<em>Black Lightning</em> recap: Friend of the pods

The Markovian plot continues. We actually haven’t seen much from these foreign boogeymen this arc, but the threat of them is finally driving some action around the pod kids. As Agent Odell explains to Lynn at the top here, the Markovians have their own illegal metahuman program, but they can’t figure out how to make their specimens last. The reason they’re coming in to Freeland is because Lynn is close to figuring out how to permanently revive the pod kids; if they get their hands on her knowledge, Markovia will instantly become a world superpower with an army of metahumans.

Tobias, of course, has his own designs on the pod kids. He needs to move fast, because if the ASA succeeds in moving them to another location, the briefcase might lose its connection to them. So Tobias revives one, a man with vibration powers named Marcus Bishop who’s been sleeping for 25 years, and welcomes him into the 21st century.

While all this is going on, Jefferson is dealing with things at Garfield High. Video of Lowry’s freakout at Jennifer over the Khalil memorial has gone viral, embarrassing both Jefferson’s replacement as principal and the board that school replaced him. This gives Jefferson an opportunity to testify to the board and convince them to reinstate him as principal. Perfect, right? Jefferson thinks so, until he’s literally sitting there in front of them. At that point, Jefferson decides that actually his duties as Black Lightning interfere too much with his duties as principal, and the Garfield kids really do deserve a humorless, condescending white authoritarian to rule them with zero tolerance and no empathy? The Board is stunned at this change, and so am I. It’s an extremely confusing decision that took me out of the show a bit.

At the beginning of the season I had been really excited about the Lowry plotline because of the potential to explore racial power dynamics in Freeland and in education, but I have to admit I’ve kind of lost the thread on this one by now. We only check in with it infrequently, and when we do characters’ actions aren’t consistent. One problem is that Lowry has not become sympathetic in the slightest, so Jefferson deciding to reinforce his power seems like a result of Lowry shaming him into doing so. The whole show we’ve seen how much Jefferson cares about the students, and he clearly sees how bad a job Lowry is doing with them. I don’t get it. A strange story choice.

NEXT: Like father, like daughter

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