With The CW’s Black Lightning series coming to a close, showrunner Salim Akil discussed how trauma in the black community is the true ‘big bad’.
In Black Lightning Season 4, Jefferson Pierce is still on the mend after the war that damaged his town of Freeland and their relationships. Showrunner Salim Akil shared that this final season will be about reconciling with the trauma in the black community.
“I think he just wanted to get back to dealing with the family,” Akil said. THAT. “We had ended on such a broad note of ending the Markov war. He wanted to go back to the family and see what trauma looks like and how he can heal himself.”
In season 3, the Markovians descend on Freeland and abduct metahuman children to experiment. They also take Lynn Stewart, a brilliant neuroscientist and ex-wife of Jefferson, and force her to create a metahuman serum for them. The ASA enlists Black Lightning for help, and he, along with a super-powerful team, plans an attack on the Markovians and infiltrates the enemy base.
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As the Pierce family saga has escalated, there have been some serious losses. Jefferson’s own superhero daughters, Jennifer / Lightning and Annissa / Thunder, have killed people, much to their father’s dismay. To make matters worse, Deputy Chief Bill Henderson and Jefferson’s old friend are shot and killed in the battle against the Markovians.
“If you remember,” Akil continued, “Jefferson is depressed because his daughters have killed people, his wife has killed people in this war, and he feels like he has let them down and it’s his responsibility. Trauma changes people. So I wanted to. explore the idea of trauma, especially in African American families, because not all of us, but many of us live in areas where gun violence and crime are prevalent on a daily basis, and no one is really doing anything to try to solve it or report it further. “
In Season 4, Episode 1, “The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter One: Collateral Damage,” Jefferson is still processing everything that happened last year. He no longer adapts, despite being warned by his trusted ally Gambi of the dangers of using his powers without his suit, but the showrunner still believes there is hope for recovery.
Said Akil: “There’s a lot of trauma out there, and I just wanted to say to the people watching, ‘Hey, to heal, you have to talk about things. You have to deal with them and you need to seek help.’ I think if there is a theme this year, someone said “trauma is kind of a big bad this season.”
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 and James Remar as Peter Gambi. The new episodes air Mondays at 9 pm ET / PT on The CW.
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