The superhero show tackles 2017's Charlottesville protests, while Black Lightning finally confronts his biggest fan
It finally happened: Freeland’s two superpowered do-gooders finally came face to face, though certainly not in the way I expected.
But before we get there, we pick up where we left off: Black Lightning lying in an alley, finally struggling with the limits of aging while a gleeful Joey Toledo runs home to Tobias. The albino crime boss doesn’t want Black Lightning to survive the night, and he tips off the white, mustachioed police chief about the hero’s location. Luckily, Gambi and Lynn are able to scoop up Jefferson and get him out of there before the police arrive, though the chief’s shadiness about his tip is enough to finally get Henderson to suspect the full scope of his department’s complicity with Tobias and the One Hundred — especially the white police leadership.
Although Lynn was initially receptive to Jefferson putting the costume back on, she’s reaching the end of her rope. Jefferson explains that Tobias is the eternal exception into any rule, and that he will do whatever it takes to put a permanent stop to his father’s killer. Yet here he is, lying broken and beaten on a stretcher, with Lynn forced to stitch him back together again. Not for the first or last time, she wonders why he insists on maintaining such a dangerous and harmful course of action.
Jefferson, of course, has the same question — just not about himself. After Anissa gets arrested protesting a Confederate statue, Dad has to come bail her out again, which sparks another fierce inter-generational debate. Anissa insists the statue was an injustice that needed to be protested, while Jefferson reminds her that all it would take is one racist police officer to end her life with impunity. Gee, I wonder why a member of the Pierce family would risk life and limb to fight against injustice. It sure is a mystery!
Though Jennifer continues to playfully chide Anissa’s activism, she’s going through some heavy stuff as well. Khalil’s paralysis means that if she stays with him, she won’t lose her virginity the way she imagined, and she certainly won’t be able to slide across the dance floor with her partner. For his part, Khalil is filled with both pain and resentment, and he’s taking his anger out on her. Playing into other girls’ teases of his girlfriend, Khalil posts on Instagram accusing Jennifer of wanting to be white. He even calls her “Becky” (a generic term for a white girl that you may remember from Beyoncé’s Lemonade).
Jefferson advises his daughter to give this hurting young man some space, but she’s got that Pierce stubbornness too. She confronts Khalil about the comments, and it doesn’t go well. Khalil accuses her of being responsible for his paralysis since she brought him to the protest. He certainly doesn’t feel responsible, since he did “everything right” (no drugs, no jail, no kids) and yet still finds his future taken away from him. Khalil tells Jennifer to leave, and in turn grows closer to Tobias (who is of course the person actually responsible for crippling him, which I sure hope Khalil learns at some point). (Recap continues on page 2)