Out of most of the DC/CW shows, this is the one I always look forward to more than any other. Black Lightning is the most genuine show that gives you real characters, real problems, actual exploration of the city and community they protect. They do everything right which almost seems superficial from the other ‘Arrowverse’ shows. While the past two seasons were for the most part grounded, I’m glad that this is the season where they stretch their legs a bit. Who would have guessed that they would bring the Markovia problem to the live-action universe? This left me very eager to see where we would see more meta activity.
Now before this episode aired, I had some big questions about the direction of this story that we were getting into. I mean, for all the advertisement for this season, they definitely made us feel like we missed some things. Jefferson in the hands of the ASA with his wife? That makes you feel like you feel like maybe you should have watched the season two finale one more time to make sure you saw everything you needed to. I mean, when this episode started, we jumped straight into what was going on within the ASA, and it was one heck of a nightmare. For all the questions you had, it was hard to ignore the reality of what was coming to pass once the ASA got what they wanted in these many metas in Freeland. When everyone was fearing being exposed to the public or the government, this was the kind of situation they were avoiding. I loved the example metas they used to give us a better understanding of the living situation as well. You sympathized with them as much as you did when it came time to show what version of Jefferson we were dealing with within those walls.
From there, again I appreciated the sense of world-building they continue to create within Freeland. They wasted no time at all also showing us the effect that the ASA could have on everyone else with the threat of the Markovians coming to their doorstep. I think what grabbed me more than anything else was at the same time struggling to decide if the worst enemy is actually the foreign invaders. It seemed like the people trying to protect this community were doing just as much harm on their own. Aside from this, the consistent public opinions they threw at us was worth the time from start to finish. These things matter when as I said above, being a hero also means shining a light on the very people you are looking out for.
Getting back to those pesky questions of what has taken place for the Pierce Family, it was good to know that they weren’t going to make us wait too long into the season premiere to get our answers. A small skip in time worked for quickly laying the foundation for the big changes to hit this city, but it mattered just a bit more to understand the thinking behind it all. Especially when it came to keeping Black Lightning of all people locked up and out of the fight. The suspense was strong, and so was the air of darkness that you could shake. I only hope not too much time is spent with Jefferson and Lynn on the sidelines.
Catching up with Anissa and Jennifer, I did wonder what these two were getting themselves into while their parents were with the ASA. We knew ahead of time that Anissa would be taking up the mantle Blackbird with the tactical and technical support of Gambi to keep working as a hero, but the real question there was to what end. Finding that out was exciting because there is a lot more that could either go right or wrong on this end of the story. If she was going up against Markovians that would be one thing, but the way that she and Gambi chose to defy Odell? That’s what you call playing with fire. Regardless, there was no arguing how awesome the Blackbird costume looks or the opportunity to at least get one satisfying action scene from her. As for Jennifer, we don’t see too much of her, but it was at the very least good to know that we weren’t through with the development of her powers and maturity.
I also have to give credit where it is due for the budget they have so far spent very well. As I said, things had the tendency to be pretty grounded for Black Lightning. So it was rare when you would see anyone indulging in anything teched-out outside of the lair. To the same extent I have to say that the animation for the beginning of the episode was a bi improvement from the past two seasons. Even something like that is welcomed because it shows you that they care for making this feel like a superhero show at the core.
Black Lightning “The Book of Occupation: Chapter One: Birth of Blackbird” was without a doubt one of the strongest openings for a season we have gotten so far. They were quick to setting the tone for this season, and not to mention what is now at stake for the survival of this community, the kids locked up, and the metas. You start off feeling like you missed some things, but thankfully they assure us that this is all thought out from Odell’s offer, to seeing the way he runs the ASA facility. Overall, they upped the bar too. Satisfying action scenes, and even better effects.