Black Lightning does what a lot of superhero TV shows do not. It shows the realities of life beyond cis gender white men. It has a firm footing in identity politics, all within the confines of a network television show. The show’s first season success depended a lot on how well it rode that delicate balance. Now that Black Lightning is back, will it continue to be socially relevant and fun piece of superhero fiction? If the first episode is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes.
The episode kicks off a week after the events of season one. The people of Freeland have learned that the government was kidnapping and experimenting on the poorest, most vulnerable African American citizens. The Green Light drug is still an epidemic and Lynn Pierce has discovered pods containing the children that were kidnapped. Anissa and Jefferson learn the citizens of Freeland will need $500,000 to sue the government to see their children who are in the pods.
If all of this is not enough Jefferson finds himself out of a job when he resigns, taking the fall for the violence happening at the school in exchange for keeping Garfield High open.
And season one big bad, Tobias, still needs to be taken down.
Jennifer stil struggles with her new powers.
We may not have gotten to see a lot of Black Lightning in costume this episode, but it was a good set up for plenty of drama this season. These characters are not dealing with fractured timelines and wannabe dictators. They are dealing with real life issues. They are flawed but heroic, and though the season started dark, we get a sense they can whether any storm.
The first episode of season two has capitalized on what made season one great while upping the stakes. I can’t wait to see what happens next.