'Black Lightning': Who Dies in "Lawanda: The Book of Hope"?

Tonight's episode of Black Lightning saw Jefferson Pierce struggling with the decision to return [...]

Tonight's episode of Black Lightning saw Jefferson Pierce struggling with the decision to return to the streets as the titular hero or not. Unfortunately, it's the death of someone he thought he had saved as principal of Garfield High School that cements Black Lightning's return.

Spoilers for tonight's episode of Black Lightning, "Lawanda: The Book of Hope" below.

Jefferson Pierce's (Cress Williams) suiting up as Black Lightning to save his daughters during last week's episode has some fallout. Not only does Jefferson have to choose what path he wants to take going forward, but parents and those within Jefferson's community have concerns. One of those with concerns is Lawanda White, a woman who was once one of Jefferson's students. It turns out that Lawanda's daughter has been taken by The 100 and forced into the sex trade at the Seahorse Motel. Lawanda wants to know why Black Lightning didn't save her daughter, and she goes even further, telling Jefferson that he himself could save her. Jefferson looks for a way to help without having to suit up as Black Lightning, but Lawanda isn't content to sit and wait for someone to help. She makes her presence known outside the Seahorse Motel, talking to the press and anyone who will listen to help her daughter.

Lawanda is ready to procure some vigilante justice of her own, but Jefferson convinces her to wait for him to try to work things out. She insists upon staying in her car outside the hotel just in case the gang tries to move her daughter. That doesn't go so well when Lala shows up. Lawanda confronts him -- a confrontation that ends with Lala murdering her. The murder is captured on Lawanda's cell phone video camera, but before the story can break on the news, Investigator Henderson calls Jefferson to let him know. Lawanda's death is the thing that pushes Jefferson to realize that, despite his best efforts as the principal of Garfield High, he isn't able to save everyone. He has to take up the Black Lightning mantle again, embrace his powers, and try to save his city.

While Lawanda's death is tragic, executive producer Salim Akil explained in a behind-the-scenes video that she served to show that heroes don't just have special powers -- Lawanda had her own kind of power.

"What we wanted to talk about in this show was the idea of heroes not just having powers," Akil said. "Lawanda has a power and it's the power of motherhood and the power of the love of her daughter."

And Lawanda's pivotal death wasn't the only demise with serious consequences this episode. In the final moments of tonight's episode, Tobias Whale flexes his power to be let into the Freeland jail where Lala is being held, promptly choking Lala to death, because by killing Lawanda he has shown he has no morals -- meaning he could end up ratting Whale out.

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9/8c following episodes of The Flash on The CW.