Black Lightning Episode 1×03: “LaWanda: The Book of Burial” Recap + Review

For a recap of last week’s episode “Lawanda Book of Hope” click here 

This post contains Major Spoilers for episode 1×03 of Black Lightning, “LaWanda: The Book of Burial.”

As this week episode begins, the Pierce family, minus Anissa are at church for the memorial for LaWanda’s death. During the service, Reverend Jeremiah asks the people to march with him in protest of the murder, and of The 100. While the family is at church however, Anissa is off at the junkyard practicing her new super powers, with no success so far.

After the service, Detective Henderson and Jefferson approach the Reverend about the “march,” however both Henderson and Jeremiah end up taking shots at each other. Reverend Jeremiah thinks Henderson is working for the 100, while Henderson is asking him why he’s preaching with a $20,000 watch and a silk handkerchief. After Henderson leaves, Reverend Jeremiah tells Jefferson that he’s getting tired of all this killing and that Black Lightning is the answer to the city’s prayers. Meanwhile, Anissa smartly realizes she must focus on her breathing and eventually kicks the washing machine powerfully across the junkyard.

Jefferson goes over to Gambi’s. Jefferson still doesn’t think he’s ready yet to become the superhero the city needs him to be. Gambi however installs new lightning gauntlets that allow Jefferson to shoot thinner streams of lightning so there’s less collateral damage when he’s out fighting. Gambi sets up a video game type training simulation for Jefferson to practice. At first Jefferson fails but eventually he succeeds.

Tobias Whale makes his way to Lady Eve’s office. She is frustrated that Black Lightning is back. Tobias reiterates that he killed Black Lightning. He then gives her money for LaLa’s failures. Lady Eve claims that she doesn’t mind if the people of Freeland believe in God, she minds that they think they can take the streets back.

Jennifer and her new boyfriend Khalil are up on the roof again. He comes forward by telling her he lied to her about not being a virgin anymore. Even though he lied, Jennifer tells him that she finds him sexy because he eventually told the truth.

Anissa is at the library reading up on Genetic Mutation when she happens to run into Grace Choi. They start talking about superpowers and Grace just happens to have the DC comic The Outsiders in her back pocket. Grace invites her to a dress up as a super hero party.

For the second time this week, Anissa fails to show up, this time for family dinner. Jennifer planned on bringing up losing her virginity at the dinner and would have liked Anissa there for support. Anyway, Jennifer still decides to bring it up at dinner. After she brings it up, the family commences in awkward silence. The Pierce’s weren’t exactly ready for the situation. Sometime after dinner, Jennifer asks Anissa to come to the march with her. Anissa has been the most protestant one in the family, but Jennifer questions why now is not a good time to protest. Eventually, Anissa agrees to come to the march.

At school, Lynn walks into Jefferson’s office to talk about the events at the dinner table and suggests that Jennifer should move in with her now that he’s Black Lightning again. They argue and Lynn (Stewart) walks out very upset. After the meeting, Jefferson runs into Khalil. Being the over-bearing father that he is, he gives a very amusing pep-talk to Khalil about slowing things down with his daughter.

The reason Anissa wanted to skip out on the march was because of the party Grace invited her to. At the party, Anissa is having fun dancing with Grace when her girlfriend Chenoa walks in and finds them dancing together and accuses her of cheating. Eventually, while Anissa and Grace are sharing a drink, Anissa tells Grace that Chenoa gave her key to the apartment back, meaning they broke up.

Meanwhile, Gambi is at the scene of the march setting up roadblocks where he thinks Tobias will attack during the march. Back at Gambi’s, he comes up with a plan for Black Lightning during the march. He reminds him that the gunman will be nervous to kill in cold blood.

Black Lightning stands on the rooftop looking over the march. Eventually, he see’s his family there marching and he spots the gunman. As the gunman goes to shoot at the crowd, Black Lightning uses his powers to create a light shield around the crowd, blocking them from the gunshots and then knocks out the gunman. The marchers begin to sing Amazing Grace in unison when a pissed off Tobias Whale gets his henchwoman to shoot Black Lightning from behind when he’s not looking. The shot ends up missing Black Lightning but instead it hits Reverend Jeremiah.

Reverend Jeremiah is rushed to the hospital. The Pierce’s are all there. They find out that he is not dead but severely injured and may never walk again. Lynn and Anissa have a mother-daughter talk. Lynn knows something is up (motherly-intuition). While she doesn’t spill that she has super-powers (yet) she does tell her mom that her and Chenoa broke up. Lynn tells her that Chenoa was more in love with Anissa then Anissa was in love with her.

Thought’s and Easter Eggs:

The Outsiders, as the name suggests, is a DC super-hero team, like the Justice League, that consists of heroes that don’t fit the norms of the super-hero community. Black Lightning is also a member of The Outsiders in the comics. 

Supergirl is also name dropped when Grace Choi mentions to Anissa which super-hero she should dress as. For as serious as Black Lightning is, it was a little weird to see them provide a little meta humor and 4th wall breaking in the show.

Jefferson calls his ex-wife by her maiden name, Lynn Stewart, who in the comics is the sister to one of the most famous Green Lantern’s, John Stewart.

Action took a back seat in this episode, but it was still a strong installment. It’s great to see that Black Lightning doesn’t need to rely on gimmicky action sequences in order to keep us hooked.

Anissa’s romantic sub-plot didn’t really fit in with the rest of the episode but it was effective enough to bring in Grace Choi.

I thought the writers did an excellent job handling how Jennifer came to her parents about wanting to lose her virginity. While Jefferson doesn’t seem like a liberal father, he does ask if he’s being too liberal about this whole thing. It’s nice to see a character like Jefferson have enough self-awareness to ask the question. While ultimately they disagree with Jennifer, they were open enough to engage Jennifer because they realize they would much rather have her come to them then for her to do it behind their backs.

I was also glad to see Black Lightning not just forget about LaWanda’s murder from the last episode and continue to use that as motivation for Black Lightning. So many times we’ve seen in the “Arrowverse,” characters die and by the next episode everybody has moved on and it is barely mentioned again. The stakes are much higher in Black Lightning, that’s why its currently the most serious of all the DC TV shows.

 

  

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Author: Mark Battisti

My life is a comedy but i'm no comedian

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