Gravedigger’s Markovian army invades Freeland. Instead of defending the city, the ASA cuts and runs. It is up to Freeland’s own citizens to defend themselves.
Spoiler Level: High
After Gravedigger took down Lightning, Black Lightning tries to talk him down by saying they’re family. Gravedigger doesn’t listen and beats him too, then just leaves him on the street and returns to his lair where he’s keeping Lightning prisoner. It seems he only took her because he needs someone to listen to him talk. He explains that the US is evil, to which Lightning responds with a resounding “nuh-uh”.
Although Gravedigger insists his fight is with the US government, the US government isn’t willing to engage. With plans ready to nuke the city, Agent Odell sends ASA agents to clean up all loose ends and destroy all classified information before evacuating, to remove all evidence of how they’ve been experimenting on people for decades. In the middle of a last-minute deal, Lady Eve realizes she’s one of those loose ends and opens fire on the ASA agents. (Props to her for being the one Arrowverse character with foresight.) With the government gone, the defense of the city falls to the very people the government had been keeping under martial law, and ordinary people engage Markovian soldiers on the streets. An unexpected relief comes from Lala, who had earlier refused to get involved but apparently reconsidered after Lady Eve warned him they’d nuke the city. His gangsters make short work of trained soldiers, somehow.
Dr. Jace isn’t as lucky, she gets executed by Commander Carson Williams, who next goes to take out Dr. Lynn Stewart. He hesitates when she tells him she could de-power Gravedigger, but she makes the mistake of calling him a meta. His self-hatred triggered, he tries to take her out too…but Lynn’s always prepared, and she ends up killing him with her temporary powers.
The carnage doesn’t end there. ASA soldiers assault Gambi’s shop, and get taken out by him and TC. Everyone’s strapped in Freeland. Gravedigger arrives at the Pit and simply uses his suggestion powers to put all the defenders to sleep. (Makes you wonder why he doesn’t just do that more.) All except…Chief Henderson, who realized the Markovians would ambush Black Lightning and went to clear them out of the forest. He takes out the entire squad but loses his life saving Jefferson’s. Although not unexpected, the scene is very touching, Jefferson kneels by his friend’s side as he dies. Once again the show uses music to great effect.
Gravedigger faces Grace and Anissa/Thunder, but he seems bored of fighting, so he dominates Grace into attacking Anissa. Anissa ends up putting her new wife into a coma to stop her. Gravedigger then engages Brandon and Jennifer/Lightning, who delay him only slightly until Lynn can come and blast him with the de-powering serum. With his powers gone, Jefferson defeats him easily. Watching the fight, Agent Odell activates the Pit’s self-destruct and gets ready to leave the city. However Khalil has finally won his internal battle with “Painkiller” and he’s waiting for revenge. BL arrives and tells Khalil not to kill Odell, so he simply shoots him in the liver and leaves.
With both the Markovians and the ASA gone and Freeland finally free, our heroes…go before a government committee and just turn over all the evidence of close to a century’s atrocities to the government that committed them. Not even copies or anything, the whole thing. The government “makes amends” by assuring us that Odell will TOTALLY be prosecuted, and uh…opening a boarding school for metas? For experimenting on and ruining a black community? The head of the committee says everyone will remain seated for security reasons until BL&Family leave, but then we see a man get up and leave – who turns out to be Gravedigger with an image inducer. He’s somehow survived the explosion and looks…satisfied?
The episode has a great run, full of action and emotion, great fights and cool music. It then ends in an extremely underwhelming, though unsurprising, note. Gravedigger lost the battle, but as multiple characters noted, he wasn’t wrong about actions of the US government. BL makes a passionate speech and apparently all we get is the ASA being disbanded, even though just last episode it was explained that the horrors went beyond the ASA. Surely a rogue agency wasn’t going to nuke an entire city on its own. Of course we can’t really expect a TV show to change the world and solve centuries of institutional racism, but they could have done a little more than that. Seems like come next season we’ll just go back to dealing with Tobias Whale’s melodramatic shenanigans like nothing happened.
Black Lightning S3 Finale – Return to the Status Quo Ante
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 6/106/10
Acting - 9.5/109.5/10
Music - 9.5/109.5/10
Production - 9/109/10
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