'Black Lightning': China Anne McClain on the Latest Development in Jennifer's Powers

Black Lightning's second season made its debut tonight, and that included a pretty major moment for one of the show's metahumans.

Spoilers for tonight's season premiere of Black Lightning, "The Book of Consequences: Chapter One: Rise of the Green Light Babies", below!

Tonight's episode saw Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) addressing the fallout of her using her superpowers in the season finale, combined with the recent social unrest around the "Green Light Babies". As the episode goes on, Jennifer becomes more conflicted with both her emotions and her powers, accidentally hurting her mom Lynn (Christine Adams) at one point.

This culminates in Kiesha (Kyanna Simone Simpson) accidentally setting Jennifer off, after making some less-than-positive remarks about the Green Light Babies. Jennifer locks herself in her room, her powers fully manifesting as an orange orbit of energy around her. As Jennifer explains to her father, Jefferson (Cress Williams), she doesn't feel pain in that state, but just doesn't quite know how to turn it off.

It's a powerful moment, both with regards to Jennifer's growth over the course of Black Lightning thus far, and in the fact that the effect is pretty darn comic accurate. And as McClain explained to reporters during a recent set visit, the manifestation of her powers represents a pretty major emotional moment for her.

"[It] kind of strains her relationship with everybody who doesn't know what she's going through." McClain revealed. "You know what I'm saying? It strains her relationship with her family, let alone all of the people that she can't tell what's going on with her. There's just a really big disconnect.
And in true friendships and in a sisterhood like that, part of it is being able to tell them things and to reveal things to them. But that's just something that you can't. You have to keep it to yourself. At least, that's how Jennifer feels, because she feels like, 'They might think I'm a freak.'
Kiesha might run away from me and never come back, and she doesn't want that. She doesn't want that for Kiesha, she doesn't want that for Khalil."

So, now that Jennifer's powers have gotten to this point, and with her headed to visit a metahuman therapist named Perenna (Erika Alexander) at some point this season, could she be on the way to suiting up as her comic counterpart, Lightning?

"Part of her feels like she should step up, but that's also why she's so mad that she has powers." McClain explained. "'Cause she's like, "I shouldn't feel like this. I shouldn't feel forced to step up because my sister has fully accepted it.... I shouldn't feel like this. I'm sixteen.' But I definitely think that part of her feels that way. She feels the responsibility to step up, put her suit on, and get her butt out there and help. And she will, eventually."

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Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.