Black Lightning S01E03 "Lawanda: The Book of Burial"

In this week's episode, the reality of gang violence and police complicity leaves two victims. The episode begins at Lawanda's funeral and Reverend Jeremiah makes a call to arms for 100 people to stand up against the One Hundred. Henderson reacts angrily, even when the Reverend accurately points out that the cops won't be able to solve the problem when so many of them are in the pockets of the One Hundred. Last week's episode gave visual confirmation of this which leaves Jefferson to act as the mediator. The Reverend does not back down—and once again we hear Jefferson being called Black Jesus.

If Jefferson is Black Jesus, Black Lighting is Moses.

We get to meet Lady Eve in this episode, the true leader of everything going on. Tobias reports that the Lala mess has been resolved and she doesn't seem impressed by this. She points out that Tobias has a bigger problem and if they're going to keep running the streets that problem needs to be gone. Tobias gets a henchman to shoot up the march as suggested by Lady Eve.

On the family side of things, co-parenting seems to have its pros and cons. Jennifer and Khalil plan to have sex, both admitting that this would be their first time. Shockingly, Jennifer straight up informs her parents that she had plans to have sex with him on Saturday. There's transparency and there's… this. It was honestly shocking to both her parents and to me as an audience member. And while her parents try to respect her while also advising her to not sleep with her boyfriend, she simply looks like a bright, excited teenager through the conversation. (The conversation Jefferson later has with Khalil is wild). When talking to Anissa about it she was slightly annoyed that Anissa hadn't been at family dinner to make the entire thing less awkward. To make it up to her Anissa agrees to go with Jennifer to the march.

In a role reversal Anissa's the rebellious kid this episode. She skips Lawanda's funeral to practice using her powers, likely an act of distraction. With some failed kicks and punches, Anissa realizes that the key to her powers was her breathing. It explains why the two times her powers had come up before had happened in a moment of panic, but now she's in control. While Anissa’s doing research in a library we have the pleasure of meeting Grace Choi. It's interesting that Grace had a copy of the Outsiders, the series that she and Anissa are both from. They talk about the comic for a bit and Grace invites Anissa to the bar she works at for a cosplay night. (We also discover that Supergirl is officially fictional in this universe full of other heroes. A nice nod to the separation of this show to the Arrowverse).

The final strands that held Anissa's relationship with Chenoa broke apart when Chenoa saw Anissa and Grace dancing together during cosplay night. What Chenoa said in response was very mean and uncalled for. However, it's understandable that she was pissed about what she saw. Grace reacts sympathetically when Anissa comes back to the bar and explains that she and Chenoa broke up. Anissa was using Chenoa as a distraction, which really wasn’t fair to Chenoa at all. But now we have Grace in the picture. The likely slow-burn will be so fun to watch.

Another fun thing to watch: Gambi. He seems to surprise and impress in each episode. Unlike most older characters depicted on television, he's the tech guy with skills to do things such as design holograms for Jefferson to practice his lightning on. The fact he used a record player for the training music was delightful. He came up with a game plan for what Black Lightning would do in protecting the marchers.

The march did not feel like a real protest march and completely threw me out of the story as someone who has led a protest and is connected with activists who run movements. So many things about it made me wonder if anyone had actually been to a protest. But anyway...

Gambi's advice helps Jefferson catch the person hired to shoot up the protest, shielding everyone from the bullet spray. The police department only agreed to have one card protecting the protest which really shows once again how little investment the police actually have in protecting the city, resulting in Black Lightning coming to save the day. In shock and awe at his presence the reverend starts singing Amazing Grace; the rest of the marchers join in with him in unity. Tobias, who'd rolled up to make sure everything went right, is furious to find Black Lightning to arrive. But his order for Syonide to kill Black Lightning isn't successful. The reverend is shot in the chest. As he falls, we see that behind him Khalil has also been shot. Lynn urges Black Lightning to leave the scene as she tries to give medical help to the reverend and as young adults all stand around Khalil.

We're only three episodes in and Jennifer's experience enough trauma to last a lifetime. She was with Khalil when he was shot and stayed with him as long as she could when he was rushed to the hospital. Anissa brings her tissues and tries to comfort her as Jennifer rambles. The reverend is OK. Khalil is not. The episode closes with the revelation that the bullet hit Khalil's spine. He might not be able to walk again. It's devastating watching the Pierce family break down as they hug Jennifer tightly. It's also haunting when one considers that the previous episode showed that Khalil wanted to use track to get out of Freeland.

The news shows that Black Lightning is being hailed as a hero. But that doesn't erase the new tragedy.


Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 PM EST on The CW
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Beatrice Onyekachi's picture
on January 31, 2018

I'm a Black lesbian ask me how. I'm a student who spends more time creating fandom content than focusing on her studies. I'm very excited to be a part of Geeks OUT!