TV Review: Black Lightning (Season 1, Episode 11)
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‘Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion’ was possibly the best episode Black Lightning has delivered so far. This episode builds on last week’s revelations that the ASA is very much certain that Black Lightning is in fact Jefferson Pierce, and that his Vice Principal has been an undercover agent all along. Fowdy has therefore been tasked with ensuring Jefferson’s transport to an ASA black site, whatever the means. This involves further bribing of Freeland’s corrupt cops, and law enforcement’s planting of Green Light in Jefferson’s car. The ensuing scenes in which Jefferson is arrested, processed, and jailed demonstrate the best acting we’ve seen from this show yet. Cress Williams carried this episode with unbelievable talent, layering indignity, pain, fear, humiliation, anger, restraint, in the face of police brutality and abuse. The sequence of scenes in which Jefferson is being processed was layered with references towards a more fundamental issue in America, of racist policing and profiling. It may not have been subtle, but then why should it be? Black Lightning has, from the very beginning, made its commentary of social issues concerning African-Americans central to its narrative, and it hasn’t stopped since. It might deal with superhero powers and outrageously advanced technology, but the show stays grounded in highlighting real-life issues of systematic racism and a biased legal system.
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