Black Lightning's season finale aired last week with The CW show delivering a satisfying resolution to the mysteries and tensions of the first season while also setting up for plenty of new challenges and problems for Jefferson Pierce and his family when the show returns.
But while the season finale was full of excellent scenes, heartbreak, surprising deaths, and interesting DC Comics Easter eggs, there were many outstanding moments during the show's inaugural season. While we wait for the show to be available for binge re-watching on Netflix, we thought we'd take a look back at the best scenes from the season. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and we're also not ranking the scenes in any particular order. These are just some of the moments that stand out to us as being truly great moments in the season and are among those that have left us eagerly anticipating the show's second season.
One of the moments that stands out as among the best of the season may also be the most intense. In the pilot episode of Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), with both of his daughters in the car, is pulled over by a white police officer. The officer is disrespectful, pulls Jefferson out of his car and offers no explanation for why Jefferson is being pulled over at all other than he "fit a description" -- meaning that he's being pulled over because he's black.
The scene looks and feels like it go in a very tragic direction, but Jefferson wills himself to de-escalate without using his super powers. It's one of the audience's first introductions to Jefferson and really sets the tone for the entire series. It's also one that was inspired by a real life incident experienced by showrunner Salim Akil.
“That actually came from a moment in my life, where I was in Santa Monica and I got pulled over,” Akil told ComicBook.com. “I had been pulled over quite a bit by police officers, especially in Santa Monica and Culvert City. This night, I had been working hard and it was late and I was still headed to my office to work some more and I got pulled over, and I started to drop the mask of ‘This is the way I was supposed to act; I’m supposed to be safe,’ and I started talking back and arguing, and they started arguing and I had a moment. I had to close my eyes and ask myself, ‘Is this worth dying for?’ and then when I opened them, I just took a breath and I’m still alive.”
One of the things that Black Lightning did well this season was incorporate real world current events and concerns into the world of the show. In the series' sixth episode that translated to a protest against a Confederate statue on the university campus. Anissa leads a protest in which student activists spray paint the statue in a peaceful form of protest. However, it sets off a counter protest that results in a student being killed.
Later, in costume as Thunder, Anissa shows up at a vigil at the statue and, frustrated by the race issues and challenges not just related to the statue but in Freeland in general, she uses her powers on impulse and destroys the monument before running away. It's a powerful scene in a powerful episode, one that shows the human side of the character -- especially as she's becoming a hero.
Having come into her own powers, Jefferson's daughter Anissa (Nafessa Williams) decides to suit up to be a hero herself. Now, at this point she's unaware that her father is Black Lightning which is probably why her first suit was not quite as high-tech the final version would be, but the moment she emerged as a hero for the first time was a great one.
Featuring a blonde wig and a red-and-blue costume with gold highlights, all that was missing to make Anissa Pierece's costume match with an early Thunder costume from her days in The Outsiders was cleavage. That's not something that really fit with Anissa on the show, but rest of her costume was spot on for her personality. And while getting to see the evolution of the costume over the season was great, too, that first moment when Anissa stepped up was a truly great one.
The fight the whole season was building up to came in its penultimate episode. Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) is tasked with capturing Black Lightning for the ASA so Tobias decides to lure the hero out with an attack on Garfiled High School.
Using Khalil -- who is now Painkiller -- to create a situation Black Lightning won't be able to resist, Tobias faces off with his old foe at long last. The fight is something that Black Lightning has been waiting for as well and the fight between the two men is epic. However, it takes a dramatic turn when Painkiller acts on Tobias' orders and takes the hero down with a violent strike to his chest. Tobias and Painkiller flee and Black Lightning dies, but not all is lost. Jennifer Pierce's (China Anne McClain) powers overtake her and she is able to generate enough electrical charge to start her father's heart again.
Another of scene from the penultimate episode, while Black Lightning takes on Tobias Whale, Thunder takes on Tobias' right hand woman -- Syonide.
The fight between the two women may be one of the most dramatic in the whole series. Syonide, it turns out, has kevlar under her skin, making her well-equipped to go up against Thunder's strength. The fight between the women is brutal, but well-matched something that even the scene's music drove home. Series composer Kurt Farquhar told ComicBook.com that he deliberately made the music epic for the scene.
"I was always building towards this moment when she was gonna have a battle and I always knew I was gonna do it with guitar," he said. "But I did not know that the battle was gonna be with another woman, so that, to me, just took ... I said, 'Let's take off the gloves and let's make these women really powerful. Let's make no apologies for it. They are gonna kick ass.' That was my biggest marking order that I had, for me, during that episode."
Farquhar said that even outside the music, it was a scene in the series that he really loved.
"They did a great job, they were like, at it," he said. "It's really interesting how they developed the Thunder charcter and to see her and Syonide fight was... I loved that one, that was a really, really great scene."
For the youngest Pierce daughter, Jennifer, developing powers is a burden and not a blessing. As a teenager, Jennifer just wants a normal life. Being a hero isn't in her plan. However, not only does she save her father's life in the penultimate episode, she also takes another step toward accepting who and what she is in the finale.
Jefferson survives his fight with Tobias, but appears to lose his powers in the process. It seems like dying and coming back completely depleted him -- problematic since his powers function lie a battery. He doens't actually generate his own. However, even without his powers, Jefferson is determined to help his family escape the onslaught of the ASA. He prepares to sacrifice himself by going out to face them unpowered. Before he can, though, Jennifer's powers fully engulf her. She runs over to Jefferson and embraces him, effectively recharging his battery. It's a powerful moment and not just in terms of superpowers. For Jennifer, it's the first sign of her accepting he abilities -- a dramatic change from when she told her mom (played by Christine Adams) she wanted to get rid of her powers previously.
Perhaps the best moment in the entire season comes right after Jennifer powers up Jefferson. The whole family -- even Lynn, who has no powers of her own -- make their stand against the ASA. Black Lightning and Thunder take on the forces outside the cabin while Peter Gambi (James Remar) along with Lynn and Jennifer handle things on the inside. The fight is epic and every member of the Pierce family plays a part. It definitely drives home the idea that, at the end of the day, Black Lightning is a show about family.
“I’m not really doing a show about a superhero,” Salim Akil said during a visit to the show's set. “I’m doing a show about a man who has a family and is trying to affect his community. Someone asked me, what’s the most difficult aspect of doing the show, and it really is me coming to terms with that he has powers, because I could write a whole script without him ever using his powers, which nobody wants me to do.”
Black Lightning will return for a second season.
What were your favorite moments of the show's first season? Let us know in comments!