‘Black Lightning’ S1E11 Recap: “Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion”

Last week Black Lightning dropped one hell of a bombshell.  Gambi was taken hostage by his former ASA employers for turning his back on them in favor of protecting Jefferson and in the process, was taken hostage and went through some extreme torture.  Lucky for him, Freeland’s best metahuman vigilante was there to bail him out, even though they are still not on good terms.  Jefferson managed to use his Black Lightning powers to distract the guards for Gambi to finally show up just how much of a badass he really was.  Unfortunately, that raised ASA head Proctor’s suspicion that Jefferson himself was Black Lightning.  Proctor then called his “inside man,” Jefferson’s vice principal Kara was in fact, working with the bad guys helping flood the streets with Green Light in the hopes to study metahuman side effects on the community.

The episode begins with Jefferson and Anissa doing what they do best and raiding yet another ASA warehouse in the hopes of finding the missing children who were kidnapped once their powers manifested after taking the new drug Green Light.  Instead of finding the children through, they find an ASA warehouse filled with “anti-Black Lightning” weapons.  This has Gambi concerned as not only are they planning on killing Jefferson, but they also have found a way to evade Gambi’s tracking systems, meaning that eventually, Jefferson could fall into one of their traps.

Now that we know Kara is working with the ASA, some of her behavior seems to make a little more sense.  Instead of us seeing her and combinative with Jefferson for what could be seen as career ambition, we now know that she has nefarious purposes.  However, it does seem that she cares for Jefferson as her hesitation to carry out ASA orders happens in this episode.  In the aftermath of raiding the warehouse and destroying the weapons, Kara bribes a few corrupt police officers to arrest Jefferson in the hopes that the ASA will get involved, take him into custody, and find out that he’s Black Lighting and deal with him once and for all.  After paying off the cops, they tell her that they’ll have an arrest warrant for Jefferson soon enough.

The next day all seems well for Jefferson at school.  He greets his kids and gets them ready for another productive day.  Soon enough, a horde of police officers arrives at the high school.  We see them go through their corrupt means as they first break into Jefferson’s car, plant drugs in his care and his office, then come with a search warrant identifying him as some sort of drug dealer.  Both of his daughters are rightfully pissed.  Anissa even gets ready to use her Thunder powers, but their father tells both of them to relax, be strong, and it will all sort itself out.  For a chunk of the episode, we get to see that all too familiar tale of what many black people have to deal with when in police custody.  The demeaning process of being booked including stripping naked, the abuse, and the very cold shoulder they receive at the hands of people who are sworn to protect them and uphold the law.  Once again, this is a very honest and raw portrayal of being black in America all wrapped in a network TV show.  If anyone tells a black man that “All Lives Matter” talking point, I present you with Black Lightning: exhibit A.

Inspector Henderson, one of the few good cops on the force, who knows Jefferson personally and knows that he’s not capable of all this, tries to assure his friends that something’s wrong and he will resolve it.  He also launches his own investigation into his fellow officers and finds out that some of them are on the take and through threatening one of the corrupt cops, he is able to learn that the evidence has been planted.

Anissa and Gambi have their own ideas to get Jefferson out.  If Anissa tries to break him out via her powers, it will confirm that Jefferson is Black Lightning and the ASA will kill him.  Gambi assures Anissa that Jefferson could break himself out if he truly wanted to.  Instead, they try to convince people that Jefferson is NOT Black Lightning.  To do so, Gambi invents a hologram contraption that will make it look like Black Lightning is standing next to her when she’s Thunder.  They make a public display having her jog through the city and with the hologram activated, it looks like Black Lightning is not in jail, taking the ASA’s suspicion of Jefferson invalid.

With Jefferson “not” being Black Lightning, and the revelation that Jefferson was falsely accused by the police department, he was released from prison.  The family is reunited, and everything works out at the end.  Henderson makes a press conference announcing the arrest of the corrupt police officers and announcing that it’s a new day in Freeland.

Next week, Tobias makes his return to take on Black Lightning.