, who works for Tobias, kill Black Lightning given an opportunity like this?

Freeland Quips

Tobias: I need a new suit.
Gambi: Only thing I’m gonna measure you for is a coffin.

Jefferson: “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.”
Jennifer: MLK?
Jefferson: Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor. How you respond in a crisis is your choice, but to exercise that choice, you have to recognize your emotions and regulate them.
Jennifer: Okay, well, what about when somebody’s trying to regulate upside your head?

Conclusion
An unfortunate misstep and mediocre episode this week. There’s a first time for everything, right?

Chris Rating
C

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