Black Lightning recap: Friend of the pods
The Markovian plot continues. We actually haven’t seen much from these foreign boogeymen this arc, but the threat of them is finally driving some action around the pod kids. As Agent Odell explains to Lynn at the top here, the Markovians have their own illegal metahuman program, but they can’t figure out how to make their specimens last. The reason they’re coming in to Freeland is because Lynn is close to figuring out how to permanently revive the pod kids; if they get their hands on her knowledge, Markovia will instantly become a world superpower with an army of metahumans.
Tobias, of course, has his own designs on the pod kids. He needs to move fast, because if the ASA succeeds in moving them to another location, the briefcase might lose its connection to them. So Tobias revives one, a man with vibration powers named Marcus Bishop who’s been sleeping for 25 years, and welcomes him into the 21st century.
While all this is going on, Jefferson is dealing with things at Garfield High. Video of Lowry’s freakout at Jennifer over the Khalil memorial has gone viral, embarrassing both Jefferson’s replacement as principal and the board that school replaced him. This gives Jefferson an opportunity to testify to the board and convince them to reinstate him as principal. Perfect, right? Jefferson thinks so, until he’s literally sitting there in front of them. At that point, Jefferson decides that actually his duties as Black Lightning interfere too much with his duties as principal, and the Garfield kids really do deserve a humorless, condescending white authoritarian to rule them with zero tolerance and no empathy? The Board is stunned at this change, and so am I. It’s an extremely confusing decision that took me out of the show a bit.
At the beginning of the season I had been really excited about the Lowry plotline because of the potential to explore racial power dynamics in Freeland and in education, but I have to admit I’ve kind of lost the thread on this one by now. We only check in with it infrequently, and when we do characters’ actions aren’t consistent. One problem is that Lowry has not become sympathetic in the slightest, so Jefferson deciding to reinforce his power seems like a result of Lowry shaming him into doing so. The whole show we’ve seen how much Jefferson cares about the students, and he clearly sees how bad a job Lowry is doing with them. I don’t get it. A strange story choice.
NEXT: Like father, like daughter
Jefferson isn’t the only one making strange choices. His daughter Jennifer is very eager to put her new powers to use against the people who killed her boyfriend. At the beginning of the episode, Gambi and Jefferson put her in a sanctum in the Lightning Cave (as I call it) to test her power emissions. Turns out that Jennifer can barely try and still end up producing more energy than Jefferson did “in his prime.” Well, that last part is Gambi’s phrase. Jefferson is mad at the implication that he’s becoming old, but that’s the dynamic I’ve always loved about this show: The titular superhero is a middle-aged father simultaneously fighting for justice and teaching his younger, more powerful daughters how to follow in his footsteps.
Jennifer is going to follow in those footsteps whether her family likes it or not. After Anissa goes off to talk to Grace, Jennifer decides to sneak out and raid the One Hundred in hopes of finding Tobias and getting revenge for Khalil’s death. She doesn’t come close to the big man, but she does get in trouble when some of his lackeys set a trap for her.
But again, Jennifer is powerful. She overpowers those goons, throwing them about with whips of energy, until Anissa’s able to find her and shuttle her back to Gambi’s place for safety.
In the meantime, everyone makes their move on the pod kids. Before the ASA can shift them to a new location, Tobias sends his team of Cutter and Bishop to meet up with Dr. Jace and bring the pod kids to him. This they do, although Lynn is able to wake up Wendy the wind girl and keep her with them. Remember Wendy from earlier this season? Her wind powers are awesome and I’m glad we’ll be seeing more of her.
For now though, mark this is as a win for Tobias. He successfully acquires most of the pods, and with Dr. Jace’s help he’ll be able to revive them and make his own metahuman army. He’ll become the most powerful metahuman trafficker in the world, selling his superpowered child soldiers to the highest bidder.
This is especially bad news for his new henchman Todd. Todd cracked the briefcase, but he doesn’t know how to revive the pod kids. Jace does, so who needs Todd? While flirting with Tobias, Cutter explains that she got the kid a new car. We watch as it explodes with him inside. RIP, Todd!