Black Lightning Season 2 Episode 3 Recap A Rare Overstuffed Mess

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first_img Black Lightning has made great effort to separate itself from the rest of the CW superhero shows. It’s adverse to cameos and crossovers. It eschews villains of the week in favor of a serialized arc. It’s about a specific city just as much as it’s about its hero. As we saw this week though, that can all lead to its own problems. When every character has their own important story, it’s sometimes hard to choose which one to focus on. Last night’s episode tried to do all of them. It didn’t work.We get to see Black Lightning in full superhero mode to kick off the episode. A woman given artificial strength by Green Light escapes police custody in a hospital, and is about to crush a bunch of cops with a dumpster. Fortunately, these are some of Freeland’s good cops. The kind that don’t go straight to lethal force the second they have the slightest excuse. These seem to be the only ones, but nice to know they exist. Black Lightning is able to peacefully incapacitate her and make sure Freeland’s precious limited resource of decent police officers isn’t unnecessarily depleted. If only the rest of his tasks were so easy. Gambi’s been searching for video evidence of Syonide and Tobias’ attack on the school, but all the security cameras conveniently cut out just before they arrived. The only proof they were there exists on Jefferson’s goggles, which are inadmissible in court.Jordan Calloway as Khalil/Painkiller and Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Tobias (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/The CW)For his part, Tobias is rebuilding with Khalil’s help. Now that Syonide is gone, Khalil has to take up her collection duties. To that end, Tobias is conditioning him to be the cold, brutal gangster he needs. That sweet boy who awkwardly flirted with Jennifer on the roof in Season One has never been further away. When Tobias sends him after a dealer testing the boundaries, Khalil accidentally puts a dart in the guy’s neck. He walks out of the club like he meant to do that, but he’s clearly conflicted. He may not have meant to kill today, but if he continues down this path, it won’t be long before he does. Is this who Khalil really wants to be? He puts on a brave face in front of Tobias and Black Lightning, but he’s not as sure as he presents himself. Especially when, as Black Lightning soon finds out, he still tries to be a good son.While investigating the death of a corrupt detective whose body and car were burned, Henderson finds himself needing Black Lightning’s help. There’s only one person who hasn’t been locked up yet that can so thoroughly destroy evidence, and he’s not talking. Henderson reluctantly asks Black Lightning for some help. He’s capable of being much more convincing, after all. Black Lightning interrogates the evidence arsonist and learns he was threatened into doing the job. By a kid with gladiator hands. Khalil’s been doing dirt for Tobias for a while now. Black Lightning’s confrontation with Khalil doesn’t go anywhere for now, but it at least gave us a good action scene. And Black Lightning may have had an ulterior motive here. He bates Khalil into shooting a dart at him, which he catches in a ball of lightning. Because, if you remember that one quick line from way back at the beginning of the episode, Gambi wanted to study one that hadn’t been altered by Jefferson’s electric DNA. So… was that the point of all this? This week’s episode of Black Lightning was a mess. It tried to advance every story and ended up advancing none of them. It introduced some cool ideas, sure, but never got around to doing anything with them. If there’s any bright side, it’s that we can be optimistic for next week. It set up some potentially great stories for the future. If the show can give them the time they need. It even ended with a legitimately shocking moment that lends some more intrigue to the next episode. Right as Tobias Whale is paying respect to Syonide, Detective Henderson walks up behind him with a whole squad of cops. They got an anonymous tip, and Tobias is headed for prison. Well… didn’t see that coming. It at least opens up a few questions for the next episode to explore. Who called in the tip? Khalil seems like the obvious choice. He was clearly shaken after his encounter with Black Lightning. Maybe enough to try and secure a way out from under Tobias’ grasp. An even harder question though, is what does Jefferson do now? If Tobias is truly going away, does he have a reason to put on the suit anymore?Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CWPreviously on Black Lightning:‘Black Lightning’ Season 2, Episode 2 Recap‘Black Lightning’ Season 2 Premiere Recap Stay on target Hold the applause… #BlackLightning starts NOW on The CW! pic.twitter.com/7g8oXVkUaR— Black Lightning (@blacklightning) October 24, 2018That right there is really the problem with this whole episode. It never quite gets where it’s going. Alone, the above story could have made for a fine episode of Black Lightning. Or if it was paired with one good B-story. Instead, this episode tried to give all its ongoing plot threads some screen time, and brought none to a satisfying conclusion. Development started to happen in each one, but they never went anywhere after that. Anissa reconnects with Grace, which could and will probably lead to a great love story one day. For now though, it’s a single scene of apologizing and a hint that it’ll lead to something later. The slow build would be fine if the rest of Anissa’s story justified itself. Instead, that’s just more of the same from last week. She learns of a new cause that needs immediate funding, a free clinic about to close, and she busts a drug deal to get the money. Again, it’s a great fight scene, especially with Gambi getting in on the action as a sniper. But we just saw this story last week. It doesn’t matter how flashy you are if you keep repeating yourself.Jennifer’s story felt especially shorted this week. It introduced a really interesting premise and then did almost nothing with it. To help her learn to accept her powers, Lynn and Jefferson hire a woman who can create a mental plane where she can explore her powers safely. That has so much potential, and after last night… it still does. We see her create a gold box to put her feelings in while she explores her abilities. Later, we’re told she’s going to explore what her feelings are. All we get is a brief glimpse of her on fire and screaming. To be fair, that’s an attention-grabbing image. It definitely assures that I’ll be here next week to figure out what that was. But that’s all we get from this story this week. Set-up is fine and necessary in serialized television, but you have to give us some indication of what you’re setting up.Erika Alexander as Perenna and China Anne McClain as Jennifer (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/The CW) Top Movie and TV Trailers You Might Have Missed This Week’Black Lightning’ Season 2 Finale Recap: Preparing for War last_img read more