By: Adam Basciano
“TO RIGHT THE WRONGS – Jefferson (Cress Williams) is on the hunt for his father’s killer, while Anissa (Nafessa Williams) uses her new powers to rectify a wrong after a protest fails. Jennifer (China Anne McClain) grapples with some difficult choices. Elsewhere, Gambi (James Remar) begs for help from Lynn (Christine Adams).” (The CW)
This episode picks up right where the last one left off. Black Lightning is bruised, beaten and disoriented in an alley way, after his encounter with Joey Toledo. All the while, several groups of police officers are on a manhunt for Black Lightning. Gambi arrives to rescue the wounded hero, taking him back to their bunker, where Lynn is waiting to check Jefferson out and tend to whatever wounds he may have. When Gambi rescues Jefferson from the alley, it was yet another callback to Batman Begins. This time, to the scene when Alfred rescues Batman, after he’s been sprayed with Scarecrow’s fear gas and set on fire. The fact that this show continues to hit me with the Batman “feels”, as the kids would say, is nothing but bonus points. Lynn’s medical assistance, doesn’t mean the couple is back on track. She is still very angry with Jefferson, for pulling her back into Black Lightning‘s world, and tells him so, This show writes the “in love, but frustrated” angle better then it’s counterparts on the network. When you look at Lynn, compared with Iris West and Felicity Smoak, of The Flash and Arrow, it really would be appropriate to use that Walmart vs Chanel meme. Through Lynn, we learn that Jefferson’s powers are healing him, but at a slower rate then before. It seems as though aging has an affect on his healing factor and abilities. I dig that. The passage of time and age, usually doesn’t really affect these comic book superheroes we read about. This episode also sheds some light on an aspect of Jefferson’s abilities! That being, they are neurological. Gambi notes, that Black Lightning manipulating electricity, is the equivalent of a normal person pick up a fork, or a pencil!
Anissa continues to investigate the how and why of her abilities and when she struggles to understand scientific and medical research, decides it’s time to bring her mother in on her secret. Before that happens though,, we see Anissa and several other citizens of color in Freeland, protesting for the removal of a statue of a Confederate soldier, who supported slavery. The group uses water guns to spray paint the statue. Anissa and serval others are arrested and later released. Another rally is later shown on TV, of white nationalists protecting the statue, shouting; “You will not replace us.” A white nationalist drove his car into a person of color, killing them. After hearing about this, Anissa, heads to the site of the statue in her makeshift superhero costume created last episodes, using her power to stomp the statue to a crumble. The creators of Black Lightning, were clearly highlighting the Charlottesville riots of 2017. The parallels to the real event will really send chills down your spine, specifically the news report of the car mowing down one of the protesters. Despite introducing more comic bookish elements, Black Lightning continues to bring up hard hitting real world issues. I appreciate that Anissa didn’t use her powers when she was involved in the protest. It keeps those moments more grounded. Had she tried to use her powers to evade being arrested, I feel it would’ve devalued the real life events they were emulating. However, her going back and destroying the statue, symbolizes the frustration most civilized people in America and the known world felt, watching the real thing play out in 2017, and what we all wanted to do.
Jefferson Pierce all healed up, is determined to take down Tobias Whale. As he tells Gambi he intends to kill Tobias, for killing his father and all the other atrocities he’s caused. Gambi pleads with him to not cross that line but in this episode, Black Lightning has tunnel vision, when it comes to Tobias. We’ve never seen Jefferson this committed to the idea of killing before. He becomes so unreachable, Gambi pleads with Lynn to try to get through to him. Honestly though, I can’t blame Jefferson for wanting to go that far. Especially after seeing the flashback, where Tobias literally fed Jefferson’s fathers articles to him, while his goons beat Alvin to death. All this, while a young Jefferson watched, while hiding. I know this death was referenced before, but I never actually took it literally. What a horrific and gruesome way to die. After having Tobias’ skin doctor lure Tobias and his cohorts to his office after closing hours, Black Lightning prepares a thunderous killing strike from the rooftop above, but is interrupted by an incoming message from Lynn. She pleads with him not to go through with it, for the sake of their family, their children. Cress Williams didn’t have much dialogue in this scene, but you could see the emotional turmoil all over his face and body language. A great bit of emotive acting. I wasn’t sure what he would do, until , he heard that Lynn was in trouble. Then he immediately takes off to save her.
Lynn is in trouble, du to the fact that she is doing research into Metahuman abilities, based off of Alvin’s notes, which Anissa gave to her. Lady Eve found out, and set two of her goons to Lynn’s lab, to dispose of the research. Anissa, still in superhero mode, saves her mother and scares off the would be assailants. However, Black Lightning arrives, misinterprets the situation and the father and daughter literally start a “lightning” fight. Anissa is able to hold her own quite well, but the seasoned Black Lightning, gets the upper hand. When Jefferson realizes who he had just taken down, he and Lynn are stunned, They take her back to the house, and she opens her eyes, to the revelation that her father is Black Lightning. This has got to be the strangest and most unique superhero reveal I have ever seen. I’m curious though, how the heck did Anissa not recognize Black Lightning as her father? I mean that mask/goggles go over his eyes, they don’t conceal his full face? Or does it have a tint to it, that makes it hard for someone to see his eyes? That confused me. With Anissa, she wears a wig and makeup around the eyes, so I can see that temporarily confusing Jefferson. Anissa having a wig, I think is a nice call back to Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, on the Adam West series.
I said last episode review, if the next episode could come back just as good, I’d be happy. Well, this new episode of Black Lightning exceeded my expectations. For me, it is the best episode of the series to date. Quite frankly, it deserves a score higher than I can give it!
I'm a long time fan of superheroes. I love DC and really like Marvel. Will be contributing comic book review columns, to Revenge of The Fans.