As the show’s theme song proclaims, “Black Lightning’s back!” Well, kinda….
The Season 3 premiere, titled “The Book of Occupation: Chapter One: Birth of the Blackbird,” finds our aforementioned superhero (and Lynn!) in ASA custody, Jennifer without parental supervision, and Anissa employing her second alter ego to help Freeland’s metas — all while the Markovians take steps in preparation for war.
A meta named Maryam is seated in a sterile room, answering questions about her background and how she acquired her powers. The same questions are posed to a man named Devonte, who angrily answers that he’s not a meta. Also being questioned? A haggard-looking Jefferson, who’s been held in the same ASA facility with metas and non-metas for a month. A reporter for Clapback News (which hardly sounds like a credible news source) says that it’s been 37 days since the pod kids escaped, and since most haven’t been located, the government has been snatching suspect kids from their parents and placing them in detainment facilities.
Anissa, Reverend Holt and two others from the clinic visit one of the detainment facilities, where the children are locked in cages with foil blankets as heavily armed guards keep watch. A Markovian who calls himself Cyclotronic breaches security and enters the compound, but a Commander Carson Williams kills him. When Williams then updates Agent Odell on what just occurred, Odell orders him to place Freeland on lockdown.
Back in the ASA facility, Jefferson and Lynn are reunited. They’re excited to see each other and since they’re about to get released, Lynn wants to celebrate the occasion. Before they can start the party, Agent Odell appears out of nowhere — like the vampire he is — to say that, due to the Markovian attack, neither of them can leave. Jefferson said he only came to the place so his wife and daughters would be left alone, and that his patience is running out.
At school, Jennifer rushes into the bathroom because her powers are flaring up and causing her intense pain. Later in the episode, another girl about Jennifer’s age hangs out in an underground garage, and uses powers similar to hers. Said girl goes to a restaurant and meets a cute boy who asks her name, and she says “Jennifer.” (Huh?) When Anissa rolls up on the two teens, she shuts the boy down and makes Jennifer No. 2 get in the car. “Take that damn thing off!” Anissa says, and the passenger is revealed to be Jennifer Pierce, wearing a cloaking device that Gambi made for her. (Pretty cool!) Jennifer confesses that not using her powers is causing her pain, so using the cloak isn’t her being reckless, it’s a way to get relief. Anissa pleads with her sister to keep her in the loop, because with their parents detained, the only have each other.
Henderson Fights the Power
Commander Williams meets with Deputy Chief Henderson to instruct him to hold a press conference. Henderson refuses, saying, “There’s no way I’m going on television and letting myself or this department become the face of your experiment gone wrong.” The Commander condescendingly tells him to follow orders or he’ll be fired and his life will be destroyed. Henderson punches Commander Williams in the mouth (YES!), and after a scuffle, weapons are drawn by the military and police. “This country is on the brink of war. How we handle this crisis in Freeland will determine the future of warfare,” the Commander says while holding a gun to Henderson’s face. At the presser, Henderson says the city now has an 8:30 pm curfew, and those in violation will be arrested or prosecuted.
Odell Me No Lies!
Jefferson discovers that he has a natural power to see through walls without his suit, and spots Issa and Tobias, who’s in terrible shape. (Since he’s in captivity, he doesn’t have access to his serum, and is aging faster than a ripe banana.) Issa, under Odell’s command, channels his truth-eliciting power and asks Tobias about the briefcase. Tobias reveals that Agent Proctor’s only purpose was to be a scapegoat, and that Odell was sent to Freeland for sinister purposes, including turning all of the metas into weapons. Afterward, Odell poisons Issa’s food to keep the truth from spreading further, then lies to Lynn about why the boy was there in the first place. He assures Lynn that she and Jefferson are in good hands…
Anissa has a cute new spot with exposed brick, a great view of the city, and a digital assistant named Shonda to cater to her needs. (Take that, Alexa!) She goes to a secret room hidden behind her mirror, where she talks to Gambi, confused by the delay of her parents’ release. He explains that her father’s powers and her mother’s research are extremely valuable to the ASA. Despite this setback, she moves forward with the plan to free metas who are on a bus heading to a detainment facility. After easily kicking every soldier’s ass, she takes the metas to Reverend Holt’s church. He’s on Blackbird’s side, having told Jamilah, the reporter from Clapback News, that laws are not infallible. Despite the hectic schedule of her freedom-fighting, Anissa finds time to let loose at a bar. She catches the eye of Jamilah, and the two have sex before talking about their feelings of loneliness. Anissa definitely misses Grace, she even believes that footage Gambi showed her earlier of a shapeshifter is Grace.
Jennifer has called Anissa “Harriet” since Season 1, but Anissa definitely lived up to her nickname by leading the metas through the woods and through the ASA’s weakened perimeter to freedom. Anissa fights the ASA foot soldiers hiding in the woods, but gets struck by a blast and gets stuck in the perimeter.
The episode ends with Lala coming back to life for the umpteenth time, with a puzzled look on his face… and the ASA briefcase on his nightstand.
What did you think of Black Lightning‘s Season 3 opener?