We’re back from the break!
Starting on the right foot, Supergirl would have easily won this week with Legion of Superheroes with my favorite new cast member, Brainiac 5. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten Streaky the cat either. That doesn’t make The Flash the winner either with The Trial of the Flash, which was a bit of a downer to watch and only spared some levity for Killer Frost’s appearance. No, the winning episode this week goes to the really thunderous introduction of Black Lightning as it debuts with The Resurrection. Not because it was funny or dark but because it brought some real issues to the foreground first and a real need for a return of the superhero motif.
Let’s begin with the Girl of Steel.
Highs, Lows and Quarl Dox:
- Supergirl’s fallout from the battle with Reign is not waved away. She is deep in a coma, one where her conscience seems trapped in her personal comfort zone. That which is her loft.
- This is where newcomer Quarl Dox a.k.a Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath) really steps in as a breath of fresh air. He’s quirky, he’s funny, he’s supposed to be crazy smart yet charming as a button. He’s also playing against type as he might feel like the trope of the computer-alien but he seems to really care about healing Kara.
- Oh yeah, Mon-El is still in the show. Is he? Guess he is. He’s all Back-To-Future-Doc-Brown here talking about not getting involve to prevent altering history blah blah. Imra gets one brownie point for making him change his mind and joining the fight.
- Streaky the cat finally appears! The feline who is comic-book-canon believe it or not, is Kara’s mascot. Too bad it’s just in memory, but he would’ve been the most adorable thing in the show had we not have Brainiac 5.
- We get a scene of J’onn J’onzz playing Kara which means it’s really a scene of Melissa Benoist doing some David Harewood impersonation. You know what? Melissa sold it.
- No, I’m still not sold on Lena and Jimmy Olsen as a couple. It’s not the worst thing in the world but it feels kinda forced. Also, it means that Lena’s storyline right now is going to be Jimmy Olsen. I prefer to see her making power plays, bringing down other would-be billionaires and so forth.
- Thomas Coville is back. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Who? The preacher-like character that seems to know more about the Kryptonian culture than anybody else. Seems he will become an ally of Reign. Yes, Chad Lowe does a decent job creepin’ him up, but I fail to see him as a real threat. Definitely not compared to Reign (Odette Annable), so I don’t think he really adds that much to the equation.
Guess we don’t want to miss the trial of The Flash…
Highs, Lows and Courtroom Drama:
- Well… I’m sorry to say The Flash finishes last of the three this week. I wasn’t really amped for a courtroom drama and we all know that Barry was going to go to the slammer.
- I literally guessed it right down to the point that Barry was given his Dad’s old cell. You knew the show was going there since the midseason finale.
- Cecille Horton momentarily suspends her duties as district attorney to act as Barry’s lawyer. She does ok, but again the only possible ending here was Barry getting convicted. Anything else would just throw out the entire threat of DeVoe and his seemingly infallible master plan.
- The saving grace for me is that moment in which Cisco and Harry Wells have to help scare Caitlin Snow into bringing forth her alter ego, Killer Frost. That was a funny scene and that was the only entertainment I got from the entire episode.
- Have you notice how Killer Frost is often called up to intervene but for some silly contrivance the effects of her actions have to be minimized? In other words, she’s suddenly the obvious solution to a problem but the show will not let her win the day because it has to be The Flash who wins? I know this sounds jaded but it keeps happening almost every time she’s called to action.
- I did like the scene in which Joe West is willing to sacrifice his morals and his sense of justice for his son. He doesn’t do it, but it was a powerful scene because it illustrated in Joe West’s resolution what parents are willing to sacrifice to save their children. To see Joe like that was just heartbreaking.
- There’s a small scene in which Barry interrupts Iris and apparently pulls her into a dimensional pocket of speed just to talk to her. Yes, it was cute. Still, not enough to uplift the show.
- The rest of the show, weighted heavily due to the impending trial was a little bit of a bore. I mean, not only predictable but it just felt dull for the most part. Even the baddie of the week, nuclear meltdown and all, was a bit of drudge to sit through.
And now for the newcomer and best episode this week… Black Lightning!
Highs, Lows and Avenging Justice:
- Black Lightning did not come to play by the same rules than previous CW superhero show. Freeland is so much closer to the real world where racism, injustice, corruption, prejudice and choices are all compromises that real life African-Americans face every day.
- As a matter of fact, we’re given a front seat to the life of Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), a retired superhero, an African-American living in a city that feels it could exist anywhere in the U.S. of A and divorced father of two young girls. That means he has to deal with being stopped by the police, a daughter that gets in trouble for protesting the system, Annisa (Nafessa Williams) and a daughter that just wants to get in trouble, Jennifer (China Anne McClain).
- Jefferson does not want to go back to heroics. His alter ego was just seen as a vigilante. He’s trying to patch things up with ex wife Lynn (Christine Adams) with whom he still has a lot of chemistry. She’s also one of the few that knows his secret.
- The other person and accomplice to Jefferson’s heroics is Peter Gambi (James Remar), a tailor which makes Jefferson’s Black Lightning suit amongst other gadgets. Essentially a mix of James Bond’s Q and Batman’s Alfred. He’s also something of a mentor.
- Jefferson Pierce is an interesting character. In a different setting, a superhero does most of the important talking while the secret identity smiles knowingly. In this setting, Jefferson is a true member of the community while Black Lightning is a force of nature, the means to deliver an avenging brand of justice that then disappears in the night. There are no parties thrown to honor Black Lightning.
- As the school principal, he’s also a man that makes compromises as he keeps the gangs away in person. Already an imposing figure, it’s really hard for him to back down from confrontation even as a former student turned drug dealer admonishes one of his child workers.
- Eventually Jennifer’s antics get both her and her sister in trouble, resulting in Black Lightning’s comeback. First in a club and then in a motel where both Jennifer and Annisa are kidnapped. The danger is then all too real, and even Jefferson’s apparent friendship with police inspector Henderson (Damon Gupton) doesn’t seem to matter.
- Black Lightning himself is a presence, a threat to enemies both from the underworld and the corrupted law enforcement of Freeland. But it’s actually Jefferson Pierce who’s the hero and the inspiration to the community that surrounds him. Unfortunately for him, the criminal underworld is now alert to both.
- Finally the only thing that seemed an ill fit was the villain, Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) who makes an almost James-Bond-esque appearance as he feeds a lowly minion to his piranhas and later on shoots drug dealer Lala with a freaking harpoon gun. Then again, it’s too soon to judge him on such a brief appearance.
That will do for now.