On this week’s Black Lightning, Henderson and Pierce briefly set aside their differences to find Whale, Lynn got a creepy new colleague, Anissa continued her Robin Hood act, and Jennifer started seeing a therapist.
1. Titular Choices
It’s strange then, the episode is named for Jefferson’s replacement at Garfield High, Mike Lowry (P.J. Byrne), who only appears in one scene. Granted, it’s a memorable debut – Pierce and Lowry’s introduction to each other is so awkward you can practically hear the tumbleweeds enter the room – but “Master Lowry” just doesn’t encapsulate the whole episode. You could argue his presence gentrifies the school, tying into Anissa’s story, but regardless it’s surprising how he’s barely in the episode. Similarly, I wasn’t expecting Lowry to come across as so clueless so soon.
Speaking of gentrification, Anissa’s acts of charity towards the church continued this week when she learned their clinic was under threat from a real estate developer. I should’ve seen this particular social issue rearing its head on the show sooner, as it is a very pressing one for minority neighborhoods and I hope we get more of it. At the moment, it’s only fodder for Jefferson and Anissa’s divided priorities: she doesn’t talk with him about this issue at all, working instead entirely with Gambi to find the developer’s money launderers.
3. Jace is Crazy
When Lynn described her new colleague Dr. Jace (Jennifer Riker) as crazy, I didn’t think she was being literal. When we meet her, she’s in chained cuffs and orange overalls, clearly indicating she was a last resort for helping the kids trapped in cryo. As she coldly corrects Lynn, she was responsible for experiments on 11 children, which resulted in the death of one and the rest losing their feet. As Jace notes by the end, she and Lynn are not here to make friends. The real question for me, what is Agent Odell’s game pairing these two together on the project?
4. Psychic Psychiatry
Turns out Jennifer’s allowed to walk in the park, where she encounters Perenna (Erika Alexander), a psychic who Gambi recommended to Jefferson and Lynn as being able to help Jen control her powers. It felt a little contrived that her parents didn’t tell her about the meeting beforehand, as it was to generate drama for the sake of drama: even if they did choose not to burden her with the expectations of a counselor, it could’ve been better foreshadowed. Anyway, Perenna’s a pretty soothing teacher, and her projection of a hair salon to help ease Jen into her lessons was quite cool: I also enjoyed the way the show had its cake and ate it when Perenna gave a brief lesson on the importance of salons to African-American communities, and when Jen poked fun at her for it.
Regarding drama for drama’s sake, I think the show does a good job of otherwise having the characters behave like adults. We saw that this week with Anissa and Choi in the bar, and with Henderson putting aside his hurt at being lied to by Jefferson about his identity all this time by working with him to find Whale. As I predicted, Whale killing off his loose ends, including Detective Summers, only attracted the attentions of the police, but even I am amazed by how soon an incarceration story seems to be playing out for him.
It’s just as well the show’s bad guy scenes seemed to be shifting focus more and more on Khalil, who was a little shaken this week after killing an insubordinate subordinate: it’s gonna be interesting how Khalil manages the 100 gang now that his mentor’s been arrested. Certainly his run-in with Black Lightning can only help entrench him with his new life, especially given how mad (like, never-before-seen levels of mad) he was when Khalil threatened his loved ones.
– The show’s soundtrack is always solid, but David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” was a particularly great choice this week.
– I love that Jen finds out about her sister’s new fling online.
– Anissa’s right, why do gangsters always have ponytails?
Finally, Kara showed up at Gambi’s door. Is she dead or unconscious? Guess we’ll find out next week on “The Book of Consequences, Part Four: Translucent Freak.”