Sunday, June 16, 2024

Black Lightning’s Black Jesus and Lady Eve

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Disclaimer: There be spoilers here and I’m not Black, but I hope to review this show respectfully and appropriately.

This week is all about Anissa and Jefferson trying to help their community by taking out people dealing the new  drug on the streets, “Greenlight,” among other issues.

Physical Therapy

Until Khalil’s paralysisBlack Lightning had yet to introduce a disabled character, and I’m a bit wary about the entire thing. At first Khalil was working really hard in physical therapy until the docs told him he’s never walking again. It could be a great arc about people not being defined by their disability but that disability is a big part of who they are.

Except we have Tobias Whale on this show, and he tells Khalil that Black Lightning is truly blame for his paralysis. So unless the writers completely flip the script, we’re going to have villain by way of disability.

Jennifer on the other hand is trying her best to be there for Khalil and it’s taking a toll. She quits track even though her face tells us she’s conflicted later on. I’m worried for her and hope next week she gets to be her own person for a bit.

Lady Eve Threatens Tobias

Honestly, the two minutes or so between Lady Eve and Tobias deserves at least 500 words so expect more another week.

Lady Eve tells Tobias that there are people who kidnap people with albinism in Africa, “cut them up and grind their bones” and sell it as magic dust. Tobias is already aware of this fact and like us understands the threat that it is. Eve using Tobias’s identity against him here is gross precisely because Tobias has “suffered ridicule and degradation” from his own people. (Definitely read that interview!)

Now that “Black Jesus” is back, Lady Eve’s partners aren’t confident in Tobias who received The 100 from them after he murdered Black Lightning, reinventing himself after his political career failed. This one mistake is costing him his reputation and messing with her bottom line.

Even if Tobias takes Black Lightning out, his people are too loud. Shooting a reverend and paralyzing a kid is not cool. Which uh, is rich coming from Lady Eve who was literally just embalming a guy alive.

So Tobias Kills a Guy

Well actually he has his henchdude punch the ME who declared Black Lightning dead to death.

Siiiiigh. I hope someone’s been tracking the number of murders in this show.

Maybe I can ask Tori, Tobias’ sister who makes her introduction and suggests that Tobias make Khalil realize he has every reason to hate Black Lightning. If Freeland’s people hate him, and Tobias becomes a “good guy”, he’s fine.

Greenlight is Bad News

It’s like ‘PCP and crack had a baby’, and the cause of 36 overdoses and six deaths. People who use it are immediately addicted, and one student Bernard even breaks a urinal in the bathroom.

When Jefferson isn’t trying to find the dealers, he’s going to bat for Bernard so he won’t get expelled. Unsurprisingly, the board (led by a white lady) isn’t up for this and Jefferson agrees to give up final say on future severe infractions in return for Bernard staying in school.

Jefferson ultimately gets information from 2-Bits, one of the many dealers. 2-Bits even gets Black Lightning to agree not to call the police immediately like usual. This would be his third strike and lead to thirty years in prison. They’re throwing “brothers” into jail forever! It’s a quick way to introduce the prison industrial complex, but I hope we get a bit more discussion of how Black Lightning operates. After all, Det. Henderson thinks Black Lightning does no good, but he has called the police every time until now.

When Black Lightning goes to follow the next Greenlight shipment, he gets distracted by some small explosions near by.

See, when Jefferson was stopping Bernard in the morning, Anissa had driven by two dealers selling to her students. They called her a “bitch” (this show loves that word) and she went back to teach them a lesson. She was so good at it that with just one punch (woman!) she calls 911 for and to report them.

Grace is Back and Bi!

But what does this have to do with explosions you ask? Well we see Grace again tonight and she states that she’s bisexual when Anissa asks if there was something Grace wishes she could tell her parents! Like last week, I’m so happy they’ve affirmatively given both women labels.

Outside the Ruby Red Lipstick Bar, they’re accosted by a group of white homophobic men. The leader states that someone should “burn this lesbian wh**ehouse to the ground.” Oof. Before Grace can call the police, he hits her and she knocks her head against a car.

Anissa knocks all the dudes out and causes a fair bit of property damage. When Grace wakes up, Anissa asks if it would be a good thing to make bad people pay for things they did, and she answers “yes”. Only two episodes in and ThunderGrace is giving me so much to freak out about. Though I wonder if Grace has powers in this iteration and if her bisexuality is why she’s not close to her parents.

It’s probably my favorite Anissa moment this week. That phrase caused a visceral reaction in me, and watching Anissa protect Grace was so important. Anissa may be accepted, but realistically there are jerks in Freeland. Also how awesome is it that there’s a lesbian bar? I hope we’ll get to see more of it and Grace this season!

Random Tidbits
  • Where the hell is Grandpa Gambi with a Gun getting all of his technology?
    • Who IS Grandpa Gambi with a Gun?
    • When will Grandpa Gambi with a Gun stop keeping so many secrets? Is he going to confront Anissa who he saw on the camera feeds after she beat up those a-holes? That would be great to watch.
  • Same goes for Anissa eventually telling her parents about her powers, since she states that Black Lightning’s work is heroic and she hopes his family is supporting him. The dinner with the Hendersons really highlights the multiple approaches to the vigilante/hero argument.
  • The foreshadowing with Jefferson saying he can’t handle the collateral damage as well as he used to is worrisome and so is Ms. Fowdy’s clear crush on Jefferson. Yo he’s still in love with Lynn. Let him gooooo.
  • Let me take a selfie was so funny!

While I enjoyed most of the episode, I’m worried Khalil’s arc is going to be a messy regurgitation of most disability arcs, but I hope the writers flip the script on us! I did love Lady Eve in the way you love a venomous snake from afar and admire its abilities. The writers layering each villain is refreshing.

The drugs too aren’t simple. Gambi likens its dealing to terrorist cells working independently of each other so I for one really want to know where they’re coming from.

Next week we learn more about Grandpa Pierce’s murder, and both sisters learn that there are consequences.

Image courtesy of The CW

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