Finding hope, meaning, and purpose brought the Pierce family out on top
The season finale of Black Lightning begins with a flashback of a young Jefferson Pierce and his father walking down the streets of Freeland. Gambi (James Remar) shows up to berate Alvin about getting Tobias (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) arrested and indicted. They argue about the dangers of him turning Tobias into the authorities. The next scene is of Jefferson at his father’s funeral with a torn Gambi looking at him from the shadows. When a riot breaks out in Freeland, we see Jefferson running from the cops, but he doesn’t make it back home because his powers make an appearance, successfully knocking him out, with Gambi coming from the shadows to take him home.
Flashing back to the present, we see the family hovering over Jefferson (Cress Williams) – waiting for him to wake up. On the porch, Jennifer (China Anne Mcclain) asks Gambi about Tobias and Syonide – where he tells her the backstory of how Syonide and Tobias became such a close-knit team. We also learn about how the spine in Khalil’s (Jordan Calloway) back is both helping and hurting him. Now down to four subjects, Martin Proctor (Gregg Henry) orders everyone to find Black Lightning, Thunder, and Lala.
When Jefferson starts showing complications from his powers, the family starts to panic. In a dream sequence of an adult Jefferson talking to his father, he tells Jeff that he is proud of him and encourages him to wake up. Jefferson pops up out of the bed but without his powers. When the ASA shows up near Jefferson’s old home in the woods, the family has to think of a quick plan to get out of the house. Although he’s powerless, Jefferson suits up anyway but before he can leave out the door, Jennifer’s powers spark up and she runs to hug Jefferson– essentially fueling him and restoring his powers.
Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jefferson head outside to fight off the ASA with the plan to meet Jennifer, Lynn (Christine Adams), and Gambi at the van to make an escape. When they successfully make it out, we see the Pierce family and Gambi surrounding Proctor. Even after escaping Tobias, Proctor wasn’t able to make it out alive. Gambi shoots him down and disposes of the body, leaving the family to help the children still inside the pods. At the conclusion of the episode, Tobias is sitting at his desk (with Proctor’s severed thumbs) opening a briefcase declaring himself the “King of Freeland” and a war on Black Lightning once again. Black Lightning delivered an amazing finale, so let’s see some final thoughts from our roundtable!
Here to discuss this family affair is our Black Lightning roundtable:
Nicollz (@mspurple360) – singer, activist, lover of all things gay
Makayla (@keiyswally) – Kid Flash enthusiast
Caitlin (@wlwcaitlin) – Writer and fictional lady enthusiast
Jenn (@ejtlotz) – Multi-fandom, DCTV enthusiast, and occasional live tweeter
Brianna (@notevenloaded) – Iris West/Candice Patton enthusiast and MCU apologist.
1. What were your favorite music and regular moments from the finale?
Nicollz (@mspurple360):The ending with family affair playing in the background. It was an accumulation of the entire season and everything they’ve accomplished and succeeded at as a family. It has always been at the heart of it.
Makayla (@keiyswally): If I’m being honest, I can’t choose which track was my favorite. Black Lightning has proved to have one of the best soundtracks. As for my favorite scene, it was definitely when Jennifer used her powers. It happened a few times throughout the episode, but every time I just loved it more and more.
Caitlin (@wlwcaitlin): Both the family fight scene and when they escaped was pretty epic. It’s cool to see them working together as a full team, with Lynn and Gambi involved as well.
Jenn (@ejtlotz): Oh this is easy, I tweeted about it. It was definitely the second half of the fight scene after Thunder got caught in the bubble, Lynn shoots the men invading the house, Jennifer uses her powers to save her mom, and they all end up safe in the van. Like I said on Twitter, that scene was a masterpiece in every realm possible. The music, the cinematography, the choreography, it was perfection.
Brianna (@notevenloaded): I loved them playing Timmy Turner by Desiigner, I got a kick out of that. The music on this show is phenomenal.
2. What were your thoughts on the flashback scenes? How did you feel during the scene between Jefferson and his father?
Nicollz: I enjoyed that scene. It gave him some closure that he probably wasn’t aware he needed. Also, it showed some insight into their relationship through the years. He’s always wanted justice for his dad and that flashback helped get him back where he belonged to finish what he set out to do in the first place.
Makayla: The flashbacks were definitely emotional. They let you see a little behind why Jefferson is the way he is. His father was clearly a huge part of that. In the last flashback, when his father told him he couldn’t stay, was my favorite. It honestly brought me to tears a little and I’m glad we got to see that side of Jefferson.
Caitlin: I thought it was a nice touch. Jefferson’s father was a key player in the main plot with the discovery of the kids, so it made sense to round it off with him.
Jenn: I loved them. I especially liked how we got some scenes of Gambi and Jeff’s father alone just to give us a bit more insight into what was going on and what their relationship was like. We also get to see where Jefferson learned all the philosophical and inspiring words he teaches his students. It is clear his father had a substantial impact on Jefferson’s life and growth into adulthood.
Brianna: I absolutely loved how the flashback scenes were filmed; the contrast of Jefferson’s blue lightning in the black and white was so cool. I enjoyed the scene between Jefferson and his father, and I like that we got to see more of Jefferson’s past.
3. Out of all the characters, who do you think had the most progression this season?
Nicollz: I feel like Anissa really grew gradually within each episode. In the beginning, she was trying to make a difference but didn’t always go about it the right way, which lead her into trouble at times. Even with the use of her power, through practice and training, she learned control and how to be more alert and ready for the unexpected.
Makayla: Jennifer most definitely had the most progression. It was slow, but hers was absolutely the best. She went from wanting to get rid of her powers to embracing them and using them to help. The reason I think it was Jennifer is because she’s grown so much since she discovered her powers. She has shown so much growth, not only with her powers but with her attitude towards her family and friends as well.
Caitlin: I want to say Anissa, but I really think Jennifer has grown the most, especially in the last few episodes!
Jenn: I am stuck between the two Pierce sisters. They both progressed and developed, but at different levels. Jennifer definitely matured as a teenager and a hero. She started the season kind of lost; the last two episodes really wrapped up Jennifer’s development nicely. She starts learning the truth and understanding everything around her. Her powers are a tool that she used to save her family; she is now embracing that. Anissa started out in a relationship, so I think she needed to end that and be on her own. This season was all about her growing into her powers, becoming Thunder, learning about her family history, and embracing who she is as a hero while dealing with the relationships around her. I discussed this with Nafessa at ClexaCon. Even though they went on two separate paths, I think the end result was beautiful.
Brianna: Honestly, I think I’m going to go with Jennifer. All of the characters have had a lot of growth but I think Jennifer has steadily been progressing as a character in all aspects of her character – she has come a long way from that girl in the club. I’ve also loved seeing the progression of Jefferson and Lynn’s relationship.
4. Jennifer is embracing her powers in all kinds of ways! How do you think she will play into the mix with Anissa and Jefferson?
Nicollz: It’s hard to say at this point in time since she only just started using them towards the end of the season. They will be a force to be reckoned with that much I do know.
Makayla: As happy as I am that she’s embracing her powers, I think she’s still going to want to take it slow. Next season, I’m sure we’ll continue to see her slowly get into the field more as she becomes more comfortable with her powers. I think Anissa and Jefferson are going to be supportive of her, and help her as she learns. Eventually, I hope to see them all fighting together.
Caitlin: I think she’s more likely to get in trouble than the others. She’s a little more impulsive with her powers, and may not have the maturity to handle them properly yet.
Jenn: I think this dynamic will leave plenty of room for wit and humor, as always, but also for more development. Jennifer likes to listen to her heart when dealing with anything. Her decisions on Khalil as well as saving her family this season proved that. But that method is dangerous. Jefferson had to teach Anissa the same thing, sometimes you have to lead with your head. However, something tells me it is gonna take a bit longer for Jen to learn that than it did Anissa.
Brianna: I think Jennifer will still be hesitant to use her powers proactively but will use them as a reaction like she did in tonight’s finale when the ASA goon was about to shoot her and Lynn.
5. Lynn said she may have a way to help the kids in the pods. How do you think they will help these kids?
Nicollz: The research from Jefferson’s father may come back into play. Maybe by using a sample from Jennifer, Anissa and Jeff she can create an antidote to stabilize them and help them use their gifts for good once they get them out.
Makayla: Lynn is a scientist, so I’m assuming some of the work she’s done while looking into Jefferson might be what she’s going to use to help. I can’t be entirely sure what she’s going to do, but I’m hoping she’s able to keep the people in the pods alive and stable.
Caitlin: I’m not sure, but I’m glad that particular storyline isn’t done and dusted just yet. It’s also cool to see Lynn weaving herself into the main story as well, besides just being a mother and wife.
Jenn: I have no idea. Science and medicine are nowhere near my fields of expertise, but I trust Lynn. Her superpower is her mind; that woman is incredible. I’m just gonna let her do her thing and see what happens.
Brianna: I’m not sure? Obviously, Lynn is brilliant though so I think (and hope) whatever she has up her sleeve will work out.
6. Tobias said that he’s now the “King of Freeland”! Now that he has whatever is in that briefcase, what do you think his next move will be?
Nicollz: If the green tint was a hint on what was inside the briefcase my guess is the main supply of Green Light – which is bad news because he will make sure it’s distributed throughout Freeland and that outcome could prove disastrous.
Makayla: I think Tobias is too smart to go after Black Lightning again so soon. I’m thinking he’s going to end up getting control over the pods and those who are inside. I think that as soon as he has them under his control and can use them as an army, is when he’ll go after Black Lightning and Thunder again.
Caitlin: Oh, I’m sure he has some world domination type move up his sleeve. He’ll have to build up his ranks and power again if he has any hope of taking on Jefferson, Anissa and now Jennifer.
Jenn: I think we have to know what’s in that briefcase to understand his next move. There’s a lot of questions here. Is there another person in a position of power that Tobias wants to take out? What is Tobias’ endgame? Will he immediately use what’s in the briefcase or does he even understand what it is yet? This leaves room for so many fan theories.
Brianna: I think he’s going to try and take over every aspect of Freeland that’s left and corrupt any place that’s been left uncorrupted.
7. What was your favorite episode of the season?
Nicollz: I really enjoyed the finale it was a great mixture of everything from the whole season they still had impactful moments that relate to real life especially within the black community. It had plenty of action and most of all heart. Anything I could’ve asked for in a finale– they delivered.
Makayla: My favorite episode was absolutely 1×08. That’s when Jennifer first discovered her powers. As much as I loved the episodes where she sort of explores them, I love the initial shock she had when it first happened. The finale is definitely a close second because Jennifer seemed so confident with her powers. Jennifer is obviously my favorite so I love any episode involving her.
Caitlin: The last couple of episodes were really solid, and I’ll definitely always have a soft spot for episode 3 since that’s where we first see Grace.
Jenn: I am not answering this. I absolutely despise questions that ask my favorite anything because my thoughts are constantly changing. Tonight I would say the finale because it was phenomenal and it is still fresh in my mind, but I know there were multiple episodes this season that were just as powerful, therefore I cannot answer this.
Brianna: I think 1×10 and 1×11 are my favorite episodes this season. I can’t wait for season 2!!
Black Lightning’s season finale brought the action and heart to conclude this family affair
Black Lightning’s season finale was the perfect ending to a near-perfect season of a superhero show. It had a great balance of action, drama, comedy, and even managed to throw in some heartfelt moments. This show is truly all about the family affair. It was so great to see this family act as one. Seeing the girls and their dad run home just like in the first episode was a nice way to end it, especially since this time the whole family was at the home together— Lynn included. The music for the episode was perfect, as always. It gave us all the feels in the flashback scenes of Jefferson and his father. It also made the action scenes that much more enjoyable to watch!
Again this week, Jennifer showed herself to be a standout player in the battle. Without her being able to restore Jefferson’s powers, the Pierce family could have been in a world of trouble. She’s already shown so much progression in this first season and seems to be ready to go all in with her powers. She even used her father’s line to describe her powers– “It’s a gift from God.” We’re so glad that we can already see some of the benefits of her superpowers and we cannot wait to see more of her embracing them!
We also cannot go without mentioning Cress Williams’ phenomenal performance in the dream sequence with his father. It was a moment for Jefferson to get the closure he needed and to finally embrace the reason he was doing all of this. It wasn’t just to protect himself and his family, it was also to protect the children that had been taken. He’s always kept his father’s motto close to him, but in the finale, he finally became empowered by them just as much as his students at Garfield do. It was a lovely moment to see him have and Williams portrayed the emotion of that scene perfectly.
We’re also happy that they finally took down Proctor. It’s good to know that he was working on a rogue mission and not through the ASA. Maybe, they’re not as bad as we thought. It does make us wonder what happens to all of the people that were working under him. Will they work for Tobias now? Will they just slip back into the regular business of the ASA? Who knows, but hopefully we’ll find out in season two. This season is wrapped up but we’ll definitely be back for more of the Pierce family next season!