“You all taught me to stand up for what’s right even if it’s difficult because evil triumphs when good people do nothing, and I damn sure wasn’t gonna do nothing.” Anissa Pierce
Comic panels: Anissa Pierce/Blackbird/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) is standing in front of the Blackbird symbol. Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) stands in front of a window. Anissa and Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) are kissing. Instant (Tosin Morohunfola) is fighting ASA goons. Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is walking towards a window at a funeral.
An ill Anissa is making a video for her family. Anissa: “If you’re seeing this, it means I didn’t make it. And I’m okay with that. Really, I am. Because I know my sacrifice … it meant something.” She apologizes to Jennifer for leaving her since she knows that with all Jennifer is going through, she needs her. Anissa tries to reassure her parents and Uncle Gambi that they did a good job raising her. Anissa: “That I was strong enough to do what had to be done. You all taught me to stand up for what’s right even if it’s difficult because evil triumphs when good people do nothing, and I damn sure wasn’t gonna do nothing.”
We flash back to 30 hours earlier at Tavon’s funeral. [Not sure if it’s the funeral or viewing.] Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) is proud of Jefferson for not suiting up to avenge Tavon’s death. Both Jefferson and Anissa look pissed off by Lynn’s sentiment. Jefferson sees it as selfish that he does nothing while others suffer. Outside the funeral, Jamillah Olsen (Adetinpo Thomas) stops Jefferson to ask him some questions. Anissa and Lynn tell her this isn’t the appropriate time. Jefferson tells them it’s all right; he answers her question about what he would like to tell Tavon. Jefferson: “If I could say anything to Tavon, I’d tell him how proud I am of him. I’d tell him how much he inspired the other students and me…to be the best version of ourselves. I would tell him that his death… His death will not be in vain.” It’s clear Jefferson plans to do something about it.
Jefferson walks into the house early the next morning. Lynn ‘greets’ him, “You look tired, Jeff. Long night?” Jefferson: “Okay, so you heard?” Lynn: “That Black Lightning nearly killed two ASAs commandos and then Zorro’d a lightning bolt onto the side of a building? Yeah Jeff, I heard. The whole damn town heard.” Lynn is furious with Jefferson for not consulting her about this. She reminds him that Odell promised to throw the girls in the Pit if he did anything. Jefferson scoffs because he doesn’t think Odell will do anything to the girls since he needs all of them. Lynn accuses Jefferson of being selfish because he only does his heroics to make himself feel better. They are both exasperated with each other.
Peter Gambi (James Remar) is examining Anissa in the sanctum. He asks her how she is holding up; would she like to talk about Tavon’s death. Anissa says there isn’t anything to talk about; he’s gone and they can’t do anything about it. Gambi gets back his tests; it is bad news. If she weren’t a meta, she would be dead now. Unfortunately, the poison is breaking down her meta genes. It is affecting Anissa’s accelerated meta healing. The poison is suppressing her meta abilities; she is as vulnerable as he is. If he can’t find a cure, Anissa has one or two weeks to live. Gambi wants to tell Lynn and Jefferson immediately but Anissa doesn’t want to tell them right now, they have enough problems to deal with. Gambi can’t do that, so they agree that he’ll tell them in 24 hours if he doesn’t find a cure by then.
Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) is with the other members of the résistance, Reverend Jeremiah Holt (Clifton Powell), Gina (Vernika Rowe), and Kyrie (Renell Gibbs). They are discussing the fake news the ASA is spreading; the ASA is making it look like the résistance is causing all the problems. Holt asks about Truthteller Johnson countering these lies on his pirate radio broadcasts. Henderson is sad to inform them that the Freeland P.D. fished Truthteller’s body out of the river. Henderson has a plan, he tells Gina to get her nephew and his nerd tech friends to build a radio network that transmits throughout the city. Holt asks who will be the new voice of the résistance. Henderson tells him he has an idea who that person is.
“Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the light socket this morning?” Tobias Whale
Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) is exercising in his cell. Lynn walks in to get another bone marrow sample. He tries to banter with her, but Lynn is curt with him. Tobias: “Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the light socket this morning?” Lynn doesn’t find that amusing. Tobias correctly guesses the sample is for the pod kids. It is the only reason Odell would be doing this. Tobias warns Lynn about trusting Odell, Lynn doesn’t trust Tobias. He warns her that she should want him as a friend to keep her secrets. Lynn tells him there isn’t anything he can do from his cell. He tells her what Black Lightning did last night. Lynn realizes he can communicate with the outside. Tobias orders Lynn to give him a list of the metas the ASA has confined, and their abilities. Lynn walks out defeated.
Anissa is laying down on her couch, barely able to move. After ringing the doorbell, Jefferson starts banging on the door. Anissa slowly gets up and tells her AI Shonda (Sh’Kia Augustin) to open the door. Jefferson is still not use to the AI. Anissa coldly asks what her father wants. He came to check on her and to apologize for making her bring back Tavon. It is his fault, he blames himself for Tavon’s death and he’ll have to live with it the rest of his life. Anissa: “I knew it was a bad idea, and I did it anyway. So, Tavon’s death, that’s on me. Not you…not the ASA…me. And that is something that…I have to live with for the rest of my life.” [So for about two weeks.] She coldly asks Jefferson to leave. Jefferson mutters, “it’s like that” and leaves. As soon as the door shuts, Anissa faints.
Grace revives Anissa. She asks Anissa what is wrong. Anissa pretends like she is all right. Grace: “Anissa, if we’re really trying to do this and we’re really trying to make this work, you have to trust me to let me in. I’m not a porcelain doll; I’m not going to break if you lean on me.” Anissa: “Hey, hey, babe, I know that. And when I need to lean on you, I will. I’m just … I’m just still recovering from my run-in with Bruce Lee’s brother. That’s all.” Grace: “When I morph into the leopard, I don’t remember a lot, but the smells, they always stay with me. The smell…fresh cut grass, the smell of the air right before the rain…the smell of death.” Anissa lies again and tries to pretend it isn’t that serious. She tells Grace that Gambi is working on something and she’ll be fine. Grace is satisfied and goes upstairs to shower. Anissa lowers her jacket, and the veins on her arm are dark and huge.
Jennifer Pierce/Lightning (China Anne McClain) is using her electrical abilities to look inside Brandon’s (Jahking Guillory) apartment. She then uses her abilities to pick his lock. Inside his apartment, she finds bags of coal, a stack of cash and diamonds. Using her abilities again, she breaks into his computer and sees photos of Lynn. Brandon walks in and she calls him a perv and asks why he is stalking her mother. Jennifer tries to electrocute Brandon, but he tosses some dirt in the air and is able to neutralize Jennifer’s electric powers. They fight to a draw.
Jefferson walks into his house and Agent Odell is standing near a window waiting for him. Odell asks Jefferson if he needs a neurologist, because he has to have brain damage to break their deal. Jefferson runs down what he has been through since he made that deal and he’s done. Agent Odell threatens to put the girls in the Pit and Jefferson warns him he could barbeque his ass. Agent Odell: “Mr. Pierce, you don’t want to make an enemy out of me.” Jefferson: “That’s funny, Agent Odell. I was about to tell you the same thing.”
“Sup…y’all got room for one more?” Instant
ASA goons are in an armed truck. Suddenly Instant pops in and says, “Sup…y’all got room for one more?” A big fight erupts, Instant uses his teleportation powers to appear, and reappear, letting them shoot each other or him killing them from behind. He takes over the truck, and he and Colonel Yuri Mosin (Thomas K. Belgrey) dressed in ASA uniforms drive past a checkpoint into Freeland.
A police officer escorts Jamillah into Chief Henderson’s office. Jamillah is surprised Henderson has finally consented to be interviewed. Henderson is closing the blinds and telling Jamillah, this isn’t an interview but an interrogation. He thinks insurgent activity increased with her around. He wants her to quit broadcasting. Jamillah refuses; Henderson tells her he can throw her in jail. Jamillah is afraid but she stands up to him and tells him why she won’t stop. Jamillah: “What’s happening here is wrong and the people need to know. If I have to go to jail to make that happen, then I will.” Henderson smiles and tells her that’s what he wanted to hear. Jamillah is confused; Henderson asks her if she’d like to be the voice of the movement.
Jennifer and Brandon are talking now. She asks him why he is stalking Lynn. He tells her he has been following Lynn because she used to work with Dr. Helga Jace (Jennifer Riker). He hopes Lynn can lead him to Jace, Jennifer asks why. Brandon explains that Dr. Jace killed his mother and he came to Freeland to kill her. Jennifer gets him to promise not to get her family involved. Brandon is glad to have someone to talk to; Jennifer asks why he has bags of coal in his apartment. He explains that he can manipulate the earth. He grabs a lump of coal and squeezes it into a diamond. Jennifer is impressed, he jokes this diamond can pay for her college education. Jennifer smiles, we know diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Gambi is by himself trying to find a cure for the poison. He knows he has seen this poison before, but it is ten times more potent. He runs the information through his computer and Khalil’s pictures pops up. Of course, he can’t believe it.
Lynn gets the information Tobias wants. She pulls out Windy and Erica’s photos and shreds them. She brings the file to Tobias and tells him she’s disabled the recording devices in his cell, so he has five minutes to memorize the info in the packet. Tobias is feeling himself and flirts with Lynn. Tobias: “Have you been reading Michelle Obama’s book lately? You sure are becoming very assertive. Hmm. Don’t forget to say hello to Jefferson for me. You haven’t told him about us. Have you?” Lynn: “There is no ‘us’ Tobias.” Tobias: “Hmm. I wonder if the neon Negro will see it the same way.” He warns her again about not trusting Odell. She asks why she should believe him; he is a monster. He laughs and tells her Odell is much worst. He wonders how Lynn can know he’s telling the truth and he ‘remembers’ that Issa would know, or at least would have. Lynn asks about Issa, Tobias tells her Odell knows what happened to him.
Grace walks into the apartment and finds Anissa convulsing on the floor. She calls Gambi. He soon arrives and injects Anissa with a serum. Grace is in a panic but Gambi tells her it is all right, Anissa is recovering. Gambi tells Grace to take care of her, he has to go and check on something.
“I don’t kill people.” “Pathetic.” Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning and Agent Percy Odell
Agent Odell is in his office when Major Sara Gray (Katy M. O’Brian) walks in with news that they have detected a neutrino anomaly. There is a teleporter around and he’s probably targeting three locations. Odell tells her let’s find out what the Markovians are up to. Instant, Mosin, and some Markovian soldiers (or thugs) walk into Club 100, which is the ASA command center. Agent Odell shows up and has them surrounded. Instant tries to teleport him and Mosin out of the room but he can’t teleport. Agent Odell tells him that since the last time he was in Freeland and teleported Dr. Jace out of jail, they have placed neutrino disruptors in all of their facilities to prevent him from teleporting. Instant has another way to get out, the Markovians start shooting. Black Lightning is on a rooftop and hears the fire fight. He goes to investigate. The Markovians have gunned down the ASA troops, and shot Agent Odell in the stomach. Mosin takes his gun and prepares to shoot him when Black Lightning crashes through the roof and creates an electric shield to protect Odell. Instant teleports him and Mosin out of there. Agent Odell: “You should’ve taken out Colonel Mosin.” Black Lightning: “I don’t kill people.” Odell chuckling: “Pathetic.” He either becomes unconscious or dies. [I’ll discuss which I think it is later in the review section.]
Jamillah is in a room with radio equipment; Henderson introduces her to the other leaders of the insurgency. She is ready to do her first broadcast; Henderson warns her that when she does this, she can’t go back. She nods and is ready for them to be sheroes. Jamillah: “Wake up Freeland. The insurgents are not your enemy. They’re fighting to protect us, all of us, against the tyranny of our so-called protectors…the ASA.”
Back at the Markovian headquarter, Mosin is talking to Instant. Dr. Jace is in the room listening. Colonel Mosin: “Are you such a coward that you could not wait one more second before you run away? We could have finished them both.” Instant: “First, I don’t run. I make people run. Second, you hired me to get you in and out of Freeland, not fight Black Lightning. Now I held up my side of the bargain, I suggest you do the same.” After Colonel Mosin transfers Instant’s payment into his account, Instant teleports out. Dr. Jace joins Mosin. He tells her that the captured metas are no longer sick. That tells Dr. Jace that either Lynn has stabilized the meta-gene, or is a few days away from doing it. Colonel Mosin says that when Lynn stabilizes the metas, they will steal her info to stabilize their army of metas.
Final montage, Grace is cradling Anissa’s head on her lab; her spots reappear and disappear. Gambi goes to Khalil’s grave and uses a machine that detects that Khali’s grave is empty. Jefferson walks in on Lynn packing. She is leaving him again. While he tries to talk to her, his voice sounds distorted to her. Lynn tells him the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Jefferson will never change. Lynn storms out of the house.
Anissa is dying from the toxin Painkiller infected her and Tavon with; Anissa is only alive because of her accelerated meta healing, but the toxin has broken down her meta gene. She has one to two weeks to live but she doesn’t want Gambi to tell her parents. Gambi convinces her that if he doesn’t find a cure in 24 hours, they’ll tell Lynn and Jefferson. She also doesn’t tell Grace, who finds Anissa unconscious on the floor after Anissa had an argument with her dad about Tavon’s death. Part of Grace transforming into a leopard means she can smell death. Instead of coming totally clean with Grace, she downplays the severity of her condition. She can’t hide it any longer when Grace finds her on the floor again, convulsing. Grace calls Gambi who has found a cure. Gambi realizes he’s seen this poison before, and discovers it is a more potent version of Khalil’s toxin. Gambi later investigates and discovers that Khalil’s grave is empty. Lynn and Jefferson are arguing about how to deal with the ASA occupation. Jefferson can’t stand to see Freeland suffer at the hands of the ASA and wants to take action while Lynn is more concerned about the safety of their family. She’s furious when Jefferson goes out as Black Lightning without consulting her. She thinks he does it to make himself feel better. At the end of the episode, she leaves Jefferson. Her husband isn’t the only man she’s having problems with; Tobias shows her he still has enough power to reveal her family secrets, even from his cell. He forces Lynn to provide him with the names and power set of the captured metas. Tobias also keeps telling her she can’t trust Agent Odell, and mentions Issa, suggesting Odell knows what happened to the young man. Jennifer breaks into Brandon’s apartment to see what he is doing. She finds bags of coal, diamonds, stacks of cash, and Lynn’s picture on his computer. When he walks in she tries to electrocute him but he’s able to ground her electric power. After she calms down, Brandon explains he isn’t stalking Lynn, he knows she worked with Dr. Helga Jace before and he’s trying to find her because Jace killed his mother. He plans to return the favor. Brandon explains his power to Jennifer, he can manipulate the earth, and illustrates by squeezing a lump of coal into a diamond. Henderson recruits Jamillah Olsen to replace Truthteller Johnson [killed by the ASA] as the new voice of the insurgency. Instant, the meta who can teleport returns to help the Markovians break into Club 100, the ASA command center. Agent Odell has set up neutrino disrupters to prevent Instant’s teleporting abilities, but the Markovians shoot it out with the ASA. Agent Odell is severely injured, but before Colonel Mosin can shoot and kill him, Black Lightning saves him. The two men had confronted each other earlier in the episode about Jefferson doing Black Lightning activities again, but Jefferson saves him anyway. Agent Odell isn’t grateful. Mosin and Jace plan to steal Lynn’s meta-gene stabilization cure to stabilize their army of metas.
Anissa is dying from the Painkiller’s poisonous toxin, but her family also suffers from poisoning, not from Painkiller, or an actual toxin, but from living under ASA control. The pressure the ASA has put them under, along with their own personal quirks has disintegrated their family bonds. Anissa is fighting with Jefferson over Tavon’s death. Before that over his disapproval about her relationship with Grace and how she conducts her superhero business. Anissa is dying and she won’t tell her parents or Grace because she’s too cut off from other people to share her burdens. She thinks she’s being brave, but she’s too disconnected from the people she loves too really let them into her life. That’s part of her personality, but the pressure she’s under acerbates it. The same with Jefferson and Lynn’s relationship. They have broken up before about him being Black Lightning, but with the ASA having tortured Jefferson, and Lynn’s addiction to Green Light, they are at each other’s throats. They can’t communicate because Jefferson has been acting more erratic since his captivity, and Lynn is the definition of erratic now. Anissa, Lynn, and Jefferson are so in their feelings that they don’t know what Jennifer is doing. Jennifer has formed more of a bond with Odell than with her family. She’s breaking and entering into Brandon’s apartment and I’m sure no one in her family knows what she is doing. The Pierce’s are a wildcard that could complicate the insurgency’s attempt to liberate Freeland.
The Markovians have been a threat since last season, but they’ve finally done something this episode. We now know why Dr. Jace sent Cyclotronic to infect the metas, giving Lynn a clue about the protein; she wants Lynn to figure out how to stabilize metas so the Markovians can steal the cure and stabilize their meta army. I still don’t know how the Markovians could be operating in the United States. In this earth, is the United States some third world country, because we would have more than one spy agency fighting them, Markovia would feel the full might of our military if they sent troops into our sovereign territory. It was great having Instant back who provided one of the best fight sequences of the show. The Markovians also shot Percy Odell in the gut. Some people on line think he’s dead; I’m not in that number. Honestly, it would be poor storytelling to kill him like this. With all Odell has done to the Pierce family, and other major characters like Tobias and Khalil, there is no way they’d let him die from a gunshot from the Markovians. In addition, with this show, what is death anyway?
The music was outstanding again, but that’s to be expected. You Are My Starship by Norman Connors plays while Anissa records her video to her family.
At Tavon’s wake or funeral, I’m still not sure, It’s Gonna Be Late by Reverend James Cleveland plays.
When Jefferson comes to visit Anissa, she is listening to Hold Your Breath from Sidibe.
Don’t Disturb This Groove by Meshell Ndegeocello plays when Anissa lies to Grace that she isn’t dying. This is the third time this season they’ve featured Meshell Ndegeocello, I’m not complaining.
During the cool fight scene between Instant and the ASA in the truck, Chase Me by Danger Mouse, Run the Jewels, and Big Boi jams in the background.
The final montage featuring Grace caring for Anissa, Gambi scanning Khalil’s empty grave, and Lynn leaving Jefferson, Teena Marie’s Portuguese Love plays.