This was something of a disjointed episode, and disappointingly anticlimactic. With the season finale one week away, so many storylines are so far from being resolved that I don’t know quite what season 2 will look like when all is said and done.
For instance, we start the episode on an intriguing note. Some random Freeland resident dresses up in a cape and ends up in a standoff with police. Despite not showing any indications of superpowers, the cops shoot him anyway. The guy is soon dubbed “Cape Man” on social media and causes people to ask questions about whether anti-meta paranoia is getting out of control. And what does it mean for Black Lightning and Thunder that their example is inspiring such deaths? But…that’s about all we get. “Cape Man” isn’t addressed much more than that, because the show is too busy checking in on Tobias’ plans for metahuman trafficking and Jennifer’s new suit and whatever is going on with Grace Choi and…
Probably the most successful thread running through this episode (and the last few) is Jennifer’s desire to kill Tobias. It’s understandable since he, uh, crippled her boyfriend and then pumped him full of poison and made him shoot up their school and then finally killed him in the most brutal fashion imaginable. But if Jefferson Pierce is one thing, he’s a man of principle. He first mandates a “no killing” rule at a family dinner and then explains it in greater detail to Jennifer when they take a lunch break from her suit tryouts. He notes that the Bible says it’s not humans’ decision who gets to live and who gets to die. When Jennifer replies with “an eye for an eye,” Jefferson reminds her that the Code of Hammurabi was meant to limit violence, not justify it.
Someone should tell that to Lala, who returns to his mad scientist and proclaims his plan to kill Tobias. The doctor agrees “wholeheartedly” because he was apparently in love with Lady Eve, whom Tobias had assassinated. Tobias might not be able to rely on the integrity of Jefferson Pierce to keep him alive for much longer.
NEXT: Things start to heat up
Tobias wakes up three pod people to test the viability of his planned metahuman army. One is Darryl Robinson, a.k.a. Coldsnap, and the show helpfully and nerdily tells us that his power is “cryokinesis” (or, the ability to control ice). Then there’s Rebecca Jones, a.k.a. New Wave, whose powers are described as “hydrokinesis and water-body conversion.” Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to seeing her in action. But for now, the only one we need to worry about is Joe (no last name), a.k.a. Heatstroke, who possesses “pyrokinesis,” the ability to control fire.
Tobias wastes no time sending Heatstroke into action. First, the newly-awakened meta uses his fire powers to burn down our old friend Kwame Parker in the midst of giving a speech. That’s quite a brutal moment. Then Heatstroke turns to a mission of pure chaos, igniting gas pipes in Freeland as if trying to burn down the whole city.
That’s a job for Black Lightning and Thunder, and they waste little time in arriving on the scene. While Black Lightning holds Heatstroke still with his lightning whip, Thunder crashes into him on a motorcycle. The one-two punch is more than a match for Heatstroke, and Tobias reluctantly orders his new meta to retreat on Dr. Jace’s advice.
While Tobias and Dr. Jace have a private meeting to hash out their disagreements, Lala arrives at the hideout and comes face-to-face with Cutter. Cutter throws three of her knives directly into his chest, for all the good it does. Luckily for her, Lala shoots like a stormtrooper, and she manages to get away without a scratch. This felt really anticlimactic to me. Why spend so much time these past two episodes bringing back Lala on a revenge mission, only to have him fail to even hurt Cutter?
As Cutter and Tobias make their way to a getaway car, Jennifer attempts to attack. But her new suit isn’t ready, and she doesn’t do much damage. Instead, her suit starts overloading, with Jefferson and Gambi racing to help her…and that’s where we’ll leave it until the finale next week.
- EW’s Fall TV comics reading guide
- Black Lightning EP on how the ‘pain and absurdity’ of the world inspired season 2
- Black Lightning season premiere recap: Freeland is changing