Tuesday, December 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Black Lightning' - Black Lightning and Thunder Fight Against the ASA in 'The Book of Resistance: Chapter Three'

The CW's Black Lightning - Episode 3.08 "The Book of Resistance: Chapter Three: The Battle of Franklin Terrace"

Black Lightning goes up against the ASA. Meanwhile, Tobias continues to manipulate Lynn.

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 Resistance: Chapter Three: The Battle of Franklin Terrace" was written by Jake Waller and directed by Neema Barnette

The ASA is the oppressive regime occupying Freeland. They present as the only enemy the average citizen actually has to contend with. They don't see the threat from the Markovians. They are just told that it too is lurking and waiting to pounce. The ASA believes it's the patriotic duty of every citizen of Freeland to obey whatever orders they issue. And yet, no one in the leadership structure of this occupation has any consideration for basic human rights. To Commander Williams, it's simply an annoyance that one woman refuses to leave her apartment so that he can turn the building into a training arena. He views that goal as the most beneficial to this war. Of course, the audience operates with the truth that there are Markovian soldiers just outside Freeland. They remain the mysterious threat though. They aren't present in the same ways that the ASA are. The ASA are the ones who are constantly manipulating the information shared with the world. The rest of the country believes Freeland is quarantined because of an infectious outbreak. Gambi and Anissa feel the urgency to get a video out detailing all of the abuses now happening in the city in the name of justice. Everyone who works loyally for the ASA believes they are doing the right thing. Even the soldiers on the ground believe that they are just following orders. And yet, it's important to question those orders when it's clear that potential war crimes may be happening. This section of the government aspires to control the Pierce family as well as every metahuman in the city. They may only be interested in protecting Freeland citizens knowing that they may be the perfect test subjects to create even more potential warriors in this war. Right now, Khalil may be the most prominent metahuman asset that the ASA has in their arsenal. He is an effective and trained soldier as well. Anissa isn't really given a moment to process the fact that he is the man who almost killed her. The gravity and urgency of the situation is too intense for her to let that settle and realize what it may mean. Similarly, it's clear that Lynn only cares about her pills. In the grand scheme of things, she may want choices for the various metahumans. It's not inherently a bad idea if some of them want to enlist and serve their country. The ASA is simply taking that opportunity away from them. Tobias is as well. They need these metahumans to best serve their own interests. It's not even about the unique personalities attached to these abilities. It's simply the skill set that Lynn may be able to genetically transfer to another individual. That may be where all of her research is heading. But she may just be a pawn in the end. A bartering chip to help keep Jefferson in line if he acts out against the ASA. He does so here in a proud moment of defiance and resistance. He can't condone the actions Henderson was willing to take. However, he personally feels motivated to stand up to Commander Williams and fight back after being beaten down too many times during this occupation. It's an action he is proud to take on. But it also highlights how the antagonistic nature of the ASA may only be effective when Agent Odell is the one heading up the threat. When someone else assumes that leadership role, it's mostly just a half-baked concept. It's chilling to see Commander Williams slur metahumans when he is one himself. He can use his abilities to help the ASA achieve its goals. He simply isn't aware of the consequences to Black Lightning's powers in the same way that Jefferson is. That makes their final fight a little anti-climatic. That's unfortunate. This hour really does feel like things are escalating in increasingly interesting ways. However, Jennifer is largely isolated while Lynn is being manipulated too heavily with no real sense of personal agency. Black Lightning and Thunder are powerful symbols of hope in Freeland once more. It's taken awhile for Jefferson to be comfortable with that and all the consequences it may bring. But now, the show has to deliver on just how worse off this occupation can get all while the Markovians ready their next move knowing that their enemy stands divided.