'Black Lightning' Took a RomCom Trope and Made It New


We all know the scene well. Someone has a big event coming up — a prom or big date or even an interview — and they just must have some new clothes. They make a beeline for a store and the costume test montage begins as they try on outfit after outfit. In Black Lightning’s fifth episode, the series gave the trope its own twist.

During “And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light,” Anissa goes shopping for her first superhero suit at a costume shop. Already, the trope’s often superficial feel gets a new kind of energy — and honesty.

While Jefferson Pierce is busy getting a handle on his powers and Jennifer is fighting at the roller rink, Anissa is on the hunt for information about her new abilities. After doing some research online, she finds a guy who gives off some conspiracy theorist vibes and discovers a story about kids from Freeland that reportedly had abilities and disappeared. It turns out Anissa’s grandfather reported on the story, but they were never published and he was killed shortly after. The investigation leads her to her grandfather’s old storage locker.

Anissa is all ready to hit the streets when her old black latex outfit rips. It served its purpose at a cosplay party, but it clearly didn’t have the durability needed for crime-fighting. To that end, she heads to the store where a clerk helps her figure out her new outfit.

Black Lightning Episode "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light"

Using the name Monica, she lies and says she needs the costume for cosplaying. Cut the montage.

The clerk helps Anissa go through different fabrics, capes, and jumpsuits until she finds the perfect one. The clothes pile up along the way and Anissa’s oblivious new ally gets visibly exhausted, but they finally settle on a wig and a one-piece suit that’s red, yellow, and blue.

Black Lightning has introduced Thunder — or least a beta version.

Black Lightning Episode "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light"


Anissa’s desire to be a hero and keep that part of herself secret push this trope into new territory. There’s an underlying sense of humor to the scene as she literally walks into a costume shop looking for a superhero outfit.

Usually when someone embarks on this clothing montage, they already has the type of clothing they need, but just wants something new. It’s a perfectly respectable impulse, but it’s become trite over time. When mashed up with the urgency of wanting to be a superhero, it gains new potency.

The bright costume Anissa settles on definitely won’t be the final version, but it’s nice to see her progress away from generic clothing. Anissa’s journey towards becoming her own hero has been one of the best parts of Black Lightning.

Nafessa Williams as Thunder on 'Black Lightning'

The CW

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW.