A trailer for Black Lightning season 2 released at Comic-Con this weekend, along with confirmation that season 1 guest star Jordan Calloway will be returning for the show's sophomore run as a series regular. In season 1, Calloway's Khalil Payne, aka Painkiller, was a track star with aspirations of becoming an Olympic athlete, but had his dreams cut short when a stray bullet severed his spine during what began as a peaceful protest.
Embittered at seeing all his hard work come to nothing, he wanted someone to blame. Angry and isolated, he was left wide open for manipulation by Big Bad Tobias Whale, leader of The 100 gang. Tobias told Khalil he could get him walking again in return for Khalil’s loyalty. Following an experimental surgery, Khalil got his legs back as well as acquired the ability to secrete a paralytic venom, which can be weaponized via wrist-mounted dart guns. Having become a weapon for Tobias, he is given the new name of Painkiller. Blaming Black Lightning for what happened to him, Painkiller joins Tobias in his efforts to destroy him, a story arc that will continue in season 2.
The CW released the first trailer for Black Lightning season 2 during the TV show's panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018. And it wasn't long after that showrunner Salim Akhil revealed Calloway’s bump from guest star to series regular, saying in a press release: “I’m thrilled to have Jordan upped as a series regular. He was a great asset to our show in the role of Khalil/Painkiller during season one, and now that he has evolved into Painkiller, I can’t wait for you all to see him in season two.”
Along with his role on Black Lightning, Calloway also appeared as Chuck Clayton on The CW’s Riverdale , not to mention landing a role on FOX's The Mick. While he's appeared on several TV shows over the years, this will be the first time that he's landed a series regular role since the Nickelodeon sitcom Unfabulous ended in 2007.
Although it wasn’t long before Khalil started yearning for his old life and his old flame, Jennifer Pierce, it’s safe to assume that’s all beyond him now, especially considering Jennifer is the daughter of Black Lightning. Instead, fans will watch as he gets sucked deeper into the underworld of Freeland, as well as become a more important part of Tobias’ team of supervillains. More screen-time equals more opportunities for the show to explore the psyche of a character who did everything right, yet still found himself unable to escape the unfair nature of the world around him. Considering how Black Lightning has consistently delivered thoughtful and socially relevant narratives alongside an entertaining superhero tale, Painkiller’s season 2 arc will likely convey a deeper meaning that reflects the struggles some people face in reality.
Black Lightning season 2 premieres on Tuesday, October 9 on The CW.
Source: The CW