Black Lightning set up a clear conflict early into the season: the Markovian army wants to capture powerful metahumans and turn them into tools for war. The A.S.A. wants to stop them but plans to weaponize the metahumans for themselves in the process. In the middle is the town of Freeland. The ASA has been a persistent threat since episode 1, but the Markovians have appeared maybe twice in 11 episodes. Last week, though, they made themselves known when Markovian agents captured Lynn Pierce and Tobias Whale during her attempt to break out Tobias from the ASA’s detention center. Now, she’s in Markovian hands and the Pierces have to engineer a breakout. Spoilers follow for Black Lightning, season 3, episode 12, “Book of Markovia: Chapter 3: Motherless Id.”
Finally, the Markovian army became a real threat last week. They captured Lynn Pierce, and this week we see her in Markovian custody wearing a shock collar. She’s stuck in a dingy lab alongside Dr. Jace, where the Markovian commander expects her to re-create the metahuman stabilization serum she created for the ASA. Things get off on the right foot when Lynn resists the Markovian commander. He shocks her like a kenneled animal and then reveals to her that he has spies within the ASA; he knows that the ASA engineered her Green Light addiction. The Markovian general calls Agent Odell “the devil on this earth,” which is pretty telling.
Lynn struggles through her withdrawal and eventually gives in, taking another dose of Green Light. She continues to resist her captors, but her addiction is making it hard her to continue. Jace pretends to be sympathetic to Lynn’s plight, but manipulates her into taking the Green Light, while also telling Tobias that the Markovians plan to lobotomize him so that they can use him as a source of meta stabilization.
Meanwhile, in Freeland, the other Pierces have recovered Khalil and have him unconscious in Gambi’s secret lab. Jen is understandably unhappy that she’s the last one to find out Khalil is up and moving around considering that the last time she saw him, Tobias Whale had literally ripped his spine out. TC is trying to figure out how to wake up Khalil without waking up his Painkiller personality while Jen threatens anyone and everyone around her. She has control over her powers, but not over her impulsiveness.
It’s those carbon nanotubes
We learn that Khalil’s chip is a carbon nanotube-based quantum chip. Real-world scientists are just now starting to figure out how to use unpredictable carbon nanotubes to build the most basic processors, so the tech the ASA is working with is a good 20 years ahead of actual technology based on that information. Of course, this is a superhero show, so I’m not actually trying to science this stuff out, but it’s fun to try to figure out where things are. Jen’s tirade is interrupted when Jeff gets a text from Lynn. Jeff and Anissa go to find out what’s happening while TC tries to hack Khalil’s brain. TC fails to pull Khalil out, but Jen goes in with him and has more success. In the process of escaping, though, Khalil is faced with all the things Painkiller did with his body, including killing his own mother.
Khalil tells Jennifer that he can’t be with her after everything he’s done and leaves.
Meanwhile, Jeff and Anissa go to find Lynn. We know she’s not anywhere near her phone, though. When they go to find her, it’s the soldier from last week that I seem to remember the Markovians zapping. The show has made it pretty clear that he isn’t working with the ASA, but the fact that the Markovians didn’t capture an enemy soldier they had stunned seems questionable. He talks Jeff and Anissa into meeting with Major Grey, the beret-wearing soldier that acts as Odell’s second-in-command. They meet up and Jeff makes a deal with Major Grey to keep their friends safe. Jeff wants to go alone, but it’s not long before Jen, Anissa, Gambi, and Grace force their way into the squad.
Just the one action scene
We get the one real moment of action in this episode when Grace and Anissa come to blows over Grace accompanying the team into Markovia. While Grace has struggled with her anxiety, she’s made strides and is feeling more confident. The two fight and we find out that Grace is a skilled martial artist who can go toe-to-toe with Anissa. With the team assembled, we learn that the Markovian capital is Markovburg. That’s a DC Comics thing, so we can’t blame the writers of the show for that silly name. The ASA has one of their own metas going with the team, and programs a kill order for Lynn Pierce in case they can’t recover her.
This episode, like the one before, felt like a lot of pieces being moved around, but not much actually happened. The most exciting moment was the fight between Anissa and Grace. It seems like the next episode is going to be a big showdown between the Markovians and the Free-Lynn justice league, so there should be plenty of action. If that’s the case, I’ll accept two episodes of setup in a row, but they have to make good on that promise. Shows will often make low-budget episodes to allow for bigger setpieces later on. This is hardly a bottle episode, but it’s mostly indoors and is more about people talking than anything else. Also, after all the time spent on Lady Eve and Lala last week, where were they? I want to know what’s going on with Freeland’s criminal enterprises.