Sunday, June 23, 2024

Black Lightning Gives us Grace Choi

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

Black Lightning inspires the community this week and we finally meet Grace! (Who is a babe, omg). After LaWanda’s murder last week, Reverend Jeremiah Holt calls for a march in the streets against the 100 that immediately the audience, Jefferson, and Henderson know will end badly. Both of the latter try to stop the Reverend and the march, but fail.

Lady Eve and the March

Then there’s Lady Eve’s entrance. A funeral parlor owner and the only person of authority over Tobias, she definitely has no time for a Black Lightning resurrection. Jones III told CBR that Tobias has an affinity for Lady Eve, as she’s kind of a mother figure to him. In their scene, we see a little of that and the power Eve has over Tobias. He and “the girl with death in her eyes” (Syonide) need to take care of the march. 

Freeland’s people can believe in God, but not that they can take back these streets.

Unfortunately, although Black Lightning is able to stop two gunman, Tobias tells Syonide to shoot at him. She misses and shoots Rev. Holt instead, and Khalil gets shot too from the bullet passing through. The episode ends with the news that Khalil may never walk again, which is heartbreaking. Again, the writers are not shying away from the consequences of violence.

Parents vs. Young Love

The Reverend calling for the march and the march itself actually open and close the episode. In between, there’s also great moments between Lynn and Jefferson as they cook family dinner and later at the hospital while they wait for news. 

We know that Jeff’s choice to suit up again caused their issues to bubble up again. Lynn had no positive outlook on Black Lightning going into harm’s way on purpose. But the bullets reminded her that danger is everywhere. Though she doesn’t have to be excited about him returning, she always knew it would happen. This is important, because Anissa will have to tell her parents she has powers too, and Lynn’s an integral part of the family. 

They also have some hilarious scenes together when Jennifer lets them know at dinner that she’s planning on having sex with Khalil. They both flounder but do tell her they’re glad she came to them first. It’s a really important interlude in the chaos around them, and I’m glad the writers went this route in depicting healthy discussion between parents and their children about sex and relationships.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they just accept it. Lynn sets up a doctors appointment (and even brings up Jennifer moving in with her which goes as well as one would expect), and Jefferson scares Khalil by asking him how he showers? It’s weirdly effective.

Protective Jefferson is the best Jefferson, honestly.

Commitment Issues and Grace

Then there’s Anissa, our hero in the making. So much happened for Anissa this week. When she’s not training, she’s researching genetic mutations and dealing with the women in her life. First she meets Grace, who introduces Anissa to the Outsiders and invites her to the weekly cosplay party at the Red Lipstick Bar (wow) where she works. Anissa can dress up as whoever she wants, even Supergirl, who is fictional in this universe. 

Unfortunately, Chenoa walks in on the two dancing very closely who immediately reacts with “Miss Black Lives Matter is cheating on me with an Asian.” There is so much to unpack there, especially in regards to Anissa’s activism, but I’m focusing on the bit where it makes sense that a hurt Chenoa would react this way. After all, it’s been a year and Chenoa had no signs of commitment from Anissa that we know of. Obviously this was the last straw, and Anissa admitted that she was just holding onto something that wasn’t working in a sea of changes.

I think that’s something we can all relate to and the same goes for Anissa’s wish to have superpowers to help people. Even though, as Grace states, it would be lonely because of keeping the secret. (Is she secretly an Amazon/what secrets does she have?) If only the characters could hear all of us yelling BUT YOU DO.

Anissa and Grace have chemistry from their first scene together. By the end of their last scene, I’m already in love with Grace and their burgeoning relationship. Behind the scenes both Nafessa Williams and Chantal Thuy love Anissa and Grace, grounding both characters even more. 

As for the writers, they establish that Grace is first and foremost Anissa’s confidante. It’ll take time for their relationship to develop, but I’m pretty excited for the slowburn now. More importantly, there isn’t going to be any cheating or tortured love triangle between the three woman. Chenoa and Anissa were together for a year, which is a long time so hopefully there’s some more closure if Chenoa returns like IMBD states. I loved that Anissa told Lynn in the hospital they’d broken up when Lynn pinpointed that something was going on with Anissa.

Most importantly, Lynn brought up when Anissa came out as a lesbian to them. The show labeled Anissa as such so now there’s no need for anyone to call her anything but. Actual labels are something that is still rare to see on screen, especially when said affirmatively.

Plus, Grace’s introduction as an insightful, caring, and immediately likeable character was great!

Random Tidbits
  • Lady Eve and Syonide are terrifying. Who the hell describes someone else as “the girl with death in her eyes”? Only scary ones!
  • I need to write a separate article just on all the religious imagery from a Muslim POV. From direct mentions of Jesus to Moses parallels. There is so much here.
  • Jefferson training with Gambi was so much fun to watch. Too bad Gambi deleted the photo of Tobias in the car…
  • “Whenever you call me handsome, I end up dirty,” is the funniest “oh no, not again” ever.
  • Henderson trying to do what’s right in a corrupt system is admirable. Except it’s not working.

Overall this episode has to be my favorite so far, and I cannot wait for next week, and Anissa investigating the new drug while Black Lightning is recruited to rally against the 100.

Image courtesy of The CW

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