Black Lightning feels like it’s in season 6 or 7 instead of season 2. That’s mainly because Black Lightning gets about 25% to 30% of the attention per episode. A school teacher/principal who operates as a vigilante by night seems interesting enough to just be the focus of a show, but maybe that’s just me?
Here come the Outsiders?
Lynn gets pressured by Odell to bring in Dr. Helga Jace (Jennifer Riker) to help with the green light babies. Jace was incarcerated for her experiments that badly damaged children in her care previously so it makes sense to have her do more radical experiments with potential dangerous subjects. It looks like Jace will be Lynn’s secondary foil when Odell is too busy to harass her. Jace was a pivotal character in The Outsiders. It’s too bad the show rushed to power up Jefferson’s daughters as a season or two of him running with Outsiders on this show could have been a lot of fun.
Jennifer isn’t keen on Anissa dating Zoe B., who she claims is a bad look for her. She’s cotton candy and you need soul food is a pretty great line. I love the sister dynamic with Anissa and Jennifer. It would have been nice to have two seasons of this interaction before introducing their powers into the mix. Once again taking her little sister’s advice, Anissa tries to rekindle things with Grace, who doesn’t seem so mad to see her again. Make her work for it Grace.
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The weird thing with this subplot was Zoe seemed perfectly normal and grounded when she hooked up with Anissa, but over the course of one episode the writers decide she works better as a fling? The Arrowverse shows are consistently crappy with portraying relationships in a realistic manner.
Anissa also runs a mini-mission with Gambi to collect some more drug money to donate to Rev. Holt. I feel like Holt is shady, but he at least says he’s using the money to help the community and I guess that’s good enough for Anissa.
Meeting the new boss
Back at school, Jefferson meets the new principal, Mike Lowry (P.J. Byrne, The Wolf of Wall Street). Lowry has already installed metal detectors. Completely shattering my expectations, the white guy in a position of authority on Black Lightning is prickly and dismissive of Jefferson. Sigh. Guess Gambi is going to remain the token cool white guy on the show.
Jefferson and Lynn bring in a meta-specialist, Perenna (Erika Alexander, Queen Sugar) to help Jennifer deal with her powers. Somehow this becomes a history lesson on black beauty salons. This sounds awful, but I’m fine saying it — sometimes, I just want my black TV shows to just be relax your mind entertainment instead of trying to have an educational aspect too.
Henderson is still salty about Jefferson being Black Lightning, but asks his help in tracking down a lead on the cop Tobias killed last week. I don’t see how having a best friend who happens to be a vigilante is a bad thing.
Bringing the Pain
Tobias has another tough love lesson for Khalil, who gets this one and sorta accidentally kills one of Tobias’ drug mules. Painkiller is gonna need to have better foresight before shooting his toxic darts.
Black Lightning tries to break through to Khalil, but he starts talking trash about going after BL’s family. That doesn’t lead to a useful conversation, but it does help Jefferson secure one of Painkiller’s darts so Gambi can analyze it. Oddly, Jefferson’s efforts to get Khalil to spill Tobias’ location doesn’t matter as Henderson and a SWAT squad are still able to track down Tobias and arrest him.
Gambi won’t be able to focus on that dart though as Fowdy shows up at his place presumably for some help with her wounds…or at least a Band-AID.
This episode featured more of Jefferson, but still devoted too much time to all of the subplots instead of choosing one or two to develop this episode.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Master Lowry seemed like it had 20 subplots going on at certain points. It keeps the episodes from ever feeling boring, but this season needs some streamlining to avoid burning it out too early.
Photo Credit: The CW