Spoilers Black Lightning - Season 3

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by TREK_GOD_1, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The wait is over: Black Lightning's third season premiere--"The Book of Occupation: Chapter One: Birth of Blackbird"--airs tonight.
     
  2. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Black Lightning
    SEASON THREE PREMIERE / Episode 1: "The Book of Occupation: Chapter One: Birth of Blackbird"

    Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning: The P.A. voice saying "you will be emancipated..." has its roots in the historical idea of the oppressor offering freedom they had no right to take away or grant in the first place (not to mention the colors he and the "pod kids" wear). Jefferson's growing outrage is on his every expression as he realizes that the chances of his ever being released are slim to none. I would hope he does not give in to his rage, as that would make him the Guinea Pig Odell wanted him to be.

    Odell / A.S.A: This is such a different DC universe--with much world building coming from Odell and his warnings (if he's being honest) of the metahuman wars close to destroying America. Honest or not, he was a pure serpent with his intrusive, suggestive comments about Jefferson and Lynn.
    While he warns of the coming Markovian threat, I can see him simply working to absorb the Markovian program into his own (that's the vibe coming from Carson Williams), then launching his own action against the nation or beyond, and why wouldn't he? If he's willing to murder children, or dig graves to experiment on enhanced people, there's no self-restraint.

    Commander Carson Williams: Somehow, he has the skill to defeat the metahuman "Cyclotronic"/Ned, screams his being enhanced to some degree, and sure enough, he is, according to Gambi. His power essentially makes him a version of DC's Parasite. That makes him a formidable villain that will not go away quietly. One can only imagine what he would do the Pierce family if he's engaged....

    Jennifer: So, she finally gets her official "work" name--Blackbird, or that's what the public has named her....and she has a cloaking device.
    The idea of her physically suffering when she does not use her powers...that is the kind of "problem" that would suit Odell (and others) to turn her into an ultimate weapon, and to be honest, if its causing her pain, she might be receptive to the idea of being allowed to "let it all out." I just hope she learns patience, listens to Gambi about not risking everything on what would be a doomed rescue mission of her sister.

    Gambi: He's found a breach in the A.S.A. labs, but I have the bad feeling any attempt to break in will be expected. We still do not know the full extent of his old government work in association with Green Light/metahuman experiments, but whatever it is, I get the impression that Odell would love to clean house (or anyone who might implicate him in clear human rights abuses) by capturing/using Gambi. Obviously, I've never believed he (Odell) thought Gambi was dead.

    Anissa / Thunder: The series has really ramped up the superhero trappings with her secret control room. Almost a 21st century updating of the 1967/68 TV Batgirl's secret room--only this one is actually functional.

    Lala: Still suffering from visions...and he's still in possession of Proctor's briefcase...

    Tobias: Forgetting that he was constantly treating himself to retard the aging process, it was shocking to see him so withered and broken down. The smart money says he will disappear for some time, then return as the "young" Tobias, all at the worst possible time.

    NOTES: Excellent, patient premiere and the tension built over two seasons has not let up; every scene feels like something is about to go over the edge, and its impossible to not want to see it go over said edge, as its all so compelling. The military takeover of Freeland instantly calls to mind the army and National Guard's occupation / violence of black neighborhoods at the height of the sociopolitical uprising of black citizens in the mid-60s to early 70s, where routine government abuses, false imprisonment and residents simply disappearing was the horrible order of the day. Further, Thunder's escorting the residents through the woods was clearly evocative of the Underground Railroad escape procedures, including the doubts of some not believing in the plan or the one leading them to freedom.

    The series reaches a new level of quality (already exceedingly high) . There's not a wasted frame, page of dialogue or shot.

    GRADE: A
     
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  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought it was a decent premiere, though Black Lightning was sidelined way too much. I don't know, or remember, why he agreed or allowed himself to become an ASA test subject. Seems like he could've or should've been able to break out whenever he wanted.

    Bill Duke is always great and his Odell retains his menace. As the episode went on I began to doubt this "Markovian War" is even happening. It was cool to see Christopher B. Duncan, playing a villain no less, because I still see him as Braxton from The Jamie Foxx Show, though I do think his Carson Williams was a bit over the top, but I guess him and Odell are playing it from both sides. I did like that Williams is also a meta, which should make for a very interesting and dangerous foe throughout the season. I wish we had gotten more of the Cyclotron guy. He had a neat look, backstory, and power set, and it seems like the show is improving on the depicting metahuman opponents. Though I hope they don't continue the Arrowverse trend of getting rid of promising villains too fast.

    It felt like this episode made a great case for a Blackbird series. It's almost as if they could've just done a Blackbird series, creating an original hero instead of using a DC property, and having to work within those confines. With the right writing, actors, premise, etc. I wish more networks would attempt original superhero stories. I like Blackbird's costume, though I would go for a full face mask or goggles even though they would hide Nafessa William's expressive eyes. She has a lair, she has a "Blackbird-mobile", and I don't see why she would go back to being Thunder after this. She's cooler as Blackbird, and has great taste in music. That's my favorite Chaka Khan song.

    This episode felt very much like Anissa's more than the rest of the family. I'm mixed on them keeping the Grace subplot going. It does need to be tied up, but I'm still displeased that Grace isn't more like her comic version. I don't think they've done a great job building up the Anissa-Grace relationship, which is strange, since relationships are a strongpoint for this series. I thought Anissa worked fine with her first girlfriend, the singer in Season 2, and the reporter in this episode, more than Grace.

    Though I thought it was a decent opener, it still had a slow burn quality to it, and the show still seems to have problems or reluctance to put Jefferson front and center. It seems like they have an easier time writing for Anissa and that's why she gets more things to do, is a more dynamic character than Jefferson, who often seems only to be reacting to things. It's too late now but I wish they had been able to pitch and get a Blackbird series going, separate from a Black Lightning series.
     
  4. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He really had no choice; in the season two finale, Odell shows up at the Pierce home and in identifying the family metahumans, they were forced to comply, or do what? They certainly would not attack him, assuming he's always accompanied by A.S.A. agents, and he (Odell) could threaten to expose them to a public that only half supports their efforts.

    Yes. He's the most interesting DC TV villain, because he seems like he is as shadowy and experienced just in his subtle character turns as much as the dialogue implies. That's rare for comic book productions.

    Williams is not only the "attack dog" of the situation, but he poses problems the Pierce family cannot deal with using their powers. In other words, the only way to eliminate him is to do it the old-fashioned way. Like a bullet, since he cannot absorb/mimic the effects of projectiles.

    Like last season's prison metas, Cyclotronic/Ned is used to open more doors of the main plot; he said he was sent to other countries as a soldier/killer (presumably, this "Metaforce" unit), which starts to move the A.S.A.'s actions closer to same international interests (of coups, domination, etc.) of the Markovians...if Odell is on the level. Yeah...I know.

    Jennifer works well as a teen struggling to adapt to her powers (and the unpleasant side-effects) with the support of her family. Its is not only necessary, but adds to her own drama of having to grow up faster than normal due to their equally unusual lives being in danger for the foreseeable future.

    ..family relationships. That's the heart of this series more than any extended connections.

    I believe that will come as he finds himself forced to serve the A.S.A.. The series--although a strong drama about a family is undeniable--has always had Jefferson's life as the compass that leads a number of events/characters. He's still serving that purpose (his family would not be in their current predicament if not for Jefferson's decision to become Black Lightning again), but its early, so his return to center stage will likely be as carefully planned as just about everything else on this show.
     
  5. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    i want to comment more, but don't have time... @Trek_God, I think Blackbird is actually the new name of Anissa's hero, now that she is dressing like a ninja. I thought I also heard a line that the public though Thunder was missing.

    Jennifer ha a costume but still sidelined...but her name might be Phoenix...or Flamebird! (And they can introduce Nightwing next season ;) )

    Also, are we expecting Geo Force or Terra this season?
     
  6. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Correct. Given TG1's obvious attention and insight where this show is concerned, I was surprised he got that crossed up.
     
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  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I forgot to mention, until TG1 mentioned it, but "Metaforce" is a cool name. Thanks TG1 for telling me what Jefferson's situation was at the end of season 2. I checked out a recap about it and learned that Jefferson chose to go into custody to save his daughters. So now I get why he was so compliant.

    While I don't disagree that Cyclotron or other villains aren't being used to peel back the layers of the season's plots, I still think this show, which is adept at family relationships and character development, sometimes forgets it's a superhero show. It's approach does set it apart from other DC shows, but still, I want to see more meta action, with villains in either comics accurate or just cool costumes/uniforms. While it doesn't have to be a villain of the week, if they used a villain for like three-to-four episode arcs or even half-season arcs I would be fine with that. As much as I like Bill Duke and Odell as a villain I'm not saying he's the best in DC television. For the Arrowverse I think the best villains have been Deathstroke, Malcolm Merlyn, and Reverse Flash. Prometheus, Zoom, Lex, and Damien Darhk were also pretty good, even if Darhk was in a weak season of Arrow. (Really the Arrowverse hasn't been hurting for villains, just most of the shows have burned through them too quickly). Odell is a mastermind and manipulator, but so were those guys, and they could also physically defeat the hero. Odell of course will be ten steps ahead and that makes him very dangerous, but with this being a superhero show, on the surface at least, I still want to see some tussling.

    Good point about Williams, and what might be needed to take him down. I don't see Gambi having any problem with that. But creating new characters (or I'm assuming new) like Williams is a good way to go to if the show can't use the DC villains they want, for whatever reason, or they don't see any DC villains that fit their needs. I think that guy that could teleport from last season was also created for the show. I have no problem going that route, and adding to Black Lightning's rogue's gallery because they might make it to the comics someday. Though I would like to see more elaborate costuming and action sequences.
     
  8. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    BTW, somebody pointed out on another site that the reporter Anissa hooked up with is named Jamillah Olsen. Playful Easter egg, or gender-swapped alternate-Earth Jimmy?
     
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  9. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ah, that's right.

    Not sure about that

    Yes, but he will reach his breaking point...or realize even he cannot threaten or fight his way out A.S.A. control. For all we know, Odell might force him to attack innocent metas (or "enablers") deemed a "national security threat"--either to get Jefferson's hands dirty (and that's another measure of control), or use his actions as part of a larger plan ending in the death of the Pierce family.

    I think meta action is definitely coming; I cannot see the showrunners--after building the metahuman backstory/A.S.A. threat/Tobias arc for so long just go the way of other series and lowball a conflict that is guaranteed dot come.

    That's what I was thinking. There come a time when someone is too superpowered for their own good (at least when facing other metahumans), yet they are not--ironically enough--immune to more traditional weapons/methods of death.
     
  10. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Vice Admiral Admiral

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  11. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Cool, I'm a huge fan of Wayne Brady, this will only be the second time I've seen him in a serious role, after Colony.
    As for the episode, I thought it was a great star to the season.
    I was a little surprised they were being so obvious with the whole thing with them locking the people in cages. I agree with what they were saying, but I just would have expected to be a bit more subtle about the commentary on current events. I've seen people on here complain about Supergirl's lack of subtle about this kind of stuff, but this was just as bad, if not worsethan anything SG has done in that regard.
    It looks like this season is going to have a very different feel than the first two seasons. I like it, so I don't mind.
    Williams definitely seems like he should be a good villain for the season.
    The whole thing with Jefferson being able to see through the walls and floor was cool evolution of his powers.
    It was pretty shocking to see Tobias in such bad shape. I knew he was injecting himself with the stuff to stay young, I just didn't expect him to be in such bad shape already.
    It's nice to have a name for Anissa's non-Thunder identity. I liked her using that identity as a way to keep doing the hero thing, with Gambi's help.
    I was surprised when they revealed the Asian girl was Jennifer, I just assumed it was a new character with the same powers.
     
  12. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Black Lightning
    SEASON THREE PREMIERE / Episode 2: "The Book of Occupation: Chapter Two -
    Maryam's Tasbih"


    Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning: He's right--the Markovian threat could be a pretext for something worse like the WMD lie. Even if the Markovian matter is real, it takes little (historically) for the U.S. government overstep its alleged boundaries. I do not believe he's incorrect in thinking Lynn--to a certain degree--has bought into the "freedom" she has to examine the "pod kids" (or anyone else). On that note...

    Lynn: While it admirable that Lynn is so honesty dedicated to the "pod kids", she cannot forget that her every action has A.S.A. fingers controlling it all. Surely she cannot be naïve to think she will be allowed an innocent doctor/patient relationship with no strings attached, or that her work will be used as part of the A.S.A.'s weapons program...

    Odell / A.S.A: He's such a sinister lowlife, but damn, he's a great villain.

    Colonel Yuri Mosin: No idea where Wolfsbane Mountain is located, but Mosin's speech predictably used Markovian nationalism as the bait for loyalty and service....then, they have a pre-invasion force scouting the perimeter of Freeland...

    Commander Carson Williams: Love the hostile energy between Williams and Jefferson. I cannot wait for that to boil over, as its easy to see Jefferson considers Williams to be a soulless ass-kisser on a leash--a sell out.
    The arrest of detective sergeant King seems more like a means of breaking Henderson's resolve than King committing any real crime.

    Jennifer: Just as I was going to say she's not acting like an irrational teenager (at least after dealing with Odell), she accepted the phone (a glorified tracking device), and has attacked fellow students, and with Anissa on her humanitarian mission and Gambi trying to help in every direction, there's no steadying advice she can seek. Imagine her in a compromised state of mind when she meets Khalil...

    Khalil: Horrible. Alive, dead or revived, he has no control over his own life. The kid has been completely reprogrammed into a weapon, and you just know what will happen once Jennifer--still carrying the torch for him--runs into him. Now that his first "test"--the murder of his own mother--was successful, Odell knows there's no emotional connection that will prevent him from carrying out his orders. Its difficult to see him having an other course except a second death. In other words, he's a permanent victim.

    Gambi: "Hard times, hard choices" From the way all things are playing out, that might be the subtitle of the season--including certain choices (violent / unethical) creating more rifts between the Pierce family. He is the only anchor the rest have, but he's so outnumbered on every side, that I feel his activities will have him fall into the wrong hands--meaning, he's probably under surveillance.

    Anissa / Thunder: I understand Anissa's frustrations, but her becoming an abuser....not good for her future, and though Gambi could not know it, he's directed the hotheaded metahuman into contact with the Markovians--which is what the colonel wanted...

    Lala: Describing the 100 as "the Warrior Class of Freeland" might be his way of rallying citizens against the occupation, but his leadership is still filtered through a criminal lens. While his "resurrection" was creepy, his timing could not be worse, as it happened with an audience...

    NOTES: Just two episode in, and the family is more fractured than ever before; I do see why the showrunners have Jefferson so isolated / frustrated while the world around him crumbles, but I think his pain is just beginning: first, a rift with Lynn, then the coming threat to his daughters--beyond the virus Odell mentions in the preview for next week's episode.

    GRADE: A.
     
  13. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I can kind of see both sides of Lynn and Jefferson's arguments, helping the kids is definitely the right thing to do, but at the same time I think she does seem to be trust Odell and the ASA a bit to much. The kids don't deserve to die, but there is no way the ASA is going to do good things with them once their well.
    I didn't expect to see the Perdi again, and I was a bit surprised how nasty Anissa was being to them. I understand it was a bad situation, but you'd think she could try to be a bit more understanding.
    Wow, making Khalil kill his own mother is pretty messed up. It will be interesting to see what happens with him if he runs into Jennifer again. If there is any of his old self left, she's probably the one person that could bring it out.
    I'm curious how Lala will come into play with the ASA's plotting, I can't see them just letting him operate in the city once they find out about him.
    I was a bit surprised Odell actually gave Jennifer the phone, I figured he was just pretending when he said he would give her Lynn and Jefferson's message.
    Gambi and Henderson working together was pretty fun.
    After all the talk about them, it was nice to finally get to actually see the Markovians. Although I am a little confused about what exactly is going on with them and the rest of the US. Are they supposed to have invaded the whole country, with the ASA just protecting Freeland, or are they just coming into Freeland directly from Markovia? With them all over the place outside of Freeland, I'm assuming it's the first one.
     
  14. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I sometimes think Henderson is my favorite character on the show. I love Gupton's delivery, particularly when Henderson is confronted with comic-book craziness. ("Aw, hell naw!") And he was a damn badass in that episode where Jefferson was arrested and put in the system.
     
  15. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    He is a pretty good character, but sadly he does tend to get overshadowed by all of the comic book craziness.
     
  16. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ..and after her experiences with Odell last season, she should know her good deeds will--ultimately--serve the A.S.A., unless she starts trying to gather as much intel to use against the organization. If she ever comes around to that.

    I think she's caught between tired of helping everyone around her, yet her family life is falling apart. She gives without reservation, but is repaid with strife.

    Yes, it appears they are on the outskirts of Freeland--and from all that's been set up about a couple of generations of residents who were altered in some way, its become ground zero of metahuman activity in America (since we do not hear of any other places used as a living lab the way Freeland was).
     
  17. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Black Lightning
    SEASON THREE / Episode 3: "The Book of Occupation: Chapter Three - Agent Odell's Pipe Dream"

    Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning: He was so impressed with the new suit, but I cannot imagine the watch only serves that one purpose. I'm fairly certain Jefferson knows this, so he would be foolish to try to attempt to do anything other what Odell orders. The fact he accepted this "gift" before running it by Lynn is bound to create another rift.

    Odell / A.S.A:
    Continuing the separation of Jefferson and Lynn, and now that he's provided Jefferson with a new suit, he's just one step closer to creating the first level of his own meta-army.
    Torturing Tobias with concentrated UV light--and the instant effects from it--was as nasty as it was brutal. There is no low--no barrier (of basic humanity) he will not cross.

    Note how he used Tobias's own color issues against him; when he was on top, Tobias often denigrated black people with one, stereotyped brush (about color, personalities, etc.), and now his former "pride" in his color has been turned into a physical liability. What goes around, as the expression goes...but he's a hard learner, as he reverted to his self-hate-inspired slurs by calling the artificial Black Lightning a "ghetto glow worm" and referred to his "black monkey ass". Sickening, but the psychological triggers worked: he's so determined to kill BL and "all he cares about" that he is now willing to make a deal with Odell....even though the arrogant Tobias will still attempt to turn the tables on his keeper.

    Then there's Jennifer: pinning the murder of Khalil's mother on the Markovians--the perfect heart-string bait to lure Jennifer into the A.S.A's service. There's not a member of the Pierce family that he cannot manipulate.

    Henderson: Tempers flare, but the elderly woman who claimed things were better when "white folk" headed the police department was based on her being...stupid. She--like every Freeland citizen--can see that they are under some form of government control that's beyond the authority of a local police department.

    Khalil aka Painkiller:
    So, he's not only a master of 23 martial arts forms, but is a expert on history's worst/most effective military leaders/killers. He's so reprogrammed (and enjoying it) that I do not see an easy way out for him--not that Odell would ever allow him to be restored to normal.

    Anissa / Blackbird:
    She's more reckless than ever; from socializing without checking in (while living in an occupied city) to being so brazen in her costumed life that the A.S.A. is now hunting her (assuming Odell knows nothing about her new identity).

    NOTES: Another solid episode that never lets up on its plot advancement.

    I have the sneaking suspicion that Jace working for the Markovians was a set up of some kind--perhaps to obtain all information/research on their own metahuman project, only for it to be merged with that of the A.S.A.--leading to some "final solution" against...?

    Next week, the teaser promises a direct threat to Anissa and Jennifer....

    GRADE: A.