In the final monologue of Black Lightning Season 1, it became clear that after saving both her mother’s and father’s lives, Jennifer sees her powers similarly to Anissa, “as a blessing from God.”
Jennifer has spent episodes denying her abilities and how her life has changed, but it looks like she is really to embrace her powers and become Lightning. However, suiting up as her superhero alter ego shouldn’t happen on Black Lightning Season 2.
Time for Growth
The biggest reason Jennifer shouldn’t become a vigilante quite yet, though it’s clear that’s where her life is headed, is because she’s only a high school student. Jennifer still has much to learn, especially about life and what she wants to do with hers, and becoming a vigilante as a 17-year-old could lead to mistakes that haunt you throughout your entire life. Hell, Anissa is almost through college and she’s made mistakes as Thunder that she’s regretted, and she’s a lot smarter (street-wise and potentially intelligence-wise) than Jennifer is (not that Jennifer has an average mind by any means.)
What we’ve seen of Jennifer’s powers has been the result of her emotions: she’s been scared, angry and devastated, and her powers kicked in, so much so that her electric powers enveloped her entire body in red lightning when she recharged Jefferson’s abilities on Black Lightning Season 1 Episode 13. Jennifer Pierce has the strongest powers of her family in the comics. They’re so powerful they’re uncontrollable—her hair is always red with the lightning she’s producing—and the path Jennifer is going down in the show seems to be very similar. Thus far in Lightning’s comic book history, she has never managed to fully control her powers, and Jennifer seems to be having similar problems as her powers are just kicking in.
Instead of going out in the field now that she’s decided her powers are a blessing, Jennifer’s time would be better spent getting her education, living as “normal” of a life as she can, and learning to control her powers so she can avoid making mistakes like Anissa and her father have in their time as vigilantes. Jennifer deserves the same time Anissa had to live her life free of the burdens of her powers, so pushing her into a suit too soon would change Jennifer’s life forever. How would a 17-year-old react to their life being in danger every time they left the house?
Another reason Jennifer shouldn’t suit up yet is because there’s already two vigilantes on this show we’ve barely seen explored. Adding another too rapidly would just create the team fatigue we’re feeling on current Arrow-verse shows that have too many heroes and not enough time to fully explore and develop these heroes.
Anissa’s just received her powers, too, and she’s old enough to really be able to stand up for what is right, avoid making certain mistakes and handle the pressures of being a vigilante. After all, Jennifer doesn’t call her “Harriet” for no reason; Anissa’s all but devoted her life to making sure people receive equal rights and treatment, so becoming Thunder is a natural step for her. We didn’t see too much of Anissa’s journey to becoming Thunder with every bad thing happening in Freeland, but we can see how she grows from here and she can be the main hero in an episode since there’s only Thunder and Black Lightning protecting Freeland.
Likewise, while the series is entitled Black Lightning, we saw Jefferson more tied up in the master plan of the ASA and Tobias Whale than we did development of his powers of superhero identity. There’s still so much to explore of his past vigilantism, how his age and powers have progressed over the years, and what this will do to his family. Introducing another hero to explore will just become messy and confusing.
While Jennifer should absolutely become a hero in her own time, she’s not necessary as Lightning right now. We still have much to see from Anissa and Jefferson, so the writers should take their time and ease Jennifer into suiting up, rather than her suiting up right away because she’s finally embraced her powers.
What do you think? Should Jennifer get a suit when Black Lightning returns for Season 2, or should this be saved for later seasons? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!