Episode 3 of The CW’s Black Lightning opened on a somber note, with Reverend Jeremiah Holt delivering the eulogy at LaWanda White’s funeral. He remembers her as a mother who only wanted to save her child, but was killed by The 100 to send a message.
Holt thus wants the community to send a message of their own by following her example, and asks 100 God-fearing people to march with him and save their children from “all the damage that goes from living in a place that nobody give a damn about.” (So you’re just gonna curse in the pulpit? OK.)
After the funeral, Reverend Holt rebuffs Inspector Henderson’s suggestion to find an alternative to marching because he’s tired of waiting on police, half of whom are in The 100’s pockets. Henderson assures him that he’s not a crooked cop, but insinuates that the reverend might be crooked himself, given his expensive watch and handkerchief. When Jefferson also disagrees with the march, the reverend is shocked that “Black Jesus” wants to hinder progress, and accuses him of only caring about the children in his home and in his school. Reverend Holt says that Black Lightning gave LaWanda — and him, too — hope, despite previously questioning the superhero’s motives.
Anissa, the activist of the family, missed the funeral/Reverend Holt’s call to action in order to covertly work on training herself and harnessing her powers. She learns to focus her breathing and channels her strength to kick a washing machine clear across a junkyard. Dad meanwhile is doing his own training with Gambi, adjusting to the streamlined the circuitry in his super suit. This will allow for a thinner bolt of electricity, which will create a targeted strike and lead to less collateral damage.
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Tobias and Syonide pay a visit to Lady Eve (played by singer-actress Jill Scott). In the premiere episode, she was first mentioned as a potential donor and owner of the Blackbird Funeral Parlor, but the bag of money Tobias offers her makes it clear that she and her business are connected to The 100. Another pastor told her about Reverend Holt’s march, and she expects Tobias and his lady enforcer “with death in her eyes” to take care of it. “Amen, Lady Eve,” he says.
Jefferson and Henderson talk at Garfield High about the upcoming march, where only one squad car will be available to control the crowd. Because Henderson couldn’t get a straight answer from his commander, the police chief or the deputy mayor on the death of resources, Jefferson says it’s a set-up — but they have no options, since Holt won’t cancel the march. Jefferson goes to Gambi to plan preemptive damage control, and the two decide to alter the parade route since Henderson can’t. Gambi knows that hacking into the police department’s computers won’t be effective because the marchers won’t get notice in time, so Jefferson asks his fried to take a more hands-on solution.
Later, the Pierces have a family dinner minus Anissa who is once again off doing her own thing (which includes meeting a cute bartender named Grace Choi). Jennifer is disappointed that her sister is not there for backup, but she moves forward and tells her mom and dad she is… ready to have sex. She and Khalil have made plans (hotel? check. condoms? check) and she matter-of-factly announces that Saturday is the big day. She then nonchalantly continues eating as the folks sip their wine and silently panic.
Lynn comes to the school the next day to see Jeff, both still reeling from Jennifer’s bold declaration. She says that she wants to be more active in the girls’ lives since he’s back as Black Lightning, and to that end suggests that Jennifer should live with her; Jeff firmly says no. (With Lynn being so opposed to Black Lightning, is it odd that she doesn’t have custody in the first place?) Jefferson later corners Khalil and asks him some very detailed personal hygiene questions (the funniest part of the episode) before telling the lad that he and his little girl need to slow down.
At the march, Reverend Holt, Lynn, Anissa, Jennifer, Khalil, and the rest of The Holy 100 chant “freedom” as they take to the streets. Black Lightning keeps watch from above, and once he spies the initially reluctant gunman/wannabe Lala replacement, he jumps down to deflect the spray of bullets with an electric force field. Tobias rolls up and is annoyed to not only see that Black Lightning is alive, but to also see the marchers singing “Amazing Grace.” He angrily says, “That’s why I hate these churchgoing Negroes, always praying and singing, singing and praying…. They all want to go to heaven but none of them want to die.” He orders Syonide to shoot, and her bullet zips through Holt and hits Khalil. Both will survive, though the latter might not walk again.
It’s fitting that Episode 3 has the word burial in the title — it began with LaWanda’s funeral, and ended with other things getting buried. The bullet that hit Khalil’s spine may dispatch with his dream of being a star athlete; Lynn and Jefferson swallow their pride and apologize to each other; in talking with her mom, Anissa buries her preoccupation with her powers under the cover of her breakup with Chenoa; and for some reason, Gambi covers up evidence of Tobias and Syonide at the march, by erasing security camera footage.
What did you think of the episode “The Book of Burial”?