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Black Lightning – S1E1 – The Resurrection

It took me about 20 minutes to really get into Black Lightning, but once I arrived I was all in. I needed this show to be Black as fuck. I needed it to be so Black that my two White podcast co-hosts would be uncomfortable. I needed it to be so Black my co-hosts wouldn’t be able to pronounce some of the names. Y’all, this show is Black as fuck and good as fuck.

Photo: The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

High school principal Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is trying to keep the crime and violence that has saturated the city of Freeland from infecting Garfield High. This becomes hard to do when his daughter and Garfield student, Jennifer (China Anne McClain), runs afoul of a member of the city’s biggest gang The 100. When she and her older sister, Anissa (Nafessa Williams), are kidnapped by the gang, Jefferson is forced to bring his alter ago, Black Lightning, out of retirement.

Armed with the power to harness and discharge electricity and with a badass suit thanks to his very own “Alfred,” Peter Gambi (James Remar), Jefferson rescues his girls, but not before the gang’s leader, Lala (William Catlett), gets away. However, Lala’s good fortune is short lived. The big boss, Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III), harpoons Lala through the shoulder and demands he handle this “imposter.” Seeing as how Tobias is the one who “killed” Black Lightning nine years ago, it’s bad for business if the community believes their hero is back.

It’s Lit 

There’s a lot to love here. Some of the overacting that proved to be a distraction during the first 20 minutes eventually settled down so that the story could take over. Our hero’s predicament is an interesting one. He left the superhero game after it contributed to his divorce. Just when it appears he and his ex, Lynn (Christine Adams), may be on the road to reconciliation, his community needs a hero like never before.

So much of the dialogue feels authentic, which is a welcome change from the many shows with Black characters being written by non-Black writers. Anissa referring to Jennifer and her friend as “fast-ass” and Jefferson saying “Aun-ties” are just a few of the small, but meaningful, touches that a Black audience will appreciate.

As badass as the title character is, I’m most excited by the reveal that Anissa is developing powers of her own.

Recharge

Hopefully some of Jennifer’s recklessness will disappear as the series progresses. In the same scene where you’re showing how abuses of power from police can quickly escalate, often with deadly outcomes, it felt silly to have her flashing her camera’s light in the cops face and taunting, “Doesn’t feel good, does it?”

What did you think of the Black Lightning premiere? Leave your thoughts below or on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast.

Black Lightning S1E1 Review Score
  • 8/10
    Plot - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Dialogue - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Action - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Performances - 8/10
8.1/10

"The Resurrection"

Starring: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III, Damon Gupton, James Remar, William Catlett, Gregg Henry | Director: Salim Akil

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User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on Amazon.com for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

18 Comments on Black Lightning – S1E1 – The Resurrection

  1. I needed this to be good. It just had to be, but the early trailers had that first season Legends of Tomorrow treatment. It looked terribly corny and Black Lightning did not look threatening. Mara Brock Akil and her crew exceeded my expectations. Seeing this black family working out together and divorced parents successfully co-parenting their children is one of the best parts of the show. Growing up, I had a neighbor who was married and had two girls
    He and his two girls would run the high school track together, the scene with Jeff, Anissa and Jennifer resonated with me. Lala put on his best Marlo from The Wire and Tobias is sufficiently frightening. I’m all in on Black Lightning and look forward to this podcast. Glad you guys are back on my podcast roll call. <3

  2. FOR THE PODCAST: I don’t know shit about Black Lightning, but I am here for it. This was a pretty good first episode. I liked that it wasn’t an origin story. Instead it’s a rebirth story. That is a cool way to bring us into this world. I am also glad that in an episode where there were so many niggas without facial hair that they decided to give Black Lightning a beard. If he was walking around with a naked face I wouldn’t trust his ass enough to even watch. Anyway, it looks like we are off to a good start. I am interested in learning more about BL, his powers, foes, etc. Also, I’m not into shipping at all, but I am rooting for him and his fine ass ex to get back together at some point. Good Lord that woman is beautiful. That woman at the school is too. In fact, since we now have this show I need all the black folks from the other CW DC Comics shows to make appearances on Black Lightning at some point. That’s it for now. I’ll holla next week.

  3. FOR THE PODCAST:

    This show is blackity-black and I love it. I do think it’s a bit corny, some of the line delivery was a bit over the top, and the villains are too on the nose, but Cress Williams been my dude since Scooter on In Living Single, and I love me some James Remar. I hope China Anne McClain continues how she was in this episode and doesn’t let that Disney acting seep out. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season because we NEED this.

  4. For the podcast

    I won’t go in on this show with jokes until I know more about these folks, but be prepared for me to crack jokes in the future. That’s how you know I love the show! Just a few random ass thoughts.

    1.Metal detectors in school don’t do shit! A kid at my high school still brought a gun and shot himself in the foot.
    2.Latavious is the blackest name ever! I ain’t calling that tracksuit wearing man la la. Fuck that. Momma named him Latavious…well y’all know the rest.
    3.Blackning Shug Knighted ole dude and fried his soul at that motel. He better be dead because fuck him. Speaking of death, The Black Light used that man as a shield and I loved it. We have a Black ASS CW SHOW!

  5. This was a great first episode. The first 10-15 fucked with me emotionally, I think I’m still processing cause it felt a bit close to home, being black and all. I like the daughters being able to defend themselves but also the fact that powers soon come from them.
    The Jidenna/lex Luther looking villain reminded me of the luke cage villain. Everytime he was on screen I started laughing so he helped make the show feel less serious.

    I think this was a very good season opener but this is also the CW. I’m looking forward to where the show is going. Can’t wait to here you guys speak about this and I hope John and Donny don’t shy back. But John be mad sassy nowadays and Donny’s got his old black man laugh down so probably now. Thanks Nina! Can’t wait to listen!

  6. For the Podcast

    Black 👏🏾Lightning 👏🏾is 👏🏾EVERY 👏🏾DAMN👏🏾 THING👏🏾

    Great premiere! This show is so black!! Love everything about it! It’s officially replaced the Flash as my fav DCTV show.

    That’s it! I can’t wait to hear this podcast!

  7. Hi Nina, Donnie and John. I’m glad you guys are podcasting BL. As for my feedback, i was just happy that the show didn’t go the Luke Cage route, for the pilot anyways. I am not fond of that show.

    For a pilot, it did its job well. It introduced the major characters and showed us enough to connect to them as people, present the working mythology of the series and a few teases for things we can be excited for. I sure as hell I’m looking forward to Anissa and Jennifer fully manifesting their powers and for Jefferson and Lynne to get back together cause they make a very cute couple and have great chemistry. And for once, the woman wasn’t fifty shades lighter than the man. A true rarity. Nina, you know what I’m talking about.

    Anyways, while I didn’t appreciate the use of “fast” twice by Annisa to describe her sister(side-eyeing the writers who thought I wanted to listen to that misogynistic word in my superhero fantasy show) nor did I like the overt “black lives matter” and “activism” elements of the show, I thought they handled it better than I expected. I watch superhero shows as an escapism. I really don’t need them to make it very realistic and tackle every issue black people face in this country in every episode. It will turn me off eventually and its too much of a burden for the only black superhero family we have on television. That said, I cheered very loudly when BL killed that asshole gang member who kidnapped his daughters after having the nerve to say shit to Annisa like “Why do black girls always have an attitude?” Well bitch, we do when men we’re supposed to trust and depend on are the ones who victimize us the most and disrespect us every which way. If BL and the girls take down black men like him and Latavious, I’ll be fine. Misogynistic, bastards.
    Anyways, I love the mum, I love Jefferson himself. He’s such a sweetheart and already won me over when he stood in that living room, looking serene as hell like he wasn’t bleeding, all so he could get his wife back. I would have been sweating and looking like a someone farted in my face. Not him.
    Tobias scares the shit out of me. How does that actor walk around without making people run away from him because he looks like a villain.

    And Nina and John, I thought China who plays Jennifer did amazing. Leave that girl alone. You didn’t have to insult her that badly Nina by comparing her to Danielle Panabaker.

    Anyways, thanks for reading.

  8. Hey guys, I’m really excited for your Black Lightning coverage. (I put how to pronounce my name at the bottom)
    1.) Jennifer was acting mad dumb waving that phone light around in that officer’s face. In a show that otherwise portrayed black people as black instead of as white people with dark skin (@grandma Esther’s noodle dish), that moment felt really out of place given the fact that no black kid her age is unaware of what the police can and will do to black people.
    2.) Also, seeing as Jefferson is “Freeland’s Black Jesus”, why does no one on the police force recognize him as such? Both in the beginning scene and later after the fight at club 100?
    3.) I hope that this show ultimately has an arc of the police being the antagonists. Even more so, I hope that such an arc is written such that (white) people watching take it not as an exaggerated anomaly written for entertainment, but as a dramatization of the real issues in modern policing. But this is also the CW so idk.

    That’s it thanks for the podcast. (Eh-KEM-ee-knee)

  9. For the podcast:

    I hope I make it on time! I agree that some of this was over acted, but overall, I am very excited about this show! This was a great pilot, and I hope that the show stays around. I’m interested to see how it fits in with the other DC CW shows. Here’s hoping for some good cross overs like the last one!! Thanks for podcasting a new show!

  10. Ok. I loved that it started with the oldest literally protesting. The whole I’m trying to change the world. I think it follows well with the ending that she just might be able to have the power to do just that.

    I think highlighting all the current issues for the black folks in this country right now was so powerful. I might come with my list but police brutality, domestic human trafficking (that gets such low attention here), & the metal detectors debate.

    I loved that the daughters were no damsels in distress. I can’t even begin to celebrate that. I did think that when Latavious (not even going to address him using a gun to be called LaLa) said get rid of them after saying their father was like Black Jesus made no sense. Didn’t he know that when he first tried to pimp the youngest out for repayment?

    I think everyone still wonders why he zapped the white dude. I think he did it because he was a john soliciting sex from girls that had no choices so he deserved that zap.

    Now I’m still bothered that mom was like I want a divorce over him trying to save “other” people but when it came to her daughters she was like “thank you!” I get it but that is some BS. She was still trying to check his body to see if he was lying to her. He got hurt saving his freaking daughter and she was all “is he back?”Yeah, naw, I know he wanted his woman back but she needed a reality check.

    Lastly, dudes got some serious eye candy in this series just hoping there might be a bit of a balanced shift of the eye candy for sistas. Just asking for a friend.

  11. I have loved Black Lightening since the beginning. Loved Cress Williams since Living Single and Fallen. I enjoyed the chaotic violence in the beginning as it sets the tone for BL’s return. Can’t wait to see his daughters’ power manifest, but they are badass already. I agree with Ada it’s a disconnect for me to have Annisa’s pejorative use of “fast” when she wouldn’t tolerateJennifer’s disrespectful use of “bitch.”

  12. I like this show, but the sub villain has to go. He was hella disrespectful. How are you, as an adult gonna make another adult call you by your nickname during a serious conversation? Nope! I cringed harder than Jefferson. The only LaLa I acknowledge is Anthony and her post separation IG page.

  13. For the podcast
    I don’t usually watch these type of shows but curiosity got the best of me so I gave it a shot! I really enjoyed the episode-found it engrossing!
    BL is not the sleek, chiseled superhero like Black Panther but he’s cool-tall, handsome, beefy-I can work w/it😍
    The women are beautiful.
    The action was good, great villain-I’ll be tuning in albeit on demand or Hulu because the show time conflicts w/my tues tv viewing.
    I’m glad there’ll be a podcast for this show-thanks! 😁

  14. I’m late by an episode but let me start off by saying welcome by– back Nina, Donald and John!

    Missed the flash, but I’m not losing sleep. Due to my questionable cable provider, I had to watch Black Lightning in standard def. Shit was still great though. I won’t repeat much mentioned here but the show won me over when they came back from a commercial break with Sampha’s “Blood on Me”

    My response was, “oh shit? We’re doing this? I’m all the way in!”

    Looking forward to how this show develops, and of course your reviews. Peace!

  15. FOR THE PODCAST:

    WE BLYKE! I knew this shit was gonna be 🔥 when they opened with Strange Fruit. I’m here for this Black ass family with their Black ass powers on this Black ass show. I didn’t even know James Remar was going to be on the show because I didn’t know they’d cast any white folks. I really like Anissa and I’m here for all the stuff I know is coming down the road for her. I also really loved the stuff with Tyler and Latavius (I ain’t calling no grown man Lala). Getting into issues of Black male aggression and toxicity. They touched on so much in this first episode. How soon do you think it is before Jefferson and Lynn hit dem sheets? 😏 Can’t wait to hear the podcast! Love y’all! Oh and shout out to Roland Martin pointing out that ‘cism. Black Lightning is a vigilante but The Flash and nem are heroes? *insert that gif of the Black dude making that mmmhmm face*

  16. For the podcast
    Sorry if this is too late…..but for Barry he can sit in that jail and rot. No more white shenanigans, no more white woman tears that everyone falls for, no more “gee whiz guys i’m just a lovable fuckup”. We got some grown ass black excellence on the CW. I know they paid a grip for the music rights but I don’t care because it was on point. I love having a hero I can relate to. That’s it. Black history month came early. Black Historyyyyyyyyyyy

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