I’m having so much fun watching Black Lightning this year. The occupation-and-resistance storyline has stayed strong thus far, and given me more than enough to chew on as a viewer. It’s easily tied with Arrow for my favorite Arrowverse show right now, which is not a sentence I ever thought I’d say. Spoilers follow for Black Lightning, Season 3, Episode 8, “Battle of Franklin Terrace.”
“Battle of Franklin Terrace”
After a long occupation, last week marked Black Lightning’s entry into the Freeland resistance. Though Jefferson Pierce and Chief Henderson disagreed about their methods, they agreed on a mutual need for Freeland to push back against the occupation by the ASA.
The bulk of the episode this week centers on that idea. The ASA has decided to take up residence in a Freeland apartment building; this one just happens to be the one Jefferson grew up in and that his elementary school teacher, Ms. Shepard, lives there and refuses to leave. Jefferson tries to go the peaceful route here, trying to talk Ms. Shepard into leaving behind objects in an effort to save her life, but Shepard walks her former student through the history of Franklin Terrace. She shows him just from her apartment window where she and other activists protested segregation in Freeland and the place where she met President Barack Obama.
For Ms. Shepard, the place isn’t just a place, but a living thing with a history that the ASA is trying to quash. Ms. Shepard’s speech inspires Jefferson, and it’s only a few seconds before Black Lightning is blasting through the Franklin Terrace front door and making himself a metahuman barrier between the building and the ASA.
A fight to remember
The fight that ensues is one of the best of the season so far. While Black Lightning battles out front, Anissa has suited up as Thunder once again, ditching the voice-changing mask and black hood of Blackbird. After saving Black Lightning’s back, she heads into the building where she encounters the brainwashed Khalil out on his mission to eliminate Black Lightning. Only this time, Anissa is prepared – and better armored. She fights Khalil and wins, but not before she wrecks his Cool Military Shades and forces him to take them off. She immediately recognizes him, and then, before he can strike, blows him out the window with a Thunderclap.
The resistance shows up as well to clean up after Black Lightning’s epic battle with the ASA.
Meanwhile, Gambi manages to get a signal out of Freeland using an old radio tower and some help from a technopathic metahuman. The landscape of the occupation will probably change quickly next week now that Black Lightning is fighting and the word is (theoretically) out about the ASA and Freeland.
Lynn and Jennifer both have minimal screentime this week, but we do get to see how far gone Lynn is with her Greenlight addiction and how Jennifer and Brandon’s powers complement/nullify each other.
The episode feels tight, cohesive, and the feeling is powerful. Just thinking back on the episode and the big battle gets me excited and has me tempted to go re-watch it.