Every week in which there is an episode of the new WB series Black Lightning there will be a review of that show on this site. Our review will consist of not only plot summaries, but will break down messages, and the use of imagery and audio to carve out lessons for the empowerment of the Black family and households in particular. This also means for those who have yet to see said episode: there will be some spoiler alerts. Having said that, let’s get started.
The second episode titled “LaWanda: The Book of Hope” showcases a woman left as a widow trying to raise her only daughter all by herself. We get the frustration and righteous anger that any person devoid of hope would have at experiencing their only daughter being corrupted whilst trying to cope with the loss of her father. LaWanda represents those in impoverished communities who are told by the guardians of society, “there’s nothing we can do until something happens.” Trying to generate a ground swell, LaWanda becomes a crusader for justice, which is ultimately paid for with her life.
Upon seeing and feeling the pain of not being able to resolve LaWanda’s pain, Jefferson Pierce now fully recommits himself to Black Lightning as his way of life. We witness this by the sadness he expresses at the possible lack of reconciliation with his ex wife. He ultimately tells her he could not live with himself knowing that the gifts he possesses could prevent more Lawandas. This situation is indicative of so many Black men and women who feel the pain at the needless loss of life to violence. We also see the post traumatic syndrome that many in crime infested neighborhoods feel.
This is exemplified with Jefferson’s daughter Jennifer using alcohol to self medicate. Despite her father and mother constantly telling her to choose the right path, this message does not break through until her new boyfriend firmly tells her that they will not have any future together if continues to choose any path of substance abuse. He clearly indicates his love and affection for her, while demonstrating his willingness to commit to her for their future together. This is not the only conflict explored.
We also witness the conversation between Jefferson’s ex wife Lynn and Paul Gambi the only one outside of the Pierce intimate circle with knowledge of his secret identity. We see them intelligently and passionately debate about what is best for the community and wrestle with their desired outcome as well. Black Lightning continues to give many points of discussion while placing the health and development of the community as its first priority. This episode explores sexual scenes that parents may want to screen first before showing to their children.