|SERIES PREMIERE - Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is a man wrestling with a secret. As the father of Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Ann McClain), and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a safe-haven for young people in a neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero in his community. Nine years ago, Pierce was a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning, but he left the Superhero days behind. Almost a decade later, Pierce's crime-fighting days are long behind him... or so he thought.|
- Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning
- China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce
- Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce
- Christine Adams as Dr. Lynn Stewart
- Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias Whale
- Damon Gupton as Inspector Bill Henderson
- James Remar as Peter Gambi
- Dabier as Will
- Skye P. Marshall as Kara Fowdy
- Will Catlett as Latavious "Lala" Johnson
- Charlbi Dean as Syonide
- Roland S. Martin as Himself
- Senator Nina Turner as Herself
- Eric Mendenhall as Joey Toledo
- Kyanna Simone Simpson as Kiesha
- Caleb Thomas as Malik
- Jimmy Woods as Youngster #1
- Donny Rogers Carrington II as Youngster #2
- Amanda Davis as Joan Lincoln
- Tommy Kane as Reporter
- Crystal Lee Brown as Desk Sergeant
- Leon Lamar as Store Owner
- Fallyn Brown as Young Jennifer
- Stanley McLaughlin II as Student #1
- Shantea Reeves as Student #2
- Joe Lewis as Club Security
- Hal Whiteside as Officer #1
- Hector Banos as Officer #2
- Scott Hunter as Officer #3
- Mark Spates Smith as Father
- Kwajalyn Brown as Wife
Jefferson Pierce is the former hero known as Black Lightning. His eldest daughter Anissa is arrested by the Freeland Police Department for protesting. Jefferson and his younger daughter, Jennifer, collect Anissa from the police station and head to a gala event at Garfield High School. On the way, Jefferson is stopped by police officers and pulled over, and dragged to their car where a woman tells them they have the wrong person. The officer explains her liquor store was just robbed; Jefferson furiously calls out the cops for their idiocy, pointing out he is not dressed for a getaway. Enraged by the unfairness of the situation, he almost unleashes his Black Lightning powers for the first time in years.
At the gala, Jefferson meets up with his ex-wife Lynn Stewart and Jennifer goes to a club owned by The 100 with friends. She meets Will and soon gets into trouble with the 100. When Jefferson finds out where Jennifer is, he goes to retrieve her. Finding out she is in trouble, he is forced to use his powers to ensure her escape. Meeting with Peter Gambi, his old friend and mentor urges Jefferson to become Black Lightning once again but Jefferson refuses.
Will abducts Jennifer and Anissa from Garfield High School despite Jefferson's deal with Lala for the 100 to leave Garfield alone. Will intended for Jennifer and Anissa to work as prostitutes at the Seahorse Motel, but Lala is incensed and orders the girls killed instead. Lynn releases Jefferson from his promise to not be Black Lightning. Gambi presents him with a new suit and he storms the Seahorse Motel to rescue his daughters.
Lala is brought before the head of the 100, Tobias Whale by Syonide and Joey Toledo. Tobias orders Lala to kill Black Lightning. Anissa wakes up in the middle of the night and finds that her trauma has activated her powers as she breaks her sink in half.
- The episode was previously titled "Dark Matter of My Brain".
- The car stopping scene was inspired by a true event that showrunner Salim Akil once faced in his life.
- The window above the door to Paul Gambi's shop says "Since 1977." The character of Black Lightning debuted in DC Comics' "Black Lightning" #1 in April of 1977.
- Black Lightning's friend and mentor, Peter Gambi, is a tailor. In the comics, Peter's brother Paul Gambi is also a tailor, who designed the costumes for most of the Flash's super villains.
- At 47 years old, Cress Williams (Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning) is the second oldest actor to make his debut appearance as a superhero in a live-action production. The oldest is Ron Perlman, who was 54 when he played the title character in Hellboy (2004).
- Tobias Whale is a reference to Moby Dick. Tobias Whale is an albino African American i.e. White Whale. He's an antagonist who is the bane of the main character's existence, what drives Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning's character to the brink of madness, always slipping out of the grip of the protagonist.
- In the later episodes, Tobias is also seen to have a Moby Dick novel on his table.
- At the motel, when Black Lightning shoots electricity at Will's chest, the pistol Will was holding in his right hand is gone, and it isn't evident on the balcony in the crane shot when Black Lightning levitates Will over the railing.
- When Jefferson returns to Gambi's shop to get the new Black Lightning costume, Gambi goes to the front door, draws the shade, and locks the door. However, there is clearly no lock mechanism on the door, he just touches the top of the door handle, but there is an audible click.
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