Thursday, February 1, 2018

Black Lightning: Lawanda: The Book of Burial - Review and **SPOILERS**

Directed By: Mark Tonderia

Written By: Jan Nash

First Aired: January 30, 2018

Episode two picked up right where the excellent premiere left off. Jefferson, his family and the community were still battling Lala and the 100. 

Jefferson was still trying to win Lynn back.

Jennifer was still huffing trees and dranking drank. 

Jefferson was still wrassling with the idea of donning the worst costume in the game, at least until Lawanda, the mother of one of his students, was killed outside the Seahorse Hotel.  This was the bridge to far and Jefferson jumped unabashedly back into his Black Lightning (BL) persona and took down the 100's Seahorse hotel brothel division and Lala.  

Tobias Whale made another appearance, this time to flex some power and kill Lala in the joint with the help of Freeland's finest, who all looked the other way.  It must be nice to haver 5.0 on the pay roll.

The episode ends with Anissa flexing her newly found powers on a would be opiod junkie robbing the local CVS. 

As amazing as the first two episodes were, some of the potential trouble spots for Black Lightning reared their ugly head again.  The action is fucking terrible and Cress Williams, the actor who plays Black Lightning, might not be a strong enough actor to handle the lead.  Let's see if this issues continue in episode 3.

You can read the full recap of last week's episode here.

Caught up?  Good, let's get to last night's episode.

Explain It:

Episode three starts off at church, where the whole town has gathered, trying to make some sense out of the recent events that have rocked Freeland to it's core.  There is one notable absence, Anissa. The reverend delivers a compelling sermon. He is getting the crowd amped up with talk of bringing the fight to the 100.  While the crowd is eating it up, Jefferson is not feeling it.  He knows what the 100 is willing to do to keep it's stranglehold on the city and fears that things will not go quite as the rev and his flock think it will go.  

After the sermon Jefferson and Henderson try to talk some sense into the reverend which leads to a heated exchange between the inspector and the rev.  The reverend questions Henderson's claims that the police are the best bet to stop the 100, to which the reverend quotes the classic KRS One number Sound of the Police by asking if they are officers or overseers, Henderson responds by calling the reverend out for living lavish while his flock is living damn hear hand to mouth conjuring the classic Ghostface line from Wu Banger 101 where he states "Oh rev aint right, preacher is a pimp you can tell by his ice." This might be the most hip hop show on TV. 

Henderson leaves in a huff and Jefferson picks up the argument with the reverend trying to convince him how dangerous it is for the town.  Rev points out that Lawanda started something, the people of Freeland are tired of the bullshit and they are ready to take back the streets even if it means they have to die, Black Lightning has inspired the people to fight back.  This obviously weighs heavy on Jefferson.  Also, how the fuck do all these people who are so tight with Jefferson not know he is Black Lightning? He tenses up every time they bring it up and the only thing he wears to conceal his identity is a pair of glaucoma glasses. They are totally Truman Showing him right?

It turns out Anissa is trying to figure out what is going on with her powers so she is posted up in a junkyard where she is punching and kicking an old washing machine with little impact other than fucking up her limbs.  After a few moments she figures out how to focus her energy, and kicks the shit out of the machine sending it flying across the junkyard, a moment that she recorded to her cell phone, no way that is going to come back to bite her in the ass later in the season.  Afterwards she is watching the footage of her super kick in the library, where she meets Grace, the foxy librarian who is also a comic book nerd.  These two have fucking sparks immediately and Grace invites her to go to some cosplay party that weekend.  Chenoa is going to be so heated.  

Jefferson and Gambi are discussing the march in his secret basement lair (makes Gambi sound like a serial killer).  Gambi convinces Jefferson that he is the only one that can keep the marchers safe because they most certainly cannot depend on the police department, especially when they realize that the department is only putting one officer on the march beat. The decide to use Gambi, disguised as a city employee, to shut down some streets and funnel the crowd to a safer more wide open area. Then Gambi gives Jefferson some new weapons to help him concentrate his lightning bolts to hit individual targets as opposed to shooting that shit all willy nilly like the 100 and the cops do. 

It turns out that there is actually someone that Tobias Whale has to report to and she is bad as fuck.  Lady Eve, played by the always wonderful Jill Scott, appears to be the biggest bad of all of the big bads in Freeland.  She is smart enough to clean up, while giving the people the illusion that they have power, as long as they don't actually act on it.  These developments with the reverend's march have her concerned and she orders Tobias to handle it or get handled himself. 

Jennifer and Khalil are hanging out on the roof again, and discussing their plans to knock boots at some seedy ass hotel, Jennifer being more responsible than we are used to asks Khalil if he has jimmy hats. As the conversation continues, Khalil starts getting cold feet because he is still packing his v-chip, and since he thinks Jennifer is a freak he was fronting hard. Jennifer for her part thinks it is cute because despite her reputation she is a virgin as well.  These two are are fucking adorable. 

At dinner Jennifer informs her parents that she is planning to start having sex and the sexing will commence on Saturday afternoon. Jefferson and Lynn do not handle this news with the greatest aplomb.  The next day Lynn, comes by the office to let Jefferson know that she is going to take Jennifer to get the pill and that she should probably handle the sex stuff with Jennifer. Jefferson agrees.  She also mentions that maybe Jennifer should move back in with her while Jefferson is doing his Black Lightning thing but Jefferson ain't having that

Anissa took Grace up on the cosplay party and while getting her her Josie of Pussycat fame on, she pushes all the way up on the Grace the librarian.  For some reason Chenoa shows up at a party she has no business showing up at and immediately starts shit. Grace asks them to take their bullshit outside but first makes sure that Anissa is ok.  Chenoa and Anissa are totes splitsville, Chenoa even took her key back and everything.  Anissa commiserates with Grace over a drink, they are totes going to hook up.  

The march starts, Khalil and Jennifer are there, Anissa and Lynn are there, the reverend is there, and BL is there, lurking in the shadows. This march is hella sedated, the chants lack the energy of your average rally,  it is like everyone is on xanax. 

Jefferson spots a gunman who was sent by Tobias Whale to kill as many marchers as possible and he springs into action. He creates an electric forcefield that blocks bullets saves all the marchers before finally taking the shooter down with a concentrated blast from his new weapons. Rev and the marchers are so moved that they start singing amazing grace.  Tobias is in a sedan down the block and witnesses the whole shit.  He spouts off a few cliches about some crime shit and orders his lady assassin Syonide to take out BL.  It looked like she had a clean shot but she totally missed and puts one right through the reverend.  After the bullet passes through the rev it lodges itself firmly into Khalil's mid-section collateral damage style. Poor Jennifer, between the kidnappings and this, she is having the worst week ever. 

Everyone survives but Khalil's spine got hit and he may never be able to walk again. Jennifer is crushed.  Anissa serves as her rock. The Pierce family is having a rough time of it all. We cut to the waiting room TV which is reporting on the march and the people are 100% about BL but Henderson and the cops are a different story, they are worried about his actions and the repercussions they will have on Freeland.  Lynn and Jefferson bond over the tragedy making their relationship stronger.  Jefferson and Lynn are like the Coach and Tammy Taylor of Freeland, I think I love them.  

Gambi is in his basement is eating surveillance film like he is coach Bellichek preparing for the Eagles when he spots Tobias driving off.  For some reason he promptly deletes the footage.   

This was probably my favorite episode of the three because it focused on the strengths of the first two episodes, the world building and the character development, and it got away from the 3rd rate action. I really hope the show continues in this direction, Lawanda: The Book of Burial seems like the moment that the show figured out what it was. 

Let's discuss it some more and let me know your thoughts on this episode in the comment section.


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