DC TV Watch: 'Black Lightning' Goes Head-to-Head With Thunder

Black Lightning Still Three Sevens The Book of Thunder Episode - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of The CW

Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Friday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning and Fox's Gotham. Note: Supergirl did not air a new episode this week.

Black Lightning

New meaning of family infighting | File this under things nobody saw coming: The first time that Anissa (Nefessa Williams) realized her father, Jefferson (Cress Williams), is vigilante Black Lighting came during a fight, but she didn't just witness her father using his metahuman powers while as an innocent bystander. The fledgling superhero Thunder actually went head-to-head in a knockdown, drag-out fight against her dad. The father and daughter, both sporting masks, didn't know just whom they were fighting as they each attempted to save Lynn (Christine Adams) from Tobias Whale's (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) goons. But while Anissa was the one to successfully scare them away with her newfound super strength, by the time Jefferson arrived, all he saw was a masked person standing next to his tied-up ex-wife. He assumed the worst while Anissa wanted only to protect her mother from the infamous vigilante. Since Lynn was gagged, she couldn't tell Jefferson she recognized Anissa's face, and thus The CW rookie drama delivered a father-daughter fight unlike any other. While Thunder seemed to gain the upper hand in the fight (impressive considering how many years of practice Black Lightning has on her), Black Lightning knocked her out. Unfortunately, it was at that point when he recognized his daughter, with he and Lynn taking her home to care for her. The episode ended with Anissa gaining consciousness and seeing her father dressed as Black Lightning. The secret is officially out on both sides now.

Flipping the script | The Black Lightning vs. Thunder fight flipped the script from the comic book source material where Black Lightning and Thunder only fought side-by-side. While Jefferson didn't approve of his daughter fighting crime with superhero team The Outsiders (even going so far as demanding she leave the team), he now respects her as a fighter. But by pitting father and daughter against one another, The CW's version of Jefferson won't have any reason to disapprove of Anissa's wishes to fight crime. She literally held her own against Black Lightning, so she's ready to move on to actual villains. The dynamic between Jefferson and Anissa is now in uncharted territory, and that makes it all the more compelling.

Legends of Tomorrow

Resurrected once more | John Constantine (Matt Ryan) continues to laugh in the face of death as the former star of NBC's since-canceled DC drama will return yet again to the Arrow-verse. Ryan will appear in the Legends of Tomorrow season finale in addition to the previously reported appearance in episode 15. While The CW and producers Warner Bros. TV are keeping plot details under wraps, it's not a leap to assume he will rejoin the Legends aboard the Waverider to assist in the final fight against demon Mallus. As an expert on the occult, he's the Legends' biggest weapon against a dark magic user like Mallus, and they'd be woefully outgunned without Constantine. Just don't expect Ryan to continue to pop up in the Arrow-verse as he's about to debut his CW Seed animated series Constantine.

Long time coming | After a full season of chemistry, Legends finally went there with Sara (Caity Lotz) and Ava (Jes Macallan). While the Legends crew went off on a zany pirate adventure, Sara and Ava took time away from their respective teams for a date night. Watching them enjoy some time together was gratifying as Sara is one of the few LGBTQ superheroes and one of even fewer bisexual characters on TV. She's never shied away from her identity in the Arrow-verse but it had been a long time since she was in a real relationship. Hopefully, their relationship will be long term.

Evil genius | After reappearing on Legends at the end of last week's episode, Rip (Arthur Darvill) convinced Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) to join the Legends crew. But at the top of the hour, Wally was content to put his Speedster days behind him. Rip seemed to accept his decision, and the two got drunk together in a night filled with shenanigans. It was hilarious, carefree and showcased the best part of Legends, while also helping Wally realize he was done being lonely and was ready to join another team. If this was Rip's plan from the start, he truly is an evil genius. How did he remain so single-minded and driven while getting drunk on Speedster alcohol? Not even Barry (Grant Gustin) can do that! If Wally's decision came about by chance, then Rip is the luckiest guy on the planet. But there's no way to know which one it was, and so the mystery remains unsolved. Either way, Wally is on his way to the Waverider to officially join the Legends.

The Flash

Smart choice | The Flash threw fans for a twist this week. In a smart callback to last season's Savitar, Barry overheard Wells' (Tom Cavanagh) name for his Cerebral Inhibitor device, sparking a memory of future Barry talking about that same device while reminiscing in STAR Labs. It was a moment of hope — finally — for Team Flash in its fight against DeVoe (now played by Sugar Lyn Beard) and the team's first real win after assuming that device was what they needed to take down The Thinker. But The Flash subverted expectations and had Harry's device fail against DeVoe. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) pointed out that Savitar never said the device would work, but rather that the team would use it against DeVoe. It would have been too predictable if this was the secret key they needed, and now they'll have to resort to more creative solutions. Smart move, Flash writers.


Time to move on | It's time for Arrow to retire the Original Team Arrow vs. New Team Arrow storyline. It's becoming redundant to listen to the new recruits complain about OTA not treating them as equals. No matter how much training Oliver (Stephen Amell), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) gave them over the past year, Rene (Rick Gonzalez), Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) and Curtis (Echo Kellum) will never be equal to the people who have saved the city (and world) several times over. Their actions and attitude during the past few episodes prove that. Oliver and company already apologized for breaking their trust and tried to extend an olive branch of peace and they shot it down, only leading to more violence and injuries on both sides. Rene even wound up in the hospital in this week's episode, so there's no telling how they're going to retaliate now. Honestly, it's getting repetitive and boring rehashing the same issue. 


Back to the canon | Gotham returned after its extended hiatus, and used its spring premiere to return to the Batman mythology for one character who has long been on a different path. Ivy Pepper (first played by Clare Foley before Maggie Geha took over) started as a different Ivy than Batman fans were expecting. She was a young girl, for starters, before an Indian Hill experiment escapee used his aging powers to turn her into a young adult woman. But after she got tired of not being taken seriously, she drank powerful chemicals and changed once again, becoming a full-fledged Poison Ivy (played by Peyton List). Making her debut in the premiere, Ivy now has powers much more akin to the Poison Ivy from the comics, and can kill a person by infecting them with living plants. She's ruthless and ready to take over Gotham, finally as a true villain and not just some confused child. While she may not be named Pamela Lillian Isley like her comic book alter ego, Gotham has course-corrected with a character that just wasn't living up to its potential. Now Ivy has the ability to make some real waves.

Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox. Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays;The Flash and Black Lightning air Tuesdays; Arrow airs Thursdays; and Supergirl returns Monday, April 16, all on The CW.