REVIEW: BLACK LIGHTNING – SEASON 2

Black Lightning (2018)

Main Cast

Cress Williams (Reign of The Supermen)
China Anne McClain (Descendants 2)
Nafessa Williams (Brotherly Love)
Christine Adams (Tron: Legacy)
Marvin “Krondon” Jones III (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Damon Gupton (Bates Motel)
James Remar (Dexter)
Jordan Calloway (Riverdale)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Robert Townsend (The Meteor Man)
Skye P. Marshall (The Fix)
Clifton Powell (Rush Hour)
Bill Duke (Predator)
Kyanna Simone Simpson (White Boy Rick)
Charlbi Dean Kriek (Spud)
Chantal Thuy (Half Magic)
Myles Truitt (Kin)
Erika Alexander (Get Out)
P.J. Byrne (Rampage)
Jennifer Riker (Nashville)
Yolanda T. Ross (Love Triangle)
Birgundi Baker (Empire)
Jason Louder (No Remorse)
Sofia Vassilieva (Supergirl)
Kearran Giovanni (Major Crimes)
RJ Cyler (Power Rangers)
Tonia Jackson (Greanleaf)
Tosin Morohunfola (Love is…)
William Catlett (Giants)
Michael Wright (V)
Tracey Bonner (The Longest Ride)
Madison Bailey (Nightclub Secrets)
Dabier (Reawakened)

Black Lightning (2018)Season 1 of Black Lightning was chock full of social commentary, exceptional scenes of emotional gravitas and the bulkiest superhero costume known to man. Season 2 looks to keep the ball rolling, opening with scenes of police brutality and civil unrest within the black community of Freeland.GaisorgSSThe series’ main strong point has been its grounded characters, and its willingness to deal with real-world issues. The show’s uncompromising depiction of gang violence, police brutality, racism, messages of peace, and the pursuit of black excellence all make a compelling, and sometimes uncomfortable drama. Witnessing a young black man high on Green Light being strangled to death by the police is difficult to watch. The writers are willing to go that far to both ground Freeland and raise awareness of daily injustices.1516190763-screen-shot-2018-01-17-at-120501The Pierce family continue to be the glue that holds the drama together. The interplay between Jefferson (Cress Williams) and Lynn (Christine Adams) is always a treat. Watching these parents bicker about the health of their children, and their ongoing communication issues make the world feel real. It’s not always about super-powered people throwing each other around.BLK216c_0884b_1552942293367_78017539_ver1.0_640_360Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) continues to shine on screen as well. Her ongoing struggle with her new reality as a meta-human and her inability to return to a normal is portrayed beautifully by McClain. Jennifer exudes the angst of a teen trying to fit in, all while her former life slips away. As her powers evolve, it will be interesting to see what makes her accept her destiny as Lightning.light3-1535645974223_1280wThe women of Black Lightning steal the show in the Season 2 premiere. Syonide (Charlbi Dean) and Kara (Skye P. Marshall) have a well-choreographed fight together, all backed by a beautiful soundtrack. Anissa (Nafessa Williams) also puts on a show of strength as undercover Thunder. Her tussle with a den of drug dealers feels like a well-done homage to the much-heralded hallway fight scene from Netflix’s Daredevil. A suited up Black Lightning takes a back seat in the season premiere. The titular character makes a short cameo but never shoots a bolt. Instead, Jefferson takes center stage as he deals with Garfield’s School Board, his family’s adjustment to all these weather-based powers cropping up in their household, and a much-needed confrontation with his friend and ally Deputy Chief Henderson, who has finally worked out his secret identity.Erika Alexander and China Anne McClain in Black Lightning (2018)When The second season of Black Lightning came to a close . Though it was a few episodes longer than the first, The CW seems to be sticking with shorter seasons for this show. That has its advantages. It makes for tighter storytelling. The finale brought us the first real use of Thunder.  In the finale Jenn figured out how to use her powers to fly. I have to admit, that’s probably the coolest visual the series has given us so far. hopefully we do get amore of this in the third season of Black Lightning,  She reaches Tobias first and she’s more powerful than her dad ever was. She wraps him up in energy, holding him to the ceiling. The radiation starts killing him. It would have if Jefferson hadn’t shown up and convinced her not to. He had to grab onto her, nearly killing himself. When Jenn realized her dad would sacrifice himself to stop her from becoming a murderer, she finally relents.black-lightning-season-2-finale-recap-preparing-for-war-2That’s when we get the episode’s coolest fight scene. The Black Lightning-Thunder team up has been great, but seeing Jenn and her father work together to kick Tobias’ ass is the most cathartic moment of the series. He’s taken everything from both of them, and it felt so good to watch Black Lightning kick Tobias over a railing. I laughed out loud when Tobias tried to shoot them both only to find out he had no bullets. That simultaneous “please” from Jenn and Jeff was amazing. And hey, for now it really looks like Tobias has been defeated. He’s been classified as a dangerous metahuman, meaning he’s sent to a black site prison where even his lawyer can’t get him out. I’m generally not an advocate for extrajudicial imprisonment like this (gets real fascist real quick), but at least this lets the show move on to a different story for a while.Black-Lightning-Site-Banner-T2.pngWe find out just what that is right at the end. That teleporting bounty hunter we’ve been seeing? Turns out he works for Markovia. He’s been hired to kidnap Dr. Jace to work on their metahuman weapons program. Agent Odell shows up at the Pierce home to catch the entire family up to speed. He tells them he knows who and what they are and delivers a warning. The Markovians plan to use a metahuman army to become the dominant power in the world. Freeland’s high concentration of Green Light metas makes it a guarantee that it’ll be the first place they’ll attack. It’ll take Black Lightning, Thunder and now Lightning all working together to keep the city standing. So we have our plot for Season Three.black-lightning-jennifer-costumeThe finales end  was just setting up for the big war coming next season. As a result, a lot of story elements set up by the last few episodes ended on a whimper. Lala showed up to kill Tobias only for Tobias to disable him with a second trigger phrase. The police shootings and riots got little more than lip service and were completely forgotten. Dr. Jace and the pod kids…. well, the show kicked those cans down the road to next season. It leads to a finale that feels more like a stopping point than a definitive end to any story. It’s important to set up hooks and maybe even a cliffhanger for the next season, but too much of that leaves us unsatisfied. We get the sense that only surface-level story elements changed. Everything else was either forgotten or put off. Of course this episode at least balanced that out with some fantastic action and the introduction of Jenn as a full-fledged superhero. Bring on Season 3