Monday, April 2, 2018

Black Lightning: “Sins Of The Father”

I like it when heroes do smart things.
There’s a moment in last week’s Black Lightning that made me very happy.

Thunder breaks into a complex. In that complex, she sees dozens of people trapped in suspended animation chambers. She goes to bust open one of the chambers, then stops, realizing, for the first time in any superhero or sci fi movie or series ever, that abritrarily and ignorantly messing with complicated medical equipment you don’t understand is an AWFUL FUCKING IDEA.

That never happens. People in these shows open up pods and yank out tubes and flip switches and blow up equipment ALL THE TIME and the people hooked up to them are always fine as if opening the pods, yanking the tubes, flipping the switches, or blowing things up with the best possible extraction option.

It’s that kind of thoughtfulness that makes me love Black Lightning even more. It crops up again at the end of the episode, when it’s revealed that (A) Jefferson’s vice-principal is an ASA agent, and (B) the head of the ASA can employ basic logic and deduce that Jefferson is Black Lightning based on the circumstances of his Gambi rescue.

It’s a nice move. And an extension of the show’s fairly consistent rendering of its characters as sometimes smart, sometimes dumb, sometimes reasonable, and sometimes stubborn, but in each case, those things are presented as character traits. Stupid moves are stupid and have consequences and don’t work out well. Stubbornness is called out even when the calling out doesn’t change anything. Stupidity and stubbornness are never rewarded. It’s like the anti-Flash.

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