Black Lightning: Everything’s Different Now

Black Lightning | Season 3 | Episode 2 : “Maryam’s Tasbih”
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For a quick read, go to Review. For a complete summary, go to Recap.

KBear Recap [Read  time: 5-7 min]

“Why does that sound like a curse word coming out of your mouth, man?” Jefferson Pierce

Maryam Luqman (Zoe Renee) is in bed suffering from the ‘tests’ that the ASA have conducted on her. She is praying for help. Three men who are tattoos on Lala’s (William Catlett) body are talking to him. He explains to them that he is going to use the briefcase to lure Tobias to him. At a press conference backed by other police officials, Chief Deputy Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) tells Freeland that the ASA has to approve all media broadcasts and information in the city. There will still not be any broadcasts out of the city. They blame the new regulations on the Markovians attacking the detention center. Peter Gambi listens to a broadcast online from someone named Truthteller Johnson. He reports on the shady things the ASA has done to Freeland. Truthteller plays a clip of Nichelle Payne (Yolanda T. Ross) talking about what happened to her son thanks to the ASA. Gambi says in disgust, “At least disguise her voice.” Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) is also listening to Truthteller, he receives a message from the CIA that the Markovians have sent a taskforce.

Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) walks into his quarters, Lynn (Christine Adams) is looking at some data. Jefferson tells Lynn he is worried about their daughters. Lynn is glad Anissa is looking after Jennifer. They both don’t know what Anissa has been up to since they’ve been confined. Lynn asks if Jefferson wants to help her look over the data. Jefferson doesn’t approve of Lynn helping the ASA with the meta kids; he thinks that Odell is playing her. Lynn: “I’m not going to let these children die because the ASA wants to exploit them.” Jefferson had used his powers to interrupt the ASA from listening to his and Lynn’s conversation. Commander Carson Williams (Christopher B. Duncan) walks in to find out what’s happening. Jefferson lets him know he doesn’t want him listening in on their private conversations. Commander Williams speaks disrespectfully to Jefferson. Jefferson asks what he said. Commander Williams: “I mean what I say, meta!” Jefferson: “Why does that sound like a curse word coming out of your mouth, man?” Lynn interrupts their argument to tell Williams that she and Jefferson need to talk to their daughters. Commander Williams says that could be a problem since someone could track the facilities’ location from the girl’s end. Jefferson and Lynn won’t accept that, Commander Williams compromises and tells them they can record a message for Anissa and Jennifer. Lynn had earlier complained about their quarters, so Commander Williams tells them to follow him. Holding hands, Jefferson and Lynn follow him. After scanning them, he takes them to a luxurious cell, with a refrigerator full of their favorite foods, and Jefferson’s scotch and Lynn’s red wine. After Williams leaves, the couple continues arguing about Lynn assisting the ASA. Jefferson wonders if the Markovians are as bad as the ASA says they are. Jefferson thinks that if Lynn doesn’t help the ASA with the pod kids, and Green Light babies, [which could prevent the ASA from turning them into weapons] maybe the ASA will eventually leave. Lynn: “You sound just as ready to sacrifice innocent children as Odell. Well I’m not.”

“And we will return home covered in glory and American blood.” Colonel Yuri Mosin

A squadron of men exist trucks; they are soldiers in civilian clothes. A man (Thomas K. Belgrey) in uniform addresses them, “Welcome to Wolfsbane Mountain. I am Colonel Yuri Mosin. A man of Markovia who has devoted my life to the service of our nation. And this…this is the greatest mission in Markovian history. I promise you, by all we hold holy, that we will prevail. And we will return home covered in glory and American blood.”

Henderson is conducting a police planning session with his officers. He wants to go after a crook named Sinzell Johnson (Mac Wells) who is the new crime lord in Freeland. Commander Williams walks in with his troops and interrupts. He’s there to arrest Sgt. King (Crystal Lee Brown). He accuses her of being a Green Light user and a potential meta-human. Henderson objects but Williams still takes her.

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Anissa/Blackbird (Nafessa Williams) is alright! She and the people she led out of Freeland are at the Perdi farm. Anaya (Birgundi Baker) [the young woman who Anissa helped last season] complains about all of the people Blackbird brought to their farm. She’s afraid there are too many people to feed and that Anissa is bringing trouble to the Perdi. She accuses Anissa of getting some Perdi killed the last time she was there. Anissa reminds her that she was there the last time because Anaya needed her help, and that she paid her father (Warren Snipe) for letting them stay at the farm. Blackbird tells her group to eat and drink water; they’ll have to move out soon. Later Anaya is still complaining; she wants them gone. Anissa isn’t going to let them back out of their deal. She grabs Anaya’s father by the throat and lifts him up. The Perdi men surround Anissa; she grabs one of the Perdi, breaks his shotgun in half and roughly tosses him. Anaya tells her that she could have badly hurt him; Anissa tells her he’s lucky he isn’t dead. Anaya: “You’re almost just as bad as the Sange.” Blackbird: “Test me and I’ll be worse.”

Jennifer (China Anne McClain) is alone when she senses that Agent Odell is in the house behind her. He tells her he came to check on her. She tells him the only thing wrong is she broke the microwave trying to warm up her rations. Odell tells her that he can make sure that Anissa and she are exempt from rations. Jennifer tells him that they don’t want to be placed above everyone else. He tells her that her abilities bring about more responsibilities, so it makes her more important. Agent Odell tells her the surveillance system in the house crashed, Jennifer tells him she crashed it; she doesn’t like them watching her. Agent Odell asks where Anissa is, Jennifer tells him she is in the shower, does he want to watch her there. Odell becomes flustered.  He hands her a phone, it has her parents recorded message. He tells her she can also use the phone to call him if she needs anything. After he leaves, Jennifer looks at their recording. Lynn and Jefferson try to put on a happy, brave face, but it saddens Jennifer.

Lala rolls up on some of the members of the 100; he asks Rayvon (Kelvin Witherspoon) if he is ready to get back into the drug business. Rayvon tells him that they don’t have product and that an old gang member, Sinzell, now runs the black market and he has over a dozen guns backing him. Rayvon points out that Lala only has himself. Lala realizes the men surrounding him are only hallucinations.

“Do you ever run out of weird ass tech?” Deputy Chief Bill Henderson

Henderson pulls up in front of the police station. An ASA agent enters his car, it is Gambi using his cloaking device to disguise himself. Henderson: “Do you ever run out of weird ass tech?” Since Henderson is working with the ASA, Gambi needs Henderson to help him get a comm drive. Henderson doesn’t want to; he’d rather not end up in Fort Leavenworth. Gambi tells him he needs the comm drive to break through the ASA firewall so he can communicate with Anissa. She is outside the perimeter and she can only get back in with his help. Henderson refuses again but Gambi persists.

Maryam tells Lynn that she thinks she’s dying. Maryam: “What’s wrong with me?” Lynn: “Human body wasn’t designed to do what a Meta can do.” Using her powers causes her health to deteriorate. She assures Maryam she’ll help her. Henderson goes to Commander Williams’ HQ, which is Club 100. A disguised Gambi escorts Henderson into the club. While Gambi and Williams argue over releasing Sgt. King, the distraction allows Gambi to sneak into a storage room to steal a comm drive. Lala drives up to a group of the 100 selling food. Lala: “Aw, hell, no! Y’all gouging the people? For food? For bread and crackers? This ain’t right, man. Ain’t none of this is right. The 100, the warrior class of Freeland and y’all out here fighting over crumbs?” Sinzell pulls up; Lala tells him he still owes him money and that he’s taking over his operation. Sinzell shoots Lala repeatedly and then shoots him in the head. Lala gets up, with bullets popping out of his body. Sinzell runs off in a panic. The 100 swear their allegiance to Lala.

Anissa is still arguing with Anaya and her dad. They change their tune a little when one of the metas has the power to grow plants. They are still on the outs with Anissa; she doesn’t care. Gambi contacts Anissa; he has some good and bad news. He can guide Anissa back into Freeland, but there is a Markovian task force patrolling the perimeter, and some of them are heading towards the farm. Anissa asks Gambi to guide her to the Markovians. With Gambi’s help, Anissa successfully beats up the Markovian soldiers. The Markovians on Wolfsbane Mountain detect the fight. Colonel Mosin: “Confirming meta-human contact. Initiate phase two.”

Lynn has Jefferson use his electricity to stabilize Maryam while she uses her power. Lynn has Maryam camouflage herself to each holograms picture. At first, it’s going well, but she eventually faints in pain. Jennifer is at school looking at some of Khalil’s drawings. Tavon (Jasun Jabbar Wardlaw Jr.) sees her and comes over to talk about some pictures Khalil drew of him. Jennifer doesn’t want any company and rudely walks away from him. Jamillah Olsen (Adetinpo Thomas) records a broadcast to tell the people of Freeland what is going on. She isn’t following the ASA media mandate because of her first amendment rights.

“I’m a biological weapon system.” Khalil Payne

The computer is questioning Khalil Payne/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway). Agent Odell and Commander Williams are observing it. They have wiped Khalil’s mind and placed a brain chip in his brain to control him. Odell orders the computer to give Khalil a master level knowledge of several disciplines. Commander Williams: “Painkiller, what is your function?”  Khalil: “I’m a biological weapon system.” Agent Odell orders Khalil to kill his mother. Commander Williams is visibly surprised; he expresses his concerns to Odell. He thinks it could undo Khalil’s mind wipe if his first mission is to kill his mother. Odell explains that it is a test, if the brain chip works and Khalil kills his mother, they can use it on other humans and metas.

Jefferson checks in on Maryam. Someone told her to get some rest and eat. She can’t eat since she’ll just throw it up. Jefferson uses his power to keep the ASA from hearing them talk. Maryam tells him his powers are similar to Black Lightning. He agrees. Jefferson asks her if she’s seen any other metas. Maryam tells him she has, and that the ASA even has them fight each other. Maryam describes some of the horrors. Jefferson tells her to try to take a nap; she’ll be surprised how much a good nap helps. Lynn is working in the lab when Odell walks in to talk to her. He casually mentions that Jefferson is causing a spike when he uses his powers. Jefferson is back in his quarters and sees Lynn and Odell talking below him. Lynn tries not to let Odell see that she is worried. Lynn joins Jefferson later, drinks some wine, and thanks him for helping her with Maryam. He tells her what Maryam told him. Lynn becomes mad at Jefferson for pumping information out of an ill teenager. They have a nasty argument, with Jefferson accusing Lynn of selling him and the other metas out just to get to use the lab. Lynn angrily goes to bed but softly tells Jefferson he can trust her.

Nichelle answers her door; it is Khalil.  Nichelle: “Khalil! Are you okay?” Khalil: “Nichelle Payne?” Nichelle: “You don’t know me?” Khalil: “I don’t need to.” He coldly grabs his mother by the neck and kills her.

Jennifer walks down the hall and hears two boys fighting in the locker room. Jennifer: “Stop, stop, stop, stop! Yo, just ‘cause we’re in here like animals does not mean we have to act like it. [Students boo her.] Can we please hold on to our dignity? Damn, hold on to something.” One of the boys calls her a bitch and says they should fight her. Jennifer warns them they don’t want any part of her. They surround her and attack. Jennifer face lights up for a second, but she doesn’t electrocute them. She administers a beating to these little punks. Jennifer: “Stop! Stop! I guess we can’t hold on, huh? Everything’s different now. And so am I.” She angrily walks away.

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

Jefferson and Lynn are arguing about the best way to deal with the ASA. Jefferson doesn’t want to assist them, hoping that if they can’t create their meta-human weapons; they’ll eventually go away. Lynn wants to help the pod kids, and Green Light babies, and isn’t willing to let them suffer to drive off the ASA. Confinement and torture is making Jefferson suspicious of Lynn. His old feeling that Lynn doesn’t understand him and thinks he’s a freak for being a meta are resurfacing. Jefferson seems unstable. You can say that about Anissa too.  She is having trouble from the Perdi, and she doesn’t have the patience to deal with it. She eventually strong-arms them to make her point. Anaya is being annoying but she does have some valid points. The ASA quarantine has everyone on edge. Jennifer’s classmates are unraveling and acting like prisoners instead of students. Instead of dealing drugs, the 100 are selling food to the citizens; at I’m sure excessive prices. Lala steps in to retake the 100. Agent Odell continues to prove himself the true villain of the season, and maybe the series by having Khalil, whose mind they have wiped and put in a brain chip, kill his mother. Even Tobias had rules about killing moms. Freeland is falling apart and they still have to deal with Markovian soldiers who are patrolling outside the perimeter.

So far this season has been dark. They are showing how a society can break down under martial law. No one seems to trust each other, and are willing to go to drastic measures to get what they want. Odell is manipulating Lynn to work for him. Lynn doesn’t trust Odell, but she has no idea how evil he really is. Jefferson has an idea, but is acting too erratic for Lynn to believe him. The ‘tests’ that the ASA  are conducting on the metas is breaking them down physically and mentally. Poor Maryam is on death’s doorstep. She is the physical embodiment of the ASA’s actions against the citizens of Freeland. The fight scene between Anissa and the Perdi and later the Markovians was well done. I could tell that they had a stunt double do most of the fight scene between Jennifer and the boys. The show’s writers and crew are doing a great job making the audience feel the pressure and discomfort that the citizens of Freeland feel. There was a lot going on in the episode, that made it hard for me to follow the different storylines  at times. I would guess this episode is setting up things that will happen later in the season.

The music reflected the episode’s somber mood. You and Me Together, Pt. 1 by Roy Roberts Experience played while Lala talked to his tattoos about the briefcase and Tobias.

I’ll Play the Blues for You, pts. 1 & 2 played while Lala explained to Rayvon how they could start up in the drug selling business again.  

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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