Why Jennifer's Powers Can't Come Soon Enough on 'Black Lightning'

Why Jennifer's Powers Can't Come Soon Enough on 'Black Lightning'

While we've seen Jefferson Pierce adjust to using his powers again and Anissa growing into hers, the third member of this superhero family has yet to discover her own powers or what she's capable of. Though Black Lightning has only aired four episodes thus far, Jennifer's story doesn't seem to have much direction. Her powers need to come in now, before her story gets any more boring.

Jefferson and Khalil

Jennifer has fallen into a common pattern for CW shows, where a female main character who should be part of the story is designated to just be the hero's daughter, or worse, a side character's love interest. With Jefferson, Jennifer is the rebellious teen daughter who's giving him grief as a father while he's attempting to be Black Lightning again and save the city from the 100 gang.

But, mostly, Jennifer's story has been about Khalil. After being kidnapped in the premiere, we didn't really see Jennifer's growth from the experience as we have with Anissa. Instead of seeing Jennifer deal with the traumatic experience per se, we saw Khalil realize he loved Jennifer and he almost lost her, so they struck up a romantic relationship. And now he's paralyzed and Jennifer is dealing with her best friend/boyfriend being paralyzed and how this affects both of their lives going forward, but we have yet to see Jennifer doing anything outside of her father or Khalil. It's hard to see her ever becoming a superhero with how her story is going so far.

Her Powers

We've seen glimpses at the character Jennifer could be throughout these episodes, and getting her powers would set Jennifer on a journey of her own where she could be in control of her own life. Jennifer's character would be so much better if we saw her as the character she was during episode 3, where Jennifer told her parents she was going to sleep with Khalil and it wasn't a question. Jennifer has the ability to be very straightforward and confident in her decisions, but because of how she's written as Jefferson's daughter or Khalil's girlfriend, we aren't seeing it.

Becoming Lightning -- as Anissa is becoming Thunder -- would allow Jennifer the chance to explore her powers, and it would potentially be more interesting than Anissa learning to use her powers because Jennifer clearly isn't ready for them in the way Anissa is. Jennifer is younger, more rebellious and more impressionable than Anissa, so Jennifer's powers could go off the rails if she goes unchecked for too long. This character shouldn't be wasted or relegated to the sidelines to push the men's stories further along, especially when she's just as capable and interesting as her sister, who is getting a lot more focus than her. At this point, Jennifer isn't necessary to the story, and that shouldn't be the case for a main character.

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.

(Image courtesy of The CW)


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