With all their bargains broken, the ASA officially goes on the hunt for the entire Pierce family. As Anissa and Jefferson target Agent Odell, Lynn turns to an unexpected ally to enact her own plan to stop the ASA from turning her young patients into mind-controlled super-soldiers.
Various Outsiders comics. (Characters of TC, Gardner Grayle and Brandon are based on Technocrat, Atomic Knight and Geo- Force)
There's a lot of great character scenes here, but if asked to single out one performance, it has to be China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce for the scenes where she finally opens up to Jefferson and her reactions to Painkiller being alive.
The effects work for TC's powers is nice and subtle.
Sgt. Gardner Grayle, the ASA soldier who helps Lynn, is based on a comic book superhero called the Atomic Knight. First appearing in Strange Adventures #117, the Atomic Knights were a team of heroes who protected a post-apocalyptic wasteland from a tyrant known as the Black Baron. The leader of the Atomic Knights was a man named Gardner Grayle.
Gardner Grayle was later brought into the mainstream DC Universe as one of The Forgotten Heroes and joined the Outsiders for a time following Crisis on Infinite Earths. He had precognitive powers thanks to a connection to the Greek prophetess/goddess Cassandra.
The Arrowverse version of Gardner Grayle is a soldier with a conscience who has begun to question the activities of the ASA. There is no indication of him having natural metahuman abilities and he almost certainly would have been tested for them as an ASA employee.
With this episode, it becomes clear that Brandon is meant to be the Arrowverse version of Prince Brion Markov aka Geo-Force - the earth-bending Markovian prince who was one of the founding members of the Outsiders in the comics. When discussing potential codenames, Brandon suggests "Quakeboy" "Earth Force" and "Geo" to a disinterested Jennifer before dropping the subject.
Using her meta-booster formula, Lynn can temporarily augment normal human cells to transfer to a particular meta-human profile. In short, Lynn can temporarily give an ordinary person superpowers for one hour.
Painkiller is revealed to have the ability to track unique energy signatures once he has seen them once through his goggles. He uses this to locate Black Lightning.
Gambi is able to create a digital simulation of Agent Odell using the biometrics and keywords he recorded during the faked torture session.
Jefferson: So, Brendan-
Brandon: Uh, actually, it's Brandon.
Jefferson: Yeah, whatever. Stay away from my daughter. Understand?
Jennifer: Dad, I told you, we're just friends.
Jefferson: Your mother and I were just friends, too. Brandon? You know what a eunuch is?
Brandon: Yes, sir.
Jefferson: Keep that in mind.
TC: Why are you doing all of this for me? Most white people would've seen me and had a problem, and called the ASA.
Gambi: We all need someone sometime. Nobody gets through this life alone. Right now, I'm just a guy who could help you.
Agent Odell: There's good in the worst of us, and evil in the best of us. When we know this, we're less able to hate our enemies.
Thunder: Did this coward just quote Dr. King to get off the hook?!
Agent Odell: I'm not a coward. I knew the man.
Lynn: You can't run. We have to stick together.
Tobias: Run? Now, why would I do that? I have Black Lightning's wife. I'm not running anywhere. You thought I was your golden goose, Dr. Stewart, but in reality you're mine.
(We see TC in the room with a strapped-down Painkiller. He looks at him curiously and his eyes flash blue as he looks at where the implant in Painkiller's neck is. Cut to outside in the main room of the Sanctum.)
Brandon: Hey, is that your ex in there?
Jennifer: Yeah. (quietly) He was actually gonna kill me.
Anissa: That's because he's not your ex.
Gambi: The ASA rebuilt him. They put a chip in his head so they could control his mind.
Brendan: They can do that?!
Jennifer: You knew Khalil was alive and you didn't tell me. How could you keep something like that from me?
Anissa: Jen, so you can go after somebody who looks like they're your ex-boyfriend, get heartbroken, maybe even killed?
Jennifer: I'll never forgive you for this.
Jefferson: Whoa, wait a minute, let's calm down before we say something we don't mean.
Gambi: Your sister was only trying to protect you.
Jennifer: Why does everyone think I need their protection? I don't, I'm not helpless. If I had known, maybe I could've gotten through to him.
Gambi: Jen. It's not that simple.
Jennifer: So we're not even gonna try?
(TC enters the room from where Painkiller is strapped down.)
TC: Hey. Who's Jen?
Jennifer: That's me.
TC: He loves you.
Jennifer: How do you know that?!
TC: He told me.
The soldier tasked with tracking Jennifer Pierce down in 310 is identified in this episode as Sgt. Gardner Grayle. He was also the soldier who called off the hunt for Lynn when she escaped The Pit in 308. The episode opens with him recording a video about the crimes of the ASA and what to do if he should disappear.
Gardner Grayle was recruited to the ASA from the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Jennifer tells Jefferson about her working with Odell and the ASA and how she blew up a Markovian data farm. She is uncertain that she's killed people, but she thinks it is possible.
Grace is back in Freeland and living in Anissa's apartment. She has better control of her shape-shifting now and thinks her problems stemmed from her abandonment issues and her losing control when her emotions went out of control.
Gambi visits Lynn and notes that she does not look good. If he suspects this is because of Green Light abuse, he says nothing.
Gambi asks Lynn for a dose of her meta stabilization cure for TC. Lynn agrees to give it to him in exchange for his accessing the computers in The Pit.
Agent Odell is revealed to be from Gotham City and has a home there. He dislikes travel and has been greatly annoyed that the ASA's work in Freeland is keeping him away from it.
It is confirmed that the Freeland Resistance is occupying 25% of the city.
Major Grey suggests they begin installing control chips in every stabilized metahuman in The Pit, until they can manufacture more of the stabilization formula. Odell approves of the plan.
Sgt. Grayle returns Lynn's bag to her and informs her that Dr. Blair, the scientist put in charge after she escaped The Pit, has killed 3 children trying to replicate her work. He then offers to help Lynn break Tobias Whale out of The Pit so that they can't make any more of the stabilization formula.
Lala is revealed to still be running The 100's operations in Tobias' absence.
Lala claims to love Freeland and to hate the ASA, but that won't stop him from trying to turn a profit. He warns his henchman Devonte against mixing business with pleasure and taking things personally.
The 100 sells weapons to the Freeland Resistance at double the price.
Devonte says he's found a hacker who can work on The Briefcase, but Lala tells him to hold off on that for now.
Lala sends Devonte to check out a new business on the East Side of Freeland that isn't paying them protection money.
Gambi uses the meta stabilization formula on TC.
Lynn theorizes that she can temporarily give a person metahuman abilities for one hour at a time and tests the process on Sgt. Grayle. It works.
Anissa doesn't like puzzles.
Jefferson asks Anissa to help him with attacking an ASA convoy.
TC shows Gambi the photo of the woman who put out the hit on him. He recognizes her as Lady Eve and thinks it must have taken her hitmen a year to find him since she died two years earlier.
Black Lightning and Thunder ambush Odell's convoy and abduct him.
Gambi's real name is revealed to be Peter Esposito.
Agent Odell was Gambi's mentor when he first joined the ASA. He golfs with the President and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Agent Odell is able to quote the 23rd Psalm from memory.
Jennifer takes Brandon to the Sanctum. He learns that Jefferson, Anissa and Jennifer are Black Lightning, Thunder and Lighting respectively.
Brandon speculates on a codename, suggesting"Geo" or "Earth Force" or "Quakeboy."
Devonte discovers the hot new business on the East Side is a brothel called the Ultimate O. As he is walking around after hiring two girls, pretending to look for a restroom, he films the activities inside on his phone... and stumbles across Lady Eve's office, revealing her as the Madame.
Lady Eve's second in command is a woman named Destiny.
Devonte doesn't recognize Lady Eve but Lala does when Devonte shows him the video later. Lala confirms that Lady Eve was dead but was apparently brought back by Lazarus, as he was.
Jennifer learns that Painkiller is still alive.
The ASA is able to recover Agent Odell. He is apparently sent home to Gotham City.
Black Lightning and Lightning are able to shock Painkiller into submission.
Lynn is able to break Tobias out of The Pit by giving him temporary chameleon powers.
Lala meets with Lady Eve and gives her 48 hours to accept his protection before he kills her and takes her operation anyway.
Lady Eve tells Destiny that they have to play along with Lala for now.
TC talks to Painkiller through his implant and determines that Khalil Payne is still in there somewhere and he loves Jennifer.
Lynn gives herself super-strength to prevent Tobias from being able to attack her and knocks Tobias out.
Markovian soldiers knock out Lynn and Sgt. Grayle at the end of the episode.
Grace was able to gain firmer control of her shape-shifting powers with the help of healers among the Perdi in South Freeland.
The Bottom Line
A solid episode where none of the subplots feel tacked on, even the sudden return of Lala and resurrection of Lady Eve. Virtually all of the ensemble get at least one good moment.