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Recap / Black Lightning (2018) S 1 E 2 "LaWanda: The Book of Hope"

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The Pierce sisters might be out of the 100's clutches, but they are still far from safe, forcing Jefferson to reevaluate his priorities.

  • Agree to Disagree: Downplayed. Gambi believes in Black Lightning, that Jefferson would always return to hero work, and that his addiction was to Lynn. She left and divorced Jeff because of his hero work and has convinced herself that he's addicted to his powers, so when she asks Gambi for help getting Jeff to manage his addiction, it doesn't go as she hopes.
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  • All for Nothing: Jefferson and Henderson work their butts off to nail Lala, but Whale kills him at the end with the aid of some dirty cops on his payroll.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Khalil, emboldened by Jennifer's close call with the 100, finally asks her to be his girlfriend. She accepts. When she visits him with a brown paper bag full of alcohol, he snatches it out of her hands, trashes it, and lectures her that while he understands she's been through a harrowing experience, drinking is not the way to cope with it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: LaWanda asks Pierce why his daughters, and none of the other girls, were saved by Black Lightning at the motel. Pierce has no answer for this. It should be noted that Pierce thought his actions had caused the motel to be shut down, which should have led to most of the girls being freed. Instead, business was barely interrupted for two days.
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  • Authority Equals Asskicking: While Tobias Whale isn't nearly as big as he is in the comics, he still manages to choke Lala to death with one hand.
  • Dirty Cop: Whale is able to go into the police station to kill Lala thanks to some cops on his payroll.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jennifer is coping with her kidnapping by getting drunk on a bottle of wine. When her boyfriend finds out, he immediately throws out the wine, since he's seen where that goes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Tobias claims that Lala has gone too far by killing LaWanda, a mother. However, it's likely that he's just using it as a pretext to kill him.
  • He's Back!: Played with. Jefferson claims he's only back in the suit to save his daughters, not his city. It takes LaWanda being killed by the 100 for him to truly come back.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Henderson asks how Jefferson was aware that Will was dropped from two stories, as that information was apparently not public. Jefferson has to quickly claim that his daughters told him.
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  • The Last Straw: When Jefferson finds out that his former student LaWanda was murdered by the 100, he finally decides to truly come back as Black Lightning.
  • Mama Bear: LaWanda is so determined to get her daughter out of the Seahorse, with or without help, that she stakes out the motel all by herself and calls the media's attention to her doing it. She promises Jefferson she won't engage the 100, but seeing Lala pushes her over the edge.
  • Mugging the Monster: Witnessing an armed robbery at a drugstore sends Anissa into a bit of a panic attack, prompting the robber to confront her up-close and demand that she drop to the floor. Unfortunately for him, Anissa uses the opportunity to test her new Super Strength superpower.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: Jefferson gives one to his ex-wife after LaWanda dies, when he finally resolves to come out of retirement.
    Jefferson: I had a fantasy that when they leave me their lives are better. That they could transcend this neighborhood, this city, world. Yeah, I save more lives as the principal of Garfield High than I ever did as Black Lightning.
    Lynn: It's true.
    Jefferson: It's a lie.
  • Offing the Offspring: More like offing the cousin, but Lala shoots Will down for all the trouble he's caused.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Jefferson is livid to find out that despite what happened last episode, the Seahorse Motel is still being used as a brothel; the police left after they got his girls, and their testimony is useless against 15 "witnesses" to vouch for Lala. Worse, Will escaped their custody.
    • Henderson puts a patrol car outside the Pierce house. Small boy walks by carrying a tub, cops don't find it suspicious. What's in it? A water pistol filled with red water. He shoots it at Jennifer to intimidate her on Lala's behalf.
    • Slightly averted when Henderson manages to find Lala and shut down the Seahorse Motel for good, thanks to LaWanda's cellphone video and one of Lala's cronies flipping on him — however, it took countless deaths for him to get there, and it's all for nothing when Whale kills Lala at the end.
  • Power Incontinence: Electricity continues to painfully course through Jefferson's body after his first night back in costume, apparently due to having gone unused for so long.
  • Saying Too Much: A livid Jefferson demands to know how Will could have escaped after being dropped two stories onto a car while held up by lightning. A suspicious Henderson asks how he knows about that and Jefferson quickly covers by saying his daughters told him.
  • Shirtless Scene: We have one with Jefferson at the beginning, although it's offset by him being in pain from Power Incontinence. And then there's Khalil showing off his ripped physique at the gym.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Will. Despite his injury at Black Lightning's hands, he was "hyped on adrenaline and painkillers". He escaped police custody en route to the hospital and ran like a rabbit. If he'd stayed put, he might have had protection from Lala's revenge.
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • LaWanda. Despite Jefferson warning her several times to be careful with the 100, she still foolishly marches up with a camera in hand, surrounded by gang members. Not surprisingly, she's shot dead. She did, however, have the presence of mind to leave her phone behind recording the incident, leading to Lala's arrest.
  • You Have Failed Me: Lala does this to Will. Later, at the end of the episode, Whale does this to Lala.