This Week In DC TV: Introducing Black Lightning!

It’s been a while folks, and Happy New Year!

The Arrowverse took a break over the holidays, which left us off with some interesting cliffhangers.  On Supergirl, Kara got dealt with her first official L in the show’s history as she faced off against Reign.  Samantha finally revealed her true nature as Reign, and the bringer of Earth’s destruction, and there was little Kara could do to stop her.  On The Flash, Barry continued to fall victim of The Thinker and all of his plans.  This left Barry is a world of trouble as DeVoe transferred his consciousness into a new body and blaming Barry for killing his “old” body, just as the police arrived for Barry to discover the body.  We’re going to have to wait a little while for Legends of Tomorrow to return and see what John Constantine has to offer the group as there’s a new player in the DC CW, Black Lightning (more on that in a bit).  Finally, on Arrow, Team Arrow has finally split up as Oliver didn’t trust Renee, Diana, and Curtis.  Meanwhile, Cayden James has assembled his own “Legion of Doom” out of foes of Oliver.

So how did the Arrowverse go this week?

Supergirl: “Legion of Superheroes”

Kara fought valiantly against Reign, but it wasn’t enough.  When this week’s episode begins, we think all is well as she awakens in her apartment.  At first, it seems like all is well.  She’s recuperated and everything’s back to normal.  Of course, that isn’t the case as soon as we meet a new character.  Kara soon meets Brainiac 5, one of Mon-El compatriots from the 31st Century.  Brainiac 5 is a member of Mon-El’s “Legion of Superheroes,” half computer, half alien, who Mon-El had to awaken from cryosleep to help Kara as she’s still in a coma.

Kara’s interactions with Brainiac 5 are going on while she is still in a coma, something that he forgot to remind her while they were going on about their conversation.  Brainiac, being a “12th Level Intellect,” is able to interact with her in her coma while also dealing with everyone at the DEO in the real world.

But there’s still a world-killer Kryptonian that we have to deal with.  Samantha, who doesn’t seem to realize that she’s Reign all the time, is enjoying a nice time with her daughter when she once again gets triggered by a vision and heads to her Fortress of Sanctuary where she receives instructions from her hologram guide.  As Reign, she has to install a new sense of “justice” in this world.  Instead of being like Kara and stopping criminals in a decent manner, her new task is to enact justice Punisher-style and straight up kill evil-doers.  She warns KatCo that she’s her and will instill justice the way she sees fit, and then she’s off to take out the trash.

Superman had the DEO get rid of their anti-Kryptonian weapons way back in season 2 (except for a few weapons), so there’s not much they can do.  They ask Mon-El if there is anything he and his team can do.  Mon-El isn’t so eager to help out though.  He knows that he and his team aren’t a complete match against an angry Kryptonian and they could risk death.  Their deaths would have a severe impact on the timeline and would result in more deaths than he would like to be responsible for.  

Kara’s body seems to have finally healed.  However, she’s having trouble leaving her subconscious.  Brainiac 5 (multitasking) realizes that she can’t leave her subconscious because she’s afraid.  She’s never been beaten within an inch of her life, and the new feeling has left her afraid, even though she won’t admit it.  She’s going to have to figure out a way to overcome her fear if she’s to stop Reign.

Mon-El and the rest of the Legion of Superheroes decide it’s worth the risk and engage Reign in battle.  He and Imra activate their Legion Flight Rings and engage in battle while Brainiac 5 operates their ship.  Reign seems to be able to hold off against them (as well as Martian Manhunter) for the most part as Brainiac 5 is distracted dealing with Kara in her subconscious as well.  She then tells Brainiac 5 to focus on the fight and leave her.  Kara then decides now is the time to step up.  She focuses on the memory of her cat, who reminds her of herself and she’s able to finally wake up.  Kara comes into the battle to tip the scales and defeats Reign (thanks to some Kryptonite) who is able to leave.  

Reign wake up later in her Fortress where her avatar tells her that there are more World Killers other than herself, so she now has her own evil team.

The Flash: “The Trial of The Flash”

Boy did Barry step into it this season on The Flash.  Finally meeting his match with DeVoe, he’s ended up the one place we never thought he would: outmatched.  As stated before, his enemy doesn’t have super speed, he has super intellect.  Anything Barry could have thought to do to stop him, the Thinker has already thought of it and was able to counter it.  Throughout the season, DeVoe has laid the breadcrumbs for Barry to end up in his current situation.

Which has led to his arrest.  He “harassed” DeVoe, which got the restraining order against him.  He spied on DeVoe’s house, which put his DNA all over the place.  Barry’s screwed.  No matter how many times he proclaims his innocence which we know to be true, he’s a guilty man.  The entire episode focuses on Barry’s trial for DeVoe’s death, and all bases are covered, DeVoe even made Barry’s occupation as a forensic expert for the Central City police department make him seem like Dexter.  Hell, I would have convicted him.

Cecile does her best to represent Barry during the trial, but the deck’s not in their favor.  The only real defense he could (and should) give is to reveal that he’s The Flash to the world.  Barry doesn’t want to do that as it would then put a target n his family and friends’ backs.  Barry just has to sit here and eat it all up.  DeVoe’s wife Marlize puts on the waterworks against the jury as well.  Even when Joe and Ralph discover her kissing Dominic (whose body Devoe now controls), she is able to spin it around as an affair DeVoe already knew about and accepted.  There’s nothing they can do to right this ship.

There’s a sweet moment when Iris decides to tell the court who Barry really is.  He stops her last minute and the two get caught in their own little “Speed Force Bubble,” moving so quickly that no one else can see or hear them.  He tells her not to reveal his identity as he’s doing this to protect her.  She says “I would rather run forever with you than stand alone without you.”  It’s touching but doesn’t change anything as she doesn’t reveal who Barry is to the court.

With no hope left, Joe ops to frame a guilty person.  He has Ralph use his Plastic Man powers to break into DeVoe’s house and plant evidence that Marlize moved DeVoe’s body to Barry’s.  Ralph has expertise in this area and gives Joe just the right pep talk to talk him out of doing something that would ultimately destroy his soul from the inside.  

Before the verdict is delivered, Barry has the chance to do one last good deed.  One of DeVoe’s metas created is exuding nuclear radiation through no fault of his own and threatens to destroy the city.  Team Flash tried to stop the man, but would get radiation poisoning, so it’s up to Barry to do this one last deed.  He creates a vortex that allows Cisco to send him to an uninhabited Earth and save more people.  “The Flash” is given an award for by the Central City police department while Barry Allen is found guilty of murdering DeVoe.  The real DeVoe sees Barry and taunts him, revealing that he needed Barry out of the way but wouldn't say why.

The episode ends with Barry sentenced to life imprisonment at Iron Heights prison as he enters the same cell his father Henry Allen was in for his similar wrongful conviction.

Black Lightning: “The Resurrection”

Legends of Tomorrow won’t make its return for a few weeks, which paves the way for the DC CW’s newest superhero show Black Lightning.  The second superhero show featuring a black hero after Luke Cage is very similar to its Marvel/Netflix counterpart as it focuses on a superpowered hero while also bringing forward many relevant issues we face nowadays.  If you thought that the show was going to be watered down because it’s on network TV, think again.  I’ll just say right off the top, Good God was Black Lightning good!

Although Black Lightning is on the CW, the producers have stated that everything going on will not be a part of the Arrowverse prime, meaning, everything going on in the show is not a part of Earth-1 as the creators want the show to be able to stand on its own and not have to rely on the rest of the Arrowverse characters in it.  And that’s a good thing!  The tone is much different than the rest of the DC CW show and is dealing with a more mature subject matter.  

Right off the top, we’ll be dealing with protests, gang violence, racism, and police brutality.  The titular character spends most of his time as his mild-mannered self Jefferson Pierce.  Pierce is a former vigilante who hung up his suit for the sake of his family, realizing that he can save more lives as a high school principal than he ever could as a vigilante.  But like the Dark Knight, he needs to return.  A major gang called The 100 is tearing the city apart.  Causing more than 100 killing within a weekend, the episode begins with a protest against them turned into a riot with the police going at the whole community.  Pierce’s eldest daughter Anissa was flexing her political protest muscles and got herself arrested.  Because Jefferson is “Black Jesus,” he is able to get his daughter let out of police custody, membership has its privileges.

But not for so long.  On his way home, Jefferson has to deal with that sobering reality that just about everyone black in America has to deal with: being a “Number One Male” in the eyes of the police.  It didn’t matter that he was wearing his fundraiser suit and in his family car, he had to get out of the car and be forced to be humiliated by a police officer who was looking for a black man who robbed a liquor store.  After the store owner basically “let him go” he has to go about his business as if nothing’s wrong.  His anger briefly manifests and activates his Black Lightning powers, but manages to keep his anger in check.

As he carries on his fundraiser, his younger daughter, the “free spirit” one leaves the school since she hates the social pressures expected of her by her father and the school, and she heads to a party at a club.  Of course, the club is “Club 100” as all the people at the party are members of the notorious gang.  While her older sister gives her a little cover, Jefferson soon learns where she is.  She just happens to befriend a local gangster who’s in his own trouble with upper management.  Even though she’s not associated with the guy, she soon gets into his trouble.  Lucky for her, her father came to the club to get her out of there.  Knowing what he’s dealing with, he doesn’t subside his Black Lightning powers as he takes out members of The 100 at the club.  In the aftermath, the police arrive and once again, he’s in their crosshairs not for being a vigilante, but for being black.  At gunpoint, he’s told to get his “black ass” on the ground, and this time he doesn’t submit.  He uses his Black Lightning to take on the police officers and then get home.

This causes commotion within the community as many (including Roland Martin with a shameless cameo) are asking, “Is Black Lightning Back?”  This catches the eye of Tobias, who’s sure to be the show’s big baddie.  How do we know?  Because he gleefully feeds his enemies to his piranhas as well as harpoon them to submit to his will.  Jefferson’s friend Peter, who’s his “guy in the chair” tells him he has to come back, and has already started building a superpowered suit for him.  Jefferson is still not ready to be Black Lightning.  His Vigilante activities cause his wife to leave him, and he wants her back.  He instead wants to negotiate with The 100 leadership to stay away from his school and his daughters, but that didn’t hold long as one of them confronted his daughters.  While he was able to squash the situation, the guy comes back later to kidnap them.

Now, he needs to get back in the game.  Getting a fresh suit, he goes back into action to save his daughters.  Black Lighting is more like season one Oliver as “The Hood” and not any of the other CW heroes as he has no problem dispatching members of the gang with his electric powers.  He easily kills a few of them in order to save his daughters, especially the guy who kidnapped them.  While the pilot episode drops us into a world where Black Lightning already existed, it still is an origin story, just not for the main character.  Towards the end of the episode, his eldest daughter wakes up from a nightmare of her kidnapping and in her panic activates her own superpower.  Comic book fans know that his daughters operate as “Thunder’ and “Lightening,” so it won’t take long for them to become heroes themselves.  

Either way, Black Lightning is here!

Arrow: “Divided”

In the midseason finale, Team Arrow was officially broken up.  Because Renee had to basically snitch on Oliver for the sake of his daughter, is set forward a chain of events that led to Oliver spying on the whole team, which led to the team breaking up.  In the aftermath of that, not much changed this episode team-wise as they are trying to find a way to work through their newfound situation.

Even as they are fighting each other, they still have a major enemy who is threatening the city.  Cayden James and his newfound group of supervillains are still trying to terrorize the city though.  His latest plan requires control of the ports, which leads him at odds with one of the local mobsters.  While the monster happens to be cousins with The Huntress, he ends up asking the Green Arrow for help.

The rest of Team Arrow is moving on with their lives.  Dinah is back to police work and secretly getting cozy with her former partner/lover Vigilante, not knowing he a part of Cayden James’ cabal.  Renee, who was fired from working for Oliver after the breakup is focused on his daughter.  He does feel guilty about his role in the team’s breakup and wants to try to get rid of the leverage the feds have against him so he won’t have to testify against Oliver.  Curtis seems to be the only one still semi-cool as he’s utilizing his scientific expertise to help Diggle fix the tremor in his hand.  Of course, things get awkward when Oliver shows up, so Curtis politely leaves.  

Felicity and Diggle realize that James has been bugging the Arrow Cave for quite some time.  After setting up shop at an ARGUS facility, and quietly working with the local mobster, they learn that James not only has been bugging them, but he has a new group of superfriends.  They reach out to the departed members of Team Arrow to reveal the new information, only for them to be upset that they waited 24 hours to tell them.  It’s clear that there still is a trust issue among the former team.  Diggle recommends to Oliver that they get the band back together, but Oliver still doesn’t trust them.

So he goes alone to confront James and his group.  While Oliver holds his own and thinks he has the drop on most of them, when he fights against Vigilante, he isn’t able to defeat them.  The mobster is forced to betray Oliver (to keep his daughter alive) and just before he’s about to shoot Oliver, he escapes.  

Oliver decides that it’s time to let bygones be bygones and everyone needs to become a family once again.  While it seems like the breakup was only going to last one episode, Renee, and the team rebuff Oliver’s request.  He, Dinah, and Curtis tell Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle that they would rather fight them on their own.  Oliver wishes them luck, but they are for sure broken up.  As a means of friendship, Curtis gives Diggle the chip, which heals his hand, meaning that Spartan will be back.  Curtis and team take over an abandoned Helix facility and have their own Arrow Cave to operate out of.