Black Lightning Recap: Power Struggles

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Hi, friends! Life threw me a few curveballs last week, but I’m back with another Black Lightning recap! Last week’s episode was one of my favorites because it put the spotlight the Pierce women. Not only that, but we got introduced to Jennifer’s new Meta Therapist, Perenna, played by MAXINE SHAW ATTORNEY AT LAW from the 90s sitcom, Living Single! When I found out Erika Alexander was going to show up this season, I was thrilled because of her legend status as a Black actress. If possible, I was even more excited that she would be playing a therapist especially because of the stigma of therapy and mental health in the Black community. I will shout about how much I love therapy to pretty much anyone who will listen, but there are so many people within the community who don’t believe in therapy or who lean on religion as a way to navigate their mental health journey. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I am a firm believer that your mental health is as important as your physical health, and I love that Black Lightning is emphasizing that as well.

You didn’t think I was going to talk about last week’s episode without mentioning one, Grace Choi, did you?! Grace was back and not so quick to accept the apology that Anissa eventually provided. You see, Anissa played the “we weren’t in a relationship” card and Grace wasn’t having it. Before the two parted though, Anissa planted a seed of hope for our ThunderGrace hearts by telling Grace that she needs some balance in her life and if Grace will let her, she wants to start with her.

Also Jefferson met the new Principal who is The Worst ™, Tobias got arrested, and Lynn met and began working with Dr. Jace, who went to jail for doing experiments on children. Aaaaaand that’s what you missed on Glee!

This week’s episode featured power struggles at every turn (and honestly, way more dude-heavy storylines than I’d like, but fine). Anissa and Jefferson continued their disagreement about what constitutes “helping” and who gets to make the Vigilante Rules. Jennifer struggled with taking control of her literal powers while fighting with her parents to maintain control of her life. Jefferson is still trying to find his place in a school where his power was stripped of him by new Principal Lowry. Lynn’s struggle is with the arrogant Dr. Jace and her experiment methodology. And we can’t forget the ever-present power struggle between Tobias, Freeland PD, and Black Lightning.

We open with our girl Jennifer looking oh so gorgeous and strutting down the stairs, ready to get her dance on at what I imagine will be prom. The mood is exactly how you would expect a Pierce family event to be, complete with the sisters clowning Jefferson for his use of an “old school” camera. There’s a knock at the door and in walks Khalil with a bruised ego and a score to settle. He and Jennifer battle it out in what turns out to be the dreamscape/safe space created by Jennifer and her therapist, Perenna. Perenna reminds Jennifer that she’s not only in control of the storm, but she IS the storm.

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At the Freeland police station, we learn that Tobias has been there for two days. Henderson comes into question Tobias about several things, the first of which is how in the heck he doesn’t age. Tobias quips about yoga and a vegan lifestyle, which I found hilarious but Henderson did not. Henderson is Big Mad in this episode and it amused me probably more than it should have. Before leaving the room, Henderson does that thing where the episode title is mentioned in the episode, and calls Tobias a translucent freak.

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Oh hello, also we meet Montez, played by the wonderful Salli Richardson-Whitfield. Hey girl!

Down in the Lightning Lair, Jeff is hella pissed that Uncle Gambi went behind his back and helped Anissa steal money to help fund the clinic that was in danger of being shut down at the hands of developers who had gentrification on the mind. So, Jefferson decides to have a talk with his daughter about the rules they should be following. From the moment Anissa realized that she had powers, she has been ready to jump into the literal line of fire if it meant helping the people of Freeland. Oftentimes, that willingness has come at the expense of strategy. On the other hand, Jefferson has urged his daughter to be more cautious and to think before acting. His concern is coming from a good place; he loves his daughter and doesn’t want her to head down the same path he did at the beginning of his career as Black Lightning. But that concern is manifesting as control, and Anissa is not having it. In an effort to exert that control, Jefferson pulls a “as long as you’re under my roof, you’ll follow my rules” on Anissa, who in turn pulls a “well then I guess I won’t live under your roof anymore.” Anissa is a whole ass grown ass woman, so I don’t know how Jefferson didn’t see that response coming, but alas.

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Jefferson might not yet be upset about Anissa deciding to leave, but you know who is? Jennifer “I’m always gonna call out my sister about her dating life but in a loving way because she’s the only one who understands what I’m going through” Pierce. Anissa explains that she’s doing this to prove to their father that he can’t control her, but LOL turns around and yells at Jennifer for staying in contact with Khalil. Yes, I realize the situations are different but Anissa bitching about being controlled and then trying to control her sister gave me a good belly laugh. In all seriousness, Anissa wanted to make sure Jennifer knew that Khalil was not the answer to what she’s going through.

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Lynn and Jefferson are having a talk about what’s going on with Anissa, and Lynn reminds her husband that Anissa is behaving very similarly to how Jefferson did when he was first starting out. After awhile, Jefferson finally apologizes to Lynn for putting her through such difficult situations like, I dunno…. Killing a guy.

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At the station, Jeff goes to see Big Mad Henderson and find out why Tobias is being released. BMH doesn’t know where Jeff’s info is coming from because he denies it. Jefferson demands to be put on the stand at Tobias’ trial if it came down to it, and Henderson thinks that high and mighty Black Lightning is going to purger himself. But no no, you see, Jefferson really *was* there the night of Alvin’s murder, but Gambi got rid of all the evidence and forced Jeff to lie in an effort to save him.

Back at the store, Gambi is prepping a suit FOR NO ONE (BECAUSE WHERE ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS, GAMBI?!) when a light flickers, signaling him to go down to the lair where HE IS SECRETLY HOLDING KARA FOWDY! Kara is not dead (yet. Spoiler alert.) so Gambi tries to get information out of her, but for now, her lips remain sealed.

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Jefferson’s having a hard time with his new role as teacher at Garfield High. We see him sitting alone in a classroom, I hope thinking about the way he’s been treating his daughters, when a fight breaks out in the hallway. Jefferson manages to diffuse the situation, but unfortunately, Master…I mean, Principal Lowry is not satisfied with Jefferson’s approach. With a new principal has come a new set of rules, including a zero tolerance policy for fighting. Lowry demands that one student be expelled and the other suspended.

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Instead of getting the ThunderGrace UHaul train started, Anissa decides to make what I guess can be called the mature choice, and goes to crash at the Lightning Lair.

Back with the Pod Kids (I’m still mad I didn’t come up with that moniker first), Lynn and Dr. Jace are waiting for…something. Then suddenly alarms blare, and the kid’s temperature rapidly decreases, before he dies. Lynn is horrified but Dr. Jace is just glad that this means they now have more data for their experiments.

At the house, Jennifer is watching TV and giving her father the silent treatment. He tries to talk to her and when she finally speaks, it’s to throw in his face the fact that he’s not perfect and makes mistakes too. *BURN* (lol, get it? Because Jennifer…never mind.)

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Meanwhile, Tobias gets a visit in prison from his legal team. They tell him that some girl stole their money and used it for the clinic. The gangbanger wants permission from Tobias to kill the girl since I guess he still runs the streets. Tobias grants permission and requests that body recognition software be used outside the clinic because he is SO tired of Black Lightning and wants figure out who he is and kill him.

Let’s check in with our girl Jennifer, shall we? Oh cool, she’s accidentally setting more laptops on fire.

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It is really hard for me to ship straight folks (sorry bout it), but dammit if Jeff and Lynn aren’t the actual cutest?! They’re in the kitchen talking about Lowry and Jennifer, when Anissa comes in. Lynn adorably reminds Jefferson not to front and to remember he actually did miss his daughter. Anissa came to tell her father that the clinic is now a target oh and also that she accepts his apology. The apology that he didn’t give. These two, I swear.

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In the lab, Dr. Jace is thawing out the kid from earlier and has a very interesting conversation with Lynn where she reveals a hypothesis that the meta gene could be inherited. What could that mean? An entire family of metahumans?! Unheard of! Lynn, rightfully, looks incredibly nervous.

With Gambi’s help, Black Lightning and Thunder get ready to thwart the clinic attack. They know they’re most likely looking for a civilian, but what they couldn’t have predicted was that civilian would appear in the form of a woman who was pregnant upon entering the clinic, but miraculously without child when she left. (It was a bomb. The “child” she was carrying was a bomb.) Black Lightning and Thunder clear the clinic, and fight to some sweet sweet music, which is one of my favorite things this show does.

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Jefferson is back at the police station yet again, but this time to be briefed about testifying. Montez believes Jeff, but knows that without concrete proof, Jeff has nothing.

The Pierce Parents have news for Jennifer, and it’s not good. They’ve decided that it’s no safe for her to go back to school and instead, they’re going to homeschool her. Jennifer is having a really rough go of it. She found out she has powers she doesn’t want, her boyfriend was paralyzed and then brought back as Painkiller, her father died in front of her, oh and by the way her father is Black Lightning, she was forced into therapy as a way to learn how to control her powers, and now school is being taken away from her. It’s heartbreaking to watch Jennifer’s autonomy being stripped from her, but I can only imagine they’re setting her up to overcome this in a big way.

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Down in the Lightning Lair, Gambi goes to check on Kara who knows she’s dying. As her final act, she instructs Gambi to burn her body, and then hands him a burner phone he can use to find Tobias’ briefcase. RIP Kara. I wasn’t super kind to you last season, but hopefully your final deed pays off.

With no case against Tobias, Freeland PD was forced to set him free. Jefferson watched the television coverage with anger in his eyes and revenge in his heart. We then see Jennifer meet up with Khalil at the school in what I imagine will be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea, and Tobias at Club 100 with a bunch of his supporters rallying behind him. I don’t know about you, but I have a baaaaad feeling about the next episode.

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What did you all think of this week’s episode? Coming off of last week’s female-centric episode, I was hoping we’d see Anissa start to navigate a relationship with Grace, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Jennifer’s story progress. I’m ready for her to suit up!

 

Black Lightning is taking a week off next week so do me a favor and VOTE next Tuesday November 6th! I’ll see you back here one week later on November, 13.

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