Black Lightning recap: Saving South Freeland
Last week’s episode was a major disappointment to me, but thankfully this one rights the ship — and wraps up the South Freeland story before it became a major drag on the season.
We open with Black Lightning on the hunt for Anaya’s missing black baby (the white twin having already been taken to safety by Anissa). Over the phone, Anissa warns him to turn back because he can’t handle Looker’s forces alone. But once Jefferson catches sight of a couple members of South Freeland’s black Perdi tribe hanging upside down from trees like classic lynchings, he refuses to retreat. Unfortunately, he is running out of juice, and after a ferocious fight with some of the super-fast Sange footsoldiers, he gets knocked out.
Our hero wakes up in a basement, where Looker’s goons have him chained up to an electric-shock torture device. Jefferson mentioned last week that Looker must have been similar to him, as an ASA vaccine kid who manifested superpowers without ending up in a pod, and she sees similarities as well. Looker says she’s modeled herself after Black Lightning’s example but as a champion of white pride rather than black pride. As Jefferson points out, spotting the Confederate flag prominently displayed in the basement, “white pride” involves taking joy in killing people. Looker denies that she’s racist…but nevertheless seems to take joy in ordering her goons to kill Black Lightning. She even tries to wring some delicious irony out of it by shocking him to death. Luckily for him, these Sange villains made the mistake of assuming he derived his powers solely from his suit. So they think they’ve killed him after applying so much electricity, but really all they’ve done is power him up. The recharged Black Lightning proceeds to mop the floor with the henchmen and manages to escape with the other baby safely in tow, though Looker is already gone.
The real heart of this episode belongs to Jennifer and Khalil, who are deepening their alliance. Meeting at the Garfield track field, Khalil repeats Tobias’ line to him about the joys of being able to afford caviar and says he wants to offer that to her. Jennifer, though, has a strong sense of justice like her family and tells him that the priority is making sure the pastor is safe from Tobias’ assassins. Khalil runs off to warn the preacher man, but the latter has had enough of him and holds him away at gunpoint.
In Tobias’ eyes, Khalil has more than crossed the line by this point. The big man pulls up on his former henchman and sends a goon squad after him, but Khalil manages to hide in a shadowy alley. He calls Jennifer and tells her about his situation, and she tells him she’s coming to help. He tells her not to, but she responds that he wouldn’t abandon her if the situations were reversed, so it’s go time.
NEXT: Two teenage weirdos
We haven’t often seen Jennifer’s powers in action, but they prove up to the task of protecting her ex-boyfriend. First, she uses them to knock out the lights in the alley, stopping Tobias’ henchmen from finding Khalil. Then she covertly communicates to him, telling him to follow her voice. He uses his abilities to hop up the side of a fire escape, and the two are reunited in a derelict building.
Meanwhile, Jennifer’s family members take care of the Sange. When Looker and her henchmen come looking for the white baby, Thunder manages to fight them to a draw single-handedly. Luckily, she doesn’t have to do so for long. The moment Looker gets the upper hand, Black Lightning appears to blast her minions. Thunder then breaks Looker’s wrist and hurls her into a nearby column, which happens to have a sharp object pointing out of it. Looker is impaled, and as her signature silver goo leaks out of her wound, it disappears from the Sange’s eyes too. Thunder tries to explain the science of her powers (something to do with “theta waves”) but her dad doesn’t want to hear any of it, and frankly, I agree.
Before going home, Jefferson has an important stop to make. Having found a transmitter from the drone Gambi used to aid them in their first battle against the Sange, Jefferson is able to track the old man down in the hotel room he’s staying in. Gambi, who still hasn’t found out who ordered the hit on him, figures that laying low is the best way to protect Jefferson’s family, but Jefferson counters that “you ARE my family.” It’s very cute, but also I hope this whole Gambi assassination thing starts paying story dividends soon.
When Jefferson does make it home, he and Lynn find that Jennifer is missing. When they ask her therapist, she refuses to divulge any information — mostly because she doesn’t know exactly where Jennifer is, only that she’s probably with a boy. She also warns the Pierce parents that Jennifer’s powers are “extraordinary,” and pushing her away too much would be dangerous for everyone.
Alas, that warning might come too late, because the episode ends with Jennifer and Khalil running away together — from Tobias, from her parents, from everyone.