ALERT!! LESBIAN ACTIVITY!! Okay great, do I have your attention? Then let’s settle in and talk about Season 2 Episode 2 of Black Lightning.
Previously on Black Lightning, Jeff stepped down as principal, Issa Williams was murdered by Freeland police only to come back to life, there was a mass panic about Green Light babies walking around with dormant powers, and Kara Fowdy killed MurderBangs and then her own self.
We open with the sweet sweet sounds of jazz we’ve come to associate with Tobias, who is in the middle of a game of chess with Khalil aka Painkiller aka Bruh I’m So Glad You Got Your Dreads Wig Figured Out. Tobias is not too pleased with Khalil and in fact, he blames him for MurderBangs’s death (may she rest in peace). This is not the last time we see chess employed as a bit of a metaphor in this episode, but Tobias’ entire arc on this show can be viewed as a game of chess. Playing toward his ultimate goal, always anticipating his opponents’ moves, and remaining one step ahead at all times.
In the Pod Warehouse (you’ll like the way you freeze, we guarantee it), alarms start to blare, one of the pod’s inhabitants breaks free, vomits electricity (?!) and kills the attendant. Amid all of this chaos, another pod inhabitant is able to escape. She is dazed and confused and afraid and through her POV we’re able to see that her senses are all kinds of forked up: her vision is blurred and her hearing is garbled. Lynn runs in and tries to help the girl, but her efforts are thwarted when the girl channels her powers, bursts a hole through the cement wall, and jumps into the night.
The escapee’s name is Wendy Hernandez, and she was one of the kids that Gambi spotted 30 years ago. Gambi proved not completely useless and gives us information on her powers. Wendy’s power is aerokinesis, which means she can control the wind and is as powerful as a hurricane. Wendy shall now be known as Hurricane Wendy!
Back at the ASA, Issa Williams (somehow still alive and no longer dead) is being held after his girlfriend called the authorities when her SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD boyfriend showed up. Agent Odell is more than happy to hand Issa off to Lynn because as he said, this is what she wanted, so Issa is Lynn’s problem now. It’s funny that Odell seems to think this is some kind of punishment for Lynn, who happily jumps right into the role of nurturing scientist.
Oh hey it’s time for my favorite part of every episode, The Pierce Sisters Give Each Other Shit in the Most Loving Way! Anissa is stretching and getting ready for a run because the faster and stronger she is, the easier it will be for her to control her powers as Thunder. Jennifer still isn’t convinced that their powers are a blessing, and not even realizing that neither girl has gotten period cramps since their powers manifested was enough to change her mind. Jenn does make an excellent point that they need to have more joy in their lives than just their powers. And I think she’s right. The sisters represent two extremes as far as reacting to powers goes. Anissa is ALL THE WAY IN, but possibly at the expense of her relationships. Jennifer wants nothing to do with her powers, but at the expense of not leaning into the good that she could do. There’s a middle ground that both girls are inching toward, and I hope they continue to help each other get there. FOR EXAMPLE, Jenn literally telling Anissa to get back into the dating world “before you dry up!” Hahahah, I love these two so much.
Back at the ASA, Issa’s sister Tiffany comes to visit and all seems to be going well, at least until Issa’s vein starts to twitch and Tiffany lashes out. She tells Issa that she wants nothing to do with taking care of him. It’s almost as if…something about Issa’s powers…forces people…to tell the truth. WEIRD.
Cut to: AN EVENT WHERE A VERY PRETTY LADY IS SINGING AND PLAYING A GUITAR AND MAKING EYES AT ANISSA AND *ahem*. I’m sorry, lost myself there for a minute. I was caught up in the fact that the show remembered that Anissa is a whole ass lesbian with incredible confidence. Confidence that was on full display as Anissa strolled up to Zoe B. after her performance and suggested she recreate that performance for her…naked, save for some heels. After almost a full season of zero romance for our lead, they really hit us hard this week and I for one, am grateful.
The next morning, Zoe B. is swimming in her rooftop pool (very carefully, so as not to get her Black girl hair wet) when Anissa joins her to reminisce about their incredible night together. The two trade impressive facts (Anissa is in medical school and Zoe has a plane) and flirtations, before Anissa peaces out, leaving Zoe B. wanting more.
Back at Garfield High, Napier informs Jefferson that they’ve named his replacement — a man named Mike Lowry, who is apparently NOT the same Mike Lowry from the beloved film, Bad Boys, because this Mike Lowry is white. The school board’s resident Blackspert needs Jeff to be publicly amenable to the decision to name Lowry as principal, because of the inevitable “White Savior” backlash that will come. In case you forgot just how Black this show is, Jefferson throws in an angry “shuck and jive” reference before agreeing to Napier’s conditions. It’s refreshing to see Black Lightning highlight the complications that come with having people of color in power. We need to be twice as good, and yet when we stumble, the consequences double as well. We are not given the benefit of the doubt. All it takes is one misstep for the Man to say “I told you so!” and bring in someone white to clean up our mess. It’s a complicated conversation and I’m thrilled with the way this show has started to embrace it.
Down in the Lightning Lair, Gambi is working on the Hurricane Wendy case. She’s understandably lashing out because she woke up 30 years after being taken and can’t find any of her family or friends. Jeff mentioned Lynn’s hypothesis that Wendy is having a psychotic episode. Gambi identifies several places that Wendy might be based on buildings that were around 30 years ago, so you know what that means! It’s time for Black Lightning and Thunder to hit those streets! Cue music!
Khalil comes to Jennifer’s window (no, I’m not going to make a Melissa Etheridge joke…except for that one, I guess) and Jennifer literally pushes him off the roof for killing Black Lightning. Khalil doesn’t understand why Jenn cares so much, and he explains that he’s indebted to Tobias — basically when Tobias says “jump” Khalil says “yes and”. Khalil plays the “I tried to forget you but I couldn’t” card and tries to get Jennifer to admit she still has feelings for him too. Jennifer’s eyes start to blaze and before Khalil can learn her secret, she threatens to call the cops on him so he would leave.
Meanwhile, Tobias is still playing his own personal game of chess, and goes to see his old employee, Marcellus. Marcellus is in a facility of some sort and he and Tobias laugh about the good old days. Tobias informs Marcellus that he’s about to be the biggest arms dealer in all the land except the arms he’s going to be dealing? Well, they’re metahumans. The two talk about that one time they killed Alvin Pierce (LOL, I guess?) and it’s then that Marcellus realizes how unfortunate it is that he does remember. He’s a loose end. One that Tobias intends to tie up in that moment. Tobias snaps Marcellus’ neck before walking out.
Hurricane Wendy is on the move, leaving a path of destruction in her wake. Black Lightning uses his powers to deactivate lives wires in the street so he and Thunder can safely clear the scene. Once all is well, Thunder jumps up on a car and starts taking a bow which, #relatable. Black Lightning is not feeling it and makes a snide remark about a Thunder Twitter or Instagram but joke’s on him, because personally I think that’s a wonderful idea!
At the Pierce house, Jennifer and Jefferson are making dinner when Lynn arrives with Issa in tow. The family is shocked at first but before long, they’re talking and laughing as if Issa has been with their family for years. Everything seems to be going well, until Jennifer calls Issa “body bag boy”, Anissa quips that Issa shouldn’t get used to their family, and Jefferson and Lynn lash out at their daughters. It seems that the family has been affected by a truth “serum” in the form of looking directly into Issa’s eyeballs. Our characters learn a lot from this exchange: Jennifer feels like she’s trapped, Anissa is a grown ass woman and wants to be treated that way, and both parents feel that their daughters are ungrateful.
Lynn and Jefferson leave the table to debrief and Issa meets Jennifer out on the roof. Jenn is clearly jealous of Issa because he figured out how his power works and how to control it. Jennifer hasn’t gotten that far yet, but can’t reveal that to Issa.
And now it’s time for Anissa Learns the Hard Way How Small the Queer World is! Because our girl is back at the club with Zoe B. and WHADDYA KNOW GRACE IS WORKING THERE BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE IS! Grace spots Anissa and Zoe kissing and gives us THE ACTUAL SADDEST FACE. Anissa looks surprised, but not apologetic, and goes to find Grace. Anissa does apologize for not calling Grace because things have been crazy, and Grace interprets that as Anissa has been looking for other people to date. I feel for Grace here, because she’s hurt that this woman she had been developing feelings for seemingly dropped off the planet, only to reappear with another woman on her arm. ThunderGrace hadn’t had the DTR conversation, but that doesn’t lessen the pain of feeling forgotten. At the same time though, Anissa has every right to put herself out there and date! I just wish she had reached out to Grace sooner. All of that said, I’m thrilled that it looks like we’re going to see Anissa explore what it’s like to balance relationships with being a superhero.
Oh hey, Tobias goes to meet a Freeland PD detective, gets some inside information, and then kills the guy. NBD.
Back at the ASA, Lynn informs Issa that he definitely has the meta gene, but because the gene was formed artificially from Green Light, the cells in his body are going to break down and ultimately kill him unless they find a cure. Lynn gives him two options: be put in a pod to stabilize him, or hedge his bets and live his life in the outside word. Issa ultimately decides he doesn’t want to stay in a pod, which will give Lynn the opportunity to study him in a natural environment.
Gambi spots Hurricane Wendy at the old Freeland Youth Center where Black Lightning meets her and tries to talk her down. Wendy uses her powers to toss Black Lightning around like a rag doll until he shoots her with a lightning strike. He tells her that he’s a friend, and he has someone who can help her.
Back at the Lightning Lair, Anissa storms in, upset that her father went out to get Wendy without her. Jefferson turns it right back around on her and says that she wasn’t around for him to call her and that the hickey on her neck tells the whole story. Judgey much, Jefferson?! Anissa raises her voice and must have forgotten she has a Black father because the way Jefferson said “Young lady, change your tone” gave me whole ass chills down my spine. Been there, girl. Jefferson tells Anissa what happened with Wendy; that she is going to be put back in a pod, and warns his daughter that if she doesn’t get her shirt together, she’s going to end up in a casket. Both Anissa and I think Jefferson is being a bit dramatic considering the fact that Anissa is just trying to live her life. She’s caught between the rock of wanting help people and please her father, and the hard place of needing to maintain some semblance of normalcy in her life. Normalcy that includes having a love life.
We go to Garfield High School, where Jefferson has assembled the student body. He gives an impassioned speech about his love for the school and informs the students that he’s no longer going to be their principal. They are outraged, to say the least, but Jeff reminds them that he still has love for each and every one of them. He accepts responsibility for his actions around the attack on the school and he gives the new principal his full support. He thanked his students for always teaching him, but before he could walk all the way off the stage, he hears a voice yell “Where is the future?” Jefferson responds with “right here” and continues the back and forth mantra with his students speaking the words usually owned by the former principal. The episode closes on Jefferson saying he’s going to live his life by any means necessary.
What did you think of the second episode of Season 2?! Will we get to see more ThunderGrace? How will the new principal make his mark on Garfield? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
Black Lighting airs Tuesdays 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.