This Black Lightning review contains spoilers.
Black Lightning Season 3, Episode 9
First things first, I’m not happy with how Black Lightning was incorporated into the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. This episode is not required viewing for anyone watching the crossovers, but every other Arrowverse show is. We have to watch Supergirl, Batwoman, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow to get the full story but not Black Lightning. Sure, Jefferson gets pulled into the crossover, but his world doesn’t get a personal visit from The Monitor or any of the heroes. It exists in the periphery.
In this Crisis-week episode, Jennifer is finally asking herself questions about the A.S.A. that she should’ve been asking from the get-go. She’s examining the role she’s played and coming to grips with the fact that she has killed people. She’s conflicted because her dad and sister are firmly against the A.S.A. and that’s what her heart tells her is right, but her mom is working with them, so… they can’t be all bad? I understand this reasoning but it oversimplifies her mom’s relationship with the A.S.A. Lynn works with them because she knows they’ll do the work anyway, but she can do some good if she’s there.
Jennifer believes the Markovian threat is real and that Odell does things for A Reason, but she is starting to question the necessity of the occupation. When Odell intrudes on her — yet again — by opening a video chat on her TV, she confronts him with some of those questions. He does his usual manipulation, and asks her to patrol and take out Markovians a.k.a. be his weapon — again. He also answers a question she’d asked herself (reminding her she has no privacy), “the time for you to pick a side is rapidly approaching. Choose wisely.”
Later, the sky turns red — because antimatter is sweeping over Earth but they don’t know that because nobody warned them — and it affects Jennifer. She phases in and out of reality and Gambi infers (correctly, somehow) that it involves parallel universes. I know Gambi is crazy intelligent, but it’s just a random theory to come up with off-top. She and two alternate Jennifers meet up in a void. Our Jennifer then sees two different realities play out, each representing one side of her current dilemma.
Earth-1 Jennifer (Gen) wears an A.S.A. collar, and has been detained in The Pit for tampering with Freeland’s water supply so everyone who drank it lost their meta powers. When that universe’s Reverend Holt implicates Jefferson in the meta underground railroad, Odell executes Jeff in his own home in front of his daughters. Gen gets what she wants, to not have powers, and saves Freeland’s metas from becoming Odell’s army. She struggles with the cost of her choices, like being locked up and losing her dad, but ultimately feels it was worth it.
Earth-2 Jennifer (Jinn) is Odell’s weapon and a stone-cold killer. Jefferson says she’s addicted to her powers, something Our-Earth Jefferson was guilty of, and one of the reasons he put down the mask. After the war with Markovia is over, she kills all of Freeland’s metas because according to her, they are no longer needed. When her family tries to have an intervention, she kills them all. She obtains “peace” through violence.
This is the path Jennifer has been traveling, and though I doubt she’d get to Darth Ginn levels, we have seen her use her powers to destroy, at Odell’s behest, without questioning them. If her father and sister hadn’t taken a firm stance against the A.S.A., I’m not sure she would have cause to examine her relationship with Odell, and she might be well on her way to becoming this version of herself.
In the void, Jennifer scolds and slaps Ginn, and they fight. Then she dresses both of them down, and in doing so, comes to realizations about herself. She also correctly deduces what the red sky means and what’s happening — their worlds are colliding and being destroyed — despite having shown no previous interest in, or knowledge of theoretical physics. It’s disappointing that Jennifer and Gambi have to make these leaps, but it’s wild that they get it right. The Crisis is happening to them but they aren’t apart of it.
On top of being hit with antimatter and having nary a soul come through to warn Freeland or give them the 4-1-1, the A.S.A. intercepted the resistance’s message to the outside and people still don’t know what’s really happening in Freeland. That hope was short-lived but Blackbird, Henderson, and the rest of the resistance aren’t letting up. They come for the A.S.A.
Odell orders Major Gray to send Green Light and brain implants to the detention facilities so he can weaponize metasnagaint the resistance, and “fight fire with fire.” Gray, who has been otherwise complicit in terrorizing the residents of Freeland, displays a modicum of conscience and reminds Odell that the detainees are just untrained kids. This is the second time an A.S.A. soldier has questioned an order or hesitated to act, I really want to see the occupation challenged more internally.
Anissa has an idea on how to interrupt the A.S.A. shipment but… none of it matters in this moment. A white wave follows the red sky and Black Lightning disappears just before the world vanishes. Freeland, and all the people in it cease to exist. We’ll see Jefferson in the next episode of The Flash, in part three of Crisis on Infinite Earths, but we’ll probably have to wait until Black Lightning returns from hiatus to find out what happens to everyone else.
I hope that there is no — borrowing from Doctor Who — timey wimey that undoes Jennifer’s experience in the antimatter void. Experiencing the result of the other Jennifers’ choices gives her some much-needed perspective. She recognizes that her current path is leading her to her becoming Ginn, and hopefully she’ll be able to learn from that and course correct.
Anissa tells her parents that Khalil is alive, and like Gambi, she thinks he should be put down. I would agree with this position if Lynn hadn’t proven his memories are still in-tact. This is an interesting quandary.
Lynn was cooking something that I would like to believe is good and healthy, but I’m pretty confident was Green Light. It should’ve occured to me that she would have the know-how to make her own, but it didn’t, and I truly hate to see it.