26th Oct2018

‘Black Lightning 2×03: Master Lowry’ 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

Black Lightning has stumbled a bit in the second season and the series really needs a “wow” episode to get it back on track. Let’s hope the third episode does just that.

The episode begins with an unknown female having a Greenlight overdose at the local hospital and after tossing a dumpster at the pursuing police officers, Black Lightning saves the day by sending 10,000 volts of electricity through the Greenlight victim. Lightning delivers the victim to Lynn, in order for Lynn to conduct more research in an attempt for a cure for the Greenlight drug. Jefferson and Gambi are still searching for Whale and the easiest way to get to him is by finding Khalil. The positive for Khalil is he finds himself living in Whale’s penthouse but the negative for Khalil is that he is now always under the watchful eye of Whale. Whale gives an anti-pep talk to Khalil, advising him to “step up” since Syonide is no longer around. Much like Darth Vader, there is still good in Khalil but whether Whale kills it or pushes it to the foreground remains to be seen.

Back in the Pierce household, Jennifer, through social media, learns of Anissa’s celebrity girlfriend Zoe and warns Anissa to be careful of her. Zoe has a history of chewing up and spitting out significant others and Anissa may be next on the list. The Zoe relationship really hasn’t been explored much this season but it’s a nice touch to show the characters have personal lives outside of their superhero personas. As Jennifer takes a walk, one of the few activities her parents allow until she can control her powers, she is greeted by a stranger (and meta-human) named Perenna (Erika Alexander). Upon shaking hands, the women are transported to a “safe room” which causes Jennifer’s powers come to the forefront. We learn Perenna is a family friend suggested by Gambi to assist Jennifer in controlling her abilities. Later in the episode Jennifer agrees to meet with Perenna and assist her in controlling her superpowers. Perenna transports Jennifer back to her personal “safe space” in her mind, in this case a beauty salon, and her Jedi-like training begins. Perenna has potential to be an interesting character this season and Jennifer learning to control her powers could be a good storyline.

Detective Henderson, after missing the last episode, returns to investigate the murder of Detective Summers, the dirty cop Whale murdered in the last episode. Whale hired a few arsonists to torch the vehicle, leaving minimal evidence behind and a burned corpse for Detective Henderson to investigate. It’s nice to see Detective Henderson back and actually having a storyline. With leads coming up short and the only suspect not willing to talk to police, Henderson requests Black Lightning pay the suspect a visit and use his persuasive methods to assist the police. Lynn is busy doing her own investigation as she interviews Doctor Jace (Jennifer Riker), a former doctor and convicted criminal who conducted unauthorized experiments, and a person Lynn needs to help her research any potential cures for the “pod people”. Doctor Jace agrees to help Lynn in exchange for visitation rights with her son, something that was taken away by the prison. I like the idea of Lynn skirting the rules and teaming up with another doctor and in this case, a doctor with a sketchy past.

Anissa is continuing her Robin Hood ways by stealing from drug dealers to save the clinic being forced to sell to the mysterious real estate developer. The interaction between Anissa and Reverend Holt (Clifton Powell) is well played as Anissa stealing goes against Holt’s teachings but he understands it is needed if they are to raise the $300,000 to save the clinic and his community. Black Lightning tracks down the arson suspect for Detective Henderson and after a confrontation involving a flame thrower and a propane tank, the suspect describes Khalil/Painkiller as the suspect that hired him. Between murdering a gang member earlier and ordering the arsonist to burn the murdered detective’s vehicle, Painkiller is truly turning into Whale’s assistant. Black Lightning appeals to Khalil’s mother and requests his mother set up a meeting with Khalil in order to save him from Whale. Upon meeting Khalil, he threatens Lightning’s loved ones, resulting in Lightning losing his cool and electrifying Khalil. This obviously doesn’t go well and results in Khalil running away. If Lightning wanted to turn Khalil back to the “good side”, this meeting may have changed his fate.

In a surprising twist, an unknown source turns on Whale and results in Detective Henderson, and half of the Freeland police force, arresting Whale at Syonide’s gravesite. One would assume this development would seem to make Jefferson happy but the ending confirms my suspicion that Jefferson is more disappointed the police took down his arch-nemesis and not him.

One Good Thing:

  • Jefferson returns to school as a teacher. One of the more interesting plotlines in the early part of the season is how Jefferson reacts to no longer being in charge of Garfield High School. Jefferson notices a difference right as he enters the school on his first day back as a teacher as metal detectors are installed. That’s not the only difference that occurred as his relationship with the new principal, Lowry (P.J. Byrne) is contentious to say the least. I am hoping Principal Lowry stays around for bit this season as we haven’t seen much of Jefferson being out place in his professional life up to this point.

One Bad Thing:

  • Where’s Gambi at this season? One of the best characters of the first season is Gambi and this season the character has barely seen any screen time. Outside of a few scenes of Gambi tracking down meta-humans and helping Anissa steal money from drug dealers, the writers haven’t given Gambi anything to do this season. Seriously, get this man a story!

What We Learned:

  • A mysterious person is buying up properties in Freeland. Per the local news reports, a mysterious real estate developer is buying up land throughout Freeland in hopes of bringing new development and housing, i.e. more expensive properties, and pushing out the less fortunate. One of the last properties on the list is a clinic that is assisting the less fortunate in Freeland. Who is this developer and is he connected to Whale?
  • Jefferson feels guilty for passing on his powers to his children. After Jennifer finds out about Perenna, Jefferson breaks down crying and admits he never wanted his powers to pass onto his children. He understands it’s a tough road for his children and the scene hits on what this series does best, expressing emotion in a “real” way in a close-knit family.

This Episode’s Grade: B (Good)

The third episode continues to lay seeds for a bigger storyline but this episode picked up the pace of the season. From Khalil embracing his evil side, Lightning becoming more desperate to find Whale, Jennifer beginning her Jedi training and Lynn making suspicious deals with a criminal, the third episode is a step in the right direction in getting the season on the right track. While nothing groundbreaking happened in the episode, this has been my favorite episode of the season so far and feels more like the Black Lightning that I came to expect from the first season.

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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