I’m not a big comic book person. I know who all of the mainstream heroes and villains are, but once you go into the second tier I haven’t a clue. When I first watched Arrow I had no idea what to expect, and I had the same wide eyed naivety going into the first episode of Black Lightning.
The premise was quite interesting, rather than getting an origin story, Black Lightning would be a middle aged hero who comes back into the fold. It was quite funny, I first looked at Jefferson Pierce in his suit and asked myself how anyone wouldn’t think that he was the titular hero. I know that he wears a light up suit, but no one else has his unique physique.
I know that this the world where Superman’s disguise is a pair of glasses. I just like to point out the obvious.
Talking about obvious things, what did younger Jefferson think Gambi was before the tailor arrived in Freeland? Uncle Gambi is secret agent to his fingertips, and that should have raised a few flags. I’m going to move on quickly…
Anyhew, we did end up getting an origin story and that was both daughters coming into their own powers. I loved the contrast between their reactions. Anissa, being a cultural warrior beforehand, saw her gift as another way of helping her community. The more interesting reaction was her younger sister’s Jennifer.
Ultimately, she’s going to join in the family business, but I enjoyed how she got there. Jennifer’s acceptance seemed more organic. She didn’t want to be a hero. She didn’t to have powers. She even conspired with her mother to see if there was a way to take them away. But the moment the shit hit the fan she realised that she needed to be there, if only to save her father. Sometimes you don’t need the inspiring speech.
That’s the thing about Jefferson Pierce, his actions speak so much louder than his words. Even though he does have the words. I could happily watch a series about Principal Pierce helping those at Garfield High. There is a dignity and resilience to Cress Williams’ performance, and in the eleventh episode when he is arrested you can feel the palpable anger just below the surface when he is arrested. He could escape at any time, but he knows that he can only win by fighting within the system. Which is the opposite of what it is to be a vigilante.
The one storyline that I didn’t quite get was regarding Lala. It appeared to me that it was an abandoned plot. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for Tobias resurrecting him. Let’s be honest outside of the side effect tattoos, did he do anything this season?
Tobias Whale is an interesting antagonist, I like how conniving he is. The takeout of Lady Eve was fun to watch, but he was convincing as second fiddle to the ASA. Mind you, Martin Proctor was OTT as the main antagonist for the season and not in a good way.
One last question. What’s going to happen to the scientist who was there when Gambi killed Martin Proctor? He knows the Pierce family secrets. Just putting that out there.
Here in the UK, all of the CW DC shows are on Sky with the exception of Black Lightning, which is on Netflix. This, I think worked, as it feels very different from the other DC TV shows. This is so much more than a bunch of young beautiful people saving the day. It’s about one family coming together.
I’m already looking forward to what happens next and finding out what was in the case.