I never thought I’d say the sentence “I really enjoyed Wayne Brady as a villain.” But here we are at the end of Black Lightning Season 3. After an explosive finale that ties up a ton of loose ends, I can say that this season was the best yet and that I’m deeply curious to see where things go from here. Spoilers ahead for Black Lightning season 3, episode 16, “Liberation.”
“Book of War: Chapter 3: Liberation”
After a difficult, tumultuous season, the final episode of Black Lightning season 3 has a lot to do: stop Gravedigger and the Markovian invasion, clear the ASA out of town, and give some closure to the whole ordeal.
The episode, impressively, manages to get done most of what it needed to.
Things kick off just where they left off. Black Lightning and Gravedigger have a knock-down-drag-out street fight while Gravedigger’s soldiers take Jen. Jeff doesn’t hesitate to reveal that he and Gravedigger are family. Gravedigger, who has every power now, at first doesn’t believe Jeff, and then simply doesn’t care.
Gravedigger puts Jen in containment in some sort of blue Magneto prison (You know what I mean) and the two discuss the history of black people in America. This is one of those moments where a villain can really hit home. Gravedigger’s feeling are justified even in modern-day America, but he grew up in pre-war America, too. His skepticism is warranted, even if his methods are not.
War in the streets
Meanwhile, the situation out in Freeland is degrading. The Markovian army is roaming the streets while the ASA tries to pull out of the city slash-and-burn style. There’s so much going on here that it’s hardly worth describing. The gangs of Freeland eventually side with the resistance and they call a truce. Khalil, as Painkiller, takes down a squad of Markovian agents and steals their powerful anti-meta sniper rifle to complete his mission of killing the Pierce family.
The Piece family and their closest allies work to protect Freeland’s metahuman population, with Brandon and Jenn and then Grace and Anissa facing Gravedigger, each defeated in their own way; Gravedigger ordering Grace to attack Anissa is especially devastating, though I feel like the show cuts away from it too quickly. Grace, thankfully, isn’t dead at the end of the episode–but she is in a coma. Since this is a show and not real life, I’m going to say that she comes back, though who knows if it’ll be with amnesia or something like that.
While the Pierces are fighting Gravedigger, Gambi is defending his home base from the ASA. They blow up his tailor shop, but the veteran agent proves more than a match for them, and Major Gray, who has been trouble for most of the season, is dead on the floor when Gambi leaves.
Gravedigger goes down
Jeff and Lynn finally defeat Gravedigger together when Jeff manages to keep him distracted long enough for her to get behind him and fire a round of serum that dissolves his artificially-implanted powers. I’m not sure why Gravedigger doesn’t use his mind-control powers on Jeff here. If they’ve proven ineffective, the show didn’t do a good job of conveying why that is. Maybe the powers don’t work on blood-related family members.
Khalil battles Painkiller in one last virtual battle and wins, seemingly for good, and helps deliver Agent Odell to justice. Tobias Whale, meanwhile, has made his way to Markovia (I think?) where he kills… a guy. I’m honestly not sure who the guy is, and the show doesn’t take the time to remind us. This part is a little confusing.
Once the ASA Pit has self-destructed, and everyone is safe, things jump forward to a government tribunal hearing where Lynn, Black Lightning, and others are testifying on the events of the occupation and siege.
This part, admittedly, feels a little too clean. The government disbands the ASA, accepts the briefcase as evidence, and agrees to establish a boarding school of sorts for the many metahuman pod kids. I wonder if they’ll have a wheelchair-bound professor there. It all wraps up too neatly.
Thankfully, we get a last-minute reveal: Gravedigger is alive and well. So now, the Pierces have Tobias, Gravedigger, Lala, and likely still Lady Eve to contend with when next season starts.
There’s a lot of satisfying action throughout this finale, and the ASA/Markovian occupation is wrapped up so that the show can move on. Tobias is planning to reclaim his crown, so you can bet that next season will include a big showdown. Even if it’s imperfect, it’s a solid end to the show’s best season yet.