Black Lightning: The Council of Jennifers

Black Lightning | Season 3 | Episode 9 : “Earth Crisis”
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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 looked it up and 3:33 is equilibrium between your mind, body and spirit.” Jennifer Pierce

Comic Panels: Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams), Anissa Pierce/Blackbird (Nafessa Williams), Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams), and Peter Gambi (James Remar) stand over Jennifer Pierce/Lightning (China Anne McClain) phasing body. Gen (China Anne McClain) is laying down in her cell in the Pit. Jinn (China Anne McClain) in her black outfit struts through the destroyed Pit. Jennifer is in her Lightning suit on Anissa’s terrace.

Jennifer is recording a video for Anissa. Jennifer: “All right, so this is the third night in a row I’ve woken up at exactly 3:33. I looked it up and 3:33 is equilibrium between your mind, body and spirit. And it’s no surprise that my equilibrium is off. Considering what this occupation is doing to my family, what it’s doing to Freeland.” On one hand, her heart tells her to support Anissa and her father in their fight against the ASA but on the other hand, her head tells her to support Agent Percy Odell (Bill Duke) and the ASA. She thinks they are protecting Freeland from the Markovians, and how wrong could they be if her mother is working with them. She just doesn’t know whom to believe. Jennifer scraps the recording and decides to talk to Anissa in person.

Buy DC Comics Black Lightning, Thunder, and Lightning Short Sleeve Tee

Black Lightning, Blackbird, Reverend Jeremiah Holt (Clifton Powell) and other members of the resistance watch a newscast. Rebecca Larsen (Amanda Baker) reports that the resistance in Freeland are a band of liberal anti-vaxxers who are against the government vaccinating the citizens against SARS. It’s apparent that the ASA intercepted their broadcast and have twisted it to cover up what is actually happening in Freeland. Chief Bill Henderson (Damon Gupton) thinks they need to come up with a new plan, since the Battle of Franklin Terrace the ASA has upped their attacks against them. Black Bird and Reverend Holt agree with him. The resistance meeting ends and Anissa tells Jefferson she is tired of reacting to the ASA and she wants to go on the attack. Jefferson is against it if it means killing. Anissa tells him about Khalil and says the ASA has programmed him to become a heartless killing machine. Anissa: “Things have changed and honestly, if you are not willing to kill, then you are gonna die.”

To Jennifer’s surprise, Agent Odell appears on her TV screen because she hasn’t been returning his phone calls. Jennifer express concern about the Markovians’ attacking him. He says he has a mission and will press on. He expects her to do the same. Jennifer questions whether what they are doing is right. Odell tells her that her attack of the Markovian data farm saved more lives than her father ever did. He points to Khalil’s death as an example of Jefferson’s failures. [Odell doesn’t mention turning Khalil into a killing machine.] Agent Odell wants her to fly some missions against the Markovians. He finishes by telling her, “Oh, and Ms. Pierce, the time for you to pick a side, is rapidly approaching. Choose wisely.” Jennifer makes it to Anissa’s terrace in her Lightning outfit. She’s waiting for Anissa to come home when she sees that the skies have turned red. She asks the AI Shonda (Sh’Kia Augustin) to call Anissa. Odell calls her and tells Jennifer to get inside the apartment. Before she can, she starts phasing in and out. When Jennifer phases back, she faints.

Jennifer finds herself in a void space with two other versions of herself; they are from different dimensions. The Jennifer dressed in white with a power deafening collar on her neck is Gen from Earth 1. The Jennifer dressed in black is Jinn from Earth 2. The three Jennifer’s are confused about what is happening. Jennifer asks Gen about the collar. Gen: “I changed the water in Freeland, like in Flint. So anybody who had the meta gene, when they drank the water, it would take their powers away.” The ASA arrested her and threw her in the Pit. We go to Gen’s Earth during Christmas. Jefferson is setting the table.  The ASA released Gen to go home for Christmas. She is upstairs with Anissa. Anissa is dressed conservatively, she is still in the closet, but she is thinking about coming out because she met a girl [not Grace]. Khalil got a full ride to UCLA; Gen doesn’t believe they’ll have a long distance relationship with her still being in the Pit for a few more years. She is upset with her father because he didn’t support her publically when she changed the water. Anissa tells her Jefferson accepted being Secretary of Education to protect the family, he couldn’t publically support her. Their parents have separated but still love each other; their separation annoys Gen. The girls hear a ruckus downstairs and run down to investigate. Agent Odell and his ASA goons have stormed into the house and have Jefferson pinned to his knees. Odell shows a recording of Reverend Holt confessing that he and Jefferson are running an underground railroad to sneak meta children out of Freeland. On the recording, Odell shoots Reverend Holt in the head. He does the same to Jefferson. Anissa and Gen scream in horror as the ASA drag Gen out of the house.

DC TV Black Lightning Statue
DC TV Black Lightning Statue

Jennifer is phasing in and out and she tells Anissa and Gambi that Jefferson is dead. Earth 1 Anissa visits Gen in her cell. The sisters grieve over their father’s death. Gen is upset that Lynn hasn’t visited her at the Pit. Anissa tells her it’s hard for Lynn to see her there. Gen says it’s harder to be in there. Our Anissa calls both Jefferson and Lynn to come over to her place quickly. She is having trouble getting hold of Lynn. Her mother is at her place trying to make Green Light. Earth 1 Lynn finally visits Gen. She is angry with her mother for not visiting her and Lynn’s relationship with Jefferson. Lynn explains that even though she and Jefferson weren’t together, they still loved each other. They spoke nearly every day and he told her how proud he was of Gen. They both were because of all the lives Gen saved changing the water and preventing more metas fighting for the ASA war machine.

Jefferson finally arrives, Lynn received Anissa’s message and is already there. Gambi tries to explain what is happening. Gambi: “It’s complicated Jeff.” Jefferson: “Simplify it for me.” Gambi: “Those weird red skies are kicking off massive amounts of antimatter, and since Jenn’s powers convert her cells into pure energy…” Lynn: “She’s more susceptible to the effects.” Jefferson: “So you’re saying, she’s literally two places at once.” They explain the parallel worlds theory. Henderson calls, they are under attack from the ASA and they need Black Lightning. Jefferson tells him he has an emergency himself, but Lynn tells him to go. She blames him for the escalation after he made his stand at Franklin Terrace. The two begin to argue and Gambi tells them both that this isn’t helping Jennifer. Anissa tells Jefferson to go, she’ll watch over things there while he’s gone.

“Odell is using you, Jenn. I mean, you’re like a gun, and he’s pulling the trigger.” Jefferson Pierce

We switch to Jinn, Earth 2. She is walking down the school hallway to Jefferson’s class. He is doing his inspirational ‘Where’s the future’ mantra. As the class dismisses, Jinn sarcastically claps. Jefferson thanks her for meeting with him. She says okay but adds, “But if you called me here to talk about Odell and my work with the ASA, I’m telling you now, it’s gonna be a short conversation.” Jefferson: “Well, in that case, I’ll get right to the point. Odell is using you, Jenn. I mean, you’re like a gun, and he’s pulling the trigger.” Jinn: “And you’re like that little thing, that symbol on the computer, the one that just goes round and round, while you wait for it to load something new.” Jefferson: “Jinn, how do I get you to see that your powers are a drug? And you are addicted. The more you use them, the more I lose you. The more you lose yourself.” Jinn: “The people of Freeland need me. And you could have stopped this years ago, but your philosophy and your code; it stopped you and now look where we are. So I tell you what, I’m gonna clean up this mess you made, so that I can finally lead a normal life. Something that you could never provide for me or anyone else, for that matter. A life of peace.” Jinn angrily walks out.

Major Gray (Katy O’Brian) reports to Agent Odell that they don’t know what is causing the red skies. He isn’t concerned about weather reports; they have bigger problems to contend with. Jefferson just destroyed the ASA HQ. Odell thinks he is headed to the Pit to free the detainees. He orders Major Gray to take a large supply of Green light and brain implants. He wants her to give the detainees Green Light and the brain implants and have them fight Black Lightning. Major Gray is hesitant because the detainees have no training, but Odell doesn’t care.

Jinn is walking through a destroyed Pit with meta bodies scattered everywhere. Agent Odell: “So much for restraint.” Jinn: “Hmm. They served their purpose.” Agent Odell: “Killing all of the metas was not part of your mission.” Jinn: “These metas helped you win the war against Markovia. No Markovians, no need for war. No war, no need for metas.” Agent Odell: “Except for you, of course.” Jinn scoffs: “Thank you would be a better response Odell.” Agent Odell: “Thank you. Your loyalty will be rewarded.” With an evil grin, he warns Jinn that her family will come for her. She is ready for them.

Jennifer is still on the table phasing in and out. Gambi thinks that the antimatter is causing it. Anissa thinks that the ASA is causing this. Gambi tells her this is beyond the ASA’s capacity. Anissa doubts it and tells them about Khalil. She is surprised that Lynn already knew. Anissa wants to put him down but Lynn is against it. Anissa tells Lynn that as much as she always disagrees with Jefferson, they often share the same beliefs. Gambi stops their argument and tells them he detects the ASA sending a truckload of Green Light to the Pit. Lynn says they are going to weaponize the kids. They call Jefferson and Anissa tells him she has a plan to stop it.

“You still don’t get it, do you? I am the authority!” Jinn

Jinn arrives home, Jefferson, Lynn, and Anissa confront her about what she has done. Anissa: “Jenn, this is wrong.” Jinn chuckles: “What is this? Huh? An intervention or something?” Lynn: “You have to stop this, Jenn. You have to turn yourself in.” Jinn: “To whom?” Lynn: “To the authorities.” Jinn: “You still don’t get it, do you? I am the authority!” Jefferson tells her how disrespectful she is talking to her family like this and she will turn herself in. Threateningly she tells him to make her. Anissa tries to calm the situation down but Jinn attacks her. They fight but Jinn quickly kills her. Jinn turns around and kills Lynn. She and Jefferson lock into an electrical battle but it’s clear Jinn is more powerful. Jinn begins mocking her father, “Where’s the future? Oh, it’s right here. And whose life is this? It’s mine. Look at me, Dad! This is the best part, look at me! And now are you gonna live it? Oh, you won’t. But I will. By any means necessary.” Jinn kills Jefferson. She coldly looks at her dead family and leaves. Jennifer watched all of it and was powerless to stop it.

The three Jennifer’s are back in the void together, Jennifer attacks Jinn for killing her family. Gen tries to get them to stop fighting so they can figure out what is going on. Jennifer thinks they are from parallel worlds. Jinn laughs at the idea and thinks this is a Markovian trick. Jennifer tells her counterparts what she has learned about them.  Jennifer tells Jinn, “You have way too much power.” She tells her she shouldn’t let Odell use her power. She realizes that is what she has been letting Odell do to her. Jennifer knows she has made some mistakes but she won’t allow herself to become like Jinn. She killed everyone who loved her and now she has no one. Jennifer to Gen, “And you, don’t you ever give up your powers, because they’re a gift from God and if he didn’t want you to have ‘em, I’m telling you he wouldn’t have given them to you.” Jennifer admits she didn’t want her powers and wanted to be normal, but she has to accept her powers too. Jennifer’s observations don’t impress Jinn, but Gen stops them from arguing and asks do they see it. They look up and a white light is heading towards them. The antimatter wave disintegrates Jinn and Gen. Jennifer’s body turns into a cluster of floating particles, her entire family is watching her, Lynn begs her to hold on. The antimatter wave disintegrates Jennifer. Jefferson disappears and the antimatter wave disintegrates Gambi, Lynn, and Anissa. We’ll find out what happened to Jefferson on Crisis on Infinite Earths.

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

Jennifer records a message to Anissa expressing her confusion over the occupation. Her heart wants to support Anissa and Jefferson in their war with the ASA, but her head tells her Agent Odell and the ASA are protecting Freeland from the Markovians, and Lynn’s continued assistance to the ASA confirms that to her. She decides to scrap the video and see Anissa in person. Agent Odell appearing on the Pierce’s TV screen and tells her she has to make a choice. On Anissa terrace, the red sky above overwhelms her. The people in Freeland haven’t been watching the other shows in the Arrowverse so they don’t know about the antimatter that is destroying the universe, and since Jennifer’s powers convert her cells into pure energy, it affects her. Jennifer ends up in a void with two Jennifer’s from other parallel worlds, Gen from Earth 1 and Jinn from Earth 2. Gen is a nice person who doesn’t want her powers. She is in the Pit because she changed the water in Freeland so other metas in Freeland would lose their powers so that the ASA can’t use the new metas for their wars. Jefferson is the Secretary of Education and Anissa is in the closet. Jefferson is trying to protect his family and sneak meta kids out of Freeland with Reverend Holt. Agent Odell shoots both Jefferson and Holt in the head for their trouble. Jinn is a monster who willingly works with Agent Odell to fight the Markovians. She not only defeats the Markovians but also kills the metas in the detention center because they aren’t of any use now. Her family objects to her actions and she kills them. While this is going on, Jennifer is in Anissa’s apartment phasing in and out. The ASA is hitting back at the resistance hard and Anissa wants to go on the offensive, even if it means killing. Jefferson is against it, but Anissa tells him his reluctance to kill will get him killed. The family is helpless trying to help Jennifer. The antimatter that is affecting Jennifer soon kills everyone except for Jefferson; he is teleported before the antimatter wave hits Freeland.

It is the last episode before the winter break and Black Lightning connects with the rest of the Arrowverse concerning the crisis on infinite earths. They do this by connecting the overarching story with Jennifer confronting her personal crisis of trying to serve two masters. Her heart wants to support Jefferson and Anissa, but her head tells her to support Odell. By meeting her other selves, she is able to find an equilibrium. Jinn helps her see that she can’t continue working with Odell, she will lose herself and become his war machine. Gen helps her accept her powers and realize wanting to go back to being ‘normal’ is futile. It looks like Jennifer will embrace her powers in a healthy way. Too bad she and everyone in her world died from the antimatter wave. Something tells me Jefferson is going to find a way to bring his family and everyone else back. China Anne McClain does a great job playing her different versions; she seemed to be having a lot of fun playing the evil Jinn. The writers did a good job putting the show into the wider Arrowverse without sidelining their characters and storylines. In this episode, we got a major breakthrough with Jennifer that should affect the rest of the series. She will become the hero she is meant to be.

The music for this episode helped tell the story, as it often does. Jennifer creates a video for Anissa telling her how divided she feels, Third Stone From the Sun by Jimi Hendrix plays.

Jennifer tells Shonda to play Travis Scott’s Stargazing just before the sky turns red.

Earth 1 Jefferson prepares for Christmas dinner while This Christmas by Donny Hathaway plays.

Earth 2 Jinn struts down the high school hallway towards her father’s classroom to We Appreciate Power by Grimes (feat. Hana).

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone plays while Jinn walks away from Jefferson.

Jinn walks through the destruction she caused in the Pit while Demons and Angels by A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie (feat. Juice WRLD {RIP}).

The antimatter wave disintegrates the Pierces and Gambi as She by Alice Smith plays.

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