By Daniel Paiz
The first two seasons of DC’s Black Lightning focused on the Pierce family learning to grow and interact with their powers. In season three, all of the focus has shifted to finding meta-humans in Freeland. This is where ASA agent in charge Percy Odell has quietly become the focal point orchestrating everything. Side note, if you haven’t watched seasons one or two and plan to there are spoilers up until season three, episode three slash four.
Lining up the dominoes
Agent Odell has approached two of the three powered Pierce family members to help fight the impending Markovian invasion. Jefferson Pierce will get to go home after leading an attack, while Jennifer Pierce quickly takes down a data farm. Anissa Pierce is still operating underground as Black Bird and hasn’t been contacted by Odell yet. Each person that has been approached has been offered something in return, although in doing so Odell has all of the control.
Should one of them fail to do so, then Odell does some form of harm to the Pierces. This odd enlistment of powered people as unwilling soldiers has created a character arc for the ASA agent that likely won’t end well. Here’s why this follows other trends for other villains/not hero characters.
Look at Tobias Whale and Painkiller’s directions
Now Tobias is a clear villain, but his current predicament is the result of everything he’s done in Freeland. It doesn’t feel like he’ll be in The Pit for that long; this is because there isn’t another clear-cut bad guy right now. Not enough has been shown of the Markovians to dislike them, and other Tobias accomplices are either dead or unwilling Markovian accomplices.
Also look at the path of Painkiller. He keeps getting reanimated in different ways. His current iteration is that of a super soldier who at some point will have to deal with the atrocities he’s caused. Khalil seems dead, but as Painkiller he is alive and well.
Also how can I forget about Latavious? While Lala is stuck in perpetual reanimation due to his endless paying of sins, he can’t really get anywhere until Tobias has no control over him. Granted Tobias is locked up, but we all know how long that will last.
What happens next?
Now I’m unaware if this show is following any particular comic book story arc. It could be taking the origin story of Black Lightning and running with it, which is working so far. More light needs to be shed on the Markovians so that viewers care more about their impending invasion.
The ASA needs to be investigated further (read: Agent Odell), as well as more revealed about the Masters of Disaster; it’s known that the M.O.D were created by the Markovians, but expansion on this is needed. There are plenty of directions for this show to go, it just needs tighter focus on what happens in Freeland. If Freeland isn’t saved by Odell’s plans, then it’ll be difficult for Black Lightning to continue if suspense and intrigue isn’t down the road. Perhaps at that point, Lightning and Thunder/Black Bird take over.
Side note: Lynn Pierce is going down a dark path and it could be what brings the family back together at the end of season three.