This Black Lightning review contains spoilers.
Black Lightning Season 3, Episode 8
Tobias is loquacious, and he spends every moment alone with Lynn reading her for filth. His criticism of her is precise, and he’s not wrong about the A.S.A. They do want to make slaves out of the Green Light metas once they are stabilized. They will likely flood the city with Green Light to make more metas they can control and use as weapons.
Lynn has seen for herself what this looks like with Khalil, so she knows it’s true. But Tobias is not altruistic, he doesn’t care what the A.S.A. does, he just wants to escape. And, in Lynn’s present state—perpetually stressed and high on Green Light—she may be swayed to help. But before (or maybe not) she has a chance to become an accomplice, the A.S.A. comes for her.
Black Lightning put Major Gray out of commission last week, and Commander Williams took her place, stepping into a position he probably should’ve had before her anyway — based on my (admittedly limited) understanding of military hierarchy. Williams is probably the coldest of them all, ruthless as Odell, but conspicuous like Gray. He wants the Franklin Terrace apartment building for the A.S.A. and has evicted all the residents, save for Mrs. Shepherd, who refuses to leave. When Jefferson fails to convince her to leave, he decides that Black Lightning and the resistance would make their stand there.
Williams sends a team to beat the door down, and what happens when it’s open is shocking. (Ba dum tss) Black Lightning lights them folks up along with any semblance of mutual understanding between him and the A.S.A. Finally. He wants all the smoke. And Anissa wants some, too, so she leaves the hoodie at home and comes through suited and booted in her body-con superhero finery. Henderson’s insurgents also show up and show out. Franklin Terrace is protected and the resistance has begun.
Naturally, Jefferson’s actions void his deal with the A.S.A. So they revoke Lynn’s access and try to trap her in The Pit. During her escape, she drops her purse holding all her work, but most importantly her drugs, and she is… distressed. While I would love to see Lynn sobered up and using her immense intelligence against the A.S.A., I suspect she’ll find a way to get her fix. Cue Lala coming back from wherever the hell he vamoosed to after talking all that shit. (To be clear, I can see it happening, but it has not happened.) I am still not entirely sure why addiction is the route the writers took with Lynn, and I just hope there’s something worthwhile at the end of what feels like a superfluous struggle.
Another story element that feels superfluous is Brandon’s vendetta against Dr. Jace. He couldn’t have just moved to Freeland for a normal reason? I like him and what he might be to Jennifer, but do we really need all’at? Hopefully, now that he knows that Dr. Jace is with the Markovians and out of his reach, he’ll shift his priorities to something useful, like controlling his damn emotions — which are tied to his powers — or getting boo’d up with Jenn. Jennifer may be able to help him control his powers when he’s upset, the same way Perenna helped her. And he may be able to keep her grounded, both figuratively and literally, as his earth powers ground her electric ones. I can see it for them, but I’m not sure she’s over Khalil.
On that note, Painkiller remains on task, showing up at Franklin Terrace to take out Black Lightning. Instead he gets a round two with Anissa, and this time she mollywhops his ass, realizes who he is, then thunderclaps him out the window. When Williams gets word of it, he loses any remaining chill he possessed. Williams, who uses the word “meta” like a slur, uses his (meta) ability to mimic Black Lightning’s power and use it against him. However, Black Lightning’s suit protects him from burning himself out, and Williams was giving the full blast with no protection, and took himself out. Another one bites the dust.
The A.S.A. keeps taking Ls. Gambi discovers that the A.S.A. has been covering up the occupation by pushing the fiction that Freeland is quarantined due to a SARS outbreak. Anissa asks Jamillah to to collect her footage of the occupation and record a message exposing the truth. Gambi then finds a way to transmit the message outside of Freeland, with the help of TC, a former pod-kid whose meta ability allows him to talk to computers. Against all odds, the message is uploaded.
The A.S.A. are messing with the Wrong Ones. Freeland is a city that is used to being beaten down and knows how to get back up. Henderson was right that Tavon’s death and Jefferson’s beating would enrage people but he underestimated the city’s collective numbness. It would take more than anger to get people to stand up. The people been angry, they’ve been tired, but they’ve gotten used to being mad and weary. What they needed was hope, not something to rail against, but something to fight for.
In the grand scheme, one woman refusing to listen might seem like a miniscule act. But we know that a woman deciding to stay put can spark a movement. Resistance isn’t always violence. It isn’t always active. Choosing not to do something, choosing to do nothing, is sometimes more powerful than choosing to take up arms. But resistance — the quiet kind and the violent kind — come not just from anger but from hope as well.
The people of Freeland have hope. They have their heroes back, in Black Lightning and Thunder. They have a police chief who will no longer cooperate with their occupiers, and who actively fights for them. They have friends and neighbors who are willing to throw hands and pop a shot off. Most importantly, they have seen the A.S.A. retreat. They know the A.S.A. can lose.