Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 2 - LaWanda: The Book of Hope

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


As Anissa and Jennifer recover from their shocking experience being abducted by The 100 and Anissa tries to understand the strange power she seems to possess, Jefferson notices a sense of hope that seems to have been restored in the community by the rumors of Black Lightning's return. Peter Gambi is urging him to return but Lynn wants him to stay retired. With the possibility of patching things up with his ex-wife on the horizon, what will Jefferson do when he discovers that The Seahorse Motel is back up and running, the men who abducted his daughters are back on the street and the daughter of one of his former students is among the girls The 100 has forced into prostitution?


The Black Lighting comics of Tony Isabella


Not really a goof,  but it seems kind of funny that the show's introduction has Jefferson Pierce declaring Black Lightning is back but the opening scene has him reassuring his ex-wife that Black Lightning is not coming back as she helps him off the bathroom floor after he falls and can't get up while trying to get some painkillers.


Jordan Calloway has an impressive first appearance as Khalil, Jennifer's boyfriend. In a genre where it's usually the girlfriends whipping the boyfriends into shape, it's unusual to see the boyfriend put in the role of being the one to put his foot down on underage drinking without things getting preachy or religion being brought up. It's one of the subtler ways this show is proving itself to be different from most superhero shows and black dramas and it's a good change to see.


The sequence in which Jefferson is struggling to get out of bed and uses his powers to adjust his bad back is a perfect blend of acting, effects work, camera work and music to create a great scene.

The music for the whole episode is fantastic.

The staircase fight.  Just... everything about the staircase fight.


The quote LaWanda White gives Jefferson - "Unless all of us are free, none of us will be free." - was made by Canadian civil rights leader Rosemary Brown.

This episode confirms that, like her comics book counterpart, the DCTVU version of Anissa Pierce is a lesbian.

The end of the episode seems to confirm that Tobias well is unusually strong, if not possessing some form of super-strength, as he is able to strangle Lala to death with one hand.

Dialogue Triumphs

Jefferson: It has been nine years since I've even come close to using my powers. It is time that people know that Black Lightning is back.

(Lynn is lying in bed next to Jennifer. She hears Jefferson moaning in the bathroom and goes to find him on the floor, trying to stand up. 
Lynn: Oh, Jeff.
(She gets down on the floor with him and starts trying to rub his muscles to relax them.)
Lynn: I've got you, okay? I've got you.
(Jefferson grunts but manages to get to a sitting position as she massages his shoulders.)
Lynn: Black Lightning is getting too old for these streets.
(The two laugh.)
Jefferson: You're not lying about that.
Lynn: You remember when we were young?  When I first saw your superpowers, I thought you were so co cool.
(The two laugh again.)
Lynn: That my man was a superhero. Not many girls could say that. Then the reality hit. And what I thought was cool almost destroyed us. (sighs) When I see you like this, I... I feel really selfish.
(Jefferson looks up at her and shakes his head.)
Jefferson: Hold on. I did this.
Lynn: I know but... I .. I feel like a hypocrite. I told you to go get the girls. I put you back out there...
Jefferson: Lynn, Black Lightning is not back. The girls are safe. I'm done. (pauses) I love you, Lynn.  I miss you.
Lynn: I miss you too.
(The two kiss passionately, but Lynn pulls away and starts to stand.)
I - I should go.
Jefferson: Uh, wait. Wait (standing up) I think it's important for you to be here for the girls. So I will sleep on the couch. You take the bed.
Lynn: Okay.
Jefferson: Good night.
(Jefferson kisses her on the cheek as he walks past her.)
Lynn: Good night.

LaWanda White: When I was a student here, you used to like to use quotes to teach us. Well, I've got one - "Unless all of us are free, none of us will be free."

(Tobias White is ordering his men to collect 50% more protection money.)
Tobias White: Squeeze these darkies 'til they crack!
Lala: Damn, boss. You really do hate black people.
Tobias White: No. I love black people. I hate incompetent, thick-lipped, scratch-where-it-don't-itch Negroes like you. You all keep us acting like newly-freed slaves.

Jefferson: Don't mistake my patience for weakness, boy.

Jefferson: (To Lynn)  Do you remember what you said when we discovered my powers? You said it was a gift. A blessing from God. It's still a gift. It's still a blessing from God. And I intend to use it. Not just for the girls, but for all the other people out there who need me.

Gambi: Mobile phones are the enemy of bad guys. When are they gonna learn?

Khalil: I've seen it all, J. Brother shot and killed. Father in jail. Mama working her damn ass off just to provide. Yeah, I live the life the rappers talk about, and ain't none of it cute! None of it! But you know what? God gave me a gift. I can run fast. So I'm gonna run my black ass straight out of here. And I ain't looking back. (pauses) And I want you to come with me. But not like this. No, that is going backwards and I can't do that.
Jennifer: I just see the world completely different now.
Khalil: Oh,  I got you. Really, I do. It's just growing up. (sighs) Come here, J.
(Jennifer leans into Khalil as he hugs her.)

Lynn: He was happy.
Gambi: But what kind of happy?  Happy like a lion in a cage? King of the zoo, not of the jungle?
Lynn: Happy like a man who was as peace just being Jefferson Pierce.
Gambi: But he isn't just Jefferson Pierce. He is so much more than that. And you know that better than anyone!
Lynn: I do. And that's why I want you to stop him before he gets addicted again.
Gambi: We have a difference of opinion on that. I don't believe Jefferson was ever addicted to his powers. He was in a war to save this city and its people. And he was winning! And then he suddenly stopped. Because he was addicted to you. And now look at the condition of the city and its people. It's complete chaos!
Lynn: Sounds like you're blaming me for the chaos.
Gambi: A little. Just like you blame me, then and now. But ultimately, it is Jefferson's choice what he does with his powers.

(Black Lightning takes down three of Lala's thugs in the apartment complex lobby. The elevator attendant stares in shock. He waves to Black Lightning.)
Elevator Attendant: I got you.
Black Lighting: Nah. I'm gonna take the stairs (kicks at one of the thugs who is trying to get back up) I'm just getting back into this. A brother needs all the exercise he can get.


LaWanda White is a former student of Jefferson Pierce's whose daughter Shaquandalyn was taken by the 100 and forced into prostitution at The Seahorse Motel but whom the police refuse to look for saying there's no evidence the girl was taken against her will.

LaWanda got married to another of Jefferson's students, Darnell, who joined the Marines and died while serving overseas.

LaWanda says that everyone in Freeland calls Jefferson Pierce Black Jesus because he can go anywhere and do anything.

The Seahorse Motel was open for business again the day after Black Lightning attacked it in 101.

Will, the thug who abducted Jennifer and Anissa, was able to escape from police custody.

Jennifer has a friend named Khalil who calls to check up on her.

Malik, the tween-age drug dealer from 101, attacks Jennifer with a squirt-gun full of red dye while posing as a kid selling candy.

Peter Gambi is a skilled enough computer hacker to get into the Freeland PD computer system. He claims to be able to get into any sort of database.

Anissa has a girlfriend, Chenoa, whom she has been dating for a year. Chenoa wants a more steady relationship and for Anissa to meet her parents, but Anissa is happy with how things are.

Anissa tells her Chenoa about how she broke the sink and thinks there's something wrong with her. Chenoa says they can find her a good therapist and how she's sure it was just old porcelain.

Jefferson is aware of Anissa's sexual orientation and her relationship with her girlfriend and is cool with it.

Lala kills Will.

Jennifer has a secret smoking habit, which she hides from Khalil.

Jennifer's likes to perch on the rooftop outside her bedroom window.

Jennifer and Khalil become boyfriend and girlfriend. He gives her an inexpensive necklace.

Neither Jefferson nor Lynn can remember Anissa's girlfriend's name.

Lynn is a neuroscientist.

Lala kills LaWanda White. Unbeknownst to him, however, the entire thing is captured by the cel-phone she has running in her car.

Jennifer gets drunk with her friend Kiesha in secret at school. Khalil chews her out for it.

Khalil's father is in jail and his brother was shot and killed.

Anissa is having trouble sleeping and thwarts a robbery while trying to buy sleeping pills at a pharmacy. She is able to throw a man roughly 10 feet over one aisle display and through a second one.

Tobias Whale is shown to have connections in the Freeland Police Department who will allow him into the jail.

Tobias Whale  kills Lala in his cell, strangling him with one hand.

The Fridge Factor

Averted, as Anissa stops a robbery.

The Winick Factor

Jefferson does get Lala but entirely by accident. His attack on Lala summons the police, who discover where Lala is hiding after finding the evidence to convict him entirely on their own. Nice though it is to see a superhero show where the cops aren't all blisteringly incompetent.

The Bottom Line

Another solid episode, though light on superhero action  The supporting cast is getting fleshed out as we are introduced to Jennifer and Anissa's love interests and Jefferson is given a strong conflict in the form of his desire to do the right thing and his desire to win back the woman he wants to share his life with. It remains to be seen how the relationship with Lynn will develop in upcoming episodes but right now the drama between all the characters is as easily as engaging as the superhero side of the story.

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