Black Lightning Recap: You Can’t Drown a Fish in Water

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Hello friends, and welcome to this week’s Black Lightning recap!

Previously on Black Lightning, we traveled down the highway to South Freeland where we learned about two warring factions: the Perdi (black folks) and the Sanjay (white folks). Anaya, a Perdi, gave birth to twins whose father Deacon, a Sanjay, was killed because he got Anaya pregnant. Our team managed to get one baby to safety, while the other was kidnapped by Sanjay and the Looker. Khalil continued to question his allegiance to Tobias while trying to get back into Jennifer’s good graces. And everything was dark. Literally. Just so so dark.

We start back in the (*sigh*) dark creepy forest where Black Lightning is still following the Element (silvery liquid) as it very slowly attempted to make its way back to Looker. While he’s on the phone with Anissa, Black Lightning comes upon a group of Perdi strung up in some trees, obviously after being attacked by Sanjay. In a somewhat ironic twist, Jefferson wants to keep searching for the missing baby while Anissa is the voice of reason asking him to come back and be strategic about his next move. Jefferson ignores his daughter, fights some Sanjay, but they manage to knock him out and bring him to Looker’s Lackluster Lair.

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Have I mentioned how much I love that Jennifer’s safe space with Perenna is a hair salon? It’s such a gorgeous tribute to Black women finding a home in salons, and a solid callback to the “good hair” references in Season 1. Jen has gone to Perenna for advice, not on controlling her powers, but on what to do about Khalil and her parents. We see a lot of development for Jennifer in this episode, primarily around how she feels about being treated like a prisoner by her parents. She knows that her parents love her and are trying to protect her, but she’s also afraid they see her as a failure. That she represents their failure. Many superhero stories can be likened to coming out stories, and Jennifer’s is no different. She’s not ashamed of who she is, but part of her wishes that things could go back to before, before she realized she was “different.”

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Meanwhile, Gambi is back on his bullshit, monitoring radio frequencies for key words like “Jefferson” and “Pierce” and probably “faking my own death.” He also spent most of this episode drawing a motorcycle for reasons that I cannot begin to guess.

Back at Looker’s Lackluster Lair, Jefferson’s out of his Black Lightning suit and tied up in the basement. Looker must have watched lots of classic villains because she pulls out the “we’re not so different, you and I” argument, but Jeff isn’t having it. (Recapper’s note: I neglected to mention last week that the one thing these two DO have in common is that they were both possibly part of the experiments that gave Jefferson his powers.) He straight up calls Looker a racist and this MAGA bitch has the caucasity to respond with the words “minority privilege.” Why does he get to be a proud Black man while she can’t be a proud white woman? Well, if I had to guess, it’s because of her killing and persecution of every Black person in South Freeland…but hey, what do I know?

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Anissa and Anaya have taken up refuge in an old abandoned mall (because what would a CW show be without an old abandoned mall that no one has ever referenced before?) and Lynn comes to check on the baby and bring Anissa her Thunder suit. After Lynn cleans the baby’s bloody belly button, the vial of Element no joke jumps out of the bag and tries to get to the blood. This just gets curioser and curioser!

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Back at Jefferson’s torture appointment, Looker comes up with the brilliant idea to string him up on some wires so she can electrocute him until he dies. The only problem is, Jeff’s powers come from within, not from the suit. Before she leaves though, Looker gets a vision of the baby that seems to be brought on by the fact that Lynn is taking their blood.

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Looker goes to find the baby, and Jefferson breaks free from his chains and fights off the Sanjay left to kill him. You know, the Sanjay have a lot to say about why the Perdi are terrible, but these fools left the other baby alone with no food, no supervision, nada. Jefferson grabs her, but not before punching out a lone Sanjay who tried to ambush him.

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Jennifer’s doing some thinking at the football field, and Khalil joins her, reminiscing about his days dusting the competition on the track. There’s a lot of Jennifer and Khalil in this episode but I did love a lot of this scene. First of all, having a serious conversation on a football field/track is so Black and I love it so so much. Second, I’ve been back and forth on how much I trust Khalil’s motivations, but I’m starting to believe he truly does want to get out from under Tobias’ thumb. Speaking of Tobias, he calls Khalil while he’s with Jen, and he ignores the call. I’m sure that’s not going to bite him in the ass one bit.

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On Jennifer’s advice, Khalil tries to warn Reverend Holt one more time that his life is in danger, but the Rev still doesn’t want to hear it. You see, just because Khalil’s afraid of Tobias, doesn’t mean Holt is. As Khalil leaves the church, Tobias rolls up on him, but Khalil runs to an alley.

“Khalil hides behind some trash cans???” is an actual note I took. You’re welcome.

Poor Detective Henderson. He’s really gone through it. His best friend finally came clean about being Black Lightning, and just when things are starting to feel normal, Jefferson shows up on Henderson’s doorstep with a baby. Detective, you the real MVP.

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We’re back live at the trash cans, where Tobias’s goons are talking incredibly loudly about their plan and the fact that they’ve lost cell signal. Sparks fly, and Khalil manages to escape with Jen’s help, because she used her powers. And Praise Heda, our girl can control those powers like a BOSS!

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At the mall, Looker and her crew show up and are greeted by Thunder! The women fight (once again, to an AMAZING soundtrack), Black Lightning shows up to help, and Thunder eventually throws Looker across the room where she’s impaled on a clothing hook.

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As soon as Looker dies, the Sanjay seem to break from her spell, wake up, and leave the mall. Anissa excitedly tries to explain theta waves to Jefferson and he could not care less. Y’all, when I tell you I laughed and laughed at Nafessa’s delivery?! Whew, comedic timing for DAYS! The two decide to send Looker’s body to the ASA, even though they are known to experiment on metas.

Back in the woods, Anaya’s dad is wrapping a scarf around a cross, and it turns out to be her mother’s. Anaya shows up hoping to make things right with her parents, and is absolutely broken when she finds out her mother is gone. Her father’s face eventually softens, and he embraces his daughter and both of his grandchildren in I think the most beautiful moment of the episode.

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Speaking of beautiful, before I get into the next scene, let me address the ThunderGrace-sized elephant in the room. If you didn’t see the press photos that the CW released before this episode aired, then congrats! You probably weren’t disappointed when the ThunderGrace scene from the episode did not look like those photos at all. What the photos showed was a happy couple seemingly mending their relationship and enjoying that can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of love. In this scene though, Grace and Anissa are cuddling on the couch watching Girlfriends (solid), but Grace is preoccupied and barely laughs at Anissa’s corny jokes before excusing herself to use the restroom. While in the bathroom, Grace’s body starts to change again until she takes some pills and she’s back to normal.

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Now, I’m withholding judgment for now because in the promo for next week, Anissa is wearing the same shirt from last night’s episode, so I have hope that we’re going to see the kisses from the press photos. That aside, I do think the ThunderGrace relationship is somehow simultaneously a slow burn and being rushed. I personally think the writers underestimated the excitement and dedication of ThunderGrace fans in Season 1. They were so focused on the main story, the show’s mythology, and exploring Black folklore in a way that is rarely seen on mainstream television. And I’m thrilled about that! If I had to guess, they saw our disappointment in Grace’s Season 1 underuse, and decided to give us more in Season 2. At times though, it feels rushed and out of place. For example, how did they get from fighting after sex, to cuddling on the couch? Was there a conversation that we missed?

There are so many questions around Grace and her powers, and I wish that we could have gotten one more ThunderGrace scene in place of one of the Jen/Khalil scenes. My wish for ThunderGrace is that they actually sit and have a conversation about what’s going on with both of them. I keep yelling that I want Grace to tell Anissa about her powers, but I’m 99.9% sure Grace doesn’t know about Anissa’s powers! (She was knocked unconscious while Anissa used her powers to fight off those bigots in Season 1.) Communication, ladies (and writers). It works.

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At Gambi’s he receives a knock at the door. It’s Jefferson! While he was rescuing the baby, Jeff found a tracker in the woods and immediately recognized it as Gambi’s. Gambi makes a lot of excuses about why he should stay dead, but Jeff reminds him that Gambi is his family and they’re in this together.

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Lynn gets home and realizes that Jen is nowhere to be found. She gets Jefferson and the two confront Perenna about where she could be. Perenna doesn’t know, but she thinks she could be with…*insert ominous music* A BOY! (I’m sorry, but their reaction to this was HILARIOUS.) That’s not all Perenna has to say though. She warns the Pierce Parents that if they’re not careful, they’re going to push Jennifer away, which would be dangerous considering how special Jen’s powers are.

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Khalil and Jen are bonding over living in this new normal with powers, and Khalil assumes that Jen’s parents don’t know and aren’t like her. The two share a kiss which must have been fire, because Jen decides to leave with Khalil. The episode ends with the two driving off into the night.

What did you all think of this episode? We’re just over halfway through Season 2, and I hope that the second half gives us some answers about Grace, the babies, and what connection South Freeland has to the ASA experiments from decades prior.

 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Black Lighting airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW and is available Wednesdays on Netflix in Canada.

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