SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for the latest episode of Black Lightning, “Equinox,” which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
Black Lighting is only seven episodes into its first season, but the show has officially made it clear it won’t hesitate to stake up the status quo. In tonight’s episode, “Equinox,” several characters die — most notably and surprisingly, crime boss Lady Eve, played by Jill Scott — and one, Lala (William Catlett), comes back from the dead under thoroughly mysterious circumstances.
That’s a lot to unpack, and luckily, series star Cress Williams — the titular Black Lightning, aka Jefferson Pierce — talked to press including CBR at a Q&A on Monday at The CW’s Burbank headquarters, to share his thoughts on an episode that left Black Lightning as a fugitive, having been framed for the death of Lady Eve and her henchmen.
“I was shocked,” Williams told reporters. “Honestly, this episode shocked me a lot.”
In “Equinox,” not only does Lady Eve die — on order of Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) due to some villain-on-villain gamesmanship — so does Tobias’s sister Tori (Edwina Findley), a victim of a fight between Black Lightning and Tobias, and Tobias’s right-hand man Joey Toledo (Eric Mendenhall), whose death starts the inter-crime operation chaos.
“I think what’s good about it, though, if you’re not afraid to kill people off, it raises the stakes,” Williams said. “Sometimes you watch those shows where you can never really sit at the edge of you seat, because you’re like, ‘I know they’re not dying;’ a show that doesn’t take those risks.”
Lady Eve was not only a major presence thus far in Black Lightning, but looked to be an antagonist looming throughout the show’s first season. Yet soon after that character’s death comes Lala’s resurrection — which begs the natural question of, could this be a not-quite-permanent development?
“I was sad to see her go, but also at the same time, our show is a bit quirky, so we always jokingly say, ‘Nobody’s really dead, necessarily,'” Williams said.
Speaking of that resurrection — expect it to remain a mystery for a while.
“It’s hard to tease it without spoiling it,” Williams said. “I can just say that Lala has a great journey that keeps you guessing. The last thing we saw was him seemingly choked out. It’s going to keep everyone guessing, and hopefully keep generating conversations where people have theories. That’ll keep going. We don’t give you [answers] right away.”
Also sticking around for a while: Black Lightning’s new fugitive status, as a result of his lightning gun-induced framing, which will affect the way he conducts his superheroic business.
“He’s going to be a fugitive for a while,” Williams said to the press. “We’ve seen already, at least in this season, he’s bold in being Black Lightning. He walks down the middle of the street and is not really hiding. Now we’re going to see him have to do things a different way, because of this fugitive status.”
A major part of “Equinox” focused on Jefferson’s complicated feelings on Anissa pursuing the crimefighting path, highlighted by the collateral damage of Tori’s death — something that will make the conflict between Black Lightning and Tobias even more heated.
“In my opinion, it evens the playing field,” Williams said. “We see that, for Jefferson, his desire to take Tobias down is personal. It is about community, but it’s also personal. He killed my father. Now, with Tobias, he has something personal, because in his mind, I killed his sister. It raises it up for him to be a personal vendetta, as well.”
There are still six episodes left to go in Black Lightning Season 1, and right now there are more questions than answers — though it looks like at least the fugitive issue will be addressed imminently, as the episode synopsis for next week’s “Training Day” sees Black Lightning and Anissa work to clear the title character’s name.
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