Black Lightning: Welcome to the Occupation

Black Lightning | Season 3 | Episode 4 : “Lynn’s Ouroboros”
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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]

“I’m failing and I’m so tired.” Lynn Pierce

The episode begins with cartoon panels again. We get Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) in the trench coat again. Jennifer/Lightning (China Anne McClain) is in the sky. Tavon (Jasun Jabbar Wardlaw Jr.) is being taken out of his class by the ASA. Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) is covered in spots screaming her lungs out. Lynn Pierce’s (Christine Adams) cartoon panel changes into the real thing. Lynn is recording a video log, she’s giving a report on her efforts to combat the virus. Lynn: “I’m failing and I’m so tired.” She’s been working around the clock. In her research she’s noticed some things about Green Light, mainly it causes changes in the brain. Lynn: “So in theory, if I was able to remove the drug’s psychoactive addictive properties, rendering it safe for consumption, I could literally make myself smarter.” Lynn has been administering small doses to herself and believes it’s working.

Jefferson and Jennifer are driving to school, this is the first time that Jefferson has seen Freeland under occupation. Soldiers and barriers are everywhere with Freeland residents being stopped and frisked. They come upon a checkpoint, Jennifer tells him that Odell has registered them as non-metas. When they drive up, resistance fighters get into a firefight with the soldiers. Jefferson eyes flash and Jennifer tells him to remain calm. The soldiers capture the resistance fighters. Jefferson is disturbed by everything he has seen, but Jennifer is nonplused. Jennifer: “Welcome to the occupation.”

Jefferson meets cloaked Gambi (Justin Livingston) in a café to give him the watch Odell gave him. He wants him to disable any tracking devices Odell might have in the watch. Jefferson isn’t use to the cloaked Gambi, but he reminds Jefferson he needs to remain ‘dead’ until he finds out who was trying to kill him. Jefferson tells him that he and Lynn aren’t on the same page, while he’s glad to be out of the Pit, she goes back there voluntarily every day. Jefferson wonders if Gambi’s job helped break up Gambi and his ex, Gambi doesn’t want to talk about it and advises Jefferson to get back on the same page with Lynn.

“Things can go to chaos real quick with the wrong push, and chaos is deadly.” Agent Percy Odell

Jennifer gets a text from Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) to meet him at her home. She sasses him as usual and asks why he can’t end the occupation. Odell tells her it is to protect Freeland and the metas from the Markovians. Jennifer questions if they are that bad, she can’t even research them since the ASA has curtailed searches on the internet. Odell promises to send her a link so she can see how bad the Markovians are. The occupation maintains order. Agent Odell: “Things can go to chaos real quick with the wrong push, and chaos is deadly.”

Sinzell Johnson (Mac Wells) and his men are hijacking ASA trucks.

Jamillah Olsen (Adetinpo Thomas) sneaks into Garfield High to report that the ASA is testing students for mandated ASA cards, non-meta students can use the cards to roam the city freely, while meta students will be sent to detainment facilities. Tavon offers the new kid Brandon (Jahking Guillory) a place in line, but Brandon tells him he already has his card.

Agent Odell orders Khalil Payne/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway) to find the people who are hijacking his trucks and kill them. Khalil relishes the chance to practice his craft.

Jennifer shocks Jefferson when she tells him she is glad the ASA is there to protect them. Tavon and some other students are standing around watching a video on his phone, Jefferson wants to see it. Tavon sheepishly hands his phone over, it is the video of Anissa/Blackbird/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) throwing a tank at a helicopter.  Jefferson isn’t pleased. Principal Mike Lowry (P.J. Byrne) stops Jefferson from entering his classroom. Since he’s been gone, the ASA has replaced him with another teacher. Jefferson is upset because of all the tests they made him take, but Lowry tells him the ASA has assigned him to be the school’s guidance counselor, with Jefferson getting a bigger office and less duties. Principal Lowry snidely says, “Based on that, I’m gonna assume you must have done…really well on those tests.” Lowry thinks Jefferson has sold out.

DC Collectibles DCTV: Black Lightning Resin Statue

Khalil is torturing a man for information about the truck hijackings. Khalil:” At some point, death comes for us all. And when that time comes, though we yearn for love all we’re left with is pain. A person will do more to avoid pain than to achieve anything else in this world. Knowing this, the greatest gift that anyone could ever give is to take that pain away. Lucky for you, they call me Painkiller.”

Jefferson confronts Agent Odell about Freeland being under martial law. He reminds Odell he had submitted himself to the ASA and offers that he understands the government having troops in the city. Jefferson: “But this occupation is overkill.” Agent Odell: “In my experience, Mr. Pierce, there’s no such thing. Now you continue to do as instructed, or I’ll put your daughters in the Pit. Run tests on them, just like all the others.”

Gambi is marking ASA truck tires. We’ll learn why he is doing it.

“You be who you gotta be today so you can be who you want to be tomorrow.” Varetta Henderson

Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) is with his wife Varetta (Karen Ceesay) at the police station. He is complaining about the occupation and how the ASA is preventing him from doing his job. Varetta tries to cheer him up and tells him that if he can survive this, he’ll be in position to reform the police department and become mayor. Varetta: “You be who you gotta be today so you can be who you want to be tomorrow.” Before he can feel better, Major Sara Gray (Katy O’Brian) and her ASA troops storm in. She tells him that she is commandeering the police station to use it to house captured metas to keep them away from the infected metas already in custody. Henderson complains that the ASA had assured him they wouldn’t interfere with his station, she snidely thanks him for his assistance and tells him to clear out his office for her.

Jennifer gets a text from Agent Odell with a link showing a news report of Markovia attacking the Sudan and the atrocities they committed there. The images cause Jennifer to cry.

Lynn is treating Richard (Gordon Richards), an elderly patient dying from the virus. He is telling Lynn about his daughter getting married and him being afraid he’ll be dead before then. Lynn tries to reassure him, but she isn’t convincing herself. She takes more Green Light.

Blackbird breaks up an illicit weapons deal between Sinzell and Aunt Gina (Vernika Rowe). She is part of the resistance. After Sinzell runs off, Blackbird talks to Gina. Blackbird: “You can’t be using my name and symbol, and then go off shooting up ASA checkpoints.” Gina tells Anissa she doesn’t work for her. She tells Blackbird to talk to the boss. Anissa tells her she will.

Jefferson goes to Anissa’s place, Grace answers the door. Anissa sneaks into her apartment through the secret room and sees Jefferson and Grace on the monitor. When she comes down, Jefferson immediately fusses at her for Grace knowing she is Blackbird and Thunder. He’s upset at where she lives, assuming she is using the money she stole form drug dealers to pay for it. Jefferson accuses Anissa of loving the spotlight, like tossing the tank on the video and having the Blackbird symbol all over town. Anissa snaps back that she hasn’t told Grace who he is, and that she trusts her, and that it is the resistance putting those pictures up to inspire people, just like Black Lightning use to. Jefferson is screaming now, reminding her all that he has done for the city, they are shouting at each other now. Grace starts screaming and turns into a teenager (Stella Smith) afraid that Jefferson will hurt her and Anissa. Both Anissa and Jefferson are shocked. Anissa orders her father to leave.

“It’s you, Grace. Your heart, your soul, your essence. That is what I’m in love with. Just you.” Anissa Pierce

Anissa comforts teen Grace, assuring her that Jefferson would never hurt her or Grace. Teen Grace: “I never wanted you to see this. Not ever. Not this piece of me. There’s still so much you don’t know.” Anissa: “Maybe less than you think. Shay Li Wyle.” Teen Grace transforms back to adult Grace. Anissa tells her everything that Gambi found out about her. Grace: “Anissa, this would be a lot for anybody.” Anissa: “Grace, I told you we’re in. Me, you, the leopard, that old guy…all of us. It’s one big party up in here. It is not your beautiful face or this fine-ass body that I’m in love with. Well, don’t get me wrong, if we’re taking votes, this one is by far my favorite. It’s not even about that. It’s you, Grace. Your heart, your soul, your essence. That is what I’m in love with. Just you.”

Jefferson is home when Lynn walks in. Jefferson: “Wow, I haven’t seen you look this bad since med school.” Lynn: “That’s exactly the warm welcome I was hoping for.”  Jefferson apologizes and tries to talk to her but Lynn is zoning out, Jefferson is out of focus and his voice is distorted. He tries to tell her about their daughters, she stops him and asks  if they are in danger. He admits not as far as he knows [he really doesn’t know]. She tells him to take care of things at home while she goes back to the lab.

Khalil questions two ASA soldiers who are connected to the truck heists. After using a small touch of his neuro toxin to paralyze them, they tell him they are working with a drug dealer. He warns them if the info they have given him is a lie, he’ll be back for them. One of them keeps talking, an annoyed Painkiller bangs their heads together knocking them out.

“What do you think of your peacekeepers now?” Brandon

Tavon, Brandon, and Lisa (Taylor Polidore) are in the midst of a class discussion about occupations aboard and at home. Jennifer pipes in calling the ASA peacekeepers and that the occupation in Freeland is for their own good. Just then, Major Gray walks in with her troops to take Tavon, she says someone has reported meta activity concerning Tavon. Principal Lowry tries to stop her and one of her goons hits him upside his head with the butt of his rifle. Tavon is dragged out, Lowry is sitting on the floor bleeding, Brandon asks Jennifer, “What do you think of your peacekeepers now?” She doesn’t have an answer.

Jennifer, Brandon, and Lisa are in the bathroom sharing a joint and discussing what happened to Tavon and the ASA. Lisa heard that someone might have turned him in over a dispute about a girl. Brandon asks Jennifer if she believed what she said about the ASA. She brings up the atrocities the Markovians have done, Lisa adds she has heard some of that. Brandon scoffs, “Unless we experience things firsthand, how do we know it’s true?” Jennifer: “Well, if it was up to my mom, I would never experience anything. I really hate how they say that they want us to be better than them. Cause in reality they never do.” Brandon agrees with that.

Lynn is with Richard, he is dying. She injects him with a new vaccine she has created. He dies but then his veins turn green and he comes back to life. Lynn tells him he’ll make it to his daughter’s wedding.

Jefferson and the uncloaked Peter Gambi (James Remar) are in the sanctum. Gambi explains that he has put radioactive resin on the ASA truck tires so that he can track their whereabouts to figure out where the Pit is. Jefferson thinks it is a good idea but he’s there to get his watch. He explains that Tavon was taken out of school and is at the police station; he plans to use the new suit to break him out. Gambi admits that the new suit is better than anything he’s built, but he reminds Jefferson that if he does this, Odell will put his family in the Pit. Jefferson agrees and tells Gambi he’ll need help.

Jefferson goes to Anissa, she isn’t happy to see him. Jefferson: “You and I, we disagree okay. On a lot of things. But I know that you care about the people of Freeland.” “Anissa: “You don’t even know the half of it. Okay look, me, Reverend Holt, and a handful of other people, we started up our Underground Railroad. We’ve been sneaking metas and suspected metas outside the perimeter.” Jefferson: “But, how did you get them…?” Anissa: “With assistance from Uncle Gambi.” Jefferson: “All these years of calling you ‘Harriet Tubman’ were prophetic.” Anissa: “Okay, Dad, stop please.” Jefferson: “No, I’m proud of you.” Anissa: “Thank you.” He tells her about Tavon and asks for her help to break him out. She is on board.

Henderson checks in on the Tavon. All of the prisoners have the meta blocking collars around their necks. Kyrie (Renell Gibbs) one of the arrested resistance fighters calls out to Henderson. Kyrie: “Yo Chief. Any chance we can get some food up in here?” Henderson: “Oh, what you hungry?”  Kyrie: “Why do you think I’m askin’?” Henderson: “Well you should’ve thought about that before you shot up a checkpoint.” Kyrie: “How it feels to be an Uncle Tom?” Henderson: “How’s it feels to be in jail?” Henderson tells Major Gray the prisoner’s need a meal, she basically tells Henderson to mind his own business and bumps him as she walks by. [What a B!] Henderson contacts Black Lightning that he’s left the door unlocked. Gambi is on comms, Black Lightning looks through the walls and tells Blackbird where to go. Blackbird attacks the ASA guards, Henderson signals his cops not to interfere. Henderson helps her get Tavon and the rest of the prisoners out of their cells. Blackbird turns the corner and Major Gray has a weapon on her, Black Lightning electrocutes her through the wall.

“They don’t call me when they want someone arrested. They call me when they want someone gone.” Khalil Payne

Painkiller shows up where the stolen weapons are kept. Sinzell orders that the trucks leave now. Painkiller is wiping out Sinzell’s men as the trucks drive off. Painkiller: “Hi you must be Sinzell.” The two men begin to fight. Khalil gets the best of him. Sinzell: “What you gonna do? Arrest me?” Painkiller: “They don’t call me when they want someone arrested. They call me when they want someone gone.” Painkiller snaps Sinzell’s neck.

Blackbird leads the escapees to the perimeter and tells them to go to the Perdi farm. Tavon asks Anissa to tell his parents he loves them. The resistance fighters join Auntie Gina so they can go back to Freeland to continue fighting.

Agent Odell confronts Jefferson and tells him he knows he was involved in the jail breakout. He warns Jefferson that he gets this one.

Gambi correlates all of the trucks he marked and figures out where the Pit is.

Agent Odell calls Lynn to congratulate her on her new vaccine to cure the virus. He tells her that while she was working on the vaccine, her Green Light babies become unstable, and they need her to stabilize them. He tells her to get some rest, but Lynn insists they send a car for her so she can get back to work. Major Gray is in the room with Odell and she smiles. Major Grey: “She’s hooked.” Agent Odell: “She doesn’t realize yet; but…yes.” Major Grey: “Better yet, she thinks it’s her idea. You’re a genius!” Agent Odell: “Not really. I only saw to it that she got a taste of the most addictive substance on Earth.” We see that Odell has used subliminal messaging to get Lynn to take Green Light.

Now on to his second Pierce woman, Agent Odell meets Jennifer in an empty warehouse district. Jennifer is her usual sassy self, but she asks about the Markovian threat to Freeland. He assures her that it is real, but with her help, they can contain it. Odell tells her she is more powerful than her father. He has an updated suit for her, it has some headphones and he wants her to go straight up until she hears beeping. Jennifer puts on the new suit and shoots straight up, when the beeping starts, she is in space. Jennifer can see the curvature of the Earth. Her suit soaks up the energy directly from the sun, Jennifer glories in it.

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

After being in ASA custody for the past month, Jefferson finally sees the occupation in person. He is disturbed by what he sees. Jennifer on the other hand is used to it and takes the soldiers and street fights, all in stride. The ASA takes Tavon into custody, of all people, Principle Lowry tries to protect him. While Lowry is standing up for students, Jennifer is siding with the ASA. Jefferson gets into it with Anissa after meeting Grace, seeing her new apartment and disapproving of all of her choices. Grace is frightened by their argument and turns into her teen self. Gambi is tracking trucks to find the location of the Pit. Odell sends Khalil to kill the people hijacking ASA trucks, and he wildly succeeds in his mission. Good news, Lynn finds a cure for the virus, bad news, she is on the path to destruction, thanks to Agent Odell. He has used subliminal messages to get Lynn to take Green Light, so now Dr. Lynn Pierce is an addict. At least Jefferson and Anissa patch up their differences by breaking out Tavon and the other prisoners in the police station, with an assist from Bill Henderson. So everything isn’t bleak, or maybe it is because Odell has given Jennifer a new suit which allows her to go into space. I’m sure nothing bad will come from that.

A lot happened in this episode, but the storylines didn’t become muddled, so I knew what was happening and cared about all of the different storylines. Jennifer is being completely taken in by Agent Odell, she is beginning to side with the ASA and unwittingly against her own community. Odell is convincing her that the ASA is there to protect Freeland, not to oppress them. Odell is getting the weapon of his dream. His other weapon, Khalil is happily killing people, and reciting pseudo wise statements as he kills them. Khalil, if you must kill someone, don’t be annoying. Jefferson meets Grace and isn’t happy Grace knows Anissa’s secret identity. Knowing Anissa’s history of going through girlfriends quickly, he thinks Anissa is being foolish. He doesn’t know how much Anissa really cares for Grace. We get a lovely scene where Anissa tells Grace that she loves her for who she is, not just her outward appearance. Jefferson thinks Anissa is doing everything for the attention, but finds out how much Anissa has been doing for the community while he was out of commission. He is proud of her and they make-up. They are the only two Pierces on the same page. Aside from Jennifer becoming an ASA asset, Lynn is a junkie. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is addicted to Green Light. Agent Odell has tricked her into using it. He proves himself to be a super manipulator again. I don’t know how he’s going to be defeated. The main action came from the checkpoint gunfight, Khalil being Painkiller and the cool jailbreak. All in all, another great episode.

When Jefferson and Jennifer encounter the checkpoint attack, People Make the World Go Round by The Stylistics plays.

During Jefferson and Anissa’s argument in her apartment, Gyles’ Say That You Are Mine plays.

Anissa comforts Grace after her and Jefferson’s fight while Nite and Day by Meshell Ndegeocello plays in the background.

Jaden’s Watch Me plays during the police station breakout.

When Jennifer flies above our planet, The Way I Do by Bishop Briggs plays.

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