Heroes Facing A Heavy Dose of Reality
Black Lightning has taken on street thugs, drug dealers, and Tobias Whale. None of those threats though are anywhere as scary as what Jefferson Pierce faced in the latest episode: false charges from corrupt police. Cops breaking into Pierce’s car and planting bags of Green Light drugs then arresting him and marching him out in front of his students is the truly terrifying thing because it’s reality. There are too many that have spent years in prison because of false charges that stem from corrupt cops or negligent cops or false identifications from a witness or many other things. Black Lightning‘s very first episode showed us this scenario when the cops pulled over Pierce and harassed him just because he was black and they were looking for a criminal that was black. There are tons of people that can speak about that exact scenario in their lives. Pierce’s situation, of course, is out of reality slightly because of his Black Lightning status and the fact that he was set up by a shady government agency that wants to find and kill Black Lightning.
Skye Marshall’s Vice Principal Fowdy proves her allegiance to the ASA by setting up Pierce, paying off the cops and giving them the drugs to plant on him. With each episode the web of the ASA seems to grow, proving just how deep they have sunk their claws into the community of Freeland. Fighting a Tobias Whale or a Lady Eve is simple, they are a person and even well-connected people can be taken down. A system that has spread through a community for decades is harder to topple. Taking it down could mean ruination of an entire community if it’s not done right, there is no telling what things that are not evil they are propping up with their evil intentions.
Most shows when they are at the point of the third to last episode of the season, they are starting to roll out tons of plot progression and trying to solve all the dangling plots (that won’t be carried over to a new season) in time. Black Lightning went the opposite way, and it worked. There is little to no real overall plot development as all the main villains are nowhere to be seen this week. Instead we get a very character heavy episode as Jefferson deals with jail, the community deals with the possible fall of a man that has been their anchor, the Pierce family deals with the threat that has come for them, Jefferson and Gambi start a new balance to their relationship and Detective Henderson makes some big moves after realizing what is truly happening around him.
A Hero Is Only As Great As Their Supporting Cast
While Jefferson is incarcerated, it’s the rest of the cast namely Anissa, Gambi and Detective Henderson that does the heavy lifting. Black Lightning is the central focus of the series but these characters are just as important. Gambi and Anissa worked together in order to try and save Jefferson, putting on an entire show with a hologram and a self-driving van to convince the ASA that their thoughts on Jefferson being Black Lightning are wrong. Since the man they put behind bars can’t be the hero if the hero is still running around.
Detective, now Deputy Chief, Henderson though truly was the one that did the most this week. Not only did he help Jefferson get free by fully exonerating him, he brought down the corrupt Deputy Cheif and other cops and indicated that a new day will begin in Freeland. One where residents won’t have to worry about police brutality and false charges. It’s a nice dream, but with the way that Freeland works in the underground with Whale and the ASA, it’s unlikely that Henderson’s dream will actually come true. Hopefully, this doesn’t do what happens most times in these types of situations and put a target on his back where he ends up dying. The character is just too interesting and engaging to see him written off for some cliche type of plot where the great cops get killed because of the corrupt ones.
There was very little superhero action this week but that didn’t hurt the show at all, it only helped it as the people were the focus over the villains and other threats. Deputy Cheif Henderson continued to prove to be a great ally to Jefferson, becoming more and more the Commissioner Gordon to Pierce’s Black Lightning Batman. There are only two episodes left and still a lot of plot and questions on the table, but it’s okay if they don’t get to it all. Characters are what matter most and their stories are engaging enough, along with the fact that the show now has a verified second season to answer even more of the questions.
Score: 9 out of 10