Warning: this review contains full spoilers for Black Lightning Season 3, episode 10. We’re checking in with all the Arrowverse shows this week to see how they’re moving forward from the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, so check out our reviews of Supergirl and Batwoman, and keep an eye out for our reviews of Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow on Tuesday.
When Black Lightning was first announced, the creators touted the show as being an exception amongst the CW’s superhero pantheon — planned as the show to take place in isolation from the larger Arrowverse. After two-and-a-half seasons as the last bastion of standalone superhero storytelling on The CW, the show finally cracked for Crisis on Infinite Earths, where it was acknowledged as another facet of the multiverse and promptly integrated into Earth-Prime to facilitate future team-ups. But in the first post-Crisis episode, the crossover’s conclusion seems to have impacted Black Lightning very little other than making Jefferson appear a smidge crazy.
The episode opens with a post-crisis Jefferson excitedly explaining the multiverse and exclaiming that Superman exists to an incredulous Gambi. Jennifer is revealed to have been affected by Crisis as well; she apparently spent the event holed up in a white room, separated from the main dimension.
Throughout the episode, Jefferson attempts to explain the events of the crossover to other characters, but he’s often brushed off. Watching him slowly lose his initial eagerness to tell the story throughout the episode is quite fun, but only serves to further deflate the value of Crisis to Black Lightning as a whole.
According to Gambi, he didn’t even notice Jefferson and Jennifer’s absence. Although one point of validation occurs early in the episode when Gambi detects antimatter waves on both Jefferson and Jennifer, giving some confirmation they’ve been involved with Crisis.
Rather than having world-shattering effects on the Black Lightning-verse, Crisis seems to have been used to accelerate already present character arcs. Lynn’s addiction to her metahuman drug wholly ramps up this episode. At one point in the episode, Jefferson flushes the drug down the toilet, only for Lynn to respond by attempting to retrieve it. Jefferson shames her for this, to which she retorts that her addiction to the drug is analogous to how Jefferson feels about his heroic work. Frustratingly, this line falls on deaf ears and isn’t brought up in any other part of the episode. It’ll be a waste if this comparison isn’t revisited later.
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The line does assist one interesting theme in the episode: Jefferson’s difficulty in separating his family persona from his superheroic one. While Anissa’s prominence as a leader for those standing against the A.S.A grows, Jefferson expresses his concern for her. She rebuffs his concern, citing it as coming from her father and not his superhero persona. Distinguishing Black Lightning from Jefferson is a very intriguing route that I hope the writers continue working on with stronger story beats in the back half of the season.
Other than that singular line, Anissa’s role in this episode feels quite bland. She performs some amazing stunts, liberates a handful of people captured by the A.S.A, and that’s it, leaving her more of a visual spectacle than an active character this week. Her sister isn’t much better. Jennifer’s “story” is doubling down on her hatred for Odell and promising that she’ll kill him in the near future. At least the A.S.A seems to be ramping up their scary corporation factor by introducing mind-controlling chips, which seem to even scare other A.S.A officers. Perhaps there will be a rebellion that stems from inside the A.S.A?
The most compelling storyline this week comes from Gambi and his new technomancy-capable ward, T.C.. Yet again, Gambi takes in a wayward soul, helping them re-establish themselves, and it’s very sweet to watch. Seeing the two of them bond is delightful, since they have incredible chemistry. (I couldn’t get enough of T.C. ’s confusion as to what an “Italian Hogie” meant in food lingo contrasted by Gambi’s forever avuncular presence.)
Ultimately, Gambi’s plot also seems to be the storyline that utilizes Crisis the most – or at least gives us the first glimpse of how Black Lightning will utilize the Crisis reset. Using his technomancy, T.C. helps Gambi uncover who put a hit on him. It’s none other than the formerly deceased Season 1 villain, Lady Eve. If the reset means a slew of dead characters will be returning, the six episodes left in the season will be an interesting affair. All bets are off. After the Crisis, we haven’t the slightest grasp on what’s been reset and what’s stayed the same.