Black Lightning Recap — Lawanda: The Book of Burial

Season 1 / Episode 3 / CW
Writer: Jan Nash
Director: Mark Tonderai

This week on Black Lightning, we open at Lawanda’s funeral (and I don’t know about y’all but her getting shot last week STILL got me fucked up, whew). Somebody decided to pipe in “Mary, Don’t You Weep” as if that song hasn’t made all of us shed tears since Bone Thugs’ “Crossroads” video dropped in ‘96. Y’all really don’t want us out our feelings, huh? But guess who decided to skip the funeral for a Black woman murdered while trying to save her daughter from sex trafficking? The young revolutionary herself, Anissa. That’s tacky, but okay.

Turns out Anissa’s doing her best Set It Off cosplay so she can practice her new superpowers. I guess she saw how well that worked out for Claire Bennet. After busting tf outta her kneecap and foot trying to take a Maytag down a peg, she realizes she’s gotta get tantric with it. She should’ve known you gotta breathe through it to get the best results.

Respecting the Dead

Back at what I thought was a funeral, the good Rev. Holt is putting out the call for a protest. Like damn, can’t y’all let the family get to the repast before y’all start recruiting? Inspector Henderson tries to sing his same old tune. “Don’t go against the 100. They’ll kill you. Let the police handle it.” Bruh, you the only one on the Freedland police force who even tries to LOOK like they’re doing work. Y’all ain’t doing shit, and we all know that. Henderson gets called an overseer which I’m not sure how that works when the “power” y’all about to protest against is a gang run and maintained by other Black people, but go awf, I guess.

Jefferson tries to convince another person not to do something about the overwhelming crime in their community. Rev. Holt accuses Jefferson of only caring about crime when it touches his family or his school aaaaaaaaaand…he ain’t wrong. Turns out Black Lightning is what finally sparked (ha!) this new spirit of resistance in the community. Jefferson’s not so sure…because…he’s back to not being back…or something…? This dude got more flip flops than Old Navy.

Peter’s been on his Lucius Fox game and upgraded the Black Lightning suit. Jefferson spends so many practice rounds shooting the simulated cop, I thought that was his actual target. It was not tho…so…okay…

Tobias Whale and his half-a-bang homegirl drop in on Lady Eve and her big ol’…pen. He’s dropping off some forgiveness cash and she’s on her throne flanked by two dudes in their Usher Board finery. Turns out Lady Eve and Tobias are shaking down the good folks of Freedland for protection money on top of running an involuntary brothel out of a motel. I guess nobody cared until now? It also seems like the open secret that everybody knew…except Jefferson. Dude really been sleep at the wheel for nine years. Damn, son.

Ah Teenagers

At the Pierce household, Jen and her bae, Khalil, are planning on getting to know each other…biblically. Kudos to them for trying to do this right. They got a hotel, condoms, trying to have romance and honesty and shit. They so precious. Khalil be bringing out the good decision-maker in Jen and I approve.

Anissa still ain’t been by home and is instead being that person everybody hates in a bookstore. The one laid out across a whole ass aisle with books they ain’t about to buy all over the floor. SMH, what happened to you, gurl? Turns out the bookseller doesn’t mind tho cause Anissa got three much sauce. The bookselling cutie has a comic book stashed in her booty…pocket and is a total nerd. The comic? The Outsiders, the series comic book Anissa and said book cutie were in together. So in this world Batman, Supergirl, and the like are all fictional because crossovers is for wypipo. Ask me next week how I feel about this because I’m not sure. Anyway, Grace, the bookseller, invites Anissa to cosplay night at the bar where she works. Like I said, Three Much Sauce.

Henderson lets Jefferson know that only one squad car can work the 100 Folks Protesting the 100 march and acknowledges that the corruption goes all the way up the chain of command to City Hall. But that’s not important. Let’s just pause on the absurdity of a police officer who knows there’s corruption in the force but thinks it’s a better idea to let a principal, who’s failed at de-escalating at least four situations over the past few weeks, do something about the march that’s bound to turn into a massacre. WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING? WHY IS EVERYONE TERRIBLE AT EVERYTHING?

Jefferson gets Peter to block off streets to change the “parade” route and where the hell did this dude get a city utility van and all these street signs? How much is he really making on these bespoke suits and who the hell is buying them other than Jefferson?

Lynn, who I guess only left at the end of last week’s episode to get something out of her car, is making dinner at Jefferson’s and twinning in a matching purple shirt. She need to just move on back in, it’s been three episodes and I’m already tyde. Anissa’s still not coming by the house — where the hell does Anissa actually live? Jen’s a little thrown but not so much that she doesn’t tell her parents that she’s ready to have sex. Good on you, girl. Make sure you get that HPV vaccine, that shit sucks. Lynn and Jefferson have the most awkward dinner conversation. Y’all need to chill and be happy that your daughter is actually talking to y’all.

After dinner, Jen and Anissa (who I guess actually lives here) have a laugh about their tongue-tied parents. Jen convinces Anissa, who’s now tired of marching, to come to Rev. Holt’s march for some sister bonding time. I think this family is really sleeping on the emotional support Jen probably needs after nearly being forced into prostitution, getting caught up in a club shootout, getting kidnapped from school, and almost getting murdered. Like, y’all not getting this child some therapy?? Damn.

Lynn shows up at Garfield High the next day to let Jefferson know that she’s taking Jen to the doctor for her pre-coitus check-up. Then Lynn, still stuck on her problem with Black Lightning, suggests that Jen should move in with her and hold up. You mean to tell me that not only did Lynn divorce Jefferson for being a superhero, she rolled out of their house without her kids? Like the nine years apart was already shaky because he hasn’t BEEN Black Lightning since she left him. But you’re saying that she packed up her bags and left her daughters with their father who she thought could die at any time? This adds up as well as folks who forget My Dear Aunt Sally. I swear.

Jefferson, in his feelings, takes the time to bully Khalil by telling him he’s gonna get Athlete’s Foot on his junk and how did we even get here? Like what was asking this kid about how he showers gonna accomplish? I’m so lost… What are we even doing??

The Club, The Parade, and a Shared Bullet

Anissa hits cosplay night at the club with some cat ears and a blunt-cut bob. She’s bumping and grinding with Grace from the bookstore like she doesn’t have a girlfriend of a whole ass year. But just when she needs a reminder, who walks in but said girlfriend. She calls Anissa out on her shit but goes too far with her Black Lives Matter vs Asian comment. Girl, you know you better than all that. Anissa claims she wasn’t cheating because dancing up on somebody in spandex isn’t cheating. Chenoa (the girlfriend) tells Anissa she looks like an Instagram ho which…ain’t really a lie (IG Ho-Chic is a look and a lifestyle & I’m into it). Anissa tries to swing on her AND ANISSA YOU’RE THE WORST FUCKING GIRLFRIEND EVER! Grace comforts Anissa in this world of backwards everything and Anissa finally womans up and goes to break-up with the girlfriend she doesn’t even like. Chenoa, girl, you deserve better than this.

Tobias recruits a guy to unload an automatic rifle on the marchers and stabs dude through the hand when he doesn’t pick the gun up right away. Bruh, you told him not to get his fingerprints all over it! I know he’s the villain but this just feels unreasonable. At least he stabbed him through his left hand…I guess…

Grace and Anissa are still feeling each other and have a heart to heart about being a superhero. Then Anissa has to run to meet up with Jen at the protest because after the club it’s the March to Take Back Our Streets? Rev. Holt has a crew of folk with candles walking and chanting “Freedom” when a dude with his rifle slips out of an alleyway.

Jefferson drops in and creates an electrical bulletproof shield. Meanwhile, behind that shield, nobody runs when dude empties a whole ass clip. Instead they start singing “Amazing Grace” (a song written by a slave trader but that’s another article). WHO DOES THAT??? WHY Y’ALL STICKING AROUND LIKE Y’ALL AIN’T JUST SURVIVE AN ATTEMPTED TERRORIST ATTACK?????????

Tobias and half-bang girl Friday roll-up and Tobias makes sure we know that every time they say “negro” on this show they really mean “nigga”. Then he has half-bang shoot Black Lightning, who’s also standing there like he didn’t just stop a terrorist attack. Homegirl pulls out a sniper rifle and has the audacity to MISS from like 50 ft. away. WHY IS EVERYONE TERRIBLE AT EVERYTHING. The bullet hits Rev. Holt instead, of course, but also finds a way to keep going, curve, and hit Khalil in the stomach. Lynn and Black Lightning rush to help Rev. Holt. Lynn sends Black Lightning off and says she has to look at Holt’s wound but meanwhile Khalil is laid out behind them bleeding out with no medical attention.

At the hospital, Khalil is in shock from losing way too much blood and for some reason nobody has called his poor momma. Jen is going through it in the waiting room because a lot of terrible shit has happened to her in the last few weeks. That poor child. Henderson is mad on the news because he thinks Black Lightning caused more crime, like dude didn’t just stop a whole ass massacre at the march where the police department was only gonna send one squad car to protect. Back at the Bolt-cave, Peter is going over the surveillance footage from the attack and deletes the file showing Tobias at the scene. Can’t trust nobody.

Back at the hospital, Lynn checks in on Anissa who just brushes off her mother’s concern. And I’m happy to see Black parents who aren’t trash about their children being queer. Plus Rev. Holt is gonna be just fine. But before we get too happy, turns out the bullet that hit Holt’s shoulder pierced Khalil’s spine. So the kid who planned on using his running talent to take him to college may never walk again and wow, show… Fuck you.

Also, did anybody ever save Lawanda’s daughter or get her to come to her mother’s funeral?

Watching Black Lightning? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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  • Brittany N. Williams is a writer, actress, unimpressed Shakespearean Blerd, keeper of 90s theme songs, future Lord of the Fire Nation, and & New Orleanian by way of Baltimore, DC, Hong Kong, London, and NYC. Catch her laying waste to all challengers in Soul Calibur or slinging literary fire across the interwebs.

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