DC TV Watch: Is 'Black Lightning' Now Part of the 'Arrow'-verse?

THR rounds up the major twists, new mysteries and more from all the DC Comics TV series.
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: The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl did not air new episodes this week.

Black Lightning

More than just an Easter egg | With one seemingly small Easter egg, Black Lightning just ignited an intense debate over whether or not it is officially in the Arrow-verse. In this week's episode, younger Pierce sister Jennifer (China Anne McClain) discovered the truth about why she has powers and that her father Jefferson (Cress Williams) is Black Lightning. Reeling from that revelation, Jennifer asked her mother Lynn (Christine Adams) if her secret super identity is Vixen. Of course, Lynn replied that she's neither Vixen (played by both Maisie Richardson Sellers and Megalyn E.K.) nor Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). And those two DC name drops have huge implications for where the series stands in the CW's extended superhero universe. If Lynn and Jennifer (and presumably, the whole population of Freeland) know about the existence of Vixen and Supergirl, two Arrow-verse characters, that would mean that Black Lightning also has to be in the Arrow-verse. No matter what version of Earth they are on, they're connected with The CW's shared universe of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and CW Seed's Vixen.

Is it even possible? | But here's where it gets complicated. Series creator Salim Akil has made it clear that Black Lightning is not a part of the Arrow-verse, and CW boss Mark Pedowitz has reiterated that on multiple occasions. So has he changed his mind halfway through the first season? And in Black Lightning's world, Barack Obama was president and Hilary Clinton ran for president, as was revealed in this week's episode. Supergirl has introduced its own president played by Wonder Woman alum Lynda Carter on Earth-38, and Earth-1's unnamed president was killed during the Dominator attack and Vice President Susan Brayden (Lucia Walters) was sworn in to replace him during 2017's crossover event. So while Black Lightning does not take place on the same Earth as any of the Arrow-verse shows, the knowledge of those characters means it's probably in the same universe ... just on a different Earth. Have a different opinion? Feel free to present it in the comments section below.

Legends of Tomorrow

Moving in full-time | With John Constantine's (Matt Ryan) second appearance on Legends of Tomorrow in this week's episode comes the news that he's officially being resurrected full-time. The star of the short-lived NBC series Constantine will join the Legends aboard the Waverider as a series regular in season four, but only if the CW series is renewed. This is a smart move for the Arrow-verse, as the character not only has a loyal and passionate following, but he's proven that he works well as part of the team from his appearances so far. Even though he's also starring in the upcoming CW Seed animated series Constantine, he's the perfect addition to the wacky group of live-action heroes that Legends has become. Even throwaway moments like the stinger scene at the end of this week's episode with Constantine joining Gary's (Adam Tsekhman) Dungeons and Dragons party was a series highlight. But does this mean that Legends is going to be dealing with magical and mystical villains and issues from here on out? Hopefully the series doesn't bend to fit the character, and he just uses his unique skills in whatever situation the Legends face in the future. After this season's heavy lean into Damien Darhk (Neil McDonough) and demons, a nonmagical storyline will be a breath of fresh air.

New powers | In the fight against Mallus, almost every Legends team member has had to bond with a totem. Pyrotechnic Mick (Dominic Purcell) seemed like the perfect fit to wield the fire totem, and after a quick pep talk he ended up bonding with it. Now he has the power to create and shoot fire from his hands. Before he could only shoot fire from his gun, which was in line with Heat Wave's original mythology in the comic books. But after the New 52 reboot, Heat Wave combined his DNA with his flamethrower, giving him metahuman powers. It's fascinating to see Legends figure out a way to pay homage to both versions of the iconic DC Comics villain. And if this series has found a way to incorporate both histories of the same character on one show, what's to say that it couldn't be done for any/every other Arrow-verse character? This twist just opened the door to so many new possibilities and storylines for all of the CW heroes and villains.

Failure to launch | But unlike Mick and Sara (Caity Lotz), one Legends member couldn't bond with a totem. Nate (Nick Zano) tried to use the Earth totem in this week's episode, but it wouldn't bond with him. Does this mean another member of the team has to wield that totem? Is it meant for a specific person, or is there something about Nate that makes him incompatible with the totems?

Gotham

The queen is dead, long live the queen | Having a tough, formidable female villain has been a series highlight for Gotham this season, but this week's episode toppled Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed) from her throne. When she tried to kill Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Lee (Morena Baccarin) shot her first, once in the heart and once in the head. Was it all for revenge for what Sofia did to Lee's hand, or does Lee still harbor feelings for Jim? Either way, this leaves a power vacuum in Gotham's underworld. Losing Sofia (albeit only to a coma, not to death, Gotham's favorite twist) doesn't mean the series has to lose a powerful, take-no-prisoners female villain running the show, so why shouldn't it be Lee? She's gone through so much, at this point it would be more reasonable for her to break bad and just throw caution to the wind. She's already got control of the Narrows and the love of the people who live there. She's not afraid to kill or torture for what she wants. The only thing stopping her is Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), and they have no army to back them up. Hopefully she steps into the role as the season gears up toward the finale, because seeing Lee as a villain, without acting under the influence of a curable rage virus, would set up an incredible showdown between her and Gordon.

Reunited and it feels so good | Speaking of Nygma and Penguin, watching them finally bury the hatchet in this week's episode was extraordinarily cathartic. This back-and-forth has been going on for far too long, as their chemistry and friendship (and Penguin's discovery of love for Nygma) was one of the best parts of this show once upon a time. Now that the two friends turned enemies turned friends again have decided to trust each other and never see that infamous pier again, is it possible Nygma could learn to love Penguin the way Penguin loves him? Crazier things have happened on Gotham, and that twist would finally make good on the potential LGBTQ relationship fans have been craving for years.

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.

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