Carin Baer/The CW
February 06, 2018 at 10:00 PM EST

Black Lightning

TV Show
CW Superheroes
run date
Mara Brock-Akil, Salim Akil
Cress Williams
Greg Berlanti
The CW
Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B

It’s getting harder and harder for Anissa to keep her powers secret. Later that night, Anissa is hanging with fast friend Grace as she closes up the Ruby Red Lipstick Bar. Unfortunately, they’re soon plagued by a contingent of homophobic male harassers, who promise they’ll burn the lesbian bar to the ground. That elicits a well-deserved superpowered smackdown from Anissa…right as her father is investigating the Green Light warehouse just a few blocks away.

Black Lightning hears explosions, and they intrigue him so much that he abandons the truck carrying Green Light in order to investigate them. He tells Gambi that he suspects the explosions might be more relevant to his search, but I bet he detects the similarity to his own powers. By the time he arrives, however, Anissa and Grace are gone and the men are all sprawled unconscious in the parking lot. Gambi hacks into nearby camera footage and sees Anissa doing her stomps, but once again declines to tell Jefferson what he saw (remember him erasing the Tobias footage last week?) in favor of investigating the scene himself. But he doesn’t find Anissa either.

But though Gambi has kept the fact of Tobias’ survival from Jefferson, Tobias himself has finally realized that his old foe is well and truly alive. Since his entire criminal reputation was built on the fact that he supposedly killed Black Lightning, Tobias’ superior Lady Eve tells him in no uncertain terms he must finally make good on that boast. The reason this episode feels a little less explosive than its predecessors is that Tobias is unsure what to do. When he finally devises a plan to get back at Black Lightning with the help of his sister, it’s the decidedly non-violent kind.

After Jennifer’s boyfriend Khalil gets the official diagnosis that his spinal cord is severed and his paralysis is permanent, he starts getting plied with gifts, including help paying his medical bills (I love this show’s eye toward the details of economic hardship in modern America). They are, of course, from Tobias, who wants to use Khalil’s injury (WHICH HE DIRECTLY ORDERED) to turn public opinion against Black Lightning.

I’m really excited to find out the details of Black Lightning’s past battle(s) with Tobias, especially given the new information in this episode. Apparently the reason he thought his foe was dead was that Black Lightning fell into a river, and shortly after an unrecognizable body was pulled out. That could make for a powerful parallel to the American history of racist lynching.

In the meantime, Tobias repays the doctor who gave him false information by savagely beating him to death.

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