'Black Lightning' season 2 episode 2 recap: The CW show moves to new superhero realms with 'Black Jesus Blue'
In season 1, the CW show was successful in keeping Black Lightning’s cause as very personal – he was forced to protect his people and had no intention of being anyone’s hero.
'Black Lightning,’ unlike most other superhero shows, specifically the ones on the CW, has been successful in avoiding the pitfall of having a hero – or a team of heroes – who fight for the sake of fighting, for the sake of being a hero. Most of them focus on fighting the individual villains that torment their city before the appearance of the Big Bad, who usually is specifically looking to exact pain from our hero.
‘Black Lightning,’ however, seems to be going about it in the other direction. Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) was a reputed man in his community, who tried to suppress his powers for the longest period, focusing, instead of giving his people a leader they know, trust and love.
In season 1, the show was successful in keeping Black Lightning’s cause as very personal – he was forced to protect his people and had no intention of being anyone’s hero and as such gets no pleasure from it. In fact, his eldest daughter Anissa (Nafessa Williams) is more of a quintessential hero who enjoys the adoration almost as much as helping people.
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Black Lightning also has one goal and that is to end the systemic violence within Freeland, which requires him to defeat the 100, now headed by Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III). His purpose lies in ending the drug problems and the gang violence within his community, choosing to ignore those who look at him as their personal enemy.
In shows like ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash,’ on the other hand, these enmities move the stories forward.
The show has been centered on the Pierce family, the metahumans who choose to use their powers for good, the non-superhero mom who uses her smarts to solve bigger puzzles that will unravel the evil plans that have resulted in the metaphorical and literal imprisonment of the people of Freeland and the reformed family friend who wants to make amends for the crimes he committed while working for the other side.
Season 2, however, makes the show shift gears and fully embrace the superhero aspects of the show and the recently aired episode 2 was a step in that direction. ‘Black Jesus Blues’ shows the stories of the metas who escaped their pods, and them being used as tools to take Jefferson’s younger daughter Jen’s (China Anne McClain) story forward. Unlike her older sister, Jen has been struggling with her inexplicable powers that she has not learned how to control.
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However, on seeing the helplessness of the escaped metas, and their lack of family and friends, Jen is forced to look at her own privileged life and appreciate all that she has. She realizes that she has a strong and caring support system, complete with a father, mother, sister, and Gambi (James Remar), whereas the pod babies were forcefully separated from their families and given powers that they do not understand.
The escape of the pod babies also points to an episodic, procedural direction – similar to most superhero shows – that ‘Black Lightning’ may be taking. For Todd (Myles Truitt) especially, the story seems to point towards isolated storytelling, and it remains to be seen if the CW show will be as successful in long-form storytelling.
One of the reasons fans rooted for this show is the steady pace it kept in unfolding storylines and not limiting them to individual episodes. If season 2 episode 2 is any indication, the show should be able to seamlessly convert itself into a show with episodic storylines, however, it is still with a pinch of salt that most fans are anticipating this shift.
We cannot wait to watch each of these stories unfold when ‘Black Lightning’ airs 9 | 8 c on Tuesdays on the CW.