Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 16 - The Book of War: Chapter Three: Liberation

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here


The final battle for Freeland begins, but the ASA is cutting and running, covering their tracks as they flee the city and prepare to drop a nuclear bomb as the Markovians and Gravedigger invade. The city's only hope lies in the unlikely alliance of its superheroes, its criminals and the Freeland Resistance. A new day may dawn for Freeland's metahumans, but not everyone will survive the war.


Various Outsiders and X-Men comics.


It is said that the commission investigating Freeland was created by the US Congress, yet the people overseeing the commission are all judges. This would imply a judicial proceeding rather than a legislative one. (It is possible that judges were brought in to access the legality of the situation, much in the same way that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is brought in to supervise Impeachment proceedings.)

As awesome as the final shot of the episode is, one would think the Pierce Family would be more paranoid than to have Lynn walk away from the hearing with Lightning, Thunder and Black Lightning lest someone put 2 and 2 together.


There's some good moments all around, but the best is the scene between Wayne Brady and China Anne McClain where Jennifer manages to reveal the flaws of Gravedigger's philosophy and the lie behind it with one simple observation and her own sheer stubbornness.


The effects work for the various powers is top-notch, with different takes on Arrowverse standards like sonic screams and heat-vision.


Tony Isabella, the creator of Black Lightning, has a cameo as Judge Isabella; one of the officials overseeing the Congressional investigation into Freeland.


The Markovian invasion strategy is built around a shock-and-awe strike to disrupt the city and secure an exit route, while the elite Markovian Rangers scout the city to locate the metahumans.

Gambi locates Jennifer after she's abducted by searching for her unique energy signature.

Dialogue Triumphs

Gravedigger: (as he's cooking Black Lightning alive with his microwave powers) Nothing to be ashamed of. You fought well.

(Lightning has just woken up in a cell in the Markovian camp.)
Gravedigger: My name is Tyson Sykes. I'm in command here. And the first thing you need to understand is I'm not your enemy.
Lightning: You could've fooled me with the whole kidnapping and invasion thing.
Gravedigger: (laughs, taking on a light, friendly tone) Actions made necessary by the continuing treachery of the US Government. I have been empowered by the nation of Markovia to eastablish an independent metahuman state inside their borders, where metahumans can be free. Live normal lives.
Lightning:  Mmm-hmm. You need to sell that trash somewhere else.
Gravedigger: (still in the light tone) Trash? Little girl... you don't know a damn thing about this country. This country was built by and for rich white men. That's never gonna change.
Lightning: There's been plenty of change. Not enough, sure, but it's disrespectful to the sacrifices of our ancestors to say there's been none.
Gravedigger: Change? (sarcastic, growing harsher as he speaks) Oh, you mean Obama? And Martin Luther King? Well, it seems to me, that Obama was bought and paid for by rich liberals and multinational corporations. And Martin Luther King? Well, he was a coward who lacked the courage to fight for his own freedom!
Lightning: Are you insane? MLK was one of the most courageous people to walk the face of this Earth. Not by fighting, but by purposely putting himself in harm's way. The moral authority of his cause could not be debated.
Gravedigger: (growling) Yeah, they debated that plenty.
Lightning: But he was on the right side of history. "Metas are with you or else?" That's not independence or peace.
Gravedigger: (suddenly angry) Who are you to judge me, huh?! You have been on this planet for the blink of an eye! I am 100 years old!
Lightning: Maybe that's why you're so negative and grouchy.
Gravedigger: I ought to kill you where you stand.
Lightning: So why don't you let me out of here? Try it.
Gravedigger: (scoffs) Maybe later.
Lightning: (sarcastic) Is this moment in Black History over?

(Tobias sits in a chair wearing a Russian-style fur hat, watching Nurse Allen sleep. Nurse Allen wakes up and sees Tobias.)
Good morning, Nurse Judas.
(Nurse Allen goes for the drawer in his bed-side table and grabs at a pistol. He starts shooting at Tobias but the chamber is empty. Tobias chuckles and raises one hand, allowing the bullets to fall into his other hand.)
Tobias: Of course a loser like you is still living at home with his parents in his 40s.
Nurse Allen: Oh my God! What did you do with them?!
Tobias: Your mom will be just fine. As long as you take me to where they're keeping the Markovian metas.
Nurse Allen: What about my father?
Tobias:  Ah yes. The Blackovian. I assure you he died well.

Black Lighting: (as he's shocking Gravedigger and knocking him out.) You have nothing to be ashamed of. You fought well.

(Agent Odell gets in the passenger side of his SUV and sighs. Suddenly, his driver pitches forward, clearly dead. Odell's eyes widen for a moment as he hears a voice from behind him.)
 Now, you didn't really think I was going to let you get away? Not after making me kill my own mother, did you?
Odell: Caveat emptor.
(There is a long pause. Whatever Odell expected to happen... doesn't.)
Khalil: That shutdown only works on Painkiller. I'm Khalil. (undoes the safety on the pistol) We haven't officially met.
(Black Lightning flies down and lands in front of the SUV. He walks around the side and waves a hand at the car. The power windows lower and he regards Khalil.)
 Don't try to stop me.
Black Lightning: No. You're going to stop yourself. Becuase you're smart enough to realize that a bullet to the head is too good for him. He needs to be shackled. Caged. Humiliated. And then die alone.
(Khalil raises the pistol and fires three shots into Odell's back through the car seat. Odelll gasps but doesn't fall forward.)
Black Lightning: 
(Cooly, Khalil gets out of the car and holsters his pistol.)
Khalil: (matter of factly) I shot him through the spleen. Don't need it anyway. He'll be alright. Well, unless he has internal bleeding or gets an infection. And if that's the case, it's God's will.  He's all yours.
(Khalil turns around and walks off. Black Lighting does nothing to stop him.) 


Gravedigger figures out that Lightning is Black Lightning's daughter based on the fact that Jefferson is fighting angrier than he was in their encounter in 313.

Black Lightning tells Gravedigger that they're related and that he knows his half-brother Ben Pierce was his grandfather. This doesn't matter to Gravedigger, who offers Black Lightning only one more chance to surrender.

Gravedigger's new powers include a sonic scream and the ability to emit microwaves.

Jamillah Olsen and her cameraman are killed by Markovian soldiers.

Markovian soldiers abduct Lightning while Black Lightning is distracted.

Sgt. Grayle oversees the transfer of the metahuman teens taking shelter at Garfield High to The Pit, along with Erica Moran.

Agent Odell gives the order for the ASA to evacuate Freeland. He sends Commander Williams to remove all the classified information still within the city and anyone who has classified knowledge. He also sends Major Grey to acquire or destroy Martin Proctor's briefcase.

Gambi begins searching for Jennifer.

TC starts talking to the cameras around Freeland trying to locate Agent Odell.

Gravedigger tries to win Jennifer over by telling her about his plan to develop an independent metahuman state within Markovia. She doesn't believe him.

Gravedigger is 100 years old.

Painkiller fights his way through a Markovian checkpoint and steals an energy weapon sniper rifle.

Lady Eve meets with Major Grey. She tells her that Gambi has the Briefcase in exchange for having her seat back on the Shadow Board.

When Major Grey tells Lady Eve to prepare to relocate to Gotham City, she figures out that means the ASA is planning to destroy Freeland.

Lady Eve is wounded in the fire-fight which follows, but survives long enough to tell Lala and the 100 to go aid the Freeland Resistance in fighting the Markovians.

Tobias Whale is revealed to be alive in Markovia.

Tobias tracked down Michael Allen - the nurse who was a Markovian spy in the ASA - and killed his father.

The ASA has some kind of counter measures which exhaust TC as he tries to work past their computers to look for Odell.

Gambi calls Brandon in to help Black Lightning rescue Jennifer. Since it involves rescuing a friend, Brandon is agreeable to help, regardless of what he said before about sitting out the invasion fight.

Command Williams finds Dr. Jace in Brandon's apartment and kills her.

Lala and a group of 100 members save Chief Henderson, Two-Bits and a group of Freeland Resistance members from being overwhelmed by Markovian soldiers.

Commander Williams tracks Lynn to the lab at The Pit, where she is working on an anti-booster that can remove the extra powers Gravedigger absorbed.

Lynn kills Commander Williams by throwing him into a wall with the super-strength she gave herself by copying Erica Moran's power.

Gravedigger is revealed to have given himself the power to fly.

Gravedigger is addressed as First Citizen by the Markovian forces.

Khalil fights Gravedigger to assert control of his body as he's about to shoot Lightning with the energy weapon he stole. He takes control back.

Gravedigger is able to get past the Resistance forces guarding The Pit, including Erica Moran and Sgt. Grayle, by putting them to sleep with his command power.

Thunder and Grace seal the metahuman kids in a safe room within The Pit.

Gravedigger gets past Grace and Thunder by ordering Grace to kill Thunder with his command power.

A group of Markovian Rangers with weapons that can kill Black Lightning and Lightning are left behind to ambush them.

Chief Henderson attacks the Rangers, being fatally wounded in the process.

Chief Henderson dies with Jeff by his side, with Jeff saying he was his best friend and promising to save Freeland.

Grace is knocked into a coma by Thunder.

TC recovers from being injured by the ASA counter-measures and figures out how to work around it.

Lynn finishes her anti-booster formula and works it into a tranquilizer dart, planning to shoot Gravedigger while Black Lightning distracts him.

Brandon and Lightning combine their powers to create "volcanic lightning" - a lava-like mixture that cuts through the magnetic force-field Gravedigger was using to protect himself.

Gravedigger is able to use his some kind of concussive force-beam vision to beat back Lightning and Brandon.

The self-destruct command word for The Pit is "Rosebud".

Black Lightning is able to knock out Gravedigger once his powers are neutralized.

Black Lightning leaves Gravedigger behind after Gambi alerts him that The Pit is going to explode. He carries Lynn out and they barely fly away in time to escape.

Khalil stops Agent Odell from fleeing Freeland and shoots him in the spleen as revenge for being forced to kill his mother.

Major Grey leads what few ASA troops remain in Freeland in a raid on Gambi's Tailor Shop. They find the Sanctum but are repelled by TC and Gambi. This apparently kills every ASA member who knew that Jefferson Pierce and his children were Black Lightning, Thunder and Lightning.

Grace is said to be in a coma and Lynn is uncertain if she'll ever wake up, as there's no baseline for knowing how fast a shape-shifter can recover from that kind of trauma.

The US Congress launches a special investigation into the ASA and their actions in Freeland.

Tobias watches the Congressional hearings and declares that it is time for him to return home.

The ASA is disbanded thanks to Black Lightning's testimony and the evidence in the ASA briefcase.

Lynn is able to stabilize every Pod Kid and Green Light Baby in Freeland.

Congress approves the funding for a special boarding school devoted to the metahuman kids and helping them adjust.

Agent Odell is said to be detained and will be prosecuted for his actions.

Gravedigger is revealed to have been watching the proceedings, using a digital facial mask similar to the one Gambi uses.

Untelevised Adventures

Most of the fight with Black Lightning and Brandon rescuing Lightning takes place off-camera.

It is unclear how Gravedigger escaped The Pit or if he still has his original superpowers.

The Bottom Line

A solid finale to an excellent season which resolves most of the outstanding storylines and leaves plenty of room to grow into Season 4. While the idea of a metahuman school seems to be taken straight out of X-Men, it will offer a new challenge that fits the theme of the show. Because you know Jefferson Pierce is going to be put in charge of this new Meta Academy. It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

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