I had not been expecting this week’s episode of Black Lightning was going to be part of Crisis on Infinite Earths, as there was more than enough continuing story going on in that series, and it wasn’t listed as one of the official crossover episodes.
But, just as takes place in the comics when there is a big crossover event, Black Lightning featured an “unbilled” Crisis crossover, and a damn good one.
While the ASA prepare to turn the greenlight kids they have rounded up into metahuman weapons under their control, Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClean) struggles to figure out where her loyalties should lie. As she puts it towards the beginning of the episode, her heart leads her to agree with her father (Cress Williams) and sister (Nafessa Williams), but her head tells her the ASA is acting for the greater good of the people of Freeland, and the fact that her mother (Christine Adams) is working with them seems to confirm that.
Then the Crisis hits, as the red skies start to storm over the city. Jennifer’s powers make her particularly vulnerable to the effect of the anti-matter, and she winds up getting to observe two parallel realities, one in which she acts to remove the super powers from everyone in Freeland, and the other in which she becomes the ASA’s deadliest weapon.
While it’s not too difficult to see how this will all play out to help Jennifer make the decisions she needs to in her own life, the episode revels in the darker versions of Freeland, and the tragic events that befall the Pierce family in every reality. In her own reality, Jennifer gets tended to by her family, who struggle to understand what is taking place, and how the red skies are connected to everything.
The conclusion of the episode pulls it all directly into Crisis, and I expect we will see Black Lightning and crew in tonight’s episode of the Flash, the last of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossovers before the mid-season break.
Very well done, keeping true to the more serious tone of this series, while tidily pulling it in to the larger picture.