After a season-long occupation, Freeland’s resistance started fighting back last week and hit the ASA hard. There’s still work to do, though, and the team is ready to get to it if only they could start communicating with each other. Beware spoilers for Black Lightning Season 3, Episode 11, “The Book of Markovia: Chapter Two: Lynn’s Addiction.”
“The Book of Markovia: Chapter Two: Lynn’s Addiction”
This week’s episode is a pretty chaotic one. Despite being titled “Lynn’s Addiction,” it doesn’t have much to do with that. Instead, it’s more about Jen’s regret, some clever plans, and setting up some coming conflicts that could go one way or another.
The episode starts with some guy we’ve either never seen or only seen in passing confessing to a camera that he’s unhappy with his place in the ASA. It’s pretty hamfisted, and what soldier in the ASA would ever think that recording his dissent on a digital device was smart? The ASA can hack just about anything and make suits that amplify even the nuclear-powered Jen Pierce. But this introduction is meant to make it easier to trust him when he shows up later in the episode.
Meanwhile, Jen tells her father about her missions for Odell, and the two agree that Odell needs to be stopped, though they disagree on the fundamentals about how to about that. Jen seems to fully grasp the full weight of her decision to blow up the Markovian data center, killing anyone inside. She also seems to understand how Odell manipulated her into that spot. As much as Anissa is the main character of this season, Jen is experiencing the most growth.
Meanwhile, Lynn has the sunken eyes and frantic look of a hardcore addict. Gambi comes to her for a dose of the metahuman stabilizer she made, and she exchanges it for remote access to the Pit. The soldier from before, Graham, shows up to give her back the purse she dropped along with the Green Light drug inside it. We learn that Lynn has figured out how to give people temporary metahuman powers with no major side effects, and that she wants to use that to get Tobias Whale out of the Pit. Letting the wildly dangerous man who has tried to kill her husband and now knows she’s his wife seems to be her best plan for saving the metahuman kids in the ASA’s detainment facilities.
While she and Graham are executing her plan, Jeff and Anissa have one of their own. They capture Agent Odell in an exciting jailbreak scene that has them utterly wrecking the ASA’s vehicles and soldiers. They haul Odell off for questioning and Anissa, Jeff, and Gambi run a clever interrogation on him with the plan of deepfaking official orders. We learn here that Odell is from Gotham City, which is one of the first real connections out of Freeland into the greater DC universe.
Unfortunately, just as it seems like things are going well, Jen shows up. She’s annoyed that her family didn’t tell her they’d caught Odell. Then, the ASA crashes the party, led by Khalil, who can now track Black Lightning’s energy signature through his hi-tech sci-fi goggles. If Jen was frustrated before, she’s downright furious when she finds out her family knew about Khalil–his body, really–being alive. She binds both Jeff and Anissa with her powers while she tries to get Khalil to listen to her, letting the ASA get away with Odell in the process.
This episode also marks the re-entry of Lala, the gangster king of Freeland. Lala has gotten word that there’s a new criminal operation in town. Lala sends one of his lieutenants to check out what turns out to be an ostentatious brothel run by Lady Eve, who died back in season 1. Lazarus Prime has resurrected her the way he did Lala, though. Lala and Lady Eve meet face to face, and Eve acquiesces to Lala. We also learn from Gambi’s hacker pal TC that Lady Eve ordered Gambi’s assassination. Gambi believes her dead, though, which will make for an interesting twist later on.
While Lynn is releasing Tobias, she manages to stay on track and get him out. I wonder again why this episode is called “Lynn’s Addiction.” We see her in rough condition, but her addiction isn’t fueling her decisions; her addiction is not responsible for what happens to her next. Tobias, of course, tries to turn the tables on her, but she gave herself superpowers. While she and Graham are loading a knocked-out Tobias into their truck, though, Markovians show up and zap them both.
This is a pretty chaotic episode and not my favorite of the season by any stretch. There’s a lot I like. Will Catlett’s Lala has the coolest voice in the Arrowverse, and one of the more unique abilities. It’s framed more like a Ghost Rider-style curse than a power. Jen is trying hard to grow, and it’s hard to tell if the show will stick the landing on that. We have all these interesting encounters up in the air, too. Lady Eve, Tobias, and Lala are all dangerous characters in Freeland, and each could potentially put Jeff, his family, and Gambi in danger. The ASA is hurting and getting desperate as Black Lightning and Thunder fight back. The Markovians are finally a real threat now that they have Lynn.
I worry, though, that actual danger posed by the Markovians will be disappointing after all the build up. I also worry that with all of Freeland’s gangsters alive and active, we could see things reset to the status quo of season 1, and that would be a huge setback for the show. The occupation has been so real and powerful that I would hate to see things get back to normal. The occupation should end, of course, but we need to see it change the city in meaningful, long-term ways.
I’m optimistic based on the season so far, but I don’t think my worries are unfounded, either.