Reviews TV

Geek Watch – Black Lightning 2×02 “Black Jesus Blues” Review

Black Lightning never shies away from the issues and the real world comes calling once more in the latest episode.

Black Lightning 2x02

If asked which is the best The CW DC show right now it might be a much harder competition this year. While Arrow seems to be off to a far better start with some big changes, Supergirl is pulling no punches for the second season in a row. At the end of the day though for my books it comes down to an almost dead heat tie between DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightningtwo shows that could not be further apart. Both take that spot because what they share in common is that they know exactly what they are and do not shy away from that, with one being pure time jumping crazy fun with heart and the other being a family drama with heart that tackles the huge issues of our world. This week was no different as Black Lightning continued to bring it on many levels.

Continuation of the fallout surrounding the Green Light activated metahumans and the battle from the end of last season continue. It feels like I say this every single week and I likely do but it’s true every time, the way that this show balances the heroics and the family/human elements is and continues to be its greatest strength because the heroics are usually only a minor portion. Seeing all the characters get a chance to bond and grow and deal with there life issues always makes things even better. As Jennifer and Anissa discuss the pros and cons of their abilities, that sisterly bond that has been there since the start only feels so much stronger as they offer up very solid and logical discussions about their abilities with a human element. There isn’t a slew of technobabble or made up words, only the actual things that people would be concerned about. Like them mentioning the erasing of their periods because of the powers. Better believe that is a pro that many women would sign up for in real life.

As stated before the fact that the show doesn’t shy away from anything is what also makes it so good, like the whole situation with Jefferson’s principal replacement. Even with multiple prominent black superheroes in the series, that doesn’t help them escape the unfortunate ways that society works much like the fact that the board is trying to get Jefferson to cow-tow to a new white principal, wanting him to play the game so they can negate the backlash to come from parents, media, and others. It’s a dark societal power structure game that many of us know all too well and the show makes sure to bring it up as they are presenting a slice of the world that is very real (outside of the superpowered folks) rather than pretending everything is fine.

Black Lightning 2x02 Heroes

Another aspect that really caught my attention was the moments between Black Lightning & Thunder where their ways of going about heroics really stood out and are different. Anissa’s really changing so far this season, not only becoming more comfortable as a powered hero but as herself and her way of doing things. Including her change to darker money stealing vigilante last week to help Green Light baby families. Now she’s showing off as Thunder, and showing off with a rich singer she met and romanced at a party. Old school vs new school in heroics can tend to be a very fun storyline, but this also comes with the father and daughter connection and the added storyline of Anissa clearly trying to still figure out who she is despite her calm and collected facade she puts on against her sister’s more upset and nervous feelings about the abilities they have.

Unlike its counterparts, Black Lightning works itself as a more serialized show keeping the story moving forward with each episode but also finding a way to blend in the action/antagonist/villain of the week into things. While The Flash has those weekly things that sometimes are disconnected from the story, those on Black Lightning come with much more feelings especially the Green Light babies. They are people that were either changed by the government or from drug use, that didn’t ask to be metahumans. It adds so much more weight to the issues.

Much like Tobias Whale at the start of the episode (and the end of the last episode), I’m a bit upset about the loss of Syonide. She was very badass and was a great compliment to Whale, and her sudden out of nowhere offing in the premiere sort of feeling like the fridging of a female character to move forward the plot of a male character that has plagued comics and most entertainment forever. It’s one of the few slips the show has made when regularly it makes all its characters feel just as equal and powerful despite their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Hopefully, there is some sort of actual path forward with it that makes the death worthwhile otherwise it’s just a bit of a waste. Speaking of Tobias, I found him to be someone one-note at the start of season one before he got more dimensional and this season as he moves to become a metahuman dealer he’s becoming more interesting. The tying up of all his loose ends is definitely intriguing, especially when he killed a dear old friend who had info about the death of Jefferson’s father.

Black Lightning 2x02 Tobias Painkiller

Final Thoughts

Once again the show kept my attention from start to finish, the drama and realness of things is always gripping. It was all the character moments that shined, even for bad guys like Tobias Whale who clearly is going through some things since losing Syonide. Superheroes take losses all the time and have to bounce back, but seeing Jefferson Pierce breaking as he has to let go of being principal probably is one of the hardest losses on The CW shows. You can see the man’s soul being torn apart as he has to step away from something that he loves that allowed him to make a great difference even during the time he stopped being Black Lightning. Even finding a bright light at the end of the tunnel, the loss is sure to keep affecting things going forward. Bring on episode three!

Score:  10 out of 10

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