Don’t at me, but Black Lightning is the best show on The CW – ever. Somewhere between the second season of American Crime, and the first two seasons of Arrow, sits Salim Akil’s superb comic series; a great superhero show wrapped in a black American family drama.
Where many of its counterparts orbit the average content of a comic show – Lightning has made it it’s mission to address the political and racial elephants in society today. From police brutality and Black Lives Matter; to respectability politics and LGBTQ issues, Lightning has felt on the cusp of 2018 and beyond without being preachy. And season two has only upped the ante.
Last night’s premiere returned us to a Freeland on high alert. With the ASA’s experiment exposed, the so-called “green light babies” have vanished leaving a trail of unanswered questions. Who are they, what are they and what will they do next. A mix of rumor and myth becomes an excuse for already trigger-happy policemen to murder unarmed blacks. This is how the episode opens.
The Pierces are trying to piece their lives whole again. Jefferson faces extreme consequences for his “absence” during the attack on Garfield High. Lynn is questioned about her knowledge of green light and the pod children. Annisa seeks vigilante justice for the abducted children’s families. And Jennifer experiences unstable incidences with her powers.
On top of all this, Tobias waits in the shadows plotting his next move. And Chief Henderson discovers Black Lightning’s identity. The episode closed with the police shooting victim – bagged and being prepared for burial – suddenly spring back to life. Unwanted by his family and public enemy #1, he’s another child running wild.
The episode packed so much heat without exploding. We saw former Garfield VP and ASA scout Kara Fowdy’s fighting skills in an epic fight sequence with Syanide. And the addition of Bill Duke and Robert Townsend elevates the caliber of the cast. Not to mention the Benjamin Crump and Angela Rye cameos tying the series to the world we live in.
Where X-men used mutants as an allegory of black people’s fight for civil rights – Akil and Black Lightning have no qualms to call a thing a thing. Catch new episodes of Black Lightning every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.