nerd radio

Get ready for the new daily show

TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Black Lightning Series Finale!

May 25th, 2021 by Todd Black Comments

And with that…one of the most important superhero series ever made bows out. Black Lightning was brought in to change the game in many ways, and in many ways it did. Yet, despite all of that, the CW only let it go on for four seasons. Plus, we learned today that the Painkiller spinoff isn’t getting picked up at the CW. So it was more important than ever that things work themselves out for the best so that there aren’t any loose ends. Sadly…that’s not what happened in many aspects in my opinion.

The start of the show was great, with the family and team trying desperately to figure out whether the photo of Jefferson being “dead” or not. Their wide array of reactions from grief to disbelief to wanting out to wanting revenge to begging to think calmly about things was perfect. Because they all would have different reactions to this news, but they also knew that Jeff couldn’t be mourned until Tobias was taken out for good.

Naturally, Jefferson was alive (but we all knew that) and his moments in the coffin were important for a variety of reasons. Finding out about his first “victim” was interesting (if not a case of ‘you’re telling us this now?’), and talking with the spirit of his father was good too, especially as it flashed back and forth between his teen self and his adult self. My personal favorite thing though was Jeff praying at the end.

The show didn’t really tackle religion much to my knowledge, but the fact that on his deathbed Jefferson would rather pray for his family and city to be safe instead of cursing out Tobias was comforting. Because it showed that even when beaten, Jefferson always knew exactly what his true priorities were.

Sadly, that’s honestly the only part of the finale that was “on the rails”. Everything else just went wild and crazy and it got incredibly rushed and convoluted at the end.

For example, the new Chief getting powers? That lasted about two scenes, and Lightning beat her down so easily it was comical. What was the point of her getting built up like that and then doing nothing but getting knocked out like a punk?

Then, there’s Lightning, who we find out was alive (as if that wasn’t obvious with that particular cloud) and that her “doppelganger” was something from the ionosphere or “The Glaze” and was apparently so jealous of Jen that it took her body…? Ok… Oh, and Jennifer reached a new power level to defeat her duplicate easily so…ok…

And of course, there was Tobias. Who we all know either had to be locked away for good or killed. And they chose the latter option. Which would’ve been fine…if it had more meaning. It basically was an accident with Jeff being “forced to defend himself” again to kill his foe. Even Tobias’ last lines were lame with him quoting Moby Dick before blindly firing on Black Lightning with guns he just so happened to have on him.

Oh, and here’s the other thing, despite Tobias dying…for real…the city didn’t react. They just lost their mayor and yet he was killed and apparently Jefferson didn’t report the death, nor did anyone care to look for their mayor. How is that possible…?

Think we’re done? Nope. Because they decided to also loop in Khalil just long enough for TC to FINALLY figure out how to stop the kill order in his head…but…the catch (because there’s always a catch) was that doing this would “erase all memories of the Pierce’s”. How that works is a mystery, but according to the showrunner it was so there would be a “clean slate” for Khalil and Painkiller. But now that the spinoff isn’t happening, it makes it all the more trivial. This should’ve been something saved for the pilot should it have happened to set up a new paradigm right off the bat, but instead…it just came off as contrived.

I could also mention how Anissa and Grace were willing to go super lethal on those guards protecting the emitter, including literally burning a guy alive…that was crazy.

And of course…there’s Lala. Who was “freed” from his carbonite prison, got out just long enough to see Tobias dead…and laugh at him. End of series. Really?

That one is another on the showrunner who said that he liked Lala the most and wanted him to have the last word but honestly…it just didn’t work.

To be clear, there were other good things, including Jeff and Lynn admitting they were getting remarried, Jefferson openly saying he was retiring again and “passing the torch” and it was cool knowing the “next generation” of heroes was there for Freeland to have. But we should’ve gotten more of these moments instead of rushed moments of the others.

Black Lightning will forever be remembered as a series that pushed boundaries, dealt with hard issues and focused heavily on a family dynamic. And it was overall a great series. But not unlike many series finales as of late…you can’t help but wish it went out on a higher note.

Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!