Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 3 - LaWanda: The Book of Burial

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


As the people of Freeland begin to rally against The 100 in the wake of LaWanda White's death,  Anissa begins to test the limits of her newfound powers. Jefferson and Lynn reexamine their relationship and Jennifer approaches her parents about a big decision that she's made.


The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella, The Outsiders comics of Mike W. Barr (shown on screen) and the Outsiders comics of Judd Winick (character of Grace Choi)


Grace describes the comic Outsiders as being about "young folks with outsized powers traveling the world, knocking bad guys on their asses." While this is a vaguely accurate description of Judd Wnick's Outsiders comics, the comic she's holding is from the 1990s Mike W. Barr run.

Granting that this is a comic book TV show, how the heck does Gambi afford to have a holographic Hogan's Alley and state-of-the art mapping system set up in his basement on the salary of an inner-city tailor?


The entire dinner scene of Jennifer telling her parents she's ready to have sex is a master-class in physical acting. The expressions and physicality of the actors is a treat to watch as we see what they are all thinking without a word being said.


The opening sequence in which Anissa tests her powers against the backdrop of the music from LaWanda White's funeral is a powerfully directed and shot scene.

The shooting scene is another perfect moment of acting, direction, cinematography and music working together to make something perfect.


Anissa meets a librarian/bartender named Grace Choi while researching genetic mutation.  In the Outsiders comics of Judd Winick, Grace Choi was a member of The Outsiders who was recruited to the team while working a job as a nightclub bouncer. She was eventually revealed to be of Amazon heritage, but had been genetically enhanced beyond even the normal capabilities of her people. She had super-strength, enhanced durability and regeneration powers. She and Anissa Pierce began dating and became a couple.

Grace Choi carries an Outsiders comic book in her back pocket while working at the library. The specific comic in question is Outsiders #16 (March 1995). This is the same issue which introduced the third version of the villain Syonide, who was part of an all-female villain team along with Lady Eve. This version of Syonide was in a lesbian relationship with sorceress Fauna Faust - a subtle hint at Grace's sexual preferences?

Grace makes reference to Supergirl as a character people cosplay as. It is unclear if this means there is a Supergirl in the reality of this Earth or if she's considered a fictional character in the Earth of Freeland.

Grace also make reference to a superhero called Looker, who people who like vampires are into. Looker was a member of the classic Outsiders team, first appearing in Batman and the Outsiders #25 (September 1985). Originally a mousy bank teller, the activation of Emily Briggs' metagene gave her amazing psychic powers as well as a more traditionally beautiful body. Taking on the name of Looker, she was a steadfast member of the Outsiders. Bitten by a vampire, she inherited all of the standard vampire powers but few of the weaknesses due to the nature of her metagene working to enhance her physical body. She can still walk around in daylight and is resistant to holy symbols, but she can only take nourishment from blood and experiences severe bouts of bloodlust.


Gambi decreases the resistance within the circuitry of Black Lightning's costume. This will allow for a smoother transfer of power into Jefferson's body.

Gambi also fixes the right gauntlet of the suit so that it can be used to create a thinner stream of electricity, so that Black Lightning can make targeted strikes with less collateral damage. Also, thinner streams have lower voltage requirements and reduce power drain.

Gambi creates a holographic virtual reality shooting game that allows Jefferson to practice making targeted shots with his new suit.

Anissa does some research on genetic mutation.

Gambi also has a high-tech holographic display table in his basement that allows him to create a holographic map of the march route that he and Jefferson can use for planning strategy.

Black Lighting creates an electric force-field that protects the crowd from the bullets of Whale's gunman.

Dialogue Triumphs

(As Inspector Henderson is trying to talk the Reverend out of his march against The 100.)
Reverend Holt: See, we gonna put our trust in The Almighty. Because we damn sure can't put our trust in you. You got that?
Inspector Henderson: C'mon, that - that's not true, Jeremiah and you know it.
Reverend Holt: What, those crooked cops send you down here like the overseer? Put the slaves in check? Huh?
Inspector Henderson: While you're up in the pulpit with a $25,000 watch on... wiping your forehead with a silk handkerchief, I'm scraping young black men's bodies off the concrete. The street is my pulpit.
Jefferson: Billy, okay.
(Jefferson puts a hand between Henderson and Holt as Henderson steps forward, all but in the Reverend's face.)
I wear work shoes. What kind of shoes you wear, Reverend?

Reverend Holt: They used to call you Black Jesus.
Jefferson: Yeah, well maybe they listen to me because they believe in what I'm saying.
Reverend Holt: No, we listened because you were one of us. You were out on the streets, fighting with us. Now it seems like the only ones you care about are the ones in your school. Or the ones in your home.
Jefferson: That's not true, Jeremiah. It never has been. Freeland is my home too, man!
Reverend Holt: Really?
Jefferson: I fight the best way I know how.
Reverend Holt: Look, man. I know you and Henderson think I'm marching for my own glory, but I'm not. (pauses) I'm tired, man. If it ain't the police killing us, we killing us. And it's time for me... it's time for us to take our lives back. Even if it means we have to be willing to die.

(Reverend Holt expresses his belief that Black Lightning's return is God's work.)
Jefferson: But what if you're wrong, Reverend, hmm? What if you're wrong about Black Lightning?
Reverend Holt: I'm not.

Lady Eve: I don't mind people believing in God. They just can't believe that they can take back these streets.
Tobias Whale: Amen, Lady Eve.

(Khalil confesses about lying about not being a virgin to Jennifer.)
Jennifer: So... a fine-ass virgin tells the truth and risks remaining a virgin? Khalil, my virgin self couldn't find you sexier right now.

(Gambi and Jefferson are discussing how to alter the march route to make it easier to protect the crowd.)
Gambi: So even if I break into the PD's computers and alter it, there's no guarantee everyone gets the message.
Jefferson: No, I know. I was thinking of something a bit more old-school than that.
Gambi: What? Shriners on lawn-mowers to lead people the other way?
Jefferson: Close. I was thinking more like a handsome Italian gentleman in coveralls.
Gambi: Whenever you call me handsome, I almost always end up dirty.
Jefferson: Well, then you won't be disappointed by my plan.

Lynn: We are happy that you came to us, like we've always encouraged you to.
Jefferson: (distantly) So happy.
Lynn: And... glad that you felt so comfortable.
Jefferson: (to himself) You are so young.
Jennifer: How old were you guys?
(Jefferson gives Lynn a "Well honey?" look. Lynn responds by taking a large sip of wine.)
Jennifer: Never mind. (laughs)

(Jefferson is asking Khalil how he towels off after a shower.)
Jefferson: So... Feet. Legs. Etc.
Khalil: Yeah. Yeah. That sounds about right.
Jefferson: So the young man... who wants to have sex with my daughter... who spends much of his time in locker rooms... dries his fungus-covered feet before he dries his important parts?
Khalil: Sir, I -
Jefferson: No-no! I'm asking you! Do you want to give my daughter Athlete's Foot in places where athlete's feet should not be?!
Khalil:  (confused) I don't think so?
Jefferson: "I don't think so?" Son, the answer is no! And if you don't know that, then maybe you and Jennifer need to slow down.
(Jefferson turns around and grins wickedly to himself as Khalil looks truly terrified.)

Tobias Whale: These are my streets. And nobody messes with my streets. Now stop bleeding on my desk.


Anissa misses LaWanda White's funeral because she's testing her super-strength in a junk yard.

The Pierce family are Methodists and attend Freeland United Methodist Church.

After being hit by a falling cube of crushed metal, Anissa discovers that she is super durable as well as super strong.

Reverend Holt repeats the line about how everyone in Freeland calls Jefferson Pierce Black Jesus. LaWanda White said the same thing in 102.

Tobais Whale believes that he killed Black Lightning and that the new Black Lightning is an impostor.

Both Jennifer and Khalil are virgins.

Anissa meets a librarian/bartender named Grace who invites her to a superhero cosplay party.

Grace tends bar at the Ruby Red-Lipstick Bar.

Jennifer tells her parents she thinks she's ready to have sex. They do not take this news well.

Jennifer has never been to a protest march before.

The Pierce Family doctor is Dr. Bass. Lynn makes an appointment with him to see about getting Jennifer on birth control.

Lynn suggests Jennifer move back in with her if Jefferson is going to keep being Black Lightning.

Anissa's girlfriend Chenoa dumps her after finding Anissa, dressed in a cat costume, dancing with Grace at her bar.

A unarmed young black man named Jamal Allen Brown is shot and killed by the policeon the streets of Freeland.

Lynn, Anissa and Jennifer attend the march together.

Syonide shoots Reverend Holt. The shot passes through him and hits Khalil.

Reverend Holt is said to recover.

Lynn recants her suggestion that Jennifer come move in with her, saying that the shooting showed her that danger is everywhere.

Gambi deletes the security footage showing Tobias Whale at the scene of the shooting.

Anissa tells Lynn about her brake-up with Chenoa. Lynn says she knows that isn't really what's bothering her, but that she'll be ready to talk when Anissa is ready.

The bullet that hit Khalil hit his spine. Jennifer says he may never walk again.

The Fridge Factor

Lynn and the girls are put in danger to throw Jefferson off his game, but they're part of a larger crowd he's already working to protect.

The Bottom Line

Another solid episode, which further develops the characters and pushes the drama of The Pierce Household over the neighborhood conflict while drawing parallels between the various conflicts. This show gets better with every episode.

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