The premiere of The CW’s Black Lightning gave viewers answers to the “Who?” questions. Such as, who is this “retired” superhero? Who is his family? Who are his allies and enemies? Episode 2 then aimed to answer the only logical follow-up: “Why?”
A local preacher featured on the news even asks this question, wondering if the local superhero has seemingly resurfaced to help the community… or settle vendettas. Jefferson is no doubt asking himself “why?” as he groans in pain after his fight with the The 100.
After he collapses in the bathroom, Lynn rushes to his side. The two reminisce on the past, but stop to face present reality. She feels like a hypocrite for telling him to give up Black Lightning, then asking him to suit back up to save their daughters. “Black Lightning is not back. The girls are safe. I’m done,” Jefferson replies before he and his ex kiss.
The next day, Jefferson and other Garfield High faculty try to calm parents’ fears about the safety of their children. Unsurprisingly, his inspirational quotes are meaningless to the scared and angry parents. One complainant is his former student LaWanda White, whose daughter, unlike the principal’s kids, is still being held by The 100 at the all-too-quickly reopened Seahorse Motel. She gives Jefferson a quote of her own: “Unless all of us are free, none of us will be free.” (YES!)
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Tobias, still in disbelief that Black Lightning is alive, tells his henchmen to raise the protection amount of all the businesses in his pocket until someone informs in who this “bootleg Black Lightning” is. Lala remarks this his boss hates his own people, but Tobias aggressively corrects him and says he loves black people — it’s the incompetent ones he hates. Tobias doesn’t want to be loved though, he wants to be feared, because that allows him to control Freeland.
Jennifer is at home taking a break from school when the baby drug dealer from last week scares her with a fake gun, eluding the police presence at the house. Naturally, Jefferson goes to the Seahorse to straighten Lala out for not keeping their agreement, but since the girls have been talking to the police, their deal is off and targets are on everyone’s backs. Jefferson updates Gambi on what happened, but his friend just encourages him to get back into the suit again.
Anissa takes her own break by spending time with her girlfriend Chenoa, who says that although they have great physical chemistry, she wants a deeper relationship. Chenoa’s timing is off, but Anissa confides in her about how she’s recovering from her trauma — and even tells her she somehow broke the sink. Chenoa suggests therapy to help deal with the post-traumatic stress, and vows to help her get through this.
Meanwhile, Lala arrives at a deserted parking lot, where his goons drag over Will, who escaped from the ambulance on a painkiller-induced high. Lala tells his cousin that working with family is bad for business… then coldly murders him.
Thanks to a tip from Henderson, Jefferson goes to the Seahorse to get Lawanda to abort her noble but dangerous mission — videotaping The 100’s activities to get a hint of her daughter’s whereabouts. He asks her to give him 48 hours to talk to the police and bring her daughter home. LaWanda agrees to stop recording, but she won’t leave the motel. When Lala later drives up, LaWanda approaches him… only to get killed. Her cell phone, though, was propped up on her dashboard, recording everything.
Henderson calls Jefferson to report that Lawanda is dead. Jeff doesn’t take the news well, telling Lynn he could have saved his former student, and could save many others. Even though Lynn says they’re on the verge of getting back to normal, she knows that a normal life is a fantasy — because her ex-husband not normal. And he’s going to let Freeland know that Black Lightning is back, regardless of Lynn’s feelings.
The next day, Jefferson returns to work and is given a warm welcome from his colleague Kara Fowdy. She offers to be someone that he can confide in, to help him with “whatever” he needs (fall back, Kara). Gambi calls and says that he found Will’s body. Lala now has killed two people to tie up loose ends, and Anissa and Jennifer are probably next.
Speaking of Jennifer, it was good times, bad times for her and longtime friend Khalil. In the wake of her close call with The 100 — Jennifer explains that to look at Black Lightning’s face is akin to staring into a spotlight, meaning she didn’t recognize dear ol’ Dad — Khalil asks if they can upgrade to boyfriend/girlfriend, and she happily agrees. But later, when Khalil realizes that J has been self-medicating/drinking at school, he says that he understands her fear, because he’s seen crazy things, too. But he chooses to focus on becoming a star athlete so he can run right out of Freeland. And when that day comes, he wants Jennifer to come with him — but not if she’s going backwards.
Lynn goes to Gambi’s shop and the two have a debate. His opinion: Jefferson is addicted to her, and she’s to blame for the city’s woes. Her opinion: Jefferson is addicted to his powers, and Gambi’s in turn to blame for their marital problems. Gambi reminds her that only Jefferson can decide what to do with his powers, no matter who tries to influence him.
When Gambi calls with Lala’s address, Jefferson suits up and arrives at the building in full Black Lightning glory. He busts into Lala’s penthouse and beats him up, but is stopped from doing more damage by the police. Back at the station, Henderson tells Lala that there’s video evidence of him killing LaWanda. Plus, his crew is snitching on him. He’s got nothing left.
Jefferson returns home and tries to discuss a compromise with Lynn, but she walks out of the house with nothing left to say. Anissa, who’s at Chenoa’s place, leaves to go to the drugstore and ends up in the middle of an armed robbery. When the assailant approaches her, she lobs him into the shelves. She marvels at her powers as she struts away.
Tobias, who has dirty cops on his payroll, walks into the police station to see Lala. Perceiving his employee’s recent actions as a sign of desperation, which thus makes him a liability, Tobias chokes Lala to death.
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