18th Oct2019

‘Black Lightning 3×02: Maryam’s Tasbih’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, James Remar, Marvin Jones III, Damon Gupton | Developed by Salim Akil


Black Lightning is a whole different series this season as the government agency, the ASA, is now running the city of Freeland and we are no longer watching Black Lightning take down local thugs. The change in tone this season has already made this season have more potential than last year, as all the characters are in unfamiliar territory. Jefferson and Lynn are still in the ASA detention center, a war is coming with Markovia, and a resistance movement is growing throughout Freeland, led by disgruntled citizens and victims of the drug Greenlight. 

The ASA is having a public relations nightmare as children and babies addicted to Greenlight at the ASA detention center are dying, which leaves Commander Williams no choice but to ask for assistance from Lynn. With this request, Lynn and Jefferson are moving on up in their quarters at the facility, gaining a prison cell that looks more like a studio apartment, as their “reward” for helping the ASA. More issues coming to light between Jefferson and Commander Williams as Williams has disdain for meta-humans, but realizes he needs to “play nice” for Lynn to help them.

We get a glimpse into the Markovians training this week as the Markovians’ leader, Colonel Yuri Mosin (Thomas Belgrey), arrives at their base to give a pep talk to the soldiers. Mosin advises the soldiers that this war is the greatest challenge in Markovian history, and they want nothing more than American blood. It’s nice to finally have a “big” villain attached to the mysterious Markovians. Let’s talk for a second about how amazing the name of the Markovians’ base of operations is… Wolfsbane Mountain. I mean that screams a name from the 1980s He-Man toy line and I love it.

Captain Henderson, despite cooperating with the ASA, cannot stop Commander Williams or the government declaring marshal law in Freeland. The commander even goes as far as detaining one of Henderson’s detectives for fear she is a meta-human, an act that does not sit well with Henderson. We all know Henderson will eventually team up with the Lightning crew and this might be the turning point.

Blackbird, aka Anissa, is fully healed after her collision with a rocket last week and has successfully lead the citizens out of Freeland and to an area of the safe zone outside of Freeland, Purdi Farm. Blackbird paid the owners of the farm, Aniya and Terry, for safety and food for the citizens but the owners didn’t realize what they were getting themselves into, which has resulted in tension from everyone. Aniya and Terry do reconcile with Blackbird later in the episode but there are issues and sometime this season, a major conflict between the three will happen.

LaLa is holed up in a hotel in possession of Whale’s coveted briefcase but since he hasn’t heard from Whale in a long time, LaLa decides to reach out to his old friends from the 100 Gang. He offers to lead them in running drugs in the community but is advised a new leader is running the gang. Later on, LaLa sees the 100 fighting over food rations, and begins to chastise his former gang until the new leader of the 100 puts several bullets into LaLa’s chest. Silly man. Doesn’t he know LaLa can’t die? Obviously not, as LaLa resurrects again, scaring the new leader away, and just like that, LaLa is in charge of the 100 again.

Agent Odell shows some humanity this week as he stops by the Pierce household to pay Jennifer a visit. Odell gives Jennifer a cell phone that contains a video message from her parents and then Odell advises Jennifer that he understands this isn’t fair that she can’t see her parents but it’s a “necessity”. Odell promises to help Jennifer if she needs anything as he is only a phone call away. While Odell showing a softer side is nice, it doesn’t take long for him to revert back to his old self as he interrogates the older Pierces about using Jefferson using his powers in the detention center. The ASA will need Jefferson when the Markovians do attack but they also can’t let Jefferson know he truly is the one in power at the center. If he rallies the other captured meta-humans at the center, they will be able to overthrow the ASA without issue.

The big reveal this week is the ASA is actually running a “fight club” with the meta-humans in order to train them as soldiers. Their first “successful” soldier is the formerly dead Khalil/Painkiller and he is their secret weapon against the Resistance and the Markovians. Painkiller has no memory of his past life, which is convenient/useful as his first target is the leader of the Resistance, his own mother! Painkiller succeeds in his objective and the episode ends with him draining the energy out of her. I usually don’t like dead characters being resurrected but this has a lot of potential.

One Good Thing:

  • The Impact on Freeland. In the first two episodes, the writers have done a good job showcasing the impact that isolation has on not just the main cast but all the citizens of Freeland. A resistance is growing, and growing fast after the ASA orders marshal law, which just adds to the volatile situation in the city. Eventually the ASA, Team Lightning, the Markovians, and the Resistance will all clash, and it should be fun to watch.

One Bad Thing:

  • Nothing. This was a strong episode that provided nothing insulting to the audience.

This Episode’s Grade: B+ (Very Good)

This episode expanded on the season premiere episode and moved the storyline forward with good results. Each character seems more defined this week and the blueprint is there for where the writers want to take this season. It’s only two episodes in but the threat of the Markovians invading and the ASA taking over the city has renewed this series and the show feels completely different than the first two seasons. It’s a “soft” reboot that needed to happen after the difficult second season.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here. Jason also reviews the new series, Batwoman, right here!

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