BLACK LIGHTNING S1x04 – Black Jesus

The war between Black Lightning and The 100 expands as Jefferson Pierce’s daughter Anissa takes up the fight. And a new drug is proving to be a deadly threat to Freeland.

As I was watching this episode on The CW app on my Fire Stick, the app died at what I thought was about halfway through the episode and wouldn’t restart. So I had to boot up the app on my iPad and watch from there. I didn’t catch the timestamp before the app cut out, so I was guessing around where I was in the episode. Felt like it was about halfway through, but when I tried to restart around the episode’s midpoint, I discovered that I had made it only minutes away from the end.

And that’s a pretty apt way to describe this episode of Black Lightning – I wanted there to be something more substantive as we hit the fourth episode of the show’s inaugural season. That’s not to say this episode wasn’t eventful – a new drug is taking hold in Freeland; Tobias Whale’s sister shows up and gives him a strategy for combating Black Lightning; Anissa begins to explore her expanding powers and take out drug dealers as her relationship with Grace deepens; Gambi is keeping secrets from Jefferson; and Jefferson is losing control over the school after a student ODs on Green Light.

Those are just the highlights. With everything going on in Freeland, the pacing of the show feels a bit off – or, at least, it’s not allowing for enough beats to play out in each episode. And they keep adding new characters! In the fourth episode, we’re introduced to Tobias Whale’s sister, Tori, who tells Tobias to convince Khalil that he hates Black Lightning, to turn Freeland against the hero. You’d think Khalil would have to be pretty stupid to fall for that, but the show needs to add some more drama, so I expect we won’t get a a miraculous, “No way, weird guy. Black Lightning is awesome.”

Cress Williams continues to carry the show as Jefferson Pierce, and the best scenes of the episode include Pierce visiting his old friend and current drug pusher Two Bit. First, he visits in his civilian persona, where Two Bit acts tough but appreciative of his friend coming to talk to him. The second scene has Black Lightning coming after Two Bit, and the dealer’s reaction is probably the funniest scene the show has aired so far.

Thankfully, his supporting cast continues also to grow on me, especially Anissa and her new girlfriend, Grace. Anissa probably had the most character development this episode, as she finally used her powers to proactively take out some drug dealers. And Grace encourages her new activities, so she’ll have a costume and a codename soon.

If The 100 is going to last as the main bad guys of the season, it would be nice if Whale actually seemed like a threat as opposed to a castrated figurehead. His plot with Khalil may work, but he’s still taking orders from Lady Eve and his sister.

We’ll have to see how things go in next week’s episode. Here’s the trailer: