The superhero shows on the CW have returned for 2021, and with them come all the usual cliches. Good guys fighting bad guys, lots of special effects, and, of course, the blatant liberal agenda. The Black Lightning season 4 premiere does all that with a scene that promotes the Black Lives Matter narrative and the return of the old MAGA treatment. Namely, that only bad guys ever want to make anything “great again.”
The February 8 premiere “The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter One” starts approximately one year after the previous season finale. After both the militia takeover and the foreign invasion, the fictional city of Freeland has seen better days. However, the citizens soon receive help from an unexpected source: former corrupt politician and Black Lightning’s enemy Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III).
Despite previously being apprehended by the government, Whale’s back to “make Freeland great again.” Needless to say, Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) and his family are not happy about it.
Reporter: In an exclusive interview by reporter John Webb, he talks with reclusive business man Tobias Whale about his philanthropy and his commitment to helping rebuild the city of Freeland.
Tobias: John, I love Freeland. I always have. And whatever it’s gonna take to get her back on her feet, I’m gonna do it.
John: What does that mean, exactly?
Tobias: Well, so far we’ve already started working with the mayor’s office and I’ve committed a substantial amount of money to help repair and rebuild any public institutions that were damaged during the war.
John: That’s a big commitment.
Tobias: For some.
Jeff: What the hell?
John: I’m curious, what was the mayor’s reaction…
Lynn: I thought he was dead?
Anissa: And you think it’s a coincidence that he shows up now?
Tobias:…But once he saw my budget, he knew that I was completely committed and prepared to make Freeland great again.
Anissa: Happy anniversary.
So many superhero shows have already pulled this dumb “’Make Blank Great Again’ is evil” nonsense. Heck, Black Lightning already did this shtick almost three years ago. It wasn’t clever then, and it’s only dumber now that Trump is out of office. How much longer long must we really deal with this?
Black Lightning hardly rises above that terrible reference in the rest of the episode. Near the beginning, Jeff comes across two white police officers (what else?) harassing a black teenager essentially for just being black. It is so over the top ridiculous, the teen is even innocently carrying a violin and the cops pull out their guns and point them at Jeff from across the intersection simply because he won’t get back in his vehicle. Out of anger, he violently blasts the two men with his powers.
Officer: Hey, where’s the drugs? Hey! Come here.
Boy: I didn’t do anything!
Officer: Stay still, punk. Stop resisting! Empty your pockets!
Boy: I don’t got none.
Officer: Stop! Stop moving.
Jeff: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hey, hey! Is all that necessary?
Officer: Hey, get back in your car, sir.
Jeff: Look, I know this kid. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. So, what did he do to deserve this?
Officer: This is your last warning, sir. Get back into your vehicle. Now!
Officer 2: Get back in your vehicle now!
Jeff: You gonna point a gun at me now?
Officer: I told you to get back in your car.
Jeff: Do I look armed to you? I’m so tired of this.
It’s hard to believe this guy is supposed to be the hero. The hero to Black Lives Matter against cartoonishly bad police officers, maybe, but not the public. With this backwards view of justice, it looks like Black Lightning will end its final season just as political and spiteful as ever.