8:30 am EDT, November 29, 2018

‘Black Lightning’ 2×07, ‘The Sanje’ review: Goodbye Looker, South Freeland…and Jen

Black Lightning 2×07, “The Sanje,” wraps up the high fantasy detour into South Freeland and sets Khalil and Jen on their own path — one that’s away from everyone else in their life.

I am still a bit perplexed about this two episode detour into South Freeland.

Last week left me with three very big questions, which I hoped would be somewhat addressed this week. And while the first question — how far south is South Freeland — was mostly an attempt at being humorous, the other two were ones that I was hoping this episode of Black Lightning would illuminate at least a little.

No such luck, unfortunately. We see a big showdown between Looker and Black Lightning and Thunder, watch Anaya reunite with her father with hugs all around, yet find ourselves no closer to learning what the overall purpose of both rushing through many of last week’s storylines (Lynn dealing with the fallout of the death of the pod children, Gambi being alive) and pushing aside earlier storylines entirely (WHAT IS IN THE CASE THAT TOBIAS HAS?) to head on over to South Freeland.

I know this makes it sound like I disliked everything to do with South Freeland, which absolutely isn’t the case. I enjoyed Black Lightning’s foray into a world less grounded and a little more fantastical, and I was glad to see Anissa and Jefferson working together towards a common goal despite their continued tension.

That said, I hope that the purpose of our time in South Freeland will become a little clearer as the season goes on. I even have a few predictions.

With that said, let’s dive in!

Hello again, Gambi

Gambi in Black Lightning

Anyone that’s ever read a single comic or watched a comic book movie or show knows not to trust any deaths which don’t show you the body (and sometimes not even the ones that do — hello, Lazarus pit).

So I’m sure it surprised approximately no one when Gambi appeared on our screens at the beginning of the last episode of Black Lightning, looking no worse for the wear despite the fiery explosion which supposedly claimed his life.

What did surprise me, however, was the fact that Gambi chose to stay hidden and not tell his surrogate son or family that he was still alive.

I wasn’t too big of a fan of this move, mostly because I tend to hate lack of communication or deliberate miscommunication as a plot point, so I was very relieved to see Jefferson figure out that Gambi was still alive and choked up a bit when Jefferson pointed out that Gambi is his family.

One thing that I am curious about — and something that I hope Black Lightning addresses in the near future — is Gambi’s increasingly worrying use of violence and surveillance for the sake of keeping Jefferson and his family safe. He’s been rather glib about the use of torture and murder, and this week we see him monitoring a lot of private communication without a second thought.

While I can understand why he does it, and can’t necessarily argue against his methods, the ethics of it all are pretty muddled. How much does Jefferson actually know about what Gambi does and how he gets it done — and how would he feel about it?

Farewell for now, Looker

Looker in Black Lightning

We got to know Looker a little bit better this week, and what we saw from her basically confirmed my initial thoughts — she definitely voted for Donald Trump, she definitely has an Info Wars bumper sticker on her car, and she definitely only reads books written by Ann Coulter.

So, I can’t say that I’m sad to see her go.

Still, I do think that her existence opens up an interesting possibility for the world of Black Lightning.

For all this time, we’ve thought of Jefferson as being singular in both his power manifestation and the fact that he eluded capture from the ASA. However, with Looker we see that not only was there another meta who developed powers in the same way that he did — but she was a few (dozen? hundred? thousand? Who can know?) miles south of his hometown.

Does this then mean that there is the potential for even more metas roaming the world from Jefferson’s vaccine class? And if so, what might that mean for both Jefferson and the ASA?

And while I had initially thought that Looker had died from her pretty serious wound, a second viewing of the episode clarified that Jefferson and Anissa were going to hand her over to the ASA. I’m guessing she’ll figure into the Dr. Jace and Lyn storyline a bit, seeing as she has similar genetic makeup to Black Lightning.

What kind of creepy slicing and dicing will Dr. Jace want to get into, and how will Lyn feel about having a woman who tried to kill her husband in her custody?

Goodbye forever, Jen?

Yes, this promo photo is technically for next week’s episode.

Despite the fact that a good half of this episode was dedicated to Jen and Khalil’s storyline, she didn’t get any promo photos.

Too bad, too, because her storyline in general — and this week’s with Khalil — have been some of my favorite of the season.

I wrote a few episodes about how I understood Jefferson and Lyn’s desire to protect Jen, but wondered at what the cost might be to her and their relationship with her.

This week, we find out.

Weeks of proverbial house arrest with no end in sight led Jen to reach back out to Khalil, which is a connection that I was initially wary of but am glad to see that I was wrong about. I never was quite as convinced as everyone else in the Pierce-Stewart family that Khalil had gone fully over to the dark side — plus I am a sucker for love-as-a-way-to-redemption storylines.

Her connection with Khalil allowed Jen to not only feel connected to someone from the world outside and from her past, it likewise allowed Khalil to see himself as more than what Tobias made him and gave to him. No damsel in distress here (because you know that’s just not Jen) — instead, Jen saves Khalil from Tobias’ goons and reveals her powers to him.

The two decide to leave Freeland behind — a decision that never would’ve been conceivable to Jen had it not been for Lyn and Jefferson’s continuous smothering worry.

Of course, I don’t expect this to last too long — where are two underaged kids with probably no money to their name even going to go?

However, I do think that it’ll have interesting ramifications that’ll reverberate for the rest of the season and can definitely see this alliance as a way for Jefferson to finally take down Tobias once and for all.

Notable moments and lingering questions

  • Glad to see Grace and Anissa still going strong! I love their little moments of intimacy, though I do wish we got a little bit more of storyline for Grace. However, what with her powers obviously wanting to come out and say hello, I’m guessing that’s coming up soon. Yay!
  • How did Henderson even explain that random baby to his wife? Poor Loretta.
  • I was glad to see Perenna take her patient confidentiality seriously, even when confronted with the combined panic of Lyn and Jefferson. That’s a good psychologist, y’all.
  • What happens now in South Freeland? There’s definitely quite the power vacuum now that Looker’s gone. Perhaps another place for Tobias Whale and The 100 to set up shop?
  • Who came up with the names Sanje and Perdi and why did everyone just decide to start using them? I continue to have a lot of questions about South Freeland.

What did you think of ‘Black Lightning’ 2×07, ‘The Sanje’?

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