Black Lightning Deals With What Happens When You Become a Superhero

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. ‘Black Lightning’ Season 2 Finale Recap: Preparing for War’Black Lightning’ Season 2, Episode 15 Recap: With Great Power Stay on targetcenter_img Black Lightning has spent the last few episodes building Anissa up to become the superhero, Thunder. In most episodes, it’s done a fine job balancing that story with Jefferson’s return to vigilantism. While it didn’t quite succeed in juggling all its different plot threads last week, it focused down on the most important storylines for this week’s episode and came out better for it. Anissa is like every other CW hero. She realizes she has powers, and enthusiastically sets out to help people. But Black Lightning isn’t like every other CW superhero show. It doesn’t let you stop a villain of the week and reset the status quo for the next one. There are consequences to superhero work, and Black Lightning is all about diving into what those are.Anissa knows her dad is Black Lightning, which she finds hilarious considering all the Martin Luther King Jr., quotes about nonviolence. Her mother is amazed to find her healing completely already and implores her not to become a hero like her father. I think we all know that’s not happening. This opening set of scenes is so well-directed, it reminds you why this show is such a breath of fresh air on the CW. A powerful ballad underscores the whole thing. We switch from Anissa arguing about becoming a hero to Jefferson chewing out Gambi for hiding Tobias’ presence in Freeland from him. Gambi says he was just trying to protect Jefferson from becoming a murderer. No matter why he did it, Jefferson doesn’t trust his mentor anymore.Charlbi Dean Kriek as Syonide (Photo: Mark Hill/The CW)In their civilian lives, Jefferson and Lynn make a police report about the men who attacked Lynn’s lab. Given the trouble Jefferson’s daughters have had, and now his ex-wife, Inspector Henderson thinks The 100 might be targeting Jefferson. Now, we know that theory isn’t quite right. Lynn’s study of Green Light caught the attention of her lab assistant, who’s in Lady Eve’s pockets. And so are some of the cops at the police station, but I guess we already figured that. Lady Eve gets her hands on the police sketch of Lynn’s attackers and sends some people to clean it up. Then, she gives Gambi a call to give him a heads up. It turns out they are working together. On what exactly, we don’t quite know. All that’s for sure is that Gambi isn’t thrilled with how much noise Tobias is making. Eve gives him permission to take out Tobias’ right-hand man, Joey Toledo, hoping that would be enough to bring him in line. Gambi does what he wouldn’t allow Black Lightning to do. He straight up murders Joe, placing a tiny box full of ground-up albino bones on his chest. A message to Tobias. Yeah, Gambi isn’t the good and trustworthy mentor we thought he was when this series began.At the Pierce household, we may have to wait at least a little bit for the father-daughter superhero team-up. As eager as Anissa is to get in on the action, Jefferson doesn’t want her following in his footsteps. He warns her how dangerous it all is, especially if she loses her head as she did during last week’s fight. Now, thanks to her lack of subtlety with her grandfather’s research, she may have put more people in danger. She sends her to clean up the mess, sans costume this time.Jill Scott as Lady Eve and James Remar as Gambi (Photo: Annette Brown/The CW)Also, now that there are two superheroes in the house, Jefferson reveals himself to be such a bad liar it’s a wonder he’s been able to keep his secret identity secret for so long. Jennifer immediately realizes that something is off between them, and they make awkward excuses as to why they’re acting so weird. Anissa handwaves something about a brain scan, and Jennifer decides to let the conversation drop. It’s clear she doesn’t believe them, though. That confrontation is going to happen eventually.In the Pierce family’s scenes, this episode is all about them learning the harder truths about each other and superhero work. Anissa visits the newspaper to warn the editor she left her grandfather’s research with. He was killed a few days ago in a hit-and-run. For the first time, she has to deal with the ugly consequences of her attempts at heroism. She also learns that it was this exact kind of superhero work that broke her parents up. As her mom tells her, being a superhero means everyone gets a happy ending except you. On the parents’ side, Lynn and Jessica have to come to terms with the fact that none of that matters. No matter how much Anissa gets hurt, she’s stubborn. She’s going to become a superhero no matter what happens to her. Lynn asks Jefferson to make sure she does it safely.Despite Gambi’s double-dealing, he is still at least somewhat committed to the Pierce family. At Lynn’s request, he makes Anissa a suit that will keep her safe, and ensure she remains mostly bulletproof even when her power fails. It’s a sweet moment that would feel a lot less conflicted if Gambi wasn’t a traitor. Not that that’s going to last much longer. Finding the box of ground albino bones on Joe Toledo’s body got Tobias angry. He wants to kill Lady Eve, but says an organization called The Shadow Board would kill him if he did. His sister says she has an idea of how to get around that. It’s bad news for Black Lightning.Jill Scott as Lady Eve (Photo: Annette Brown/The CW)Though this all culminates in a big, cool-looking dual superhero-fight/villain shootout, Black Lightning doesn’t let us enjoy the action without consequence. This episode is about the collateral damage of being a superhero. It tells the story well, attacking it from multiple angles. Literally in this last big action scene. Black Lightning figures out that Tobias is opening a new club and attacks it head-on. He gets one good shot in at Tobias’ chest, but the non-aging gangster is ferried away to safety. The same can’t be said about his sister. In just one of the many shocking deaths of the night, Black Lightning accidentally deflects a bullet into her. This is a show that deals head-on with the real cost of vigilantism. That’s why it continues to be such a refreshingly new type of show for the CW’s superhero set.Intercut with Black Lightning’s storming (sorry) of the club is an attack on Lady Eve. She’s ambushed as she’s walking out of her funeral home by a bunch of dudes wielding electric weapons. Now we’re starting to see what Tobias’ sister’s plan was. It’s a thrilling shootout scene, especially when it switches between Lady Even and Black Lighting. Eve can take out most of her assassins, but one final attacker, hiding in a coffin, gets the best of her. She takes a blast of electricity to the face, and Black Lightning takes the blame. We all know a city doesn’t like a superhero for long, but this is a really rough way for our hero to fall from grace. Worse yet, it means no more Jill Scott. Her death certainly raises the stakes for the season, but she was so deliciously sadistic, charming and pragmatic as Lady Eve, I wanted her to take over as the show’s main villain at some point. Oh well. Krondon’s Tobias Whale is still terrifying. Especially since he looks the same killing Jefferson’s father 30 years ago as he does now. The series keeps showing us that scene, and it doesn’t get any less chilling.Cress Williams as Black Lightning (Photo: Mark Hill/The CW)So we’ll have to wait until next week for the father-daughter superhero team-up, but that’s OK. This episode drove Jefferson’s point home to Anissa. Vigilantism may look cool, but even when you do help people overall, others get hurt. There’s going to be damage. People are going to die if you make a mistake, just like what happened over and over again in this episode. That’s why it’s so important to Jefferson that Anissa become a better hero than he ever was. Black Lightning is far from the first superhero show to attempt these moments, but it is one of the rare few that puts in the legwork to earn them.It even finds time to leave us with one hell of a cliffhanger. Not only do we get to look forward to a father-daughter superhero team-up, but a major villain is returning next week too. The episode ends with Lala being resurrected in a hotel room. LaWanda is there too for a second. Then, she disappears and reappears as a tattoo on Lala’s body. Who know’s what’s going on with all that, but it’s certainly one way to make sure I’m glued to the couch for next week.last_img read more