This week’s episode of Black Lightning was not just a season finale, it was the conclusion of the storyline that had been building from the very first issue. The whole dark saga of human experimentation that lead to the creation of Black Lightning, Gravedigger, the Green Light Kids, and all the gang violence that ensued because of it.
As a result, this episode is loaded with characters and action. But the series has spent so much time developing the characters, exploring their relationships and issues, that it was possible to have a satisfying sequence of culminations to the various threads.
Not everyone survived this big, bloody, finale, and I am thankful for that as well, even though one of my favourites bit the dust. A body count was needed, this has been a very dark, bleak series and it had to take its toll before it was done.
This could very well have been the final episode of the series as a whole, and it would have made a fully satisfying one. But it isn’t, and there are still plenty of areas left to explore, a decent amount of teases for potential upcoming storylines.
The cast is resoundingly excellent, but of course credit has to go first and foremost to Cress Williams. His performance was a mixture of superhero strength and tortured, well meaning parent. There was more agonization over the choices that he had to make, the compromises along the way, than one gets in the other DC shows.
I was also hugely impressed by Christine Adams as his wife, Lynn. This was a role that so easily could have been reduced to a background stereotype, with all the other family members having powers and more flashy storylines. Her descent into addiction, without being aware of how she was being manipulated, really allowed her to flesh out her role this last season.
And I am so waiting for Jordan Calloway to become a major action movie star. Khalil has gone through such massive changes during the course of the first three years, and Calloway’s gymnastic fight scenes are so impressive. His acting abilities have also proven as wide ranging, given Khalil’s transitions from innocent student to bad boy gangsta, pawn to Painkiller, and the rollercoaster relationship this has taken him on with Jennifer (China Anne McLain), all of which he has portrayed with power and personality.
But I just cannot credit the performances of the two judges in the final episode. Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, the creators of Black Lightning back in the 70s, make delightful cameos, but are not likely to win any Emmys.