Black Lightning Season 1, Episode 3 begins with most of the Pierce family at LaWanda’s funeral after she was murdered in cold blood last week. The Reverend is giving an impassioned eulogy and doesn’t want the death of one of his flock to go in vain. He is organizing a march to take back the streets and show The 100 that the community will not be intimidated. The violence still fresh in their minds from the last time there was a demonstration, Inspector Henderson and Jefferson try to talk him down. However, there is no persuading him and the Reverend shares that the return of Black Lightning has inspired him to take action and save the community.
[*Spoilers for 1.3 Ahead!]
Anissa is noticeably absent from the funeral. She’s broken into a local junkyard and is trying to recapture her super powers. After some testing, she realizes her powers are connected with her breathing. Not only does she have super strength as witnessed before, but she has enhanced durability, as she can take a car engine falling on her.
Jefferson pays a visit to his mentor, Gambi, to prepare for the upcoming march. He needs to be on top of his game if wants to protect the marchers with no casualties. Lucky for him, his tech guy has some new toys which allow him to focus his electrical powers and release them like a laser with greater accuracy than before.
Meanwhile, even Tobias has someone he reports to. He is bringing a large amount of cash to the mysterious but sinister Lady Eve (Jill Scott) to compensate her for Lala’s foolishness. The newly introduced crime lord has some concerns about the march. If people are brave enough to stand up to The 100, they will no longer need to pay protection money, which will be bad for business. She advises Tobias to make an example of the demonstrators.
With all the seriousness and tension in Freeland, at least the Pierce daughters can lighten the mood as things heat up on the relationship front. Things are going well between Jennifer and her new boyfriend, Khalil, who was introduced last episode. The two decide to take it to the next level and become intimate. Jennifer feels so comfortable with her parents, that she even notifies them of her and Khalil’s plans to have sex. Though taken back, they appreciate her openness even though they might not be ready for their baby girl to grow up. Jefferson even has a humorous run in with Khalil the next day at school where he questions the young track star’s hygienic process.
Anissa has been trying to gain a better understanding of her powers and is spending time in the library researching possible sources. While there, she meets a cute librarian named Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy). The two obviously have chemistry and share an awkward moment when it seems Anissa is checking out Grace while she’s bent over. She was actually curious about a comic book tucked in Grace’s back pocket, which happens to be an issue of Outsiders (a meta moment as Outsiders is the series where both Grace and Anissa first appeared in comics). They later decide to meet up at a bar Grace tends at for a cosplay party. This leads to Anissa breaking up with her girlfriend.
After the party, Anissa attends the community march with her sister and mom. One of Tobias’ henchman fires at the procession, but luckily Black Lightning creates an electrified shield to protect the marchers. When the attacker’s clip empties, the vigilante is able to subdue the assailant. When Tobias checks on the progress of the assault, he sees his arch nemesis alive for the first time. He orders one of his people to kill Black Lightning, but she misses and hits the Reverend and Khalil. Although both survive, Khalil is paralyzed as a result of his injuries.
The episode ends with Gambi reviewing the closed-circuit videos involving the march and shooting. He is able to pinpoint the people responsible for wounding the two demonstrators, and when he sees Tobias, he quickly erases the video.
This was a good episode and It’s interesting to see more of the development of some of the characters. Anissa is learning to control her powers and is transitioning into becoming a superhero. All her previous protesting never resulted in any real results and she feels she might have to take more direct action to make a difference. In addition, The Outsiders easter egg was a cute little touch as they first introduce Grace as a potential love interest to Anissa. Here is a good write up that further explains the significance of the comic book.
In the meantime, Jefferson is dealing with the repercussions of his alter ego’s return. Each time the community hears about the exploits of Black Lightning, the more they are motivated to retake their city and oppose The 100. Sure, it’s good that people are rising up, but regular civilians aren’t equipped to battle crime like him. The more people involved in the war for the streets, the higher the chances of collateral damage, like the Reverend and Khalil.
The final scene with Gambi raises more questions about Black Lightning’s and Tobias’ history. Both believed they killed the other, but now Tobias knows he didn’t get the job done. Why would Gambi erase evidence about Tobias? Did he lie to his friend about the criminal’s fate? On another note, is Tobias’ henchwoman incompetent? How did she miss Black Lightning?
Black Lightning airs Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm on the CW.