Jefferson Pierce is no longer under ASA supervision, which means that he can now see what oppression means for the vast majority of Freeland citizens. Driving with Jennifer through the streets, he sees someone get viciously beaten by heavily-armed cops (sorry, ASA agents) under suspicion of being a meta. On top of that, there are signs everywhere telling people to speak up if they suspect someone of being a meta. The parallels to our own security-surveillance culture should not be lost on anyone. Luckily for Jefferson, Gambi is more than capable of disabling the hidden tracker Odell snuck into his new costume.
One thing Jefferson doesn’t know is that Jennifer is secretly meeting with Agent Odell, who is feeding her all kinds of ideas about how the ASA occupation is actually a necessary precaution against Markovian incursion. He sends her a video news report of genocides and state-sponsored killings within the country of Markovia. Whether this clip is properly contextualized or not, it has a deep effect on Jennifer, a young girl who is sensitive to suffering. Unfortunately, it starts to blind her to the ASA’s own cruelty. At one point, a discussion breaks out in her high school, with different students comparing it to Nazi Germany and Jim Crow America. Jennifer suggests that the ASA’s help might be welcome if Markovia really does invade, comparing it to intervention in the Rwandan genocide. But as one student points out, Rwandan intervention mostly failed! Their point is made for them when ASA goons storm into the classroom to pick out a student named Tayvon, who’s under suspicion of being a meta. When Principal Lowry tries to protect his student, he gets punched in the face and shoved to the ground. Lowry has mostly been an annoying presence on the show (earlier in this very episode, he whines about Jefferson getting an easier workload thanks to ASA intervention), but now he’s earned a lot more respect from me for sticking up for his student like that.
Lowry may have failed to save Tayvon, but the Pierce family won’t. A threat from Odell that the ASA is perfectly willing to imprison and experiment on Jennifer and Anissa if necessary really stresses Jefferson out, and he explodes at Anissa when he visits her apartment and finds the door answered by Grace. But they soon make up and figure out a plan to free ASA prisoners from the Freeland police station. Black Lightning takes out the lights, while Blackbird runs through the darkness and takes out each ASA soldier. Henderson holds his officers back from interfering, finally getting some revenge for the ASA forcing him to be the face of their occupation. Blackbird is able to hook up the freed prisoners with Reverend Holt’s Underground Railroad, and everyone gets out safely.
The whole time this is happening, Lynn furiously works on coming up with a cure for the deathly plague that seems to be striking Green Light patients in the ASA’s care. To that end, she continues to make daily trips to ASA headquarters even with Jefferson freed. This confuses and annoys Jefferson, but he’s too busy with other things to take much notice. It does have a good end, in that Lynn is able to synthesize a cure for the plague, but we soon find out why: Odell’s goons have been secretly dosing her with small amounts of Green Light to make her addicted to coming into the office. Doesn’t take a genius to predict this won’t end well.
And then, of course, there’s the fact that Odell is still sending out the reanimated Khalil to perform murders for him. In this episode, it’s the One Hundred who have been targeting ASA trucks. Odell dispatches Khalil to take care of them, and he does. But I can’t help but wonder how the increasingly ASA-aligned Jennifer will react when she inevitably finds out about this.
- Black Lightning season premiere recap: Freeland puts kids in cages, too
- Black Lightning star teases Jefferson’s ‘big sacrifice’ in the Markovian conflict
- Black Lightning puts Jefferson through hell in season 3 premiere clip