SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details about the Season 2 finale of Black Lightning.
The CW series Black Lightning closed the book on Season 2 with a major power struggle, street riots, a blackout, some tears, and the ominous prediction of a looming war. There was also a peach cobbler discussion which, oddly, delivered the episode’s most memorable moment.
The 16th and final episode of the show’s sophomore season bundled together many of the overarching themes of the season (family, conspiracy, community, sacrifice, compromise) and also followed the template of The CW’s superhero shows by including “ripped from the headlines” situations (officer-involved shootings, unlawful renditions, civil unrest).
The power struggles of the episode were both the literal and figurative type. There were the machinations of the series villain, Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III), for instance, who pounces on an opportunity to stir unrest in Freedland after the district attorney announces that no charges will be filed against police officers who shot down an unarmed young man.
“This boys death is an opportunity,” Whale explains. “The community could really explode over this the way L.A. did in the ’90s. All it needs is a little push. The whole city will be on its knees.”
Whale’s plans also includes unleashing a cadre of meta-humans to create chaos in the city. Standing in the way of that plan, of course, is Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning (Cress Williams), although he must overcome the injuries to Peter Gambi (James Remar), the rebel ways of his daughter, Jennifer (China Anne McClain), and the troublemaking threat posed by the Masters of Disaster.
Whale’s bid to sabotage the hero by taking down the city’s power grid (the source of Black Lightning’s energy) falls short, however, and the meta-humans released into the city mostly stumble around like sleepwalkers. Still, Freeland is in flames for much of the show.
The most evocative moment of the episode is the Pierce family dinner after the city’s power and peace were restored. The patriarch of the family is getting some grief for his peach cobbler recipe (“What’s wrong with it? The question is ‘What’s right with it’?”) when he suddenly is overcome with emotion. It’s the danger outside, he explains to his wife and two daughters, it’s the fear and dread that it represents — and the relief that everyone managed to walk through the door of the family home returning safe and sound once more.
It’s a quiet and stirring moment and one that puts the Pierce family in the mode of a urban, sally-screen version of The Incredibles, a brood hanging on for dear life some days and trying to stay heroic in the process.
That moment was followed by a surprise visitor to the family home — and a hint that a war is coming soon (translation: next season) and that the weapons of mass destruction will be metahumans.
Produced by Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros TV, the series based on the DC characters stars Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, Damon Gupton, Jordan Calloway and James Remar.