Black Lightning – S3 Ep11 – The Book Of Markovia Chapter 2: Lynn’s Addiction Review

It’s team Black Lightning vs Odell and Painkiller in this week’s crazy episode of Black Lightning!

If I were to give out awards to the Arrowverse shows this season, Black Lightning would most certainly receive one for most improved. This show has rediscovered its grit and it has been quite refreshing to watch. This second chapter in the Book of Markovia not only deals with Lynn’s continuing addiction as the title suggests, it also sets up several other interesting side plots. Let’s recap!

The episode opens with A.S.A. Sgt. Grayle recording a message condemning the organization for their practices. He details their activities for anyone who finds this message in the event that he dies. Grayle did not sign up to hurt innocent lives, especially children.

Meanwhile, Jennifer and Brandon regroup at the Pierce safehouse. They are visited by Jefferson, who questions her and her ally. Jennifer comes clean about working with Odell and the evil deeds he made her do in the name of good. Jefferson is furious that his daughter has killed. Jennifer is firm in her belief that Odell must die. However, Jefferson still disagrees. Before he leaves, he tells Brandon to stay away from his daughter.

In Perdi Country, Anissa reunites with Grace, who has mastered her shifting. Grace returns to Freeland with Anissa, despite the latter’s reservations, when she is called urgently back there by Jefferson.

Meanwhile, Gambi visits Lynn, who is looking more and more depleted, in hopes that she can give him a vial of the stabilization serum. Gambi is desperate to help TC and willing to do whatever it takes to give back a life that he took as a member of A.S.A. Lynn agrees to help on one condition: she requires remote access to the Pit. Gambi grants her access with she is able to contact Grayle.

Grayle meets with Lynn; bringing with him her bag that she dropped when Gambi unwillingly rescued her from the Pit. He tells her that Dr. Blair, in his attempt to recreate her serum, has killed three kids. This prompts Lynn to take action. She along with Grayle’s help plans to extract Tobias from the Pit. Lynn develops a way to temporarily imbue people with known metahuman powers. Using this new serum, tested on Grayle, the two are able to break past the Pit’s security and free Tobias. However, as usually happens when dealing with Whale, he attempts to betray her while they wait for Grayle. Grayle arrives to find an unconscious Tobias as Lynn imbued herself with strength in case of a situation like this. Unfortunately for them, a Markovian suddenly appears and knocks them all out and puts them in the back of a van. The unknown man calls for the teleporter!

At the Pit, Odell (who is revealed to be from Gotham) expresses his disappointment in Major Grey. He berates her for her inability to execute his plans properly. Grey suggest a plan of her own: use chips and meta-stabilization serum via Tobias Whale to set up their army. Odell ultimately approves.

Elsewhere, Devonte meets with LaLa to discuss their continued operations concerning running guns stolen from the ASA. However, LaLa has also discovered a new competing business. He sends his friend to investigate the new competitor: a brothel that is revealed to be run by none other than a resurrected Lady Eve (guest star Jill Scott). The two then go demand an audience with her to confirm it. LaLa attempts to intimidate her into giving her business to him. However, this fails miserably as the enigmatic woman refuses. He gives her forty-eight hours to come to her senses.

Meanwhile, Gambi is able to stabilize TC, who then reveals that Lady Eve was behind the hit on the “tailor’s” life. Gambi assures the young man that Eve is no longer a threat as she has been dead for some time (little does he know!).  An angry Jefferson, having recruited Anissa, arrives and formulates a plan to stop Odell.

The trio of Black Lightning, Thunder, and Gambi are successful in capturing the manipulative ASA director and make him think they plan to torture him. In actuality, they just want him to talk.

At the A.S.A., Major Grey activates Painkiller and orders him to kill the entire Pierce family.

Jennifer, growing impatient, decides she must take action against Odell. Brandon convinces her to bring him along as well. The duo go to Gambi’s where she picks up her suit and Brandon discovers her family’s secrets. They also discover that her family has Odell captured!

Team Black Lightning, using the audio they recorded from Odell’s “torture,” create a realistic hologram to order the A.S.A. out of Freeland. An angry Jennifer arrives, but before she can truly express her frustration at her father for not including her, the ASA attacks! Much to the young vigilante’s horror, she comes face to face with Khalil, whom she did not know was alive. Her family tries to tell her that he is no longer the man she knew, but only a killer. She refuses to accept this and attempts to reason with him while a chaotic battle ensues. As the Pierce family fights Painkiller, the other ASA agents free Odell and escape with him. Jennifer uses her powers to restrain her father and sister as she tries one last time to get through to Khalil. However, once she realizes it is isn’t working, she turns her lightning on him saving her family. They take Khalil’s unconscious body back to Gambi’s for analysis. TC uses his abilities to “talk” to Khalil, who reveals that he loves Jennifer.

This explosive episode of Black Lightning was packed with awesome action, compelling drama, and fantastic reveals! Once again, Bill Duke steals the show as Odell. Glad to see he is still the same manipulative jerk as he was pre-Crisis. In addition, it was great to see Will Catlett’s LaLa and the return of Jill Scott as Lady Eve! I figured that she would return in the flesh after the revelation that she was behind the hit on Gambi. Scott’s performance is stellar! I cannot wait to see where her story goes from here! My only complaint for this hour was the lack of interaction between Lynn and the rest of the family. I would hope that Jefferson, Gambi, and the girls would care about her condition/addiction issue. Hopefully, this is resolved in the near future!

Overall, this was yet another exceptional episode that furthered the plot in an interesting way!

Stay tuned for more recaps & reviews of Black Lightning and the rest of the Arrowverse shows here at Earth-9!

Black Lightning – S3 Ep10 – The Book Of Markovia Chapter One: Blessings And Curses Reborn Review

Black Lightning returns to Freeland after helping to save the Multiverse in this explosive mid-season premiere!

“Blessings and Curses Reborn” is a fitting subtitle for this exciting first chapter of Black Lightning post-Crisis. Blessings come in the form of Jefferson reuniting with his family, but his struggles with them and the occupation are still present. This exciting episode served as a semi-fresh start for Jefferson and Jennifer (as she also found herself in a multiversal situation) as they return home to find a new yet similar reality. In another interesting development, Crisis is only remembered by Jefferson and Jennifer (kind of). The events of this episode continues the overall plot of the season without missing a beat. It’s almost as if the show is ignoring the events of Episode 9, which is quite fascinating. Let’s recap!

Following the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Jefferson returns home to find things are pretty much exactly as they were before he was taken. As he flies overhead, he tries to contact Gambi, but does not receive a response. Despite this, he recaps recent events to him anyway (which also serves as a nice recap for the viewers). He then arrives at Anissa’s apartment and reunites with Jennifer, who reappears on the balcony. Jennifer, having been trapped in her safe space, is now fully committed to the Resistance cause and is eager to find and kill Agent Odell. Jefferson urges her to reconsider as they need to find Anissa, Lynn, and Gambi.

The duo reunites with Gambi first and fill him in on their recent adventure. Gambi laughs it off and reveals he has no memory of them being gone. He does note that there are antimatter particles attached to both of them which he states shouldn’t be possible. With Gambi’s help, the two locate Anissa and Lynn, who are both in dire straits. Jefferson finds Anissa fighting off ASA agents in the tunnels, while Jennifer finds an erratic Lynn desperate to get more Green Light.

Meanwhile, Odell puts into motion the next phase of his plan which involves continued work of the metahuman stabilization (Dr. Blair has taken over) as well as increased monitoring of Jennifer Pierce. After Jennifer’s doesn’t return any of his calls, Odell has Major Grey send Sergeant Grayle and a control chip infused Agent Travis to apprehend her.

Speaking of Jennifer, following her reunion with her mother, she rushes to the aid of Brandon, who suffers a seizure which causes a city-wide earthquake. She is able to calm him down with a little help from Lynn’s meta stabilization serum. The two then briefly chat about their struggles. However, before the conversation could go any further, the two are darted and captured by Grayle and Travis. The duo wakes up to find themselves trapped in the back of an armored vehicle with power dampening collars around their necks. However, this proves only to be a slight obstacle as Jennifer manages to overpower the collars with her abilities. The two break free only to be attacked by Travis, who has been ordered to kill Jennifer, unbeknownst to Grayle. Travis fires several bullets at Jennifer, but they phase right through her. Grayle, having realized Travis was chipped, knocks him out before any more harm can be done.

Elsewhere, following his reunion with Anissa, Jefferson returns home to find a desperate Lynn and realizes she is hooked on a modified Green Light. Lynn is combative and denies being addicted, which saddens Jefferson. In the middle of this crisis, Jefferson gets a call from Henderson about the Resistance’s next mission: preventing a group of meta-kids from being weaponized by the ASA. Pierce suits up and joins the mission, but is visibly concerned for Lynn.

Speaking of the Resistance, while this overall plot is moving forward nicely, it seems in this post-Crisis reality, the relationship between Jefferson and Anissa has regressed slightly. Pre-Crisis, the two finally came to respect one another and their father/daughter relationship grew stronger for it. However, in this new reality, Anissa and Jefferson continue to be at odds with each other over their stances of vigilantism. Ultimately, this was short lived as they came back together following the success of the mission.

Meanwhile, Baron, aka TC, finds his way to Gambi’s and discovers the tailor’s ties to Black Lightning, Thunder, and Lightning. Using his tech abilities, he is able to discover the person behind the assassination attempt on Gambi. It is none other than Lady Eve!!!! The young meta collapses from exhaustion. Gambi assures him that he can help him as the meta is also unstable.
Meanwhile, following their escape, Jennifer and Brandon encounter Odell in his SUV. Jennifer defiantly tells him that their partnership is over. She blasts him, but Odell just chuckles as it is revealed to be a hologram. The manipulative agent assures her that she has made the wrong choice.

Overall, as I have said previously, this season of Black Lightning has been its best in my personal opinion. This episode was a strong return to the core storyline following the events of Crisis. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with all of the characters and resuming the ASA conflict. The action and character interactions were top notch. However, my only negative for this episode was the return to the combative relationship between Jefferson and Anissa. I found this to be a bit exhausting and disappointing after the growth that the two previously came to prior to Crisis. However, this was again set right by the end of the episode. I sincerely hope that this remains the case and their bond is one of the best parts of the show. I also have to mention the fallout between Jennifer and Odell. I found Jennifer’s eagerness to kill him a bit much, but appreciated that she ultimately chose a side. I cannot wait to see where this storyline goes from here now that they are officially at odds. I also really enjoyed the budding mentor-mentee relationship between Gambi and TC. I was shocked to see that Lady Eve was behind Gambi’s “death” and look forward to seeing what this means moving forward. Is Lady Eve alive in this new reality or has she been resurrected?

Stay tuned for more recaps & reviews of each episode of Black Lightning here on Earth-9!

Crisis On Infinite Earths – Pt5 – Legends Of Tomorrow Review

For Ollie

We all knew from the outset that the Monitor had foreseen Oliver’s death and in a bargain Oliver had agreed to sacrifice his life to restore the balance and to save Kara and Barry. This bargain set up the most anticipated crossover in years and the finale did not disappoint. It answered a number of questions besides opening up possibilities. Saving the multiverse meant creating a new beginning and this new beginning has seen earths merge, bad guys become good guys and changes to the team’s families. The team may need time to discover what has changed but what hasn’t is the celebration of friends and family and the continued sacrifice that Oliver made.

The team didn’t have long to grieve before having to deal with a giant Beebo and jewellery robbery. Personally I would have just removed its batteries. However it isn’t long before the Anti-Monitor and his Shadow Hunters are back. Oliver’s sacrifice restored the universe but did not kill the Anti-Monitor. The team split up to tackle the Shadow Hunters. We have a team of substance between Mick, Killer Frost and the newly named Sparkles. This earth isn’t going to be lacking in terms of heroes.   This was the team’s challenge to face. To defeat the Anti-Monitor the geek team devise a shrink bomb which cuts the Anti-Monitor down to size and victory is finally achieved. The Paragons working together to protect Oliver’s legacy.

Although the team won the loss of Oliver is felt widely and the world acknowledges the role that Oliver Queen played and the sacrifice that he made. The dedication to Oliver and the feeling of loss is clear throughout the episode. The round table was a really clever touch with the green arrow seat remaining vacant but still with a seat at the table. The table being round to me has significance and almost an Arthuresque  quality – the circle has no beginning and no end which fits with the infinite universes that they saved. There is no head of the table because the circle means that they are all equal. A truly remarkable symbol of equality.

I really hoped that somehow fate could be changed and Ollie would make it through somehow. But Ollie did succeed in saving his family, his friends and the multiverse. I am intrigued with how this single / new merged world of heroes will play out and what other changes to the world they knew? I guess when they go back to their cities we will see whether everything is as it appears. Has Lex really changed his colours? The teams will now have a new variety of dangers and this opens the possibilities for the evil that they could face going forward. Although this episode is moving Arrow towards its ultimate conclusion I really enjoyed the celebration of family, friendship and the duty that the team feels it has to each other and the multiverse. The circular table of paragons is a symbol of bringing together the best that the world has to offer. Seeing Diggle get his daughter back was a nice touch. Will this change mean that JJ will take a different path to the one we have witnessed? Also seeing Brandon in his super suit again didn’t hurt either as the multiple earths came back. As they defeated what seemed like the impossible all that’s left to say is…..Crisis averted.

Crisis On Infinite Earths – Pt4 – Arrow Review

I’m not even sure where to begin with this. Part 4 completely surpassed my expectations and it’s quite difficult to articulate how it left you feeling. It was television on a cinematic scale.

You’d better suit up
Right from the first scene you really feel that Crisis has cranked up a gear in its conclusion. The opening of the episode shows us Mar Novu on Planet Maltus 10,000 years ago, preparing to travel to the dawn of time, assisted by his wife, Xneen, THE MONITOR (!) and it gave us further insight and context to the origin of the whole story. More to the point, it got your heart racing in anticipation for what was to come.

Following on from where we left off before Christmas, the seven paragons have been left in waiting for months at the Vanishing Point and their desperation and despair translates so well on screen. Completing his training with Jim Corrigan, Oliver joins them with a plan which pushes Barry to the forefront after Oliver gives him a power boost. His friends are all confused. Is he Oliver or isn’t he? He doesn’t really give them much clarity when he tells them he is more than Oliver Queen now … he’s Spectre. Oliver’s transformation and Stephen Amell’s portrayal of his new incarnation is just fantastic. We are left in no doubt that Oliver Queen is gone and this person isn’t him. His new sith-like costume (thank you Ryan Choi for that), his stance and most noticeably, his voice have all transformed giving us an almost other worldly version of him.

The paragons are all sent on a mission which takes them to The Anti Montor where they face the biggest fight of their lives. Each paragon had their moment during the episode. Osric Chau really does continue to shine as Ryan Choi, Melissa Benoist is Supergirl at her best (she has been sensational during this crossover) and Jon Cryer simply dazzles once again as Lex uses the end of the universe to plot and scheme. I have to also add that J’onn totally upped his game and gave us an all new, empowered Martian Manhunter in this episode and we have David Harewood at his very best.

No, I’m Barry Allen
There are several stand out moments in this episode but there’s one which will have excited fans beyond belief. We had heard rumours. We had got our hopes up. We didn’t think it was possible … but this episode connected to the DCEU by giving us Ezra Miller. EZRA MILLER!!!! I unfortunately had this moment spoilt on twitter before watching but in no way did it take anyway any inch of the enjoyment. This was so much fun and broke so much tension by making you smile. It was also really important as Ezra’s version of The Flash has no knowledge of the multiverse previous to meeting this Barry and wouldn’t it be great if that fed into The Flashpoint movie we’re waiting for. They argue over being Barry Allen and admire each other’s suits and this scene was perfection. I can’t believe they actually managed to make it happen.

There was an end and there is a beginning
As they all prepare to fight the shadow demons to get to the Anti Monitor, Oliver shows up again and gives a few cryptic clues which come in very handy. His new green robe and wise words give off immense Yoda vibes! The fight scenes were great and it was a great moment to see Oliver using his new powers. He defeats the Anti Monitor but the exhilaration quickly expires as Oliver meets his fate and the episode ends with the moment we’ve all been dreading – his death. Although we knew it was coming it didn’t make this any easier. As he watches the dawn of the new universe he assures Barry and Sara he is at peace and urges them to carry on, that the new world needs them. Dying is the easy part after all apparently. Stephen Amell … I just can’t. I just wish that Emily Bett was a part of this scene, it was the only thing missing. People may moan that we’ve already seen Oliver die in this crossover, but this was much more deserving for the character and plays out more in the way I had hoped for. You can tell me it’s only a tv show but I feel devastated and for that reason I’m going to end the review here and try to put my thoughts together for the final episode.

The Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover really did deliver everything we had hoped for though and I just can’t see how they will ever be able to top this. An event in television we haven’t seen before and aren’t likely to see again.

Crisis On Infinite Earths – Pt3 – The Flash Review

Even in the darkest times, hope cuts through

Erm ….. WOW!

Part 3 of the crossover was INSANE – starting with a cameo from Ashley Scott as Huntress from the 2002 Birds of Prey series. As the red skies take over New Gotham, she’s trying to contact Oracle and then we see their Earth is the latest to be obliterated.

Seeing as it’s The Flash’s episode of the crossover, Cisco, Ralph, Iris and Frost arrive on the Waverider, as well as Diggle who reacts badly to news that Oliver has been dunked in a Lazarus pit. Ralph is well excited to be included in this crossover and gives us his best classic Robin impression. Thanks to Cisco we discover the remaining paragons – The Flash (Love), Martian Manhunter (Honour) and Ryan Choi (Hunanity). This leads the group of heroes to break off again on separate missions.

Super friends

Kate and Kara have made a firm friendship during the week and it’s quite nice to see some female solidarity. We saw that Kate kept the kryptonite she found at Bruce’s mansion and we learn that this wasn’t for any sinister reason. Phew. They have done a great job with Kate Kane during the crossover and I feel like we’re seeing a very different Batwoman to the one portrayed in her own series. I’ve seen people compare the beginnings of their relationship to Batman and Superman and actually, yes! It’s looking like that’s how it will evolve.

Lian Yu need to come home

Constantine, Mia and Diggle continue the mission to bring back Oliver’s soul. Their journey leads them to an old acquaintance of Constantine and gives us another fun cameo from Tom Ellis as Lucifer. This was a brilliant scene where Lucifer repays a favour and gives them a way to rescue Oliver. They are sent to Purgatory (Lian Yu) and after Oliver has an initial bad reaction to them, he ends up refusing to go home as he knows what he has to do. He’s met by The Spectre who seems to transfer energy to him which takes him to the next stage of his mission. I was left a little bit numb when Oliver died in the first episode and still didn’t know what to do with myself until this moment of hope that his journey isn’t finished yet. I’m excited to see what happens with him now.

Atoms and flashes of lightning

Iris, Ray and Ralph head off in search of Ryan Choi. I think we know where this is heading with Brandon Routh leaving Legends soon and I for one approve as Osric Chau makes a really good first impression. The rest of team Flash meet Pariah and find their way beyond the wall Nash Wells was trying to access. Vibe has his powers forced upon him by The Monitor but they came in very handy. The Flash from Earth-90 has been trapped for the past year in a forcefield, running on a treadmill used to power up the Anti Monitor’s cannon. It’s always great to see John Wesley-Shipp but this time is a much sadder occasion. Black Lightning makes his first appearance in the Arrowverse after being transported and therefore saved from his Earth’s destruction. We’ve waited a long time to see this and I’d say this won’t be the only time we see Black Lightning in this universe as he and The Flash seem to hit it off really well.

Barry’s fate is revealed to be all a panic over nothing. Earth-90 Flash momentarily steals Barry’s speed and gives his life to save everyone. This was a lovely moment as we were given a flashback to his series and a scene of him with Tina.

Destiny

With everyone back on the waverider, they begin to decide what needs to be done next. Harbinger returns infected by The Anti Monitor and takes the seven paragons to the vanishing point, before the rest of our friends are met by the red skies. Lex makes one last dastardly move as he replaces Routh’s Superman as a paragon. Gasp!

With only the seven of them left (and Oliver) the remainder of Crisis is sure to be shocking. It’s just a shame we have a whole month to wait for it.

See you in 2020 people!