LaWanda: The Book of Hope
|Air Date||January 23, 2018|
In the pilot, we learned about Jefferson Pierce’s current life, as well as his past as the hero Black Lightning. At some point, Jefferson was at his physical brink, stretching himself between protecting his daughters, his wife, and his city. That physical brink left him bloody, battered and bruised in a bathtub, his wife pleading him to stop donning the lightning bolts every night. That is the story of how Black Lightning retired… Until now.
The second episode of Black Lightning branches the show into 3 stories following the main characters of Jefferson and his ex-wife; Anissa, the eldest daughter; and the youngest daughter, Jennifer.
Beginning with Jefferson, Pierce assures his ex-wife Lynn that yes, he gave up the Black Lightning costume for good. (Regardless of the events of the pilot.) However, it comes to Jefferson’s knowledge that even though he went to the Seahorse motel to “destroy” the 100 gang’s presence there, the 100 are still running the prostitution ring out of the hotel. As he addresses his private school, it is made known that the public is outraged that the 100 gang’s prostitution ring is still functional and many other daughters are being used. Jefferson approaches his friend on the police force, Inspector Henderson, to look into a specific missing daughter of a mother named LaWanda. Meanwhile, Pierce’s Alfred-esque butler is trying to convince him to return to the city as Black Lightning. Pierce then discovers with the aid of Henderson that LaLa has killed LaWanda in cold blood.
What’s going on with Anissa in LaWanda: The Book of Hope?
Much like the comic origins, Pierce’s eldest daughter, Anissa, is of a lesbian sexual orientation. Anissa finds trouble confiding in her girlfriend the troubles within her own body, referring back the events at the end of the first pilot. Her arc is small in this episode, but near the end of it, we do see her in a pharmacy while a robbery is taking place. Unable to comply with the masked assailant’s orders, she throws the robber through several aisles of the store. We perceived that she had some form of power in the first episode, probably passed down from her father, but now those suspicions are confirmed.
The youngest daughter, Jennifer, is staying home from school after her kidnapping with her mother Lynn. During her stay, LaLa, the small-time gangster working under the boss Tobias Whale, sends one of his hustlers to intimidate Jennifer to stay silent about the kidnapping. Jennifer is in shock, and after returning to school turns to alcohol as an escape from her current situation.
As the episode reaches its climax, Jefferson and Lynn are in a heated argument. Pierce storms off, claiming, “It’s time for the city to know that Black Lightning is back.” Leaving the house, Pierce becomes Black Lighting and travels to LaLa’s penthouse suite to deliver justice, or more like revenge. The police storm into the penthouse to see Black Lighting pummeling LaLa and arrest LaLa as Black Lighting slips away.
Finally, we see LaLa in a holding cell being approached by none other than the boss himself, Tobias Whale. Tobias crushes his neck and leaves the cell.
What happens next?
If I were a betting man, we are going to see Anissa try to understand her powers and what that ultimately means. So far, this show is delivering. It is not shying away from violence, or difficult topics to discuss. Is it The Punisher? No. But it is not The Flash or Supergirl, or Legends of Tomorrow, and that is quite alright.
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