Whether it's the ASA, the Markovians or the criminals controlling the streets, Freeland has turned into a warzone.
The battle for metahuman supremacy has overrun the majority of plots for Black Lightning Season 3. Two dominant forces are attacking each other from both sides, but the remaining players (which include our much-loved heroes) are stuck in the middle trying to keep the town from imploding.
The action has ramped up, the superheroes are in full force, and the villains have escalated their torment. Black Lightning has taken things up a notch!
So, we're taking a look back on the season so far to assess everything that's working and not working.
Does the new villainous threat measure up to villains of the past? Are the couples still working in our eyes? Who is the most improved character by far?
Check out the full report below.
Best Storyline: Jennifer's Superhero Arc
Jennifer's journey toward becoming the rebellious and spunky "Lightning" has been a bumpy road during Black Lightning's first two seasons. There were a lot of growing pains as she both rejected her powers and dealt with learning to harness them.
Those troubles seem to have passed as the Jennifer we've seen so far during Black Lightning Season 3A has embraced her electric side.
Lightning assumed her new position (in full costume glory) and made it her mission to do good for the people of Freeland.
But, what makes her storyline even more impactful are the conflicting purposes Jennifer has had to face: (1) side with Agent Odell to fight the Markovians and give back control to the ASA/Freeland, or (2) side with the Insurgency to stop the ASA and gain back control for Freeland.
This storyline has been a positive force for Jennifer's character development. It's helped her to face all the concerns she's debated these last few years and she emerges as a stronger character because of it.
Worst Storyline: Lynn's Green Light Addiction
In contrast to Jennifer's rise, Lynn's storyline with the ASA has negatively impacted her character. Seriously, how much worse can things get for her?
Lynn's pride and determination for scientific research has always been a blessing and a curse. She's been on the forefront making sure that the metahumans are protected, but once Agent Odell got her hooked on Green Light, all of her negative traits were heightened.
Lynn has lashed out at her family, she's pushed everyone away, and she's surrounded herself only with work. But to make matters worse, Lynn made moves that were not only harmful to her but everyone around her.
Lynn's addiction has brought out the worse in her. It's exhausting much of the time when she makes terrible decisions or acts spitefully to Jefferson.
Best Villain: Agent Odell
We always had a feeling that Agent Odell was a bad guy. His pursuit of power and control over metahumans wasn't a secret, but with the looming threat of The Markovians, he put his plan into action to achieve his dreams.
From his cold monotone approach to his conflicting actions, Agent Odell embraced his villainous (maybe even anti-hero?) position for his ideals.
Odell is the villain you love-to-hate. And, compared to where Tobias went wrong, Odell is getting the job done!
Say what you will about him, but he's controlling the town, eliminating his threats, and thinking ahead to make strong power moves. He's dominating the top spot as the best villain in town.
Worst Villain: The Markovians
Are The Markovians even a threat at this point?!
The barrier around Freeland has kept them out from attacking the town, so their threat level is minimal. Plus, in the few moments Black Lightning, Blackbird/Thunder, and Lightning came into contact with them, the trio easily defeated their troops.
At this point, Agent Odell's warnings of this impending war and "undefeatable force" seem to be just rumors. The bigger enemies are hiding within the town.
The hype and momentum built up for this dangerous force have been squandered. Let's hope they'll do something during Black Lightning Season 3B.
Most Improved Character: Jenn
Jennifer Pierce is a breath of fresh air that has matured into an even better character. Sure, some of her reckless traits pop out now and again, but overall, Jennifer has grown so much!
As discussed above regarding her superhero arc, this new Freeland has taught Jennifer the importance of being a hero and what it means to do good. Her actions have primarily focused on the greater good instead of benefitting herself. And before she jumps into a selfish decision, she's having real debates about what to do.
The growing pains have paid out in dividends and brought her character to a positive point. This is the Jennifer we've been waiting for seasons to see.
There's still room to grow, but it's looking like it's a path that's going onwards and upwards.
Character That Needs Improvement: Anissa
Claiming the award for the second year in a row, Anissa needs to take some self-reflection time and work on herself.
Making Blackbird her primary alter-ego during the occupation has heightened all of Anissa's bad traits. She's become more direct, prideful, she disrespects her parents, and she justifies every one of her actions as a necessity for the resistance. Blackbird has little-to-no ethical restrictions.
In addition to that, Anissa (as herself) continues to make hypocritical decisions. She continues to satisfy her wants and needs while preaching about independence and transparency for the truth.
If that were the case, wouldn't she have been open and honest with Grace? Jefferson? Jennifer?!
Anissa deserves the best, but she needs an epiphany or something to wake her up.
Best Twist: Black Lightning Joining The Resistance
For much of Black Lightning Season 3A, Jefferson tried to keep the peace with the ASA for the benefit of his family and Freeland. So, he stayed as a quarantined prisoner and kept a low profile to avoid drama.
The Black Lightning who would stand up for justice and fight the opposition became more like a flicker than a spark.
When Jefferson finally took a stand and fought alongside Henderson against the ASA, a huge cheer rang out! Jefferson spent weeks sitting back playing the mediator and peacekeeper; letting everyone fight around him as the town descended into more chaos.
Now, he's part of the action and can move the plot forward.
Worst Twist: Anissa Not Telling Anyone About Her Sickness
What was Anissa thinking?! Her omission might be one of the dumbest decisions she ever made.
After fighting Painkiller and getting infected by the toxin, she chose to keep the news a secret instead of telling her family members. You know, the scientist (Lynn) or the tech genius (Gambi) who could've helped cure the poison. Instead, she sat on it and worked to find a solution by herself until her family saved her.
Not only was this a baffling move, but her choice contradicted everything she had just told Grace about being open and honest with each other.
This twist was a heavy-handed plot convenience, especially after the group lost Tavon due to the toxin. Why wouldn't she seek help after that situation?
Most Shocking Death: Nichelle Payne
Nichelle's death came from left-field! With everything going on in Freeland, Agent Odell's assassination test with Painkiller was a heartbreaking and petty move.
Her final moments could best be described in two stages: (1) the happiness of seeing her son alive again, and (2) the heartbreak/fear when she realized her son became a monster and planned to kill her.
Agent Odell found the perfect way to test Painkiller's consciousness. Unfortunately, that test meant we lost Nichelle in the process. Overall, a very cruel and shocking scene.
If Painkiller ever gets his memories back, he'll turn on Agent Odell in a heartbeat.
Death That Didn't Need To Happen: Tavon
Tavon's death could've easily been avoided had Jefferson left good enough alone.
Tavon was free outside of the barrier; he didn't need to return to Freeland!
The entire plot of bringing Tavon back to town to be with his parents was a dangerous and messy move that would only cause trouble. Anissa swore up and down why it was a bad decision for her life and Tavon's. Jefferson gets all the blame for this blunder.
Tavon would still be alive if they would've realized how better it was for him to be away from the dangers in Freeland.
"WTF Just Happened?" Award: Lynn Giving Tobias The Metahuman Database
Lynn's decision here could be blamed on her Green Light addiction, but this move stemmed from a lot of poor judgment.
Seriously, Tobias is a supervillain and criminal mastermind! Of course, he's going to use the metahuman database to further his own goals once he's freed from his confinement. (And you know he will, especially since he's been kept alive all this time.)
Lynn put a lot of lives in danger because of her paranoia. Tobias manipulated her and preyed on her fears with such ease; Lynn had no idea she was a puppet.
Her handing over the information should've been a wake-up call for her. Instead, it's another baffling development to add to the list.
Messiest Introduction: Black Lightning Joining The Multiverse
Black Lightning joining the Arrowverse/Multiverse has been long overdue. As more shows entered the multiverse (Supergirl, Batwoman, The Flash, etc.), Black Lightning seemed to be a separate world, even though most fans hoped they would join.
During Black Lightning Season 3 Episode 9, the series officially entered the Arrowverse. However, the introduction didn't start or land on a great note.
The timelines of Jenn's Earth-1 and Earth-2 doppelgangers didn't align with the timelines featured in the other series. And, if Black Lightning fans weren't familiar with the Multiverse/Arrowverse, they wouldn't understand what was going on. Black Lightning didn't give enough of an introduction to the expanding universe.
If Black Lightning had tackled this introduction one or two seasons ago, the connection would've been ironed out by now. Instead, the series seems like it's just headfirst in and will catch up later.
Continue It: Anissa & Grace Working On Their Relationship
Grace and Anissa are finally trying to make it work! After their on-again, off-again relationship, them deciding to make it official and be honest with one another was a pleasant development.
The pair love each other and have gone through many hurdles to get to this point. The journey must mean something for the future of their pairing.
Black Lightning should continue repairing this bond so that they'll be stronger than ever. Let this be a ship that lasts!
Wait And See: Brandon's Revenge Against Dr. Jace
Black Lightning is building up a revenge storyline where Brandon wants to use his powers to kill Dr. Jace for everything she did to his family. He has solid reasons for wanting to take down the evil doctor.
Though, with Dr. Jace outside of the barrier with The Markovians, we don't know how long this storyline will be stretched out until they come face-to-face.
Will Brandon get his revenge? Will he choose a path of good and forgiveness? Or, will Dr. Jace get to him first and kill him?
We'll have to see how this develops.
Stop It: Lynn Pushing Jefferson Away
Lynn needs to get her act together. As mentioned above, her addiction storyline has made her agitated and caused her to lash out at everyone. Mostly, her target has become Jefferson.
Their reconciliation is on thin ice because Lynn is resenting everything about Jefferson. Every scene they're in together descends into one argument or another. What love and happiness they did have is almost non-existent.
Lynn and Jefferson were such a tight pair! They need to get back together and one the same page.
First, Lynn needs to get clean so that she can think clearly. Unless she's willing to do that and be honest with Jefferson, things will only get worse between them.
Black Lightning Season 3A has bounced back by establishing a thrilling new world for their characters. The season hit a few bumps and lagged with filler plots to drag out the ASA occupation. And certain characters turned for the worse.
However, the characters continued to grow in the background and now the plot has moved into internal strife within the barrier. The momentum looks to be going up from here!
What do you think of our report card? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Black Lightning returns Monday, January 20 at 9/8c on The CW.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.