Black Lightning Recap: Lawanda: The Book of Hope

Season 1 / Episode 2 / CW

Life at the Pierce Household

We open with Jefferson laid out to the sultry sounds of Al Green. But before you can say “snack” Jefferson starts writhing and groaning enough to kill any dream of getting laid for real. He’s not “too old for this” but it looks like nine years of living like a muggle has stopped him up something fierce. Yikes. So while the newscaster is hoping Black Lightning is back, Black Lightning is just trying not to overload his circuits. Lynn, who’s sleeping over because her daughters nearly got sold into prostitution and that makes her feel a way, slips into the bathroom to give a shirtless Jefferson some TLC just like the old days. She’s worried but Jefferson promises that Black Lightning’s gig was one night only. Sorry, Effie. We all got pain.

Despite some promising tonsil hockey, Jefferson sends himself to sleep it off on the couch. Oh, and the 100 is still running amok. And nobody cares.

Trying to Get Back to Normal

The next day Jefferson holds a meeting for… faculty… parents… neighborhood adults…? I don’t even know but folks is there in bleachers. He tries to pull another “Dr. King would be ashamed if we stood up for ourselves” quote but is interrupted by an iconic rebuttal. Yes, sir, they did shoot Dr. King in the head and that is why you are today’s MVP. But a Garfield High alumna, Tawanda White, stands up because the 100 has her daughter too but nobody has been able to get her back. Jefferson’s like it’s all good but the Seahorse Motel is closed for business. There he go believing in a crooked system like he don’t get a DWB traffic stop three times a month. Lawanda gives him the Porcha-Kenya-Kandi special because what brothel is closed? How Jefferson the last one to know this? Like it literally opened back up the next day and nobody had anything to say???

Lawanda hits him with the big question: Why did Black Lightning save the Pierce girls and nobody else’s KNOWING what goes on in that motel? Jefferson stuck looking dumb because what can you say to that? She ain’t wrong. Hopefully, now he’ll stop pulling King quotes from the Gaslighting with Black Icons Handbook. Ugh.

Back in his lair, Tobias Whale is not pleased that even a knockoff Black Lightning is fucking with his money. Lala has to find out who dude in a disco suit is and Tobias wants him to check every rib shack to see what these “darkies” know. I know y’all can’t say that one word… but the one you can say feels kinda gross too. Anyway, Tobias gives his audition speech for Jason Whitlock’s co-host and drops how he hates a certain type of Black person like he too is not that type of Black person. Meanwhile, his homegirl with her bun and half-bang looks mad uncomfortable. She’s here for the dudes being eaten alive by piranhas and harpooning but bringing up race goes just a bit too far. Then the ball gag comes out and I just wanna say Whale HQ has the weirdest assortment of torture supplies I’ve ever seen. At least stick with a theme, man…

Normal is a Hot Mess

Back at Garfield, Lawanda tells Jefferson how she lost her husband to war and her daughter to the streets. Jefferson, showing how much he doesn’t care about his students once they graduate, knows none of this. How you call yourself making a difference and… nevermind. He ain’t care that Lala was a drug pusher and selling women into slavery NOR did he care that Peter was sending Black Lightning messages to his work email. Retired Jefferson is terrible at everything. Lawanda thinks Jefferson can go get her daughter off the strength of respect for Mr. Pierce. But that name don’t carry the clout that it used to. And if it did, why was he just letting the 100 run wild over Freedland? Why? Why? Lawanda gets the hero exit and real-talk, I would’ve watched the show about her taking on the 100 and bringing them down. I may write that fic. It’s what she deserves.

Anyway, Jefferson is upset that Henderson and the police didn’t shut down the illegal brothel. My dude, when has this police force made you think they were doing their jobs? When? Apparently, because Lala has an alibi, nobody who was at the brothel has to go to jail and nothing is under investigation anymore. Oh, and Will, the walking cliché, escaped from the ambulance after being thrown two stories onto a car. And the police couldn’t catch him. Yeah, I wouldn’t rely on them for literally anything else.

Jen is still on porch punishment for going to Club 100 but is allowed to Facetime her friend at school. Somehow, despite the patrol car parked in front of the house, Lala’s lil’ man manages to get the jump on Jen and shoot her with fake blood from a water pistol. WHO TRUSTS THESE COPS???????

Lala is hosting parking lot motocross for the kids he’s pressed into the game. Jefferson shows up in all his Mr. Pierce glory and learns just how much respect folks have for him. None. It’s none.

Peter is still trying to get Jefferson back into the suit and actually has a plan. My man is also secretly a master hacker but Jefferson ain’t hearing it because he forgot how crime works and wants to continue being terrible at everything.

No one has told Anissa that their police protection has been compromised so she’s just enjoying a night in with her girlfriend.

Sidebar

Thank y’all for making this sexy but not gratuitous and for not trying to pass a white actress off as a woman of color. Y’all stepped your game up.

Turns out Anissa is a fuckboi. Damn, homie, sorry it had to be you. Her girlfriend is super supportive and considerate and suggests a therapist because Anissa probably has PTSD. She a real one and Anissa ain’t have to do her like that.

Lawanda the Hero We Need

Henderson drops by to see Jefferson at his house in the middle of the night and they don’t talk about how somebody got past the cops to shoot at Jennifer. It’s more important to talk about how Lynn and Jefferson might be getting it in again. Oh, and that Lawanda is at the Seahorse trying to get the place shut down and generally making herself persona non grata. Really, does anybody here do their job well?? Anybody????

Lala is having a carpool karaoke moment with some Latimore when his two club goons pull a duct taped up Will out of their trunk. Then Lala shoots his own cousin in the back of the head. That shit is cold. Like colder than Game of Thrones cold. Guess the North ain’t gonna remember Will. And neither will I. Next!

Lawanda brings the news to the Seahorse because tell the truth, shame the devil, and be literally the only person who seems to give a fuck about these poor women. Jefferson shows up to ask her to leave it to him but I guess she’s realized how terrible he is at everything. She won’t record, but she’s gonna stick around just to watch the place. LIKE THE POLICE SHOULD BE DOING!

Back at the Pierce house, Jen is sitting on the roof unsupervised because no one in this house has learned their lesson yet. Her Facetime buddy shows up and Steph Curry’s his shot. They were so awkward and cute, y’all. He gives her a necklace and leans in for the sweetest kiss. Ah, teenagers. Lynn is downstairs working on… a spreadsheet… I think… Anissa is still at her girlfriend’s house but Lynn and Jefferson can’t remember the woman’s name. I don’t know who looks worse in this scenario… Lynn and Jefferson for not remembering the name of the woman their daughter has been dating for over a year, Anissa for maybe not telling them the name of the woman she’s been dating for over a year, or all three of them for not caring that Anissa is just at somebody’s house when her name is on a gang hit list. Why is everyone terrible at everything?

Back at the Seahorse, Lala shows up fresh off of murdering his own cousin. Lawanda sees this as her chance to get something the police can use against him and pulls her cameras out again. AND HE SHOOTS HER IN THE CHEST! Y’all… this one got me. This shit felt like Maes Hughes in the telephone booth all over again. I am HURT and I will never be over this. Lawanda White, the only person who gave a fuck, you deserved better than this.

Jefferson Steps Up

Henderson calls to tell Jefferson what happened to Lawanda and drops the news in the same delicate way Anissa handled her bathroom sink. Jefferson finally realizes that he’s spent the last nine years being terrible at everything. Lynn says it’s his addiction talking and gurl… whut? Whut is we doing? I’m not usually one to pull this card, but you knew who he was when y’all got together. Like YOU are the problem here, Lynn. It’s yooooooou. Crime done grown to an all-time high but HE’S the one addicted to superheroing? I just wanna box her right now. Go find your children and sit down somewhere, Lynn. LOCATE YO’ KIDS!

At Garfield, Vice Principal Kara is still ready to take good care of Jefferson. He ain’t ready tho. You know, I wasn’t feeling Vice Principal Pencil Skirt at first but now that Lynn is showing her ass I may just jump ship… Peter calls Jefferson because he found Will in a dumpster and steals his phone. And if the dumpster gets emptied before the police come, oh well cause fuck that dude.

Keisha and Jen are under the bleachers drinking Andre because they’re too classy for hard liquor but decided to settle for the beer of champagnes. Ah, teenagers. Jen is deep in her PTSD from three separate incidents and Keisha continues to be The Worst Friend EVER. Why don’t Jefferson and Lynn care that their daughter is hanging with this girl??? I can’t deal.

Jen pops in on her new bae who’s working out and tries to share the grape drink of champagne. Thankfully Khalil has some goddamn sense. He chucks the bottle and calls her out for her unhealthy coping mechanisms. FINALLY! Jeez, does no one care about this girl??? No wonder she’s a wayward teen. We all need a Khalil with a plan and a fresh shape-up.

Lynn shows up to drag Peter for bringing Jefferson back into the life. Peter calls her on her bullshit and LYNN, WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS????? He’s a metahuman. What do you expect him to do? She walks out hurt because no one likes being told all about herself. Gurl, just go find yo’ kids. They both got PTSD and that shit needs to be treated.

Peter passes Jefferson Lala’s address and Black Lightning rolls up on the apartment complex that night. Everybody’s happy to see him and ready to snitch because ain’t none of them like Lala’s ass no way. Yo, when your doorman gives up your apartment number to somebody CLEARLY coming to beat the brakes off you, you know you been living your life wrong. Black Lightning curb stomps dudes from the lobby to the penthouse and beats the shit out of Lala. But plot twist! The police show up! Turns out tonight was the night everybody suddenly remembered how to do their jobs. Black Lightning escapes off the balcony, and that’s that.

The police finally have evidence to use against Lala with Lawanda’s video so that’s done. Back at the Pierce house, Lynn asks if Jefferson is still gonna be Black Lightning and when he says yes, she walks out. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???

What’s Going On With Anissa?

Somewhere else, Anissa is still boo’d up with her girlfriend. She slips out of bed to hit the pharmacy and ends up in the middle of a robbery. When ski mask white dude (thank y’all for not making him Black) puts hands on her, she tosses him through two shelves and into unconsciousness. But don’t get too excited because she just leaves the clerk without calling the police because why be thorough now?

While Jefferson is home scrolling through his camera roll and doing shots of whiskey, Tobias and his girl with half a bang pay a visit to Lala. Tobias isn’t happy Lala can just snitch on him so he chokes him out one-handed. That shit’s cold but also, fuck Lala. Also, there’s mad crooked cops because of course there are.

Sidebar

Somehow in that ass whoopin’ Lala got, them Adidas stayed fresh as hell.

There’s plenty of Black Lightning coverage to come. Follow the whole season here at BNP, with lots of other Black Lightning content besides.

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Cover Image: Black Lightning — “LaWanda: The Book of Hope” — Image BLK102b_0283r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Tracey Bonner as LaWanda and Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce — Photo: Richard Ducree/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

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  • Gregory A. Swarthout

    Love your write up on this great show!

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