TV Review: Black Lightning S1E2 Lawanda: The Book of Hope

The community starts to suspect that Black Lightning may have returned; Jefferson Pierce struggles with his decision; Gambi urges him to take up the mantle once more and return to life as Black Lightning.

I was impressed with the first episode of Black Lightning. The second episode is all about the small details and that helps make the series continue to stand out from the crowded field of comic adaptations on television.

The episode picks up on the first with Jefferson Pierce figuring out if he really wants to dive back into the superhero world. There’s kids being held against their world in prostitution and the cops don’t seem to want to do anything about it… at least they come up with shitty excuses.

While that story is interesting, an exploration of the community and what one can do in their dual roles, it’s the small details of the episode that’s great.

What’s particularly interesting is a scene with one of Jefferson’s daughters Anissa. In it we see Anissa with her girlfriend in bed talking. Anissa talks about her destroying her sink in the previous episode but says she did so when she went to “go pee.” While that might seem like a minor thing, I can’t think of too many shows, if any, admitting bodily functions yet having a woman being the one who did it. It’s a small detail, but a detail that adds authenticity to the show and weirdly feels groundbreaking in some way.

And that’s the thing the show exudes is authenticity.

One gets the feeling from the the dialogue, the interactions, this is the writers and creators’ world. There’s nothing about what happens that doesn’t feel like something that’d actually be said in the real world and the series doesn’t go overboard in all of that. It feels natural and reel. There’s another relationship moment with Anissa’s and a boy and the awkwardness again feels so realistic.

There’s also a real sense of emotion through it all. In the triple exploration of relationships. There’s acknowledgement of PTSD. You feel the sense of struggle within Jefferson. All of that is on the shoulders of the cast who raise what they’re working with to the next level (and what they’re working with is really good).

Black Lightning is great. It takes the superhero live action formula and shakes it up in positive ways that makes it leapfrog the competition. A fantastic addition to live action comic adaptations that will hopefully help raise the bar.

Overall Rating: 9.0

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