Here we go again! My favorite new show of 2018 is already back for more. But it’s actually helpful that there was so little time between the season 1 finale of Black Lightning and this season 2 premiere because we open by exploring the immediate fallout of last season’s climax. Martin Proctor is dead, and his rogue faction of the ASA has been quashed, but the authorities in Freeland have nothing but questions for the Pierce family.
Following the assault on Garfield High, Jefferson’s school has been temporarily closed while the school board decides what to do. Of course, the principal was present during Khalil’s attack, but he was there as Black Lightning, so now he has to explain why Jefferson Pierce was officially absent that day. His excuse — we just happened to be on a family vacation that day! Weird timing! — isn’t exactly cutting it, and the board is angry with him. Jefferson isn’t too worried, he thinks this will be another situation where the board makes a big stink before coming to a compromise with him, but his lone ally isn’t so sure. Jefferson did not increase security protocols at the school after his daughters were kidnapped, and while we know that’s because Jefferson Pierce himself is already the best security Garfield High could hope for, the board perceives it as arrogance. And since most of the board is white except for Jefferson’s single friend, their perception of his arrogance has quite a racist tinge to it.
Meanwhile, Lynn is being questioned by the ASA. In place of Proctor, we now have a different man representing the face of this shadowy government agency. While the new guy isn’t as outrageously Trumpian as his predecessor, his words to Lynn make clear that he won’t accept anyone getting in his way. He knows that Lynn is lying to him about not knowing what happened to Proctor or the other scientists, and he doesn’t care that she’s the expert in what Green Light does to people. All he cares about is that Lynn is making his life as a nefarious government bureaucrat considerably more difficult.
Jefferson’s own encounter with law enforcement doesn’t go much smoother. Henderson (now the deputy chief of Freeland PD) summons Black Lightning for one of their clandestine meetings, only to reveal that he’s figured out Freeland’s favorite superhero and Jefferson Pierce are one and the same. I like this twist because it gives Henderson credit; if it took him any longer to figure this out when it’s staring him in the face, he would’ve seemed really stupid. But since Henderson and Jefferson have been friends for so many years, it’s definitely going to take him a while to process the magnitude of this secret.
One little moment I love from this episode comes after the Henderson meeting when Jefferson is watching a news report about what the ASA’s Green Light experimentation has done to Freeland. As one woman on the TV points out, this is really nothing new; J. Marion Simms, regarded as the father of gynecology, reached his medical breakthroughs by experimenting on female slaves without anesthesia. Black Lightning’s parallels to real-life American suffering is one of the things I enjoyed most about season 1, and I’m glad it’s set to continue this season, just as showrunner Salim Akil told my colleague, Chancellor Agard, it would.