In Review: Black Lightning: 1×03: “LaWanda: The Book of Burial”

As Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) tries to determine if the community can survive without the help of Black Lightning, Anissa (Nafessa Williams) starts to come into her own.

Synopsis: HOLDING OUT HOPE — As Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) tries to determine if the community can survive without the help of Black Lightning, Anissa (Nafessa Williams) starts to come into her own. Meanwhile, Jefferson and Lynn (Christine Adams) try and figure out their new dynamic. Finally, Jennifer (China Anne McClain) reveals to her parents that she has been grappling with something big. James Remar, Damon Gupton, and Marvin Jones III also star.

Review: I appreciated how well writer Jan Nash was able to balance the shifting tones within “LaWanda: The Book of Burial.” Nash transitioned from grief and resolve surrounding LaWanda’s death, to nascent superhero frustration, to teen coming of age, to changing adult relationships, and came back around to violence and resolve. All of this flowed organically, and the actors flowed organically with the writing.

The set piece of the episode was the march against The 100, during which Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) came out of retirement as Black Lightning. However, it would have been just another march with superhero security if it hadn’t have been for the character beats and performances. Williams and Christine Adams excelled at playing the levels surrounding Jennifer’s (China Anne McClain) changing relationship with her boyfriend, and Principal Pierce’s surprise attack lecture to the poor kid was perfect.Williams and Adams best moment came, though, when they apologized to each other and honestly talked about their relationship. The family drama I’ve outlined in this paragraph was handled with more maturity and grace than I’ve encountered on any other CW show I’ve seen.

Putting aside the family drama, the comic book elements were also gold. Viewers got an unabashed shout out to Anissa’s (Nafessa Williams) canon storyline when she met the woman who is sure to be the future girlfriend. Additionally, Gambi’s holographic training simulation brought a smile to my face. I also really enjoyed the super-villainy this week. That said,  Marvin Jones III is going to have his work cut out for him during Grammy winner/actress Jill Scott’s turn as the real power, Lady Eve. I have a feeling I’m going to wish she was the show’s permanent Big Bad before this is over.

Written by: Jan Nash

Directed by: Mark Tonderai

9.2
Black Lightning: 1x03:
  • Story
    8.5
  • Performances
    9.0
  • Music
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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