Tuesday, October 22, 2019

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Agent Odell Tasks the Pierce Family with Major Missions in 'The Book of Occupation: Chapter Three'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 3.03 "The Book of Occupation: Chapter Three: Agent Odell's Pipe-Dream"

When Lynn learns that Jefferson brokered a deal with Agent Odell without consulting her first, it begins to put a strain on their relationship. Anissa and Grace have an emotional encounter.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Black Lightning.

"The Book of Occupation: Chapter Three: Agent Odell's Pipe-Dream" was written by Pat Charles and directed by Benny Boom

After being sidelined in the first two episodes of the season, Black Lightning is finally back in on the action. He arrives with a suit upgrade as well. It's not courtesy of Gambi though. Instead, Agent Odell gives Jefferson the new version of the suit fueled by technology. It comes in the form of a watch that can only activate when paired with his powers. It's special and cool. Jefferson is back in the field making a difference. Agent Odell plays to that. He knows that Jefferson Pierce enjoys being the hero. He has been confined for over a month now. The Pierce family have been better off than all of the other metas in Freeland. The rest of them are treated like test experiments and pawns that can be used to fight a war. Everything revolves around those with abilities. The government is trying to control them while a rogue nation lurks just beyond the borders. Agent Odell sees himself as a hero protecting the innocent. But he also tortures Tobias to get information. He kills people when they no longer serve his interests. He is a lethal and intimidating player in this world. He knows exactly how to coerce people into doing what he wants as well. He orchestrated an entire mission around his agents being captured just so Black Lightning can fly in and serve as powerful support in this war with the Markovians. It doesn't seem like they gained much from that maneuver. It just proves that Odell is playing things far more calculating than anyone else in this world. He has Jefferson and Jennifer distracted with missions through manipulating their emotions while Painkiller is doing the true work. That's what Agent Odell is hoping to achieve through all of this. He presents himself as a man of his word. He promises to free Jefferson and Lynn from their captivity should they help him right now. He makes it seem like an urgent threat. Lynn needs to prioritize finding a cure for a mysterious illness that is spreading amongst the metas in the detention camp. Meanwhile, Jefferson is the only meta powerful enough to fight a battle with these deadly enemies. Because Jefferson and Lynn are willing to do that, they are home with Jennifer and Anissa again by the end of the hour. That is rewarding. The Pierce family is reunited. But again, they have operated with a fair amount of privilege in this world. Henderson is the one dealing with the ugly realities of being the public face of all this suffering. He isn't the one making the decisions to oppress the citizens of Freeland. However, he is the person they can confront about the abuses. He knows that none of this is good or functional. It's all a reflection of his leadership though. He hasn't protected his city. Instead, the military has rolled in and occupied the place. Martial law has been enacted. Henderson may only be able to make a difference in small ways like ensuring the family of a detective who dies from the meta disease is taken care of. That's a significant gesture that makes it seem like he is doing something to fix a broken world. Everyone should be focused on that right now. The ASA treats Blackbird as a fugitive that must be captured. It makes it only more dangerous that Anissa is fighting back to help the people who need it the most in this world. She finds Grace along the way too. Their connection is allowed to be more personal again with Anissa accepting Grace for her shapeshifting powers she doesn't have under control. This world is full of rising threats that could emerge and prove destructive at any moment in time. And yet, the occupation is already in full swing. People have to be willing to fight back right now. As soon as this becomes a comfortable and acceptable life to live, then the illusion will fully be complete and the government can continue manipulating the most vulnerable in order to create deadly weapons. That's the long game Agent Odell is essentially playing. He isn't driven by a sole motivation like Tobias. He has the patience and awareness to know that things may always turn around in his favor so long as he continues to know how to read people and use their emotions to his advantage.