23rd Jan2019

‘Black Lightning 2×10: Angelitos Negros’ 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

Since it’s been approximately a month since we have had a new episode of Black Lightning, let’s review what is going on in this universe:

  • Jennifer and Khalil are on the run; Jennifer thinks her parents are too restrictive since she has powers and Khalil needs to hide from Whale since he turned on him.
  • Cutter, Whale’s new murderous sidekick, is still searching for Jennifer and Khalil.
  • Whale has a new protégé, a tech wizard named Todd (not a very threatening name), who Whale hopes will turn the tide in taking over Freeland.
  • The remainder of the Pierce Family and Gambi are out searching for Jennifer and Khalil but have run into dead ends on their search.

What Happened This Week?

Jennifer and Khalil, after escaping from Cutter last episode, are now hiding out in Khalil’s secret apartment, a train car in an abandoned train yard. The train car seems pretty posh for being in the middle of nowhere and I have so many questions, including how did they get electricity and why is it nicer than my living room? Anyway, Khalil gifts a necklace to Jennifer and confesses his love for her and she reciprocates it but not enough to lose her virginity to him. Khalil understands and is respectful of her decision. The redemption story of Khalil in the last few episodes has been very well done and has resorted to me actually wanting these crazy kids to make it work.
Meanwhile, Cutter makes a call to Whale to report on her failure to capture Khalil but instead Whale hands the phone to Todd and tells him to handle it. Cutter and Todd’s relationship is not off to a good start as Todd mocks Cutter’s inability to complete her job and the tension is apparent even more when Cutter arrives back at Whale’s office later and threatens to murder Todd, resulting in Whale advising Todd never to joke around with trained killers.

Lynn decides that staying at home and feeling sorry for her family is not helping anyone and joins Thunder, Black Lightning and Gambi in searching for her daughter, much to Jefferson’s dismay. Gambi is able to narrow the search to four locations and in true Scooby-Doo fashion, they each split up to search all the locations at the same time. Lynn is given the creepy abandoned train yard and gives a heartfelt speech in the middle of the yard on how her family is not a family without Jennifer, hoping her daughter is at the location and can hear her. Jennifer can hear her and so can Khalil, which resorts to Khalil understanding Jennifer deserves better than a life on the run. Feeling defeated, the Pierce family returns home to see Jennifer waiting for them in the living room. Unfortunately for Jefferson, Khalil is there and if Anissa and Lynn weren’t able to hold back Jefferson, Khalil may not have made it out of the Pierce household alive. Khalil asks for forgiveness and after realizing realizes Jennifer will never be safe with him, he agrees to turn himself in and testify against Whale.

On the other side of town, Whale gives Todd his first major mission: unlock the secrets in the computer briefcase Whale stole from the ASA. Whale knows the ASA computer has information on the dirty politicians of Freeland and any possible insight in the properties Whale is attempting to buy in order to complete his master plan. Black Lightning and Thunder make a deal with Detective Henderson to transport Khalil to Witness Protection if they let Khalil see his mother one last time. It’s a heartwarming scene and the one thing Black Lightning does well is the small family moments like this. After saying goodbye to his mother, Khalil is handcuffed and transported for booking in the back of an armed police van. Khalil’s police escort is quickly interrupted when a turned-over vehicle in the middle of the road stops the motorcade and chaos ensues when it’s revealed it was a trap and Cutter takes out the SWAT team protecting Khalil. Detective Henderson’s squad arrives to the scene too late and see the aftermath of Cutter’s destruction and Khalil missing.

Cutter, impressed with herself, walks proudly into Whale’s office with her mission, Khalil, by her side. Todd sees the true evil of Whale as Whale rips out the spinal implant in Khalil’s back, resulting in Khalil becoming paralyzed again. Khalil and his implant are left for dead in front of the church for Reverend Holt to find. The episode ends with Todd breaking ASA’s computer code and discovering the original victims of the Freeland Experiment, aka the Pod People, for Whale. There are four “super meta-humans” still alive and Whale knows he needs them to fully complete his plan.

One Good Thing:

Cutter shines in this episode. As anyone that reads this column knows, I loved the character of Syonide in the first season and was disappointed in the series killing her off this season. I have high hopes for Cutter as her replacement and this episode allows us to see the potential in the character as she slays over twenty SWAT agents in her bid to kidnap Khalil. It’s an effective scene and shows off how truly dangerous she can be while providing a frightening muscle for Whale.

One Bad Thing:

Nothing. For the second episode in a row, the series did a lot of little things right with no issues. The story moved forward and everyone played a pivotal part this week.

What We Learned:

Khalil learns the Pierce Family secret. Khalil is able to figure out Jefferson is Black Lightning and Anissa is Thunder, much to Jefferson’s surprise. Khalil advises Jefferson it was pretty easy to deduce since he went on the run with Jennifer, Black Lightning and Thunder have been hunting for them and there is no other reason why two superheroes would be spending their time looking for them. I’m glad the writers have allowed the characters in the series to be smarter than people in typical superhero series/movies as shown by Detective Henderson and now Khalil connecting the clues to decipher the secret identities.

Is Khalil dead? While Khalil is seen attempting to crawl to his spinal implant at the end of the episode, his future doesn’t look good as he is barely hanging onto life. I would venture to guess he will be back in a wheelchair next episode with Jennifer taking care of him but I wouldn’t be opposed to the Khalil character dying and giving Jennifer that final “push” to realize her superpowers can be used for more than just meditating at home.

This Episode’s Grade: B (Good)

The series returned from a month-long break with a very strong episode and more of Whale’s plan being revealed. I’m interested in how Whale’s soon-to-be complete army (once he frees the super meta-humans) will stack up against Black Lightning and Thunder. Based on promo posters for future episodes, it looks like Jennifer will be brought in for backup and even be given a suit. The series has evolved into a family drama with a superhero background and is stronger for it. The last five episodes have turned the series around as the issues in the beginning of the season are no longer prevalent and the series has differentiated itself from other superhero series on television.

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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