As “Black Lightning” officially joins the Arrowverse, the scopes get bigger and the stakes get higher.
Spoiler Level: High
Season 2 ended with Agent Odell announcing that war was coming to Freeland. Season 3 opens with a bitter twist: Before war comes, the ASA has declared martial law over the city of Freeland “for their own protection”. Many metas -including Black Lightning himself- are detained at a government black site.
With the crime lord Tobias Whale detained and the ASA in charge, there is a superficial “peace” in the city. However it’s only skin-deep, the ASA is kidnapping people and suppressing any dissent. Anissa has traded her heroic Thunder persona for Blackbird, and she’s graduated from Robin Hood’ing criminals to assaulting government positions in order to free people who were taken without due process.
Tensions rise in the Pierce family as Lynn secretly works with the ASA, and Jefferson secretly works with the ASA, and Jennifer…uh…also secretly works with the ASA. Anissa becomes a symbol of resistance and freedom but she has trouble convincing her father to fight for the people. Jefferson finally relents after events continue to climb; including him being severely beaten in his civilian persona by ASA agents in front of his students, causing great uproar. In “The Battle of Franklin Terrace”, Black Lightning and Blackbird/Thunder -assisted by Police Chief Henderson – openly battle ASA soldiers in the streets.
Just as the Resistance is winning, Jennifer’s powers flare and break the dimensional barriers. She sees alternate versions of herself and realizes she needs to take control of her life. Just then a wave of antimatter appears and destroys the entire planet, except for her and Jefferson – who’s plucked out of his own show and dropped into “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, the Arrowverse’s biggest ever crossover.
After Crisis reboots reality, “Black Lightning” now exists on the same planet as the other shows, though other than Jefferson fanboying over Superman it doesn’t affect much. The Markovians finally show themselves and kidnap Lynn so she can stabilize their metas. Black Lightning ends up creating his team of “Outsiders” and invades Markovia to free her. There they fight Gravedigger, an American meta.
The penultimate episode reveals Gravedigger’s identity: He’s the original meta, created by US experiments during WWII. After the war, instead of continuing to serve the country that mistreated him for being black, he defected to Markovia. He’s also Jefferson’s great uncle, because why not! Sick of the US arresting and experimenting on his people -both black people AND metas- he decides to take the war to Freeland to free them, whether they want it or not. The heroes mean to stop him, but even they admit he’s not exactly the bad guy here…especially with the US set to nuke the city rather than let Gravedigger recruit more metas.
Season 3 of “Black Lightning” is incredibly packed compared to the previous two-seasons, so much so that this review had to skip several big plotlines for length. Jefferson Pierce is definitely an “Arrowverse” protagonist, seen from his incredible chemistry with the other heroes during Crisis, but he feels awkward in a show that is much grittier than the rest. Going into the finale, the new antagonist is a lot more sympathetic than previous ones yet also one-shotted Jennifer, the strongest member of the team, leaving us on the edge of our seats to see what Black Lightning will do to save Freeland this time.
Black Lightning – Season 3 : A City At War
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Acting - 9.5/109.5/10
Music - 9/109/10
Production - 7.5/107.5/10
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