Three seasons in and Black Lightning hadn’t been able to play in the Arrowverse’s reindeer games. That changed with Earth Crisis as Black Lightning and his family were dramatically thrust into Crisis on Infinite Earths.
I’m terribly behind on Black Lightning in large part to a lack of traffic for the episode reviews, but I hoped it wouldn’t be too hard to catch up for this Crisis tie-in. In a lot of ways this felt like how Crisis played out in the comic with various heroes dealing with the Crisis at random times while others were already in the midst of it.
The first 10 minutes basically continued existing subplots until Jennifer was out on her balcony and noticed the skies turning red and cracking with lightning. This made Jennifer especially sensitive thanks to her powers, which reacted…badly to the mega-weather flare up.
Anissa and Gambi were the first to respond, but there was little they could do as Jennifer kept phasing in and out of their reality.
The Black Lightning team really took advantage of the multiple Earths premise of Crisis by having Jennifer phase into a meeting room of sorts with two other versions of herself. Gen was a prisoner in The Pit after providing a cure for all the metas in Freeland to prevent them from being hunted down. The other, Jinn, was a Jennifer who’d given in to all of her worst impulses and was basically a supervillain.
Maybe the design team could have altered the other’s hair to further distinguish them from “regular” Jennifer, but China Anne McClain did a good job in making them feel like divergent characters.
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It was hard not to miss that countdown timer as Gen and Jinn played out their lives. This was not a good sign. Not that it mattered much as both Gen and Jinn’s paths had led to tragedy. Gen’s actions ultimately led to Agent Odell cruelly executing Jefferson in his home in front of Gen and Anissa on Christmas night. Jinn bought in to Odell’s manipulations and killed Jefferson, Lynne and Anissa. This was also pretty cruel as Jinn taunted Jefferson with his motto before taking him out.
In the meeting space, Jennifer tried to encourage her mirror versions that it wasn’t too late to turn their lives around. Or maybe it is, Jennifer as the clocks are inching closer and closer to zero. Gen gets a moment of closure with Lynne after their fallout while Jinn stews in the aftermath of her actions. While Jennifer talks to them they get wiped out by a white wave. It’s crazy in that I knew it was happening, but it was still tremendously effective.
Back on the main Earth, Jefferson looks out in the distance and sees the sky turn from red to white. He doesn’t have time to react before he’s sucked in a portal while the rest of his family and Gambi are wiped out in the white wave of anti-matter.
Now that was an effective Crisis tie-in! Clearly something will have to happen for Jefferson’s family to get brought back, but this was a clever way to get Black Lightning into the Arrowverse fold. It’s interesting how Black Lightning had more of a Crisis tie-in than Supergirl, but I’ll take it. Now just a few more hours until Part 3 and Black Lightning’s official introduction into the Arrowverse.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW