WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Black Lightning Season 2 finale, "The Book of the Apocalypse: Chapter Two: The Omega."
It took some time, but eventually, the Arrowverse shows began making references to the more iconic heroes of the DC Universe, and they haven't stopped since. Arrow had Oliver Queen namedropping Bruce Wayne, and with Superman coming to Supergirl, and so many other references made on The Flash, it became clear that a more expansive TV universe was being developed.
This has come full-circle with the upcoming Batwoman series, but one show that has been relatively reserved in trying to grow its superhero universe is Black Lightning. From the start, it's been more self-contained which, considering it isn't part of the Arrowverse, makes some level of sense. But that may all soon change, because in in the Season 2 finale, itch series called out the Dark Knight by name.
The episode began with Gambi (James Remar) unconscious after being inadvertently burnt by Lightning's (China Anne McClain) radiation overload. Black Lightning's other daughter, Thunder (Nafessa Williams), comes to their mentor's rescue, and they take Gambi back to their secret lair. There, Thunder/Anissa reveals that they need to get Gambi out his covert-ops battle gear and cool him down, as his body's burning up. She instructs Lightning, aka Jennifer, to get some ice, but as they strip their "uncle" down, a panicked Jen asks if he'll be okay, clearly feeling guilty for inadvertently harming him.
When Jen asks, "You think he's okay?" her sister retorts, "Pssh... I wouldn't be surprised if he told us he was Batman." It's a quick reference but potentially a huge moment for Black Lightning, perhaps even hinting at a new direction for the series if Season 3 is greenlit. It may be more than a shout-out for fanboys, and actually tie into the overall arc of the season, which ends with a metahuman war brewing between Markovia and America's Freeland, the home of Black Lightning's family.
This particular war has involved the Outsiders, a shadow team Batman put into play in the comics and the animate Young Justice with Black Lightning as one of its leaders. Given that we've already had one Outsider enter the vigilantes' lives in shapeshifter Grace Choi, the episode's Batman reference brings with it a little weight.
The Arrowverse has its own set of rules regarding the wider DCU, and DC Universe shows like Titans and Doom Patrol have been more directly linked to their Justice League counterparts, but Black Lightning has remained an island unto itself. We have of course, seen key enemies of the Outsiders appear over the course of the two seasons, so there's a bit of groundwork laid for a bigger superhero (and villain) presence in the future.
Created in 1983 by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo for The Brave and the Bold #200, the team boasted Geo-Force, Katana, Halo and Looker, as well as Black Lightning and Metamorpho. Batman led them to infiltrate Markovia outside of the League's jurisdiction. With Dr. Jace (a scientist who experiments on metahumans) being kidnapped by the fictional European country in the show's second season finale, and Team Lightning already running afoul of Outsiders' villains such as Syonide and the Masters of Disaster, that simple Batman namedrop may actually indicate we're one step closer to a true superhero team forming in the Black Lightning-verse.
Airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Black Lightning stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce, Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce/Thunder, Christine Adams as Lynn Stewart, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Tobias Whale, Damon Gupton as Billy Henderson, James Remar as Peter Gambi and Jordan Calloway as Khalil/Painkiller.