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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Black Lightning Episode 02: Lawanda: Book Of Hope

January 24th, 2018 by Todd Black Comments

After a very powerful opening (one that got the CW 2.3 million viewers), Black Lightning had to do what was necessary in order to keep the momentum going. And thankfully “LaWanda: The Book Of Hope” did exactly that. It wasn’t as good as the premiere, but it was still very good.

Like a good second episode should, the main crux of the story was the follow-up, and fallout, to what happened in “Resurrection”. Jefferson wanted his family to be safe, but that wasn’t an option with Will and Lala back. Yet, he tried to stick to his promise by being the good principal and not the superhero that the city arguably needed. Though the cause of the gym scene was confusing (what was he trying to do there?) the intent was felt. One of his former students has a daughter that was at the hotel that Jefferson’s daughters were at when they were kidnapped. Yet, Black Lightning only saved them. The line “Why did Black Lightning only save your daughters?” was very powerful.

As was the story of LaWanda, most times these side characters barely get the time of day, yet here, we got to see multiple one-on-one’s with Jefferson, to the point that when she did die, in a very unfortunate way, you did feel for her.

And that was the catalyst that Jefferson needed, hearing about her death broke him in a profound way, a way that meant that Black Lightning had to come back. But the conversation with Lynn also added an unexpected fruit to the situation. The question of whether Jefferson is addicted to his powers. Recall, we know he’s a metahuman of some kind, but how he got them, how they affect his body, and even how they work at times is still a mystery. Is there something in his lightning powers that makes him want to use them more and more? It’s an intriguing query that none of the other CW/DC shows have right now.

The takedown of LaLa was very fun, especially when all the non-gang people took one look at Black Lightning and instantly wanted to help for the RIGHT reasons. That’s a simple yet very effective story tool.

Before I get to some of the downer moments, I do want to note that Cress Williams is still killing it as Jefferson/Black Lightning, he’s perfectly showing the struggle that’s going on with him, and how his family factors into all of it. I look forward to seeing his arc flourish through the next episodes.

Sadly, some of the other performances weren’t as good in this episode. While Anissa’s continued rise to superhero is fun to watch, Jennifer was anything but. She almost slept with a member of the 100 in the first episode, and now we’re introduced to a “longtime friend” who is now her boyfriend. And while I get she’s a bit traumatized by her kidnapping, it didn’t play off as anything meaningful.

What’s more, some of the parts of the episode felt really disjointed, certain jumps to scenes didn’t really work, and it was noticeable.

And finally, some characters still don’t have a lot of screentime. While I liked Peter Gambi being a bit more involved, I find it convenient that he’s a hacker too, because every CW/DC Comics show needs a hacker, right? And then there’s Tobias Whale, who came off a little bit better here, but he’s still a big question mark. When are we going to dive into who he is and what he can do?

In the end though “Lawanda: The Book Of Hope” did a great job of fleshing out things in a great way, and I look forward to seeing just how great Black Lightning can be now that he’s fully back.

4 out of 5 nerds

 

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!

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