Black Lightning: The Outsiders

Black Lightning | Season 3 | Episode 13 : Grab the Strap
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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]

“Black Lightning. Black Lightning. I never particularly cared for that name.” Jefferson Pierce

Comic Panels: Gravedigger (Wayne Brady) fights Khalil Payne/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway). Jennifer Pierce/Lightning (China Anne McClain), Anissa Pierce/Thunder (Nafessa Williams), and Grace Choy (Chantal Thuy) sitting together in an ASA cafeteria. Anissa at the Markovia base.

Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is drinking and listening to the O’Jays.  It appears like he’s talking to himself about how the media named him Black Lightning, a name he doesn’t particularly like. Jefferson: “All the blood, broken bones… broken hearts and death.” Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) saw it all. They tried to balance a normal life. Nothing mixes well with Black Lightning. They broke up, got divorced and got back together. They just couldn’t stop loving each other. He grew up around drugs and addicts, so he knows the depth of addiction. We see a flashback of Jefferson and Lynn arguing. He’s seen drugs devastate families. His powers are useless in this fight. They are at war with Markovia, his powers aren’t useless in this war. He is willing to kill to get Lynn back. On the other end of the video chat is Peter Gambi (James Remar). He tells Jefferson to get some sleep, they have a big day tomorrow.

Gambi, Jefferson, and TC (Christopher Ammanuel) just finished running a simulation exercise for their team, it and the other simulations haven’t gone well. TC wants to make it easier, but Jefferson is against that, they need to get ready for Markovia. Major Grey (Katy O’Brian) hands Jefferson Painkiller’s records, they are taking him off their register, and the ASA will grant amnesty to the rest of the team. She isn’t pleased with Jefferson team’s progress. She offers him some ASA commandoes to get them into Markovia. Jefferson rejects her offer.

Dr. Helga Jace (Jennifer Riker) and Lynn are in the lab. Jace wonders why Lynn isn’t speaking. Lynn answers she isn’t speaking because she’s a captive far from home. Colonel Mosin (Thomas K. Belgrey) walks in to check on their progress. He shocks Lynn when he finds out how little progress they’ve made. Gravedigger walks in, he has a Markovian presidential order giving him command of this operation. He is happy to meet Lynn, but he isn’t happy to see Jace. She tells him he hasn’t aged; he reminds her he isn’t one of her subjects now. Gravedigger tells Lynn she can save 94 metas who are in pods. Lynn tells him she knows he plans to militarize them, and she won’t cooperate. His voice distorts and he orders her to do it. Lynn immediately does what she’s told.

Khalil is watching TV, Jennifer walks in to talk. She tells him the simulation exercises aren’t going well, she asks him to go on the mission and help them. He has more training than any of them. Khalil says he is a liability with Painkiller still in his head. Jennifer assures him that she trusts him, but he reminds her that he killed his mother. She asks him to help save her mother. His answer is still no.

Lynn is in bad shape; she has a headache. Jace asks where on her head does it hurt, it’s her forehead. Lynn asks what Jace knows. She tells her his name is Gravedigger and he has enhanced speed and strength and he can push, mental domination. It is auditory stimulation that overrides the frontal lobe. Lynn gets an idea and takes some Green Light to fight the push. Jace figures out the Green Light causes’ hyperactivity in the frontal lobe. Lynn tells her since he can’t control her, they should use this time to work together to get out.

In the cafeteria, TC smiles at Erica Moran (Gabriella Garcia) and tries to act cool, she looks at him and says, “awkward.”  Anissa and Grace sit down with Jennifer. She isn’t happy to see Anissa. They immediately fight over Anissa not telling her about Khalil being alive. Anissa thought it was best not to tell Jennifer to protect her. Painkiller killed his mother, Tavon and nearly killed her, she didn’t consider him Khalil. Jennifer accuses her of being like their dad and gets up and walks away. Sgt. Grayle (Boone Platt) stops Brandon (Jahking Guillory) and accuses him of not training and being the team’s weak link. Brandon says he knows what the ASA is about, Grayle answers that the ASA has done some wrong but he’s there to help. Brandon asks how many kids he killed, but sarcastically changes it to ‘help’ to kill. Grayle walks up on him and Brandon eyes light up and challenges him. Jefferson yells, “really” as the two men walk away. Jefferson knows this isn’t going well.

Khalil is gathering his clothes; he’s preparing to leave. Jefferson walks in and asks where he is going. Khalil says out of Freeland, Jefferson asks why, Khalil’s response is “why would I stay?” Jefferson tries to apologize for not doing enough to help him. Khalil tells him he did what he could, so he doesn’t accept the apology. [No need to apologize.] Jefferson informs him he won’t be hunted; his name was removed from the ASA register. He’s thankful but he is still not free from Painkiller. Jefferson tells him he can’t undo past mistakes; he can only move forward. He asks if he can go to Markovia to help them. Khalil tells him he doesn’t trust himself. Jefferson understands and tells him that if he’s ever back in town, their door is always open to him.

Gravedigger asks Lynn and Jace how many cures they’ve created, Lynn says two. Gravedigger uses his push voice on her, but she can resist it. She asks him for his blood, he asks why, she responds because he’s a stable meta and his blood will super charge the serum production. He consents, Jace looks completely terrified.

Grey is delivering a briefing to Jefferson and Gambi on where Lynn is specifically, Lab A. She also tells them she needs them to bring Tobias back. Jefferson is totally against it. Grey says they need him to stabilize the Freeland metas. Jefferson reluctantly agrees. TC visits Erica to give her a pair of boots. He sees something and touches her hair. She orders him out of her room. Grayle is watching this on his phone. The team does a slow-motion hero walk in the hanger; Khalil joins them. Jefferson: “Now the whole team is here.”

“I wanna be the guy that saves people. Not the one that kills them.” Khalil Payne

On a helicopter flying over Markovia, the team is quiet and obviously nervous. Anissa asks Jefferson and Gambi whose idea was it to bring Painkiller on this mission. Jefferson says it was his, Gambi assures her they have a way to shut him down. Grayle tells Jefferson that Erica is chipped and both of them have a kill order to kill Lynn if they can’t rescue her. He won’t do it, but Erica will. TC tells them not to worry, he noticed the chip and deactivated it. He asks Grayle if he remembers when he touched Erica’s hair when he was watching them on his phone. Grayle asks how did he know that he was watching him on his phone. TC answers that Grayle’s phone told him. TC: “Well when I touched her hair, I wasn’t trying to be romantic. I love a woman who can…” Jefferson: “Get on with it son.” TC: “Well, I’ve seen the chip and figured it was bad, so I deactivated it. You’re welcome.”

Jennifer thanks Khalil for going on the mission. He’s doing it because his mom liked and respected Lynn and he’d like to be the person who saves people, not kill them. Brandon starts freaking out about being in the air. Gambi explains that since Brandon’s powers are earth based, his body is rebelling against air travel. Khalil gets up and touches Brandon, he falls asleep. Anissa accuses him of poisoning Brandon, Khalil counters that Painkiller poisons people, he used Kyushu Jitsu to put him asleep. Anissa keeps giving him dirty looks.

Jefferson is sitting quietly deep in thought. Gambi asks Jefferson to talk to him. Jefferson feels like he should have come alone to get Lynn. Gambi agrees, but they need the others to also get Tobias. Gambi: “I am proud of you and Alvin would be too. You’re a hero who has the stature to lead other heroes.” Jefferson: “What is a hero these days?” Gambi: “You are.” Jefferson: “Thanks, old man.”

Dr. Jace injects Lynn with Gravedigger’s blood. Jace tells Lynn that if this doesn’t work, they will kill her, Lynn says it’s working already. Jace asks if she can have some, Lynn says no. Guards get Jace to take her to Lab B.

Jefferson gives the final orders for the mission. TC and Gambi will guide the others through the facility and let them know when they have eyes on Lynn. Jefferson tells Grace to hold her position as long as she can. He’ll drop down and take out the first wave, Thunder and Erica are with him to get Tobias. Jennifer, Khalil, Brandon, and Grayle are to get Lynn. They won’t leave Markovia empty handed. Black Lightning jumps out of the helicopter and takes out the guards.

Mosin walks into the security room and takes out the security men. It’s not Mosin but Grace who shapeshifted into him. She takes over the monitors. Black Lightning and Thunder can’t take down an impenetrable door. Brandon heads to Lab B to kill Jace, Grayle follows him while Khalil and Jennifer head to Lab A to rescue Lynn. Markovian troops confront Brandon who uses his powers to shake the earth and take them out of action. The real Mosin is with Jace and Tobias Whale (Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) when the alarms sound off. Tobias: “Looks like the calvary.” Mosin orders his men to take Tobias to the bunker. Jefferson and Anissa still can’t bring down the door. Jefferson comes up with an idea, he tells Anissa to hit Erica, once she absorbs enough energy, she can take the door down. Once she does it, some guards appear. Anissa tells Jefferson to go get Tobias, she and Erica will hold them off. Mosin walks in with a detail and tells Lynn to take what you need to continue working. She uses Gravedigger’s push ability and tells Mosin to take care of his detail. He shoots them, Lynn didn’t mean for him to do that. She orders him to stand still, she takes the control chip out of her neck and places it on his neck and shocks him. Lynn orders him to lead her out of there.

Khalil and Jennifer run into some soldiers that he sensed. Jennifer lights them up. Khalil is impressed. He senses someone else is coming, he tells her he’ll take care of this and she go and get Lynn. It’s Gravedigger. They measure each other. Gravedigger: “By the way you’re standing, you’re not all there. Biotics… lots of them. Not enough nervous system for me to push. Not enough sense to run. Clearly, you’re what they call a “millennial”. Khalil: “You talk to much.” They begin fighting.

Jefferson finds Tobias, he calls him Jefferson and insinuates he has something going on with Lynn. Jefferson punches him, Tobias laughs because he knows Jefferson won’t kill him. Brandon catches up with Jace. Brandon: “Is your name Jace?” Dr. Jace: “It is! What can I do for you?’ Brandon: “You can die, bitch!” Brandon starts shaking the earth so hard it looks like he’s going to bring the building down on all of them. Grayle: “Stop! Brandon, stop!” Grayle knocks him out from behind. Dr. Jace: “Who the hell is that?” Khalil and Gravedigger are still fighting. Both men are using cool fight moves against each other, but Gravedigger is more experienced and finally beats him. Jefferson is fighting more guards when Gravedigger shoots him with a meta-dampening rifle. Gravedigger: “Heard a lot about you Black Lightning. Sorry we had to meet this way.” Jennifer finds Lynn who orders Mosin to shock himself until he knocks himself out. Jennifer asks if Lynn has powers, Lynn tells her for about 20 more minutes.

“Brother you are everything they said you are. So am I.” Gravedigger

Nearly everyone has boarded the helicopter except Jefferson and Anissa. She shows up and wants to go back and find her father, but Grayle and Gambi tell her to wait and give him a chance to show up. Gravedigger shows up instead and says he’ll let everyone go if Lynn comes with him. Lynn agrees so he won’t hurt everyone, but an injured Black Lighting shows up and lifts Gravedigger off his feet with his lightning. He tells Gravedigger no one touches his wife. Lynn tells Jefferson she loves him and kisses him. Their daughters help their father board the helicopter.

KBear Review [Read time: 1-3 minutes]

Jefferson thinks back over his relationship with Lynn and determines he’ll do whatever he has to do to bring her back home from Markovia. They’ve done simulations to prepare, but the simulations aren’t going well. Major Grey isn’t impressed with our heroes and offers ASA commandoes to go on the mission with them. Jefferson turns down the offer. The team isn’t unified, Jennifer is mad at Anissa for not telling her about Khalil, Brandon isn’t really participating, he has his own mission in mind, which Sgt. Grayle calls him on. Erica is chipped and programmed to kill Lynn if the mission goes wrong. Things look so bad that both Jennifer and Jefferson separately ask Khalil to get off the bench and play in the game. He doesn’t want to because he doesn’t trust himself with Painkiller still being in his head. Anissa agrees with that assessment and doesn’t want him on the mission. He finally joins the team though. TC proves how valuable he is by figuring out that Erica is chipped and deactivating it. In Markovia, Lynn is working on her own escape plans. She meets a meta named Gravedigger who is an American expatriate. Aside from having enhanced speed and strength, he also has the ability of mental domination or push, he can verbally make people do things. Though Lynn is suffering from withdrawals, her mind is still working. She figures out that if she uses Green Light it will cause hyperactivity in the frontal lobe, breaking the compulsion to follow his orders. She tricks him into letting her draw his blood, Jace injects her with it giving Lynn the push powers temporarily. She is able to use it on Colonel Mosin to hasten her escape. Though they aren’t a polished team, they are able to use their superpowers to over power the Markovians. They are able to rescue Lynn, and Jefferson wins the first round against Gravedigger.

From Fandom DC Database, the Outsiders are a black-ops team of superheroes originally led by Batman. They were formed as an alternative to the Justice League that didn’t require public and political approval for their actions. Black Lightning and Geo-Force [Brandon on this show] were founding members; Grace Choi and Thunder became members later. The show has alluded to the Outsiders in the past, when Anissa and Grace met, they were looking at the comic book. We finally got an unofficial Outsider team up with Jefferson forming this extraction team to rescue Lynn. The Arrowverse does a good job with team matchups, and this episode was no different.  The show went all out with the action, and it paid off. It was great seeing everyone use their powers. It showed how powerful they are as a group. We got to see a greatly choregraphed fight between Khalil and Gravedigger. One of the best fights they’ve had on the show. It ranks with some of the best fights on Arrow. Though Lynn isn’t a meta, she used her brain to great effect, and didn’t allow herself to be the damsel in distress. The big rescue mission was everything I hoped for. Even outside the action set pieces, there were great scenes between Jefferson and Gambi, Jennifer and Khalil, Jefferson and Khalil. Who would have thought that Lynn and Jace would become a comedy team? It was a strong episode for Cress Williams who was great in all his scenes as either Jefferson or Black Lightning. Cress is always good, but I felt he was especially good this episode. Wayne Brady was great as Gravedigger; he was calm but menacing. I wasn’t surprised, I’ve seen him do this before.

The music was excellent with a nice mixture of musical styles and genres. The show opened with Jefferson listening to the O’Jays crooning Cry Together.

In It to Win It by S. Kalibre, Slap Up Mill plays when TC offers Erica some boots and touches her hair. It turns out it wasn’t creepy.

The Outsiders attack the Markovian base while Come Down from Anderson .Paak plays.

Pastor T.L Barrett & the Youth for Christ Choir put some church up in this episode with Nobody Knows when Black Lightning rescues Tobias, Brandon attempts to kill Dr. Jace and Khalil and Gravedigger fight.

When Gravedigger shoots Black Lightning and nearly ruins the rescue mission, the Hero (Intro) from Michael Kiwanuka plays.

Things pick up when Black Lightning lights up Gravedigger, saves the rescue mission and reunites his family to Hero by Michael Kiwanuka. Black Lightning is our hero.  

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