Black Lightning: Stand!

Black Lightning | Season 3 | Episode 5 : “Requiem For Tavon”
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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]

“But after being here, I think the only way to save Freeland is if humans and metas work together side-by-side to stop the ASA.”  Tavon Singley

The comic panels, Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) is taking Green Light, Jefferson/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is surrounded by ASA troops, Peter Gambi (James Remar) awaits Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) and Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) screams in pain. We’ll see all of these panels come to life later in the episode.

Tavon Singley (Jasun Jabbar Wardlaw Jr.) is making a video recording for his parents. He is assuring them that he is safe and doing fine on the [Perdi] farm. He can see the stars at night and the metas and non-metas are working and living in harmony. It has gotten him thinking. Tavon: “They say that, ‘In every revolution, there is one man with a vision.’ I thought that was Black Lightning. But after being here, I think the only way to save Freeland is if humans and metas work together side-by-side to stop the ASA.” Agent Odell is filtering through photos to find a match for Blackbird. He finally comes upon a picture of Anissa/Thunder/Blackbird (Nafessa Williams). Odell is pleased. Khalil Payne/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway) is waiting for his ‘sparring partners’. The ASA [soldiers or goons, I choose goons] enter, acting contemptuous of the ‘meta’. The ‘meta’ beats them handily. Khalil places his index finger on one the goons. Khalil: “‘Five-point Exploding Heart’ technique. Take five steps and boom!” ASA Goon: “Are you serious?” Khalil[laughing] “No. No, I’m not serious. Downloaded Blackbelt Theater last night. I mean, what’s knowledge without a little culture. Am I right?” The ASA Goon falls to his knees and chokes on the venom. Khalil: “Oh? That’s right. My venom coursing through your veins right now must make it difficult for you to think.” Khalil asks the doomed man personal questions because he’s always curious what his victim’s last thoughts are. Agent Odell enters and breaks up the fun. He has the poisoned goon’s partner take him to the infirmary. He orders Khalil to kill Blackbird.

“It should never feel normal living through an occupation. The moment it does, you will find yourself on the wrong side of history.” Jefferson Pierce

A young meta, Erica (Gabriella Garcia) is absorbing machine gun fire while Lynn observes. When she tells Erica to expel the energy she absorbed, the young woman explodes, leaving only the machine gun shells on the ground. Lynn wakes up, it was only a dream. Lynn is so shaken that she takes some Green Light from her nightstand. Jefferson wakes up and asks if she is okay. She says she is and that she’s going to the lab. Jefferson tells her he loves her; she shakily tells him she does too. Anissa is dressing and listening to a radio broadcast from Truthteller Johnson, who tells his audience that the raid on Precinct 13 wasn’t a Markovian attack, instead it was Blackbird freeing illegally held prisoners. He raises his glass to her, and Anissa raises her glass in response. Jennifer/Lightning (China Anne McClain) comes downstairs for breakfast, she doesn’t look well. Jefferson has fixed waffles; Jennifer tells him she doesn’t fell normal. Jefferson: “It should never feel normal living through an occupation. The moment it does, you will find yourself on the wrong side of history.” She meant well, she wants to take a sick day. Jefferson feels her brow and tells her she’s going to school.

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Lynn is at the lab trying to stabilize the meta-gene. She explains to Agent Odell in technical jargon what she is attempting to do. She tells him that Dr. Jace sent her a clue with the virus she created. Lynn: “Don’t you see? Dr. Jace sent me the protein I needed to theoretically stabilize the meta-gene permanently.” The protein comes from a serum that was created before the ASA vaccination program. The protein can’t be synthesized in a lab, it has to be done in a human host, and only one person who took the serum survived, Patient 49. Odell seems to know who Patient 49 is. Police Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) is holding a press conference outside the police station. He announces that there is a $50,000 bounty on Blackbird. The crowd boos him, Frank ‘Two-Bits’ Tanner (Jason Louder) throws a tomato at him. Reverend Jeremiah Holt (Clifton Powell) chastises Henderson, “50K. More like 30 silver pieces to me. You ought to be ashamed of yourself son.” Henderson looks miserable. Tavon’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Singley (Glenn Magee, Bonita Brisker) are in Jefferson’s office asking for his help to find Tavon. They are afraid that the ASA killed him. Mrs. Singley blames the metas for bringing the ASA to town. Jefferson assures them that Tavon is alive. He tells them he’s safe where he is since the ASA is after him for being a meta. They tell Jefferson they all were tested, Tavon isn’t a meta and they have proof. Jefferson tells them he’ll help them get Tavon back.

“Hey, I am meta-fabulous!” Anissa Pierce

Anissa gives Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) a shot to immunize her from the meta virus. Since she doesn’t know how Grace will react to the vaccine, Anissa asked Gambi to babysit her. Grace reminds her she took care of herself for a month during the occupation, but Grace assures her she’ll like Gambi. Shonda the AI (Sh’Kia Augustin) announces his arrival. Gambi enters and greets Grace. Grace: “I thought you’d be black.” Gambi: “I thought you’d have leopard spots. Looks like we’ll have a lot to talk about.” The two are instantly comfortable with each other. [Unlike Jefferson Pierce] Gambi tells Anissa to be careful, there is a bounty on her. Grace: “Stay. I have a bad feeling.” Anissa: “Hey, I am meta-fabulous! I’ll be fine. Okay? Come here.” They kiss. Anissa: “Alright, you two have fun.” Anissa leaves to put on her Blackbird costume. Gambi: “Say, do you wanna see some of Anissa’s baby pictures?” Grace: “Yeah!” Jennifer is in computer lab; her arms start glowing. She asks Brandon (Jahking Guillory) for his coat. When she tries to type, she short circuits all the computers in the lab. Brandon looks back at her. Agent Odell brings Patient 49 to Lynn, it’s Tobias.

Henderson goes to the bar that Two-Bit runs, and runs off his customers. He arrests him for assault (throwing the tomato) and for possessing stolen ASA supplies. Blackbird meets with Reverend Holt; she gives him a case of the vaccine to give to the people she’s taking out tonight. Jefferson calls her, he asks her to bring Tavon back to Freeland, his parents are worried about him. Anissa tells Jefferson that since the ASA think he’s a meta, he’s better off outside Freeland. Jefferson tells her that his parents have proof that Tavon isn’t a meta. Anissa says it could be dangerous bringing him back, it’s not as easy as it looks for her to come and go as it appears. Jefferson guilts her by asking her wouldn’t she do anything to get Grace back. Anissa consents to bringing him back but adds, “But for the record, this is a bad idea.”

Blackbird shows up with her newest escapees. Anaya (Birgundi Baker) isn’t glad to see her. She is especially pissed off when Anissa hands her a case of vaccine to inoculate the metas on the farm. Anaya takes the cases and grumbles, “Excuse me while I go save my people from the plague you brought.” Tavon walks up and tells Anissa that Anaya is okay, she’s just scared. Anissa tells him she’s scared too. He asks Anissa to take the videos he’s made to his parents; she asks him if he’d like to take the videos to them himself. Anissa warns him it could be dangerous, but Tavon’s ready to go home. Khalil is inside the perimeter waiting for Blackbird to return. Agent Odell calls him to find out if he’s set up, Khalil explains he’s studied the breaches in the perimeter and he knows she’ll show up here. Odell wishes him good hunting.

“Because now you work for me, you miserable bastard!” Lynn Pierce

Lynn is with Tobias and she isn’t happy about it. Tobias tries to make small talk, but it’s insulting. He asks her how many pod kids she killed under her charge. She tells him how many pod kids died. Tobias says he was pulling for her, he’s for the underdogs. He continues, “And the way you handled yourself with Dr. Jace…whoo! ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a queen bee? You’ve got fire, that’s for damn sure Mrs.…Dr. Stewart. Woman after my own heart.” Lynn is tired of his BS. Lynn: “This is the MB4 serum that made you the monster you are. Augmented strength, eternal youth, all here in this syringe that I’m about to plant into your body.” Tobias: “Then why give it to me then?” Lynn: “Because now you work for me, you miserable bastard!” Lynn plunges the syringe into his arm. Gambi and Grace are listening to the scanner and hear the ASA say that Blackbird is spotted, they are ordered not to engage. Gambi tells Grace this is trouble. Anissa and Tavon slip back inside the perimeter. Painkiller is waiting for them. Blackbird doesn’t know who he is, they begin to fight. Painkiller throws Blackbird down; Tavon tries to help and Painkiller hits him with his venom. Anissa is able to kick Khalil outside the perimeter. She calls Jefferson for help and tells him to meet them in the tunnels. She helps Tavon walk.

Agent Odell goes to Anissa’s place, Anissa greets him at the door. Of course, it’s Grace, but he doesn’t know it. Odell is looking around while he talks to Anissa/Grace. As he heads up the stairs, Gambi is in the hidden room, gun drawn in case Odell comes up there. Odell tells her how the metrics matched her, “Yet you simply can’t be at two places at once.” Anissa/Grace: “What do you mean?” Agent Odell: “Blackbird has breached the perimeter, the ASA is engaging as we speak, and her reign of terror has come to an end.” He leaves and Anissa/Grace transforms back to Grace. She tells Gambi to go and help Anissa. Reverend Holt is leaving the church when Chief Henderson stops him. He questions him about Holt helping to smuggle metas out of town. Reverend Holt tries to act like he doesn’t know what Henderson is talking about. Chief Henderson: “All aboard, choo-choo!” He arrests Reverend Holt.

“One merry, melanated, meta family, solving crimes and protecting Freeland.” Tobias Whale

Tobias is young again and Lynn plans on getting a sample of his bone marrow. She explains he produces a protein that can stabilize metas. Tobias acts coy and tells her about all the time he had in his cell to think about Black Lightning. How Black Lightning always showed up to protect her daughters. Lynn tells him he’s crazy. Tobias: “Humor me. Answer this lunatic’s one question. What’s your super suit look like, Dr. Stewart? And to think, I lie here before superhero royalty. It all makes sense to me now. One merry, melanated, meta family, solving crimes and protecting Freeland.” Lynn: “Your delusional.”  Tobias: “No, I’m not delusional. I’ll make you this promise. After I kill Black Lightning and that lying bastard Jefferson Pierce, you and your beautiful daughters will have nothing to fear from me. I always pay my debts.” Lynn plunges her needle into Tobias as he screams in pain. Lynn: “Did I neglect to administer the anesthetic?” Black Lightning and Gambi arrive in the tunnel, Gambi grabs Anissa while Jefferson helps Tavon. Anissa tells them someone ambushed them, he poisoned both of them. Anissa: “I told you it was a bad idea. Look what you’ve done.” Tavon looks up and says, “Black Lightning?” He dies in Jefferson’s arms.

The Singley’s and Jefferson are at the morgue to identify Tavon. Mrs. Singley cries out to her son, “Wake up!” She wails as her husband takes her out of the room. Lynn fills in Agent Odell on the protein. He asks her if she had any problems with Tobias. Lynn tells him that Tobias knows who they are and that he threatened to kill Jefferson. Agent Odell: “What exactly are you asking me to do, Dr. Stewart?” Lynn: “What is the point of all this cloak and dagger if you cannot protect my family? When I am done with Tobias, you make him disappear, permanently.” Agent Odell: “Keep me…apprised.” The students at Garfield begin to hear that Tavon is dead and that the ASA killed him. The students look at the ASA goons in front of them and one of the students confronts them, showing them Tavon’s picture on his phone and calling them killers. A women goon pushes him to the ground. Jefferson runs out to protect the kids. Jefferson addresses the goons, “Tavon is dead. I will not have another kid die on my watch.” The goons jump Jefferson. Brandon catches Jennifer in the hallway and wants to talk to her, Jennifer hears the commotion outside and goes to investigate. She sees her father on the ground being beaten by ASA goons. Jefferson eyes light up but when he sees Jennifer, he calms down and takes his beating. Jennifer’s eyes light up and she tries to run outside to defend her father, Brandon grabs her. Jennifer: “Brandon, get off of me. I have to help him.” Brandon: “No, stop. It will be a massacre.” Jennifer flares up but Brandon absorbs her power. Jennifer: “How did you do that?” The students watch and cry helplessly as Jefferson’s beaten.

“Tavon Singley and Jefferson Pierce are the spark we needed.” Chief Bill Henderson

Later, Jennifer angrily gets in Agent Odell’s car. Jennifer: “So beating my dad down like a dog is part of saving Freeland from Markovia, huh?” Odell: “I marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Civil Rights Movement. I never enjoy seeing a Black Man being beaten on the street.” To which Jennifer replies,” Your men, your responsibility.” He promises to reprimand his goons. He asks Jennifer if she’d like to go for a ride. The goons are in an apartment playing cards, Lightning enters and ‘reprimands’ them for their actions. Henderson drives up with Two-Bits and Reverend Holt. They ask Henderson why are they there. He shows them a video of Jefferson’s beating. Chief Henderson: “Tavon Singley and Jefferson Pierce are the spark we needed.” Two-Bits: “We?” Reverend Holt: “What exactly are you saying?” Chief Henderson: “The people of Freeland are ready to fight now. We’ve all been working independently, nickel-and-diming these bastards, but it’s time to join forces, run the ASA out of here, take our freedom back.” Reverend Holt asks how can they take on the ASA. Blackbird comes out of the shadows. Holt shakes hands with Holt, and Two-Bits is excited that all this time, Henderson was the leader of the insurgency. The revolt is on.  

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

Agent Odell thinks he’s figured out that Anissa is Blackbird and he sends Painkiller to kill her. Lynn figures out with an unwanted assist from Dr. Jace about the protein that will stabilize the metas. She can’t synthesize it in a lab, it has to be done from a human host who took the serum it came from and lived. That person happens to be Tobias Whale. Tobias tells her that he knows their family are superheroes and that he plans to kill Jefferson/Black Lightning, but leave Lynn and the girls alone. Lynn demands that Agent Odell kill Tobias when she’s through with him. Odell doesn’t give her an answer. [He won’t kill Tobias if he thinks he needs him.] Anissa gives Grace the anti-virus vaccine, and asks Gambi to babysit Grace. The two instantly get along. When the ASA thinks they have Blackbird, he goes to Anissa’s place to see if she is there. Anissa answers the door, but it’s Grace of course impersonating Anissa. She and Gambi heard on the police scanner that the ASA had spotted her  but were not to apprehend her. Odell thinks he might have been mistaken. Khalil is waiting for Anissa to come back from her latest excursion. She has Tavon with her because Jefferson had spoken to his parents, and they had proof that he wasn’t a meta. Anissa is against bringing him back but Jefferson guilts her into doing it. Painkiller attacks and strikes both Anissa and Tavon with his deadly venom. They are able to escape but Tavon is in bad shape. When they meet up with Jefferson and Gambi, Tavon dies in Jefferson’s arms. Jennifer hasn’t felt good all day, it probably has something to do with her going out into space the last episode and absorbing the direct sunlight. She flares up and short circuits all of the computers in her computer lab. The new kid Brandon is watching her. When the students of Garfield hear that Tavon is dead at the hands of the ASA one of the students confronts the ASA goons outside the school. They strike him and Jefferson comes out to protect his students. Jefferson won’t back down, so the ASA goons beat him. Seeing Jennifer calms him down and he doesn’t go Black Lightning on them. Jennifer wants to go Lightning on the goons but Brandon stops her. She flares up but he absorbs her power. It appears the new kid is a meta. Henderson had been acting shady all episode, announcing a $50,000 bounty on Blackbird, arresting Two-Bit and Reverend Holt. You’ll be relieved to know, Henderson hasn’t gone over to the dark side. He arrested Two-Bit and Reverend Holt to join him, and revealed he is the leader of the insurgency. And with what happened to Tavon and Jefferson, they are the spark for a full revolt. He asks them to join him, and Black Bird steps out of the shadows to let them know they aren’t alone. I’m sure Black Lightning will be helping out too.

I know this has been a long recap, for the obvious reason that there was a lot to recap. It was all worth it. It was a solemn episode with it being clear from the beginning that Tavon was going to die. Jasun Jabbar Wardlaw, Jr. did an excellent job showing his youthful exuberant nature. He was another good kid dead because of the ASA. The beating that Jefferson took from the ASA was vicious and painful to watch, because we’ve seen beatings like this from the police in real life all to often. The ASA has pushed the citizens of Freeland too hard this time, their brutal actions of killing another innocent kid and beating one of Freeland’s leading citizens is the spark Henderson has been waiting for to unite the community to fight the ASA. It would be nice to know which side Jennifer and Lynn are on. Odell has played a masterful job manipulating both women. Jennifer knows the ASA are brutal but thinks they are at least better than the Markovians, and Lynn is a Green Light addict and doesn’t even know it yet. I’m sure Odell will use that addiction for his own purposes. Lynn is getting darker as a character with her in so many words demanding Odell kill Tobias to protect her family. So, with the uncertainty of two members of the Pierce household, ASA troops, Painkiller, and the evil genius of Percy Odell, victory for the citizens of Freeland isn’t guaranteed.

I enjoyed Painkiller’s sparring session with his fellow ASA goons, and I wanted more of a throw down between him and Blackbird. I’m sure they are saving the big fight later in the season. I would have liked to have really seen Lightning light up the ASA goons who beat her dad. The entire cast was excellent. Every storyline was engaging. I really can’t wait for the next episode.

The music on the show is always good, and the music matched the excellence of the episode.  During Khalil’s sparring session, READYTOROLL from Sam a la Bamalot played.

Angel from Anita Baker was in the background while Anissa listened to Truthteller Johnson on the radio.

When Jefferson is attacked by the ASA goons at the school, and even though knocked down, never bowed to his oppressors, We the People Who are Darker than Blue by Curtis Mayfield plays.

After the darkness of the episode, we are lifted up when Henderson unites the different factions against the ASA together, to run them out of Freeland. Stand! by Sly & The Family Stone takes us away.

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