SPOILER WARNING:Black Lightning, “The Resurection,” which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
After a nine-year absence, a hero returns to protect the citizens of Freeland in Black Lightning. While the newest addition to The CW’s superhero lineup spends the majority of its series premiere focused on the titular hero, the audience does get to meet his two daughters, Anissa and Jennifer.
As the oldest — and more mature — of the two girls, Anissa has become a civil rights activist, with the younger Jennifer possessing a wild streak in her pursuit to have fun. For those familiar with their depictions in the comics, it’s a foregone conclusion that Anissa and Jennifer will suit up beside their father as the heroes Thunder and Lightning, and tonight’s episode teases the beginning of this transformation for one sister.
As “The Resurrection” comes to a close, we’re taken to the Pierce household where the family reunites after Anissa and Jennifer’s kidnapping at the hands of The 100 gang. This incident is what prompted Jefferson Pierce to come out of retirement as Black Lightning, laying out the criminals and fleeing the scene before the police show up.
Being held at gunpoint and believing you’re about to die can be a traumatic experience for anyone, and for Anissa, she begins to display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as she tries to fall asleep. Moments from her abduction — including screams and pleas for mercy — begin to ring in her head, finally jolting her awake.
Anissa tries to shake the unsettling feelings by splashing cold water on her face, until she finally can’t take it any longer. The end result sees her breaking off a piece of a bathroom sink, with her hands glowing with an orange aura. Anissa’s display of power is the first official look at her transformation into the crime-fighter Thunder.
Fans got a glimpse of Anissa’s alter ego when The CW released a photo of Nafessa Williams in Thunder’s costume, with the color scheme and goggles staying close to Black Lightning’s design. Thunder’s powers range from creating shockwaves (like thunder), along with increasing and decreasing her density.
Without the knowledge that her father is Black Lightning, it remains to be seen how Anissa will handle her new abilities. Since she’s active in the protest movement, she may choose to use her powers to fight oppression and crime on her own, bringing Anissa on a collision course with Black Lightning. Or, if Jefferson discovers what his daughter is capable of, he could have no choice but to take her on as an apprentice. For now, we have to wait and see how this development unfolds.
Debuting Tuesday, January 16, Black Lightning stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, China Anne McClain as his younger daughter Jennifer Pierce, Nafessa Williams as his older daughter Anissa Pierce, Christine Adams as Lynn Pierce, James Remar as Peter Gambi, Damon Gupton as Henderson, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Tobias Whale and Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi.
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