What happened to you, Freeland?! You're not the same idealistic town anymore.
The town who once had to deal with Tobias's reign has now become a warzone for the impending Markovian War. And based on the situation on Black Lightning Season 3 Episode 1, the government is taking the fight seriously. They're building an army and fast!
The Pierces should be afraid of this Agent Odell world.
"The Book of Occupation: Chapter One: Birth of Blackbird" provided a time jump after the moment Agent Odell discovered the Pierces' secret identities on Black Lightning Season 2 Episode 16.
Since that conversation, the government and the ASA seized control of the town, placed metahumans into confinement, and dealt with attacks from the Markovians.
Freeland, even while trying to hold some semblance of normalcy, became a different town under military rule. Think of it as a military state, and it will only get worse for our characters.
The change made to Black Lightning's location amped up the tension and drama considerably.
You could feel it from the moment Maryam, Devonte, and Jefferson conducted their interviews within the clinic; the town and characters are scared of the uncertainty.
Jefferson being captured made no sense based on the Black Lightning Season 2 cliffhanger since Agent Odell needed his help.
However, here, he was along with metahumans and Green Light users. Paired that with Jamila's newscast, we got a great introduction to this new reality.
Not only was the opening scene visually stunning with the animated computer screens/AI voice, but it left viewers with an eerie feeling of mystery.
But, the arrival of Commander Carson Williams hammered in the dread that the season premiere wanted us to experience.
Everything about Commander Williams SCREAMS new villain.
He's a metahuman with an overpowered ability. He has a shady past with metahumans/war. He killed Cyclotronic without batting an eyelash. He could've destroyed Deputy Chief Henderson, and he has the same name as my ex. It all adds up!
Commander Williams will stop at nothing for complete control. Between him and Agent Odell, the Markovians don't look too evil.
Commander Williams: Ned? Ned Kreegan?
Ned: I prefer “Cyclotronic.”
Commander Williams: Cyclotronic? [Laughs] That’s funny, Ned. Why all you Metas gotta come up with these corny-a** names for yourselves?
Though, imagine the future battle between Williams with Black Lightning, Thunder, and Lightning! That fight could be one for the records based on his mimic abilities.
Could he even handle Jennifer's powers?!
The one issue with the time jump, on the other hand, was the sharp tonal shift.
Don't get me wrong, the added tension and drama is well-appreciated to shake things up. However, the plot points between where the story left off and now are vastly different.
Black Lightning Season 3 Episode 1 is reminiscent of how iZombie Season 4 Episode 1 progressed.
Both series reinvented themselves in a new post-revelation society (i.e., metahumans being revealed vs. zombies revealed).
In both TV shows, the public became aware of the threat around them, and a military force seized control of the town, placing them in quarantine. A lot of it is similar.
The problem is that Black Lightning didn't build toward this drastic next step for the town.
Agent Odell, as frustrating as he was, worked closely with Lynn to ensure his experiments, and the town was aware of metahumans, but they left Black Lightning and Thunder/Blackbird to fix things.
Going into a full-blown quarantine with an electric barrier after the cliffhanger seems rushed.
In hindsight, Black Lightning Season 2 should've had an episode or two where the looming threat of ASA control seemed like a possibility, even as a B/C-plot.
This move would guarantee a seamless transition and brace the viewers for this new reality instead of time jumping right in.
As mentioned above, the treatment of Jefferson came from completely left-field. Why would Agent Odell throw him into quarantine when he needs Black Lightning's help?
Jefferson explained this away by stating he did it so Anissa and Jennifer wouldn't be investigated, but it only hurts him in the end.
Being confined affected his mind and physical state; he looked terrible in his montage.
Jefferson: Agent Odell, now I only came here because we agreed that my girls, my wife, would be left alone.
Agent Odell: And you made the best decision for you and your family.
Jefferson: Yeah, well, my patience is running thin. Believe me, you don’t want to see me when I lose my patience.
Agent Odell: And I would like to see that … but not now.
What if the Markovians made a big attack? Jefferson is in no shape to fight. This move was poor planning on Odell's part.
With Lynn by his side, hopefully, he gets into a healthier state again.
However, we should be worried about Lynn too! Just because she's powerless doesn't mean Agent Odell won't treat her the same way as a prisoner.
Look at what happened to Issa!
The truth-teller played by the book and did his part to help Odell, but he still got murdered. None of his interrogation usefulness avoided a terrible fate, even though he learned the truth about Odell by accident.
Issa's character deserved better! And since Tobias knows the truth too, could he be next on Odell's hit list?
Agent Odell: Wish I had a choice. Your powers are simple but devastating. The truth is so rare and so dangerous.
[Agent Odell gets up to the door]
Issa: I thought you came here to kill me?
[Agent Odell points to Issa’s food]
Agent Odell: I did.
When Agent Odell finally gets his dose of karma, there will be big applause.
So many people suffered because of his shady motives and moves in Freeland. I hope it's Lynn who does it; she deserves the satisfaction after he took away her Green Light patients and threatened her family.
Anissa also played with fire, but her motives were much nobler.
As Blackbird, she can help people as a vigilante and dish out justice differently than Thunder. Her commandeering the bus full of metahumans might be the most brazen move she's done yet.
Her past fights against criminals have been tough, and she's nearly died before, but the fight this time went against the ASA and their greater aspirations.
There's no way they're going to let 30-ish escaped metahumans slide when considering exacting revenge against her. This escape ruined their plans against the Markovians.
And with the curfew in effect in Freeland, Commander Williams and the ASA will no doubt reprimand the town as punishment for Blackbird's actions.
Let's hope Anissa heals up fast from her rocket blast and returns soon. The town will need help and fast.
Last Thoughts Lightning Round:
Tobias is fading fast in his captivity. Do you think he will die from his increased old age during Black Lightning Season 3?
Jefferson's new ability could come in handy now that more metahumans are flocking to Freeland. Without his suit, he could potentially discover more powers we haven't seen yet.
- Jamila as Anissa's new love interest: real long-term potential or killing time until Grace returns?
Agent Odell: Sorry to interrupt.
Lynn: What the hell is your problem?
Agent Odell: There was a Markovian attack on one of our facilities today. They sent in a strike team and a Meta to take the children.
Jefferson: Well, sounds like a personal problem to me.
Agent Odell: Not really, Mr. Pierce. There is a clear and present Markovian threat, and until that threat is eliminated, we cannot allow you to leave … or you, Dr. Stewart.
Once the girl said her name was "Jennifer," I knew it had to be her in a cloaking disguise. For a moment, the idea of another teen having the same abilities as Jennifer would've been an interesting storyline/friendship to explore.
With Agent Odell's true motives coming to light, this could be the start of cracks forming. Proctor got framed as the scapegoat, so essentially, the president could also turn on Odell if it ever came down to it.
This news would be one implication the White House wouldn't want to be tied to them.
Now, over to you, Black Lightning fans!
What did you think of "The Book of Occupation: Chapter One: Birth of Blackbird"?
Will you miss Issa? Will Agent Odell succeed in his three missions? Can Jefferson and Lynn escape the clutches of the quarantine?
If you missed the latest episode of Black Lightning, you can watch Black Lightning online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.