Well folks, we’ve made it to the mid-season finale of Black Lightning and another episode of “Where in the World is Jennifer Pierce?” This season thus far has been a wild ride and this episode was no different. Let’s go!
Previously on Black Lightning, On the Run III: The Khalil and Jennifer Story. While running from Tobias, the two found shelter with Khalil’s aunt before being attacked by Cutter, an assassin hired by Tobias. Lynn started to reach her emotional breaking point, Gambi came out as ALIIIIVE to the rest of the Pierce family, and Black Lightning and Thunder got back to working together.
Jen and Khalil are still on the run, and to be honest, it took me a second to remember just why they were running in the first place. Tobias’ hold on Khalil. Got it. Anywho, the two manage to find a barn to hide out in, which is good news because Khalil’s wound seems infected and he is looking worse for the wear.
Y’all, Auntie is okay! It turns out, Khalil used his dart to temporarily stun her before Cutter could do more harm. Gambi and Thunder check on Auntie, who is pretty pissed that her house got tore up, while Jeff fields a call from Lynn.
I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like for a mother to have no idea where her daughter is and have no power to bring her back. Lynn is spiraling. She’s upset and frustrated that Anissa and Jeff couldn’t grab Jen while they were in the same room with her. It only makes sense that Lynn would seek out another mother to share her pain with. That mother just happened to be Khalil’s. Nichelle shares that Khalil had a brother who died while working for The 100. Khalil’s father has been in and out of his life, and while Nichelle wants nothing to do with him, Lynn wonders if he could help find the runaways.
Meanwhile, it appears that our superheroes have been watching television, because they decide rather than splitting up, they’re going to stay together to search hospitals for Jen and Khalil. They don’t need to search very long, because Jennifer decides to make a stop at the hospital while wearing a very inconspicuous black hoodie. Homegirl tries to guess the code on the computer, but gives up in favor of FRYING THE WHOLE ENTIRE THING WITH HER POWERS. She grabs a metric fuckton of drugs and hightails it out of there. On her way out, she spots her father and sister inquiring about her whereabouts. What she doesn’t see, is that Cutter also made it to the hospital.
I want to pause here to talk about the subplot of this episode, involving Tobias and a young man named Todd Green. Todd is an exceptionally bright man who earned his Masters and PhD by the time he turned 21. Early in the episode, Todd is denied a grant for enhanced encryption; that grant went to the son of a rich white donor. Somehow, Tobias knew Todd would be denied, because he left an invitation in Todd’s car for a meeting at Club 100. (Sidebar: I have questions about this invitation. That was some fancy ass card stock. Does Tobias get these printed up every time he manipulates a young man into doing his dirty work? Is it just for parties? Is it for EVERY party??)
It’s clear that Tobias is trying to replace Khalil with a newer and seemingly more intelligent model. Todd’s not giving in that easily though. I haven’t given much love to Tobias or Khalil this season, but I do think it’s important to note just what Black Lightning is attempting to bring into the mainstream. Systemic racism flows through the veins of this country. It’s not enough to say to disenfranchised peoples, “just work hard and you’ll achieve your goals.” That doesn’t work when the only housing you can afford is in a neighborhood forgotten by those running the cities. It doesn’t work when the only education available to you is subpar. It doesn’t work when if you somehow manage to overcome all of that, only to be passed over for a job because some white dude’s rich daddy made a “sizable donation.”
Oftentimes people feel the only way they can support their families is by selling drugs or finding a crew like The 100 to roll with. I bring this up because we see two sides of the same coin with Khalil and Todd. Khalil grew up in a household where all he knew was what he saw of his father and older brother, so he followed in their footsteps until he realized he needed to get out. So he ran. Todd however, is, on paper, everything the white man is comfortable with a young Black man being. He did everything “right.” And yet, that wasn’t enough. “It’s the Black man’s burden to carry the white man’s privilege.” Tobias says this to Todd as he tries to convince him to join The 100, and its truth hit me like a ton of bricks.
And yes, Tobias is preying on Todd’s frustration. There is truth to everything Tobias told Todd, but his motives make him part of the problem. Todd eventually accepts Tobias’ proposal after receiving a swift deposit of $100K in his bank account. I don’t know what’s going to happen with Todd, but I do hope the writers continue to explore the differences between him and Khalil.
(Small note about Club 100, the rapper performing was none other than GODHOLLY who is responsible for the Black Lightning theme song!)
Back to the hospital! Anissa very conveniently overhears a tech complaining about a power outage that seems to have affected just one very specific area of the hospital. “A power outage, you say? Scorch marks, you say? Why, that sounds just like my generator of a sister using her powers to steal medicine for her injured boyfriend!” is pretty much how that went down.
Anissa calls Gambi and they all watch the hospital security footage from inside the van. Not only do they see Jen stealing the meds, but they also see my future wife, Cutter. Anissa is not nearly as enamored as I am and exclaims, “Who is this bitch?!” WHO INDEED?! Jeff has had it, and decides to just fly away. In plain clothes. In broad daylight. After a few tries, Gambi manages to literally ground him.
At the Runaway Barn, Jen is struggling to give Khalil the medicine. Let me tell you, I really appreciated this, because I feel like on every show, people just know how to give a shot or vaccine. HOW?! The antibiotics aren’t working though. Khalil is getting worse and worse, and starts to do that thing when a character thinks they’re going to die, and reminisces about the first time that he saw Jen and blah blah oh look, Cutter found them and is lurking in the woods.
May I present, my actual notes from this next scene: “Giselle Cutter – ASSASSIN. LOVE OF MY LIFE. LOW-LEVEL TELEKINETIC. MARRY ME? Anyway, they’re monitoring J and K’s possible locations from the van.” I love an assassin, okay? Sue me.
Meanwhile, Lynn has zero fucks to give, and has snuck into the Lightning Lair to look up information on Khalil’s father. Gambi is well aware of the intruder and knows there are no things he can do to stop Lynn when she’s on a mission. She eventually finds Kito who correctly guesses Khalil is running from Tobias. We don’t get much from him, except that he knew Khalil wasn’t living with Tobias, and that he mentioned getting a new place.
Khalil is getting worse by the minute, so Jen decides to go outside so he doesn’t see her break down. She starts to sense the same humming from the hospital, and then is transported into the Safe Space Salon. Perenna is there as usual, but she’s joined by ANOTHER JEN. This Jen represents our Jen’s fear. She helps Jen realize that the humming she’s feeling is her sensing the batteries in Cutter’s binoculars, before screaming at her to run!
Cutter finds the barn and starts to approach Khalil’s shivering body, but Jen is having NONE of that, and electrocutes her from behind. This next scene where Jen is torturing Cutter gave me SO. MUCH. LIFE. Jen knows that the knife Cutter used on Khalil is poison and that she more than likely carries the antidote with her. To be sure, she slashes Cutter on her own damn cheek, which forces her to reveal the antidote’s location. Jen gives her a swift kick to the face for good measure. The antidote worked on Khalil, and the two run out of the barn before Cutter comes to.
Meanwhile, the adults are losing their entire minds. Jefferson is frustrated, Anissa is trying to calm him down, and Gambi is over here running through the list of possible hideouts over and over. They finally realize that Jen is running on a different frequency than they’d been looking for, so they change the threshold and the barn shows up on their tracker.
They get to the barn and confirm the runaways were there, but the crew got there too late. Cutter’s gone too. It’s a crushing blow, and that’s the moment Lynn calls to check in. She is in rough shape and point blank asks Jeff if Jen is dead. Jeff admits to his wife that he just doesn’t know.
Jen and Khalil hit the road again, and Jen tells Khalil that she’s “ride or die.” Khalil is most worried about that “die” part, but Jen reassures him she’ll be okay AS “ALL I NEED” PLAYS AND I’M NOT CRYING, YOU ARE.
But we are not done, folks. We’re taken to a bar in what I believe is Texas, what with the American flags and cowboy boots and an actual light up sign of the state of Texas and all. We see the tail end of a fight, with a bunch of men laid out on the floor of the bar, but a few are still standing. One dude shoots at this suave-looking Black man, but he misses, BECAUSE THE MAN VANISHES INTO THIN AIR. He appears behind the shooter, and kills him dead. The man receives a phone call from goddess knows who, telling him that his next job will be in Freeland. He grabs his bag, shoots one of the stragglers, and saunters out of the bar.
And now we wait until January 21st to hopefully find out who in the heck he is! What did you all think of the mid-season finale? Personally, I’m sad we didn’t get to see Grace again, but I enjoyed this episode way more than the previous one. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and I’ll see you all next month!
Black Lightning will now be airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW and is available Wednesdays on Netflix in Canada.
Nic is a Digital Product Manager who lives in Queens, NY. She spends way too much time thinking about queer fictional characters, Tessa Thompson, and Janelle Monae. When she's not busy consuming every form of fiction, you can find her cosplaying as Valkyrie. You can find Nic on Twitter and Instagram.