The Book of Burial (Black Lightning Episode 3 TV Review)

This week’s episode deals with the community taking their power back, permissions, learning who has the real power, athlete’s foot, and a gift

The episode opens with the Pierce family and others attending Sunday service…In the wake of Lawanda’s death, Freeland’s Reverend Holt is preaching about safety and service this week. His passion brings everyone to their feet as he calls for the city to join him in protest as he marches to take the streets back from the violence that has taken hold. After the service is over, he is having a conversation with Jefferson and Henderson and in just a few seconds, the interaction becomes deep…3 men all passionate about the same thing but sees 3 different ways in helping the city. One believes the people should step aside and let the law do their jobs, the other believes that Black Lightning is a savior and will save the city as the police haven’t been doing enough and may be corrupted, and the other is caught somewhere in the middle. Henderson says to Holt – “While you’re up in the pulpit with a $25k watch wiping your forehead with a silver handkerchief, I’m scraping young black men’s bodies off the concrete…I wear work shoes. What kind of shoes you wear Reverend?” That line should’ve made you feel like a kid walking into a heated debate between your father and your uncle…All you could do is stand there and watch.

The daughters received a lot focus this episode. While the rest of the family is listening to Sunday’s sermon, Anissa is in a junkyard trying to tap into her powers. We see her channel her breathing, concentrating and kicking an old dryer across the yard and almost toppling a large pile of junk. We see her relationship come to an end while another one begins as she runs into Grace, a new interest perhaps?? Looking up genetic mutation (trying to understand her powers no less) and Grace graces her with a little comic book called The Outsiders (Volume 2 #16, March 1995). Leave it to DC to present us with the perfect easter egg!

Meanwhile at home, Jennifer just told Jefferson and Lynn that she’s ready to have sex and it’s going happen in a few days. No questions or really any kind of discussion…Just “I think I’m ready to have sex…It’s gonna happen this Saturday” and continues to walk into the dining room and reaches for the dinner rolls. Now this writer is old school and in the age where parents are trying to be friends and a decent punishment for lying and going out when one should be at home is a month of no social media, watching this scene was a little cringe-worthy because it really wasn’t a discussion, it was Jennifer telling them what she was doing and them taking it for the most part. That is something you don’t see everyday in black households in America…Culturally, that may not have been a very relatable moment but it was interesting to say the least as I’m sure many teens watching wished their parents were as liberal.

Fun fact: if a man uses the same towel to wipe his feet before his man parts, he shall not pass! *Gandalf voice* Jefferson had the world searching if athlete’s foot can be spread through intimacy…With everything serious going on in this series, it was nice to have this fun moment as we watch Pierce try to establish dominance and get some of that parental power back with Khalil, Jennifer’s boyfriend.

All of these moments build up to the climax of the episode – the marchers start to make their way through the streets only to be met by members of The 100’s gang. Black Lightning is ready and shows up putting out a dome of electricity that protects everyone from being shot as he takes out the gunmen. Tobias gets upset and becomes a little rattled seeing that Black Lightning is still alive and orders a sniper shot that hits Reverend Holt and paralyzes Khalil. This moment was ordered by perhaps the best moment of the show, at least for this writer, and that was seeing the magnificent Jill Scott make her debut as supervillain Lady Eve…

Lady Eve is Tobias’ superior and when we meet her, she wastes no time letting us know that she means business. She is commanding, she is beautiful, she is fiercely polite, and she knows that hope is the quickest way for them to lose their power and she…is…not…having…it!

“The good book helps folks stay in line then here comes Black Lightning and they think they don’t have to…I don’t mind people believing in God, they just can’t believe that they can take back these streets..”

One thing we notice towards the end of the episode is Gambi deleting footage of Tobias and apologizing to Black Lightning while doing it. Remember that both Black Lightning and Tobias believe that the other is dead and Tobias is genuinely shocked when he sees BL standing in the street alive…Makes one wonder what really happened between those two and why Gambi is hiding it…Sounds like another great reason to tune in next week!

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  1. I loved the focus on the daughters in this episode. His daughters do develop powers in the comics so I was excited as I figured that would happen unless they saved it for what I’m assuming will be a season 2. The 3 way conversation was tense I agree and it reflects Black Lightning’s standing in the community very well compared to his ongoing comic. Some feel he is here to help and save people but others aren’t quick to trust. I like how these newer shows and movies show that some people do fear those not like them. The way people are feared on racial lines, we see this plenty in the X Men’s world where some fear what they don’t understand. The part with the daughter talking about just having sex through me for a loop. That’s indeed different than what would happen in a more traditional household. I myself wouldn’t be so bold as to come out of my face saying anything related to the fact.

    The carnage in the street toward the end made this episode shine imo. It shows that even with a hero out there fighting for you that things can still happen. You are still at risk. The shot was unexpected and this helps further establish Tobias as a guy who will do anything it takes to keep his hold on the streets.

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