Jen and Greg, Alien Alien Hunters
Naomi’s parents are in the military, and Greg works specifically for a unit that tracks aliens. Greg’s superior, Commander Steele, eventually figures Naomi out, but is defeated by her parents when he confronts her–which is when Naomi learns they’re aliens as well. Naomi does not dedicate much dialogue or meaningful plot to this military threat element, opting instead to let the audience fill in the blanks, which… fair. Perhaps this was meant to open the door for storytelling in future seasons. Alas, we’ll have to settle for the common trope.
Et tu, Brute?
When Naomi confronts Brutus on Earth-29, he reveals that he came to that universe for new opportunities, claiming he “saved” the planet because it needed a leader. This is not a major reveal, we know there is a multiverse, but it does play with the possibilities of bigger bads, maybe something or someone Brutus himself is running from. Brutus attacks Naomi, and is able to physically hurt her, even though she is invincible on our Earth. But before he can strike again, she blasts him with her energy, knocking him down and restoring life to the earth surrounding them.
The timeline is a bit unclear, so one can speculate on whether Brutus coming to Earth-29 causes the Tear, and/or subsequently leads to the creation of the Twenty-Nine. It feels like we’ve just begun to scratch the surface. Future seasons could delve deeper, providing more insight into Naomi’s home planet, and perhaps Brutus’. It would be a satisfying bit of cosmic justice if Brutus turns out to have inadvertently created the same power that could be his undoing.
Becoming A Superhero
In just a few months, Naomi goes from regular, well-rounded teenager, to possibly one of the strongest beings in existence. As Naomi’s world expands, so does her understanding of her place in it. And as she unlocks more of her past, she becomes more powerful. This season we see Naomi alter gravity around her, emit energy, move with super-speed, make psychic connections to people and objects, and be physically indestructible.
As said by two uncles and one aunt in other live-action comic book adaptations, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Naomi isn’t just powerful, she is destined for greatness. That becomes clear when she faces Brutus. As her abilities grow, so do the threats against her. Naomi not only has to figure out how these new powers fit into her life now, but what they might mean for her future. And her biggest struggle throughout the series is accepting the responsibility that comes with her abilities.
Throughout Black Lightning, Jennifer Pierce constantly navigated being both powerful and powerless. As Lightning, Jenn was able to actively protect herself, loved ones, and her community. As Jenn, she was a Black girl in an impoverished community, subject to the whims of whoever was in power at any given time. For Jenn, half the battle was defying circumstances, fighting against and rising above corrupt leaders and oppressive systems. And while there are things all Black girls will experience, the contexts will be different. With Naomi, Black girls could see themselves without the omnipresent reminders that the world is against them simply because they are girls and Black.