Black Lightning (Recap) | The Book of Little Black Lies (S1 E9)

by Christian Holub | via Entertainment Weekly

Finally the truth hits home. I’ll admit that the reveal of Jennifer’s powers last week felt a little rushed to me, since we’re still getting acquainted with Anissa’s powers. This week’s episode, however, goes deep on what the revelation of Jennifer’s powers means, both to her and her family.

Anissa knew Jennifer’s powers for what they were pretty much immediately, but the younger sister is still confused. Anissa demonstrates that she has powers too by lifting up Jennifer’s bed, and even reveals that their father is Black Lightning. This is understandably a little too much for Jennifer to take in at once, so she runs down the stairs screaming. When Jefferson comes out to investigate the commotion, Jennifer hits him with Anissa’s revelation, expecting him to laugh it off. When he doesn’t, Jennifer realizes her sister was telling the truth — and, more importantly, that her parents haven’t been telling her the truth for her whole life.

This is one of those Black Lightning episodes in which the superheroics take something of a backseat to familial relationships, but the performances are so powerful that it’s hard to complain. A great moment comes when Lynn tries to comfort Jennifer, who is still upset about the revelations hours later. In Jennifer’s own words, she’s not Anissa. Jennifer doesn’t want to save the world, she just wants to go to prom, and then college, and then get married and have kids — in other words, a normal life, the kind she thought her parents had. She’s mad at her parents for not telling her the truth, but in Lynn’s defense, they never lied, they just withheld the truth like any parents do. They didn’t tell Jennifer about Black Lightning when she was a kid, in case she blurted it out at an inconvenient time (and knowing Jennifer, she almost certainly would have). Then Jefferson hung up the costume for awhile, so it wasn’t worth it. They also didn’t think to warn Jennifer about possibly developing superpowers; since Jefferson didn’t inherit his own powers, they assumed it might be a one-off.

This scene is powerful on its own, but also hits home for me personally because my father is diabetic, and had been assured at the time of my birth that there was little chance of me inheriting the disease — making it an unwelcome surprise for everyone when I was diagnosed with diabetes in high school. It’s hard to tell with these things and kids! I mean that in a literal sense — neither Jennifer nor her mother knows if these superpowers will prevent her from having kids or not. Lynn lets her cry. This girl has been through a lot.

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