Black Lightning: Welcome to the Resistance

Black Lightning | Season 3 | Episode 8 : “The Battle of Franklin Terrace”
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KBear Recap [Read  time: 5-7 min]

“No. I’m not a meta. I’m something different. I ride the pale horse…and hell follows me.” Tobias Whale

Comic Panels: Dr. Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) inside the room where the ASA keeps a large supply of Green Light. Peter Gambi (James Remar) at the Baker Hills tower. Baron/TC (Christopher Emannuel) at the Baker Hills tower. Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) at the Franklin Terrance apartments.

The ASA AI interrogates Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III). It asks his date of birth, which is April 20, 1946. [Tobias is 73, so every time he starts pontificating, Lynn should say, “Okay Boomer”.] Tobias address the feminine sounding AI, “Have they figured it out yet. What you’re doing to them? What you’re making them? Truth in silence, my dear. I know all about your plan for Freeland. But you aren’t going to turn me into one of Odell’s slaves. No. I’m not a meta. I’m something different. I ride the pale horse…and hell follows me.”

Jefferson wakes up in bed alone, thinking about his and Lynn’s last argument before she left. Gambi and Anissa Pierce/Blackbird/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) are in the sanctum where he is examining her. He concludes that she is back to normal, he advises her to give herself some more time to heal. Of course, Anissa is ready to get back into action. Gambi shows her a news report he found in the mainframe, the rest of the country thinks that Freeland is under quarantine for SARS. Anissa is shocked that the government was able to cover up the Markovians and the ASA occupation. She tells Gambi they have to let the world know what is happening to Freeland. He tells her he doesn’t know how to get the information out, and they need evidence to broadcast. Anissa knows someone who can supply that.

Lynn uses the facility’s surveillance equipment to look for Khalil Payne/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway). Nurse Michael Allen (Euseph Messiah) brings a heavily restrained Tobias into her lab. Tobias tells Lynn he is jealous because Lynn will soon be famous. Tobias: “Dr. Lynn Stewart, the strong, sexy, intelligent black woman who saved Freeland and the world by enslaving black youth.” Lynn asks him what he is rambling about. Tobias: “Don’t be naïve, Dr. Stewart. You know exactly what the ASA is gonna do with those metas once you’ve stabilized them. Just look at the roster you gave me: super strength, accelerated healing, and my favorite, camouflage. Seem like weapons to me.” Lynn: “I’ve heard it all before.” Tobias: “Oh, really? From whom? Wait … you don’t mean Black Lightning? How interesting. Guess he is smarter than I thought.”  Lynn says she is giving the kids a choice, Tobias scoffs at her stupidity. He asks does she really think the ASA is going to give them a choice. He tells Lynn what he thinks the ASA is going to do is when she stabilizes the meta gene; they will flood Freeland with more Green Light and create thousands of more metas. Lynn doesn’t believe the ASA has that much Green Light. Tobias smiles; both he and I can’t believe she is this naive.

Brandon (Jahking Guillory) invites Jennifer Pierce/Lightning (China Anne McClain) into his apartment. He apologizes for throwing her out the last time. She hits him with a bolt of lightning. After getting her kicks doing that, she apologizes for her behavior last time. She was just curious how their powers affected each other. Brandon thinks that since she can produce lightning, and he can control earth, he grounds her. Jennifer wonders if that means she can’t hurt him, he isn’t sure, Jennifer strikes him with another bolt of lightning and laughs.

Jamillah Olsen (Adetinpo Thomas) is finishing her resistance broadcast to Freeland when Blackbird walks in. Blackbird tells her she wants to get the message of what’s happening to Freeland out to the rest of the world. She will need Jamillah to give her the best material she has gathered on the occupation once they have figured out how to broadcast it outside Freeland.

Jefferson is in the kitchen when Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) stops by to tell him they need to work together. Jefferson wonders what changed, Henderson points out that after he electrocuted the ASA to get those kids out of Freeland, he became a member of the resistance, whether he likes it or not. Since Black Lightning injured Major Gray, Commander Carson Williams (Christopher B. Duncan) is in charge, and the ASA is going to turn Jeff’s old apartment building into barracks for their troops.  Being the bastard he is Williams is going to throw their third grade teacher, Mrs. Mary Louise Shepard (Andrea Frye) out into the streets. He needs Jefferson to convince her to leave; they only have until nightfall. Jefferson says lets go.

Brandon asks Jennifer how she got her powers, she lies and says someone slipped Green Light in her drink at a party. Brandon had previously told her Dr. Jace killed his mother, he goes into greater detail. Dr. Jace was experimenting on his mother while she was pregnant with him. A guard felt sorry for his mother and helped her to escape. His mother died when he was ten. The authorities placed Brandon in the foster care system, and once he discovered he could turn coal into diamonds, he ran away. Brandon: “I’ve been looking for Dr. Jace ever since.” Jennifer: “And now you’ve come to Freeland to kill her?” Brandon: “Probably sound like a terrible person, huh?” Jennifer: “No, actually, I get it.” Brandon: “You do?” Jennifer: “Yeah, look, when Khalil was murdered, all I could think about was revenge. I wanted to kill the person who did that to him; make them suffer the way he suffered. And to be honest, I still do.”

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Commander Williams is already outside the apartment building ready to storm in. Henderson and Jefferson show up and ask him for more time. He tells them they only have five minutes. Mrs. Shepard is bagging some marijuana when she hears a knock at her door; she grabs a gun and asks whom it is. The person at the door is Jefferson. They joke about her selling marijuana; she can’t live on a teacher’s salary. She is glad to see him, but she knows why he is here. Mrs. Shepard tells him she isn’t leaving her apartment. Jefferson: “I understand that, but it’s just an apartment. It’s not worth it.” Mrs. Shepard: “You disappoint me, Jefferson. You know better than anyone what this means. What this place means.” Mrs. Shepard points to and describes major events that happened there, she points to the area where people held sit-ins so that black people could live here. She points to an old hickory tree where she met President Obama when he came to Freeland. Mrs. Shepard: “This is more than just an apartment. This is…part of me. Part of our people. Have you forgotten that?” Jefferson: “No. No. But they are going to throw you out. They’ll hurt you Mrs. Shepard. Please, this is not a wise decision.” Mrs. Shepard: “I know that. They hurt you. I saw the video. You chose not to fight back. This is my decision. I’m staying.” Jefferson: “I hear you, I do. But I just…” Mrs. Shepard: “Things don’t always happen the way you want them to sometimes, you just have to do what you know is right. And trust that you’re in God’s hands.” Jefferson: “Goodbye Mrs. Shepard.” In the hallway, Jefferson calls Henderson and tells him to rally the troops. He changes into Black Lightning. When Williams commands his troops to knock down the door, Black Lightning greets them with a blast of lightning.

Gambi and Anissa are in the sanctum, he has figured out a way to broadcast their message outside of Freeland. There is an abandoned radio tower in Baker Hills. If he can restart it, they’ll be able to transmit their broadcast. They hear a report on Gambi’s scanner; the ASA is calling in more troops to fight Black Lightning at Franklin Terrance. Anissa is going to join Jefferson while Gambi goes to the tower. Gambi: “Anissa, are you forgetting something? I think Thunder would go better with Black Lightning. Don’t you?” She happily nods in agreement.

“This meta just kicked your ass…bruh!” Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning

Black Lightning creates an electrical shield to protect himself from the ASA’s heavy fire. Some ASA troops maneuver behind him. One of them asks his leader, why are they doing this, the old lady only wants to stay in her apartment. The leader tells him they have to follow orders. Just as they position themselves to shoot Black Lightning, Thunder sneaks up behind them and does the Thunder stomp, sending them flying. As they painfully retreat, Thunder joins her father. She has brought along Henderson and other members of the resistance. Commander Williams orders Henderson to leave; he tells Williams he isn’t taking orders from the ASA any longer. Black Lightning asks Henderson to check on Mrs. Shepard while the other resistance members secure the building. Black Lightning taunts Commander Williams, “This meta just kicked your ass…bruh!”

Gambi is at the radio tower, suddenly the door locks behind him. He pulls out a shotgun and asks who is there. The person who locked the door is Baron, one of the escaped pod kids. Gambi tells him he works with Dr. Stewart, Baron thinks he is ASA. Gambi promises he isn’t, he is trying to get information on the occupation out to the rest of the world. He argues that if he was ASA, he wouldn’t need an abandoned tower to contact the outside world, he’d use the ASA’s. Baron asks would the rest of the world care; Gambi hopes so. Baron tells Gambi he’ll help him.

Lynn goes into a secret room and finds it filled with Green Light, enough to flood Freeland, just like Tobias said. She runs back to Tobias to get his help to do a work around the ASA plan. Tobias has a plan he’s sure Lynn won’t like, to keep from using his proteins to stabilize the meta genes in the kids, she should help him escape. Lynn thinks that’s crazy, and even if she agreed, how would they. Tobias tells her that she could gene splice Maryam’s camouflage gene into him. Lynn remains silent.

“Oh, you’re still a freak. Now we’re just two freaks together.” Brandon

Brandon looks over the info Jennifer gave him on Dr. Jace. He is distraught when he sees that she was snatched by the Markovians. She is out there and he’s trapped in Freeland. Brandon becomes furious and his eyes glaze over, his apartment starts shaking and a frightened Jennifer keeps calling to him to try to snap him out of it. Brandon finally faints and the mini earthquake stops. Brandon wakes up. Jennifer explains what happened to him, “Power flare.” Brandon: “Power what?” Jennifer: “A power flare Brandon. It’s …our powers are connected to our emotions. So, when you get upset…it gets really hard to control them.” Jennifer tells him this happens to her all the time, but seeing it happen to him makes her feel less a freak. Brandon: “Oh, you’re still a freak. Now we’re just two freaks together.” They chuckle together.

Baron helps Gambi with repairing the equipment in the tower. Gambi asks why Baron came here. Baron: “It started after I took that vaccine. That was 30 years ago. But when I came out of the pod, things had changed. All these smart devices, they never, ever, ever stop talking. The noise was deafening. So, I came up here away from it all.” He tells Gambi the machines are the only ones who understand him. Gambi tells Baron he’s a technocrat, the folks at the ASA had told Baron this before. It’s the only thing he is grateful for from the ASA. He tells Gambi he goes by TC.

Thunder is giving instructions to members of the resistance. Anissa turns around and sees Painkiller. Thunder: “Hmm. You remember me? You killed my friend, you son of a bitch.” Painkiller: “You again. Cute suit.” The two begin a titanic fight. Anissa is able to avoid his poisonous touch. He fights well, but Thunder is out of his class. She uses a thunder clap to send him flying through a wall. His shades get messed up and he takes them off. Thunder exclaims, “Khalil?!” He tries to attack but she throws him through a window. An ASA soldier reports that Painkiller is down. Commander Williams gets mad, “This ends now!”

Anissa goes back to the tower to assist Gambi, he introduces her to TC. She hands Gambi Jamillah’s flash drive with her footage on Freeland’s occupation. They begin to download it, but something stops the download, before they give up hope, TC uses his abilities to finish the download. They celebrate because Jamillah’s footage is out in the world.

Gambi is back at the sanctum, looking at Baron’s old file. [I believe Gambi was his spotter.] The computer warns him that the ASA has begun a lockdown at the Pit. He calls Lynn and tells her there is a lockdown and she needs to get out of there. She tells him she’ll talk to Commander Williams but Gambi tells her that Jefferson has joined the resistance so the deal protecting the Pierce family is gone, they will keep her as a bargaining chip against Jefferson. Lynn is angry with Jefferson but tells Gambi she’ll meet him outside as soon as she grabs some things. What she grabs is a large stash of Green Light. Gambi is in the van guiding Lynn out of the building. Of course, she doesn’t follow his instructions fully and runs into an ASA guard. Luckily for her, he is sympathetic and lets her pass. She makes it to the elevator before the other guards catch her. She runs out to the van but drops her bag containing the Green Light. Lynn screams that she needs her bag, but Gambi tells her they’ll have to leave the bag. Lynn is in a panic.

“This is your final warning. Step down meta-freak.” Commander Carson Williams

Commander Williams mimics Jefferson’s electrical powers and is pleased with himself. Commander Williams: “This is your final warning. Step down meta-freak.” Black Lightning: “This building belongs to the people of Freeland. We ain’t leaving.” Commander Williams: “Fine. Then just die!” They shoot electricity at each other, and are locked into an electrical stalemate. Commander Williams: “You don’t want to dance with me. I have your powers and the finest tactical training on earth.” Black Lightning: “Yeah, right. The thing is you have a lot of electricity coursing through your nervous system right now. I’ve got this suit to protect me. You don’t, meta!” Commander Williams: “I see your point.” Commander Williams collapses to the ground. The crowd cheers. Mrs. Shepard comes out to thank Black Lightning. After she goes back in to tend to her plants, the two old friends, Henderson and Jefferson bask in their victory. Henderson: “Welcome to the Resistance.” Black Lightning: “We took back the building. Now, let’s take back our city.”  

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

Henderson comes to Jefferson to help him convince their third-grade teacher, Mrs. Shepard to leave her apartment before Commander Williams throws her out into the streets. He is taking over the Franklin Terrace apartments to convert them into barracks. Jefferson is unable to convince her to leave, but she gives him a reason to join the resistance and fight the ASA. Anissa joins him, and for the first time this season, Black Lightning and Thunder fight together. Painkiller shows up and Thunder hands him his arse. Anissa discovers that Khalil is alive. You know she is going to tell Jefferson, so as more people find out, it is only a matter of time before Jennifer knows. Gambi and Anissa use an abandoned radio tower to broadcast Jamillah’s footage on Freeland to the rest of the world. The ASA has hidden their occupation by saying they were quarantining Freeland because of a SARS epidemic. An escaped pod kid named Baron helped them. He is a technocrat, he can communicate with machines, he prefers to be called TC. Brandon gives Jennifer the full story on his mother. She gives him the info on Dr. Jace, but he becomes frustrated when he finds out the Markovians have her. His anger causes a mini earthquake. Jennifer tells him she has these power flares too; they bond over being freaks. Lynn is having her own breakdown when Tobias convinces her that she is only helping the ASA turn the pod kids and Green Light babies into weapons. When she finds the ASA has enough Green Light stored to flood Freeland and create thousands of more metas, she contemplates helping Tobias escape so they can’t use his proteins to stabilize the meta gene. Because of Jefferson’s activities, she has to escape the Pit before they capture her. Lynn fills her bag full of Green Light but loses the bag before she can get in the van to escape. Lynn has a rough road ahead of her.

Since Black Lightning left the Pit, he has slowly been drawn into the resistance against the ASA. He wanted to take a neutral stance, fighting against anyone disturbing the peace, but talking to Mrs. Shepard and seeing her willingness to fight convinced him to go all in. The fight scenes were fantastic. Black Lightning taking on the ASA was great, but the Thunder-Painkiller fight was the fight we have been waiting for. It was beautifully choreographed. The scene between Cress Williams and guest star Andrea Frye was well acted. I hope we see that pot dealer again. Everyone gave great performances, especially between Christine Adams and Marvin Jones III and China Anne McClain and Jahking Guillory. Ms. Adams has been given a difficult storyline, but she has smoothly handled it. Lynn is going off the deep end, but she keeps the character from becoming a joke; even though Lynn keeps doing some stupid stuff. Finally, I’d like to commend the set designers for their work on the sets, especially the Pit. They have made it, this modernistic, sterile, frightening place. The scene of Lynn in the room with the Green Light was gorgeous.

The musical selections this week. In the first scene when the AI interrogates Tobias, and runs over to Jefferson waking up and Gambi examining Anissa, Four Walls by Eddie Holman plays.

Jennifer arrives at Brandon’s apartment where she shocks him for fun, Brandon is playing Ignorin by Omar Apollo.

Handle My Business by Davie plays while Brandon tells Jennifer what happened to his mother.

During Jefferson and Mrs. Shepard’s excellent scene, The Sea Shells’ Quiet Home is in the background.

Black Moses by Priscilla Renea, Meek Mill and Pusha T plays when Jefferson turns into Black Lightning and blasts the incoming ASA soldiers.

Thunder and Painkiller fight to the beat of Killa Shit Funk performed by Black Caviar and G.L.A.M.

The triumphant music after Black Lightning defeats Commander Williams, and Jefferson and Henderson plan on taking back Freeland from the ASA is Theme from Brotherman by the Final Solution.

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