Bob Mahoney/The CW
January 16, 2018 at 10:00 PM EST

Black Lightning

TV Show
CW Superheroes
run date
Mara Brock-Akil, Salim Akil
Cress Williams
Greg Berlanti
The CW
Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B+

Unfortunately for Jefferson, the genie is out of the bottle and won’t be easily put back. Following his humiliation at the club, Will decides to approach Jennifer at school. Anissa intervenes, which inspires Will to try drawing his gun. Eventually Jefferson arrives and talks Will down by saying the police are on their way and would love an excuse to kill him, so Will retreats. Jefferson tries to secure his daughters’ safety by going to a local One Hundred leader named Lala and reminding him of the unspoken pact that gangs are to stay away from Garfield High, but the intervention doesn’t go as planned. Instead of standing down, Will doubles down on his aggression and kidnaps Jennifer and Anissa right from their school.

It seems unlikely that Garfield would lack even the most basic security capable of deterring these gangsters’ attack, but then again, that’s the whole idea of this show: In a world that’s falling apart at every level, true heroes need to stand up to protect people. Jefferson does just that, and he even has a tricked-out new Black Lightning suit (capable of conducting electricity and everything!) to help get his daughters back.

This is the show’s first try at a superhero fight scene, and it succeeds admirably — Black Lightning even uses one of his gangster enemies as a human shield to soak up some bullets, proving that he’s not going to be playing nice. I like that his powers can be used both for projectile lightning blasts and enhanced hand-to-hand combat (with electric sparks flaring every time he hits someone); it should make for an adaptable show. The crescendo comes when Black Lightning finally comes upon Will and suspends him in the air with a lightning bolt before sending him straight into the windshield of his own car. The hero is back, and his daughters are safe.  

In the closing minutes, we find out that Black Lightning’s old nemesis Tobias (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) is very much still alive, and now in charge of the One Hundred. But in the face of this threat, we also get a pleasant surprise when Anissa manifests her own superpowers in the form of red-hot strength. Soon enough we’ll get our proper introduction to Thunder, but for now it’s enough to be secure in the fact that we have a promising new superhero show on our hands — one who actually has something to say.   

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