30th Nov2018

‘Black Lightning 2×07: The Sange’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, James Remar, Marvin Jones III, Damon Gupton | Developed by Salim Akil

black-lightning-season-2

Apologies to all as a result of a family emergency, I was not able to review last week’s Black Lightning episode so let’s do a quick recap on what we missed last week.

  • Gambi is actually alive (shocking!) and is taking out criminals in order to find out who put the hit on him
  • Whale wants Reverend Jeremiah Holt “dealt with”, which prompts Khalil to ignore Whale’s wishes and warn Holt to leave town
  • A mysterious woman delivers twins at Anissa’s clinic and the twins are revealed to be meta-humans
  • A new villain, Looker (Sofia Vassilieva), arrives in Freeland and recruits a team by controlling their thoughts

What Happened This Week?

Black Lightning opens with Anissa protecting one baby and Black Lightning, using his underrated detective skills, searching for the other missing meta-human baby in the backwoods of Freeland. Black Lightning runs into Looker’s thugs and these aren’t the mindless thugs Lightning usually takes down; no these thugs have some power to them and after draining Lightning’s power reserves, easily capture him for Looker.

Jennifer is continuing her Jedi-like training in her mental safe zone, the beauty salon, but her mentor/therapist Perenna knows there is something bothering Jennifer. She confides to Perenna that she feels as she is the disappointment in the Pierce family (understandable) as she doesn’t use her powers to save others like her father or sister and she’s not a doctor like her mother. Jennifer is feeling lost and based on her family’s exceptional skills, she has some valid points. The scene is portrayed very well and does not come off as typical “teen angst/whining” and instead is presented as someone truly lost in the world.

On a side note, is Perenna wearing a similar totem necklace that Vixen wears in the superhero series Legends of Tomorrow? The necklaces are similar and would allow Black Lightning to connect to the other DC television universes, something which has not been mentioned on the series yet.

In the basement of her hideout, Looker is happy she has a captive Black Lightning, minus his uniform, in her grasps. She explains they both want the same thing, drugs and crime off the streets of Freeland, but here’s the twist, she’s a white supremacist and if minorities are killed in the crossfire, she’s not too concerned. I didn’t expect the white supremacist angle to be used as a catalyst for the new villain but not only does Black Lightning want to stop her, one can only assume Whale won’t be happy with not only a new competitor but also a racist villain moving into his city. This opens up a lot of new opportunities for the series if Looker becomes a strong villain and the series explores the route of three strong characters trying to “save” (in their own way) Freeland.

Looker continues her search for the meta-human baby by reading Black Lightning’s mind as well as torturing him by electrocution (irony!). She discovers Anissa’s hidden location and after she leaves, a few more volts of electricity allows Black Lightning to become fully recharged and ready to take down the nameless guards left with him. Lightning is able to rescue the kidnapped meta-human baby Looker has at her hideout while still being able to knock out another nameless thug. Multi-tasking!

Khalil, after a talk with Jennifer, tries to warn Reverend Holt again about Whale’s intentions but Holt is not afraid of Whale nor is he taking Khalil’s warnings seriously. A clearly frustrated Khalil leaves the church only to run into an angry Whale and after declining to get in his car, Khalil runs off into hiding. If Khalil wanted to complicate his life, he just succeeded.

The Pierce daughters played the protectors this week as Jennifer helps Khalil escape from Whale, and in the process reveals she is a meta-human to a surprised Khalil, while in a different location, Anissa suits up as Thunder to protect the mother and the other baby Looker is attempting to kidnap. The fight scene between Thunder and Looker was well done and is very reminiscent of the Syonide/Thunder fight from last season. Looker has the Pierce family’s number but before she can kill Thunder, Black Lightning, after dropping the other baby off at Detective Henderson’s house, makes the save and literally impales Looker. According to Black Lightning, Looker is now ASA’s problem.

With the threat of Looker being subdued, Anissa is able to take the mother and her twins back to the mother’s family that resides in the woods near Looker’s hideout. If this is the end of the babies’ storyline, I’m fine with that as I’m not sure I want the ASA to start hunting down meta-humans’ offspring as it would delve too much into an X-Men storyline.

After saving the babies and learning of Gambi’s resurrection, Jefferson and Lynn believed everything was back to normal, until they find out Jennifer has left the house without their permission. They seek assistance from Perenna in finding Jennifer but Perenna refuses to help as it would be a break in the trust Jennifer has for her. Perenna advised Jefferson and Lynn to give Jennifer some space as she is actually the most powerful meta-human in the family, even more than Jefferson. Originally I thought Khalil may go to the dark side but now I’m worried for Jennifer’s future, as the episode ends with Jennifer and Khalil leaving Freeland for an unknown location.

One Good Thing:

  • Khalil actually cares for Jennifer. I was never a fan of Khalil and Jennifer’s relationship as it did not come off as genuine but this episode changed my perception of them. Khalil is conflicted as he is trapped between a world acting as Painkiller, Whale’s lackey, and the world in which he just wants to be with Jennifer. Jennifer plays the strong one in the relationship and after Khalil admits he doesn’t want to end up as Whale, she tells him “Then don’t.” Its simple advice but effective and Khalil understands he must do everything he can to change his ways.

One Bad Thing:

  • Looker electrocuting Black Lightning. Forgive me as I never did well in science class but why would anyone think electrocuting a superhero that runs on electricity is a good idea? All the electricity did to Jefferson was recharge him. I get that white supremacists are not the sharpest tools in the drawer but use SOME common sense!

What We Learned:

  • Black Lightning’s costume has some nice perks. We haven’t seen much of Black Lightning’s costume this year but in this episode we learn the suit can become camouflaged and almost invisible to his surroundings. It’s a nice addition to the costume and hopefully these enhancements are shown more in the upcoming episodes.
  • Black Lightning discovers Gambi is alive. While walking in the woods, Lightning discovers one of Gambi’s surveillance gadgets, and just like that, all is right in Jefferson’s world with the realization Gambi faked his death. Why he faked his death is now the question and one Jefferson doesn’t wait too long to find out. Gambi explains he only faked his death to protect Jefferson’s family from the mysterious assassins out to kill him. Jefferson and Gambi make up and hug as Jefferson explains to Gambi, “you are family.”
  • Grace is becoming a meta-human. Anissa is now back to dating Grace but is unaware Grace is still suffering from a mysterious disease that Anissa may have passed onto her due to her meta-human genetics. I’m not sure where the writers are going with Grace’s storyline but it does have potential if we learn humans can become meta-humans due to some type of “transfer” with natural meta-humans.

This Episode’s Grade: B (Good)

This week’s episode wraps up one storyline, the threat against the meta-human babies, but introduces us to a new villain, Looker, and delves deeper into Khalil and Jennifer’s relationship than any episode prior to this. With Jennifer leaving town, you can bet Jefferson is going to be frantic and possibly even sloppy in leaving no stone unturned in searching for his daughter in future episodes. This episode felt like a “reset” of the series as Gambi is alive again, Jefferson (minus the Jennifer disappearance) is back on good terms with Lynn and Anissa, and Whale continues to build his army to take over Freeland. 

According to the guide, there is no new episode next week, so we’ll be back in two weeks!

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here.
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