Black Lightning: Unfortunately, it’s Real

Black Lightning| Season 2 | Episode 12 : “Just and Unjust”
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For a quick read, go to Review.
For a complete summary, go to Recap.

KBear Recap [Read  time: 5-7 min]

“Pain doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong. And loss, loss makes you appreciate.” Anissa Pierce

Anissa Pierce/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) and her mother Lynn (Christine Adams) are outside a grocery store discussing Jennifer. Anissa: “She wants time to be alone.”  Lynn: “Alone is good until it’s not good. Isolation feeds depression and addiction. I feel she needs her family right now.”  Anissa: “You and Dad always think you know what’s best for us. What if it’s not true? What if … every once in a while, we know what’s best for us?”  Some men get out of a van and shoot Anissa and grab Lynn. Lynn: “Anissa! Oh my God!” Another group of men led by Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) shoot the men who have Lynn. She runs to her daughter while Agent Odell and his ASA agents kill the other men and take their bodies away. The driver of the van gets away. Anissa is alright. Lynn calls Jefferson/Black Lightning (Cress Williams). He advises her to take the tunnels and he will meet them.

Jennifer (China Anne McClain) is with Nichelle Payne (Yolanda t. Ross). They are looking at pictures of Khalil and Jennifer in happier times. Nichelle tells Jennifer he loved her, and she says she loved him too. Her eyes light up when she looks at a picture of the two of them. Jennifer excuses herself and asks Nichelle to call her when she’s ready to make funeral arrangements. Nichelle admits she doesn’t have enough money to bury him. Jennifer eyes light up at this sad news.

Lynn has taken Anissa to the Black Lightning sanctum. Jefferson and Gambi (James Remar) watch while Lynn patches up Anissa. Anissa instinctually held her breath when she was shot, but she still got injured. Anissa wonders who would want to kidnap Lynn while Lynn wonders why Agent Odell was there. Answering Anissa’s question, Lynn thinks it could have been family members of the pod kids, some of the kids did die on her watch. Jefferson: “We have to think about Tobias.” Gambi: “Because of Khalil?” Jefferson: “Because every messed-up thing that happens in Freeland could have Tobias behind it.” Gambi thinks it could be Odell himself, to make Lynn beholden to him. He’s obviously tailing her. Jefferson worries that he might know their secret, but after making sure the Pierce’s home isn’t bugged, Gambi thinks he might not know. He suggests Lynn talk to Odell.

At the ASA lab, Lynn steps in front of the gulf cart Agent Odell is in. Odell: “Make it quick.”  Lynn: “Why are you having me followed? Are you following my whole family? My research team?”  Odell: “And here I thought you were happy to be alive and came here to thank me for saving your life.”  Lynn: “I do thank you.”  Odell: “How’s your daughter?”  Lynn: “She’s fine. They didn’t shoot her. She fainted, so it looked like she did.”  Odell: “Fortunate. Dr. Stewart, you have been invaluable to the pod kids, but you’re still not being honest with me … and I don’t have time for it.” Agent Odell has his driver drive away.

Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) is reading a book when his number one henchman, Todd Green (RJ Cyler) reports that the pods are moved, and its inhabitants are still alive. [These aren’t Lynn’s pod kids, they are the MOD.] Tobias asks about the crew who helped move the pods. Cutter killed all of them, so they are the only ones who know where the pods are now. As Todd leaves the room, Tobias gives him a menacing look, it could just be a normal Tobias look, but if I were Todd, I’d remember everyone is a loose end to Tobias Whale.

Anissa is back at home looking at her wound in the mirror. Jennifer walks in and asks what happened. Anissa tells her some men tried to kidnap Lynn and shot her. Anissa is upset with herself that she didn’t do enough to protect their mother. Jennifer is just glad that Lynn is alive. She reminds Anissa she let Tobias kill Khalil. Anissa tells her not to put that on herself. She asks Jennifer how she is holding up. Jennifer: “I don’t know how I can be in so much pain and not bleed.” Anissa sighs, “I don’t know what it feels like to lose Khalil, but…I know about pain. Know this Jen. Pain doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong. And loss, loss makes you appreciate.” Jennifer tells Anissa that Khalil’s mom is in a lot of pain and she can’t afford his funeral. Anissa’s expression suggests she may have a way to remedy that.

Jefferson and Lynn are in their room discussing Jennifer. Lynn is worried about Jennifer’s grief and that she wants vengeance. Jefferson knows the look. Lynn thinks she needs something to occupy her, like going back to school. Jefferson isn’t sure about that, but Lynn thinks they should check with Perenna (Erika Alexander). Lynn feels it will make Jennifer feel normal. Jefferson jumps on the word ‘normal’ and asks what Lynn means by that. Lynn tiredly replies that what does she know, she married Jefferson. Before they can get into it, Jennifer walks in. She wants to take down Tobias, she is even ready to get a suit if that’s what it takes. Lynn tells her she doesn’t know what she is saying. Jefferson tells her he has been trying to get Tobias for a long time, and she doesn’t know how dangerous it is. Jennifer doesn’t care, she knows how to kill him. Jefferson: “Jennifer, the power to do amazing things comes with the responsibility to do the right thing. Revenge is not the right thing, justice is.” Jennifer doesn’t look convinced.

Dr. Helga Jace (Jennifer Riker) is back in her cell. Agent Odell pays her a visit. He tells her the Markovians tried to kidnap Lynn for her metahuman expertise. Dr. Jace asks if they know about her. Odell offers to protect and relocate her if she can help them move the pod kids to a safer location. Dr Jace: “True, scientifically I’m Beethoven but Dr. Stewart is Mozart and you’ll need us both to keep the pod kids alive if you move them.”

Lynn is in the kitchen pouring herself a glass of wine when Jefferson walks in. He wants to finish their discussion before Jennifer interrupted them. He knows that Lynn isn’t happy he’s back in uniform, along with Anissa, and now Jennifer might be following them. Lynn doesn’t want to discuss it now. She tells him she has some regrets, but Jefferson isn’t one of them. When he isn’t being a good man, he is being a great one. She loves him. Jefferson smiles and tells her he loves her too.

Anissa exams a patient at the free clinic. The patient, Monique (Rachelle Neal) was obviously battered but she tells Anissa she might have walked into a door or fell down some stairs. Anissa talks to Nurse Patel (Kausar Mohammed) who informs her that Monique is the girlfriend of a 100-gang capo named Reyvon (Kelvin Witherspoon). If they look the other way, he won’t kill them. I wouldn’t count on Anissa doing that.

Perenna is walking down the street when some Markovia agents try to kidnap her. Using her powers, she has her assailants think they are freezing to death. The men are shivering on the sidewalk while Perenna smiles and walks away.

Anissa goes over to Grace Choi’s (Chantal Thuy) apartment. Grace has Black Lightning and Thunder comic books laying on her living room table. Anissa is amazed to see them, she asks where Grace got them from. She reminds Anissa she works at a comic book store. Later that night Anissa raids a drug dealer’s apartment. After quickly beating up his men, their leader talks. Reyvon: “I heard of you. Yeah, the streets call you the Black Bird. You know I can’t just let you take this money.” Anissa grabs him by the throat and bangs him against the wall. Anissa: “I didn’t come here for the money. But thank you.” Monique walks in and Anissa tells Reyvon she heard he likes beating woman. She invites him to try to lay his hands on her. Black Bird bangs his head against the wall and warns him not to beat Monique again or she’ll be back. When she lets him go, he calls the rest of his troops. Anissa engages in a badass hallway fight. [Thanks Netflix’s Marvel.] One of the thug’s sprays pepper spray in her face, knocking her breathing control off. The gang members begin beating Anissa, but she uses the Thunder clap to get away.

Jennifer is back at school. Both students and teachers are happy to have her back. The students have set up a memorial for Khalil. When she gets back after class, the custodians are removing it from orders given by Principal Mike Lowry (P.J. Byrne). Jennifer eyes light up but she quickly regains control. Jennifer sets up another memorial for Khalil. Lowry shows up with some security guards. A crowd of students show up with their cell phones to record the action. Jennifer supplies it, she tells the principal that he hides behind his rules. She calls him a racist. Lowry doesn’t like that. She tells him he doesn’t care about Khalil or any of the students. Lowry reminds her that Khalil helped attack the school. Jennifer asks her fellow students who wouldn’t accept being able to walk again if they had been paralyzed. She reminds them they are all but a few steps from being in a bad situation like the pod kids. Jennifer: “We’re all in pods you know that right.” Lowry has the security guards take Jennifer away. Her classmates silently protest, sitting on the floor and giving the black power salute. Jefferson comes walking by. Principal Lowry: “Will you tell them to get off their butts and get back to class?” “Jefferson: “Sounds like the principal’s job.” He walks away giving the black power salute.

Anissa made it back to Gambi’s shop and she is laying on the floor. Gambi finds her laying there and gives her a cup of coffee. Anissa: “I’ve done all the things … all the things Dad said would get me killed.”  Gambi: “You want to do good, I get it. But you have to think of how much bad you’d do for your family if you lost your life.”  Anissa: “Yeah, I am.”  Gambi: “And what a waste it would be if you lost your life before you were able to build it.”

Lynn is in her lab when the Agent Odell brings Dr. Jace back. Lynn: “Are you kidding me with this crazy bitch.”  Odell informs Lynn they are moving the pods and they will do it with or without her. Anissa in her Black Bird disguise throws the cash she took from Reyvon and throws it to the funeral home director for Khalil’s funeral. Gambi calls Jefferson to the sanctum. He has identified the driver who got away. He is a Markovian intelligence agent and he gives Jefferson his location. Black Lightning pays the Markovians a visit. After taking them all out, he calls Deputy Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) to pick up the Markovian for attempted murder and kidnapping. Back at the clinic, a heavily bandaged Reyvon is being wheeled away from surgery. Nurse Patel informs Anissa that Monique has left Reyvon and is in therapy.

“But you get a benefit of the doubt that even a rich black man will not get. That’s what these kids are facing.” Jefferson Pierce

Jefferson enters Lowry’s office to discuss Jennifer. Lowry plans to suspend her. He is mad that she called him a racist. Jefferson tells him many of the students and faculty feel that he is insensitive to their needs. Lowry: “Okay, you assume that because I’m white, I had a better life than you, and that is the most racist idea out there.”  Jefferson [makes a face and scoffs]: “But you get a benefit of the doubt that even a rich black man will not get. That’s what these kids are facing.” Lowry tells Jefferson he doesn’t feel bad for these kids, he had it worse. He states that no one gives a damn about white people. Jefferson walks out of Lowry’s office in disbelief.

Grace and Anissa are walking through the park. They see some kids jumping rope and Anissa joins them double-dutching. Grace is impressed and tells Anissa how she loves her spontaneous nature. Anissa says she can’t wait to know more about her. Grace gets defensive and tells her she doesn’t probe Anissa’s life. Anissa apologizes, she notices that Grace’s eyes just changed colors. Grace lowers her head and coughs, getting her eyes to go back to their original color. She tells Anissa it must have been the sunlight. Anissa agrees and invites Grace to meet her family for dinner. The spots show up on Grace’s arm. Grace: “Anissa, when I’m with you, I can’t control myself.”  Anissa: “I know, and it’s amazing.” Grace: “No, you don’t understand.”  Anissa: “Then explain it to me. I’m here listening.”  Grace: “I have to go!” Grace swiftly walks away.  Anissa: “Did I say something wrong? Grace! What did I do?!”

Todd reports to Tobias that the people they have in their pods were prisoners at Leavenworth. They did missions for the ASA and committed atrocities. Todd asks Tobias if he wants these types of people. Todd can’t open the pods. He explains to Tobias the tech is too ancient, he doesn’t know what to do with it. Tobias tells him to cancel the hit on Dr. Jace. She should join them on a permanent basis.

The Pierce’s are in a limo outside of Khalil’s graveside service. Jefferson gets a text from Henderson. The Markovian driver has diplomatic immunity, so he had to release him. He boarded a jet back to Markovia. Anissa texts Grace but she doesn’t receive a reply. Jennifer doesn’t want to get out of the limo. Jennifer: “If I stay in the car, then it won’t be real.”  Jefferson: “Look at me. No matter how much the world hurts, you’re still a Pierce. You say ‘Yes’ – WE say ‘Yes’. We say yes because it matters. We say yes because we honor those we love. Because we are loyal to their memory. Because we do not give up on them, or ourselves. Right?” Jennifer: “Yes.” They get out of the limo and join Nichelle and her family. After the service, Anissa goes over to Grace’s apartment, but Grace has cleared out, only leaving the Black Lightning and Thunder comic books. Alone by Khalil’s casket, Jennifer makes a promise. Jennifer: “I’m gonna make him pay Khalil. I promise you that I’m gonna put Tobias Whale in the ground. Just like you are.” From a distance, Agent Odell watches.

A scene from the next episode. 

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

Jennifer is mourning Khalil and trying to keep her powers under control. She tells Jefferson and Lynn she is ready to get Tobias. Jefferson warns her that their powers mean greater responsibility. She can’t go after Tobias for revenge. To get her mind off things, they allow Jennifer to go back to school. Everyone is happy to see her again. The students have made a memorial in honor of Khalil. This pleases her, but Principal Lowry orders it taken down. Jennifer creates a new memorial for Khalil and has a showdown with him. She calls him a racist and tells him Black Lives Matter. He has security take her away. Jefferson confronts Lowry about this in his office. Lowry starts talking about how hard he had it as a child and that no one feels sorry for white people. Jefferson tries to explain that as a white man he gets the benefit of the doubt, even a rich black man would not receive. That doesn’t impress Lowry and he says he doesn’t feel sorry for these kids. He’s a bitter little racist. Jennifer doesn’t want to get out of the limo for Khalil’s graveside service. It will make his death seem real. Jefferson convinces her to go. Alone near his casket, she promises Khalil she will kill Tobias Whale.

Markovian intelligence agents try to kidnap Lynn and shoot Anissa. She held her breath when she was shot, so she wasn’t badly injured. Lynn is rescued by Agent Odell and his ASA agents. He has been tailing her. The Markovian agents tried to kidnap Lynn because of her work with metahuman. They tried to kidnap Perenna but found out how powerful her mental powers are. Odell decides to move the pod kids and against Lynn’s wishes, reteams her with Dr. Jace to do it. At the end of the episode, Odell is watching Jennifer at Khalil’s grave.

Anissa isn’t badly hurt so after she treats a patient who was beaten up by her 100-gang capo leader boyfriend, Anissa decides to pay him a visit. Dressed in her Black Bird outfit, she beats the gang leader and the rest of his men up. One of the thug’s sprays pepper spray in her face, allowing them to beat up Anissa before she uses her Thunder clap to escape. She does make out with their money to pay for Khalil’s funeral. Anissa recovers at Gambi’s shop, while even though he knows she is trying to do good, it would be a shame to get herself killed before she can become the person she is meant to be. Anissa listens and agrees. Grace has a stack of Black Lightning and Thunder comic books in her apartment. Thunder has her own comic. Grace is having a hard time hiding her condition from Anissa and bails, clearing out her apartment.

There was so much going on in this episode, I didn’t mention Todd finding out the MOD pod people they have came from Leavenworth prison and committed atrocities for the ASA. Jefferson also had a cool fight scene with the Markovian agents. Somehow, they were able to tell all these stories concisely. Jennifer’s story maintained the primary focus. They took the time to examine Jennifer’s grief and her need for revenge. The other stories set up the major conflicts of the rest of the season, but it didn’t take away from this episode. It’s clear that Anissa will learn Grace’s secret soon. Markovia is now directly involved in the story, and they should prove to be a deadly adversary. Tobias is getting closer to unleashing MOD on Freeland. Jennifer will soon join her father and sister in her own suit. That might happen after she tries to kill Tobias. A lot is coming down the road and I can’t wait.

The episode had a season one vibe to it, with a lot of it taking place at Garfield High. When they are at Garfield, they can naturally deal with real life issues. I enjoyed Jennifer’s scene with Lowry and Jefferson’s scene with him. It spoke to different perspectives on race. I know there are a lot of people who feel like Lowry. And like Lowry, many of them are in positions of power. The fight scenes were excellent. I can watch Thunder whup ass on a loop. The stunt people and fight coordinators on this show do a great job. The opening gun battle between the Markovian agents and the ASA was well staged, and Jefferson’s fight with the Markovian agents was good too, but nothing beats a kickass hallway fight.

The music didn’t disappoint either. New Generation from the Universals played during the opening title and Lynn and Anissa’s discussion before the attack.  

On Jennifer’s first day back at Garfield High, LivWithoutU by St. Paul & the Broken Bones played.  

Derek Minor and Canon’s song, It’s Not a Game played while thunder took on Reyvon and the 100.  

For you lovers of the Red Army, Sacred War from the Alexandrov Ensemble played while Black Lightning handled the Markovians.  

Yellow Gold by Andy Allo played when Anissa and Grace were at the park.  

Finally, the beautiful song Tomorrow by Jorja Smith played during Khalil’s service.  

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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