21st Mar2019

‘Black Lightning 2×16: The Omega’ 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

The season finale of Black Lightning is upon us and after an uneven season, the series tries to tie all the loose ends together in this episode. Does it succeed?

The episode picks up right where we left off last week with Jennifer burning alive in her new suit after her failed attempt to stop Whale. Uncle Gambi is there to rescue her but unfortunately he is injured as Jennifer’s powers are too much for Gambi’s latest tech gear. Jennifer and Anissa take Gambi back to their headquarters to treat him while Black Lightning searches for Whale. Black Lightning discovers Whale’s underground meta-human containment center but before Dr. Jace sneaks up and assassinates him, Lynn makes a surprise entrance and takes Dr. Jace down. Dr. Jace makes a deal with Black Lightning and Lynn to keep herself out of ASA’s captivity by promising to divulge secret villainous information. The plea works and Detective Henderson takes Dr. Jace into custody but unfortunately, we don’t learn what the secret was that she revealed to our heroes.

Meanwhile the police officers that shot Cape Guy from last week are not charged by the prosecutor, resulting in the community of Freeland to riot. Whale fans the flames of the riot by sending orders to the 100 Gang to join in the looting and rioting, resulting in a city on the brink of chaos. Whale discovers Black Lightning’s powers are related to the city’s power grid so what goes better with a city that is rioting than shutting off the electricity to Freeland. With the power down, Team Lightning, with a healed Gambi, take off into the night to restore the power and stop the madness, including Whale’s new meta-human henchmen, in Freeland.

LaLa finally gets his chance at redemeption by confronting Whale in his penthouse but it doesn’t go according to plan. After realizing bullets do little to Whale besides making him angry, LaLa dies a painful death when Whale utters a “safe word” implamented in LaLa’s subconsicious, causing LaLa to die…again. Lala just can’t catch a break. 

Just as Whale thinks he’s won, Lightning, aka Jennifer, surprises him and unleashes her now controlled powers on Whale, attempting to kill him. Lucky for Whale, Black Lightning shows up and reasons with her, and in the process, saves Whale from certain death. Whale won’t go down without a fight and a conforntation two seasons in the making comes down to Black Lightning knocking Whale out in five punches. After the long buidlup between these two enemies, I was hoping for a longer battle but it is satisfying seeing Whale finally lose.

The season wraps up with Team Lightning cleaning up the streets of Freeland and calming the unrest the riot brought to the city. Agent Odell has a few more meta-humans in his captivity thanks to Whale releasing more pod people and in a twist, Khalil is one of those meta-humans! Whale finds himself being held in the Pit, a government sanctioned prison for meta-humans that ignores any due process of the law and the Pierce family comes together for another family dinner to recoup from all the ups and downs of the last few months.
Agent Odell surprises the Pierce family by inviting himself into their home and not only announces he knows who the Pierce family really is but swears them in as official agents of the ASA. It seems the Markovians, who have the largest collection of meta-humans in the world, have declared war on Freeland and the ASA needs Team Lightning’s assistance.

One Good Thing:

  • Lynn can defend herself. One of my favorite scenes this season was Lynn saving her husband’s life by beating up Dr. Jace in the meta-human lab. Jefferson stays back and lets Lynn take care of business, even when it looks like Dr. Jace has the upper hand in the fight. It made me laugh that despite Jefferson being a meta-human and able to stop the fight at any time, he knew that his wife could handle herself and had control of the confrontation the whole time.

One Bad Thing:

  • The CGI. Usually I don’t worry about the CGI effects for a network television series as there is a limited budget for these shows but the bad CGI stood out in this episode. I’m not an expert so I’m not sure how you could make Jennifer’s fire look more realistic without actually setting fire to a stunt person but the opening scene’s CGI pulled me out of the scene for how bad it looked. Again, it’s a small issue and the series usually handles the big effects well but this episode struggled with those moments.

What We Learned:

  • Whale’s meta-human villains add some power to Whale’s army. Heatwave, Cold Snap, and New Wave add a lot more power to Whale’s team and raise the stakes in future fights with Black Lightning. It’s good to see the writers realizing Team Lightning needs some villains on par with our heroes’ powers and remembering this is actually a superhero show that benefits from over-the-top fights.
  • Cutter leaves Whale. After questioning Whale’s orders twice, Cutter has decided she has had enough and leaves him. The ending of his relationship seems to have little effect on Whale but we all know what happens when he doesn’t have a true partner, he goes a little crazy with power. I enjoyed the Cutter character this season and hope she returns in some form next season.
  • The police can’t protect Dr. Jace. Despite her plea deal to turn herself into the Freeland police, they are no match for the meta-human hitman the Markovians send to capture Dr. Jace. Since the series is moving away from Whale next season, the Markovians and Dr. Jace will provide a bigger threat to Team Lightning and give the series a fresh start it needs.

This Episode’s Grade: B- (Good)

The season finale is a nice wrap up to the season and except for the quick confrontation between Whale and Black Lightning, actually seems to reboot the series. Whale’s story, while far from completed, will be on the backburner next season, a bigger threat looms from the Markovians and with Team Lightning now working for the ASA, it opens up a whole slew of new stories for next season. The series needed this soft reboot and the third season should be stronger for it. I’ll be back next season so until then, take care.

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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