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    Five Thoughts on Black Lightning‘s “The Book of Occupation: Chapter Three: Agent Odell’s Pipe-Dream”

    By | October 22nd, 2019
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    On part 3 of Black Lightning‘s “Book of Occupation,” Agent Odell took center stage, getting Jefferson, Jennifer, and Khalil to carry out strikes on the Markovians, while torturing Whale for the location of the briefcase. Meanwhile, Lynn was tasked with curing an outbreak of disease at the processing facility.

    1. Everything’s Happening So Fast

    Lynn resolves the outbreak pretty quickly – although she gets pretty “beat” by the experience as well as getting into an argument with Odell – and I wound up completely forgetting if this was even a thing in the episode. Similarly, Grace shows up out of the blue after a lengthy absence, greeting Anissa on the way to her car, and the two quickly rekindle their relationship. I must say, given how glacial this show is, I’m pleasantly surprised how quickly they’re wrapping certain storylines up.

    2. Brandon

    One storyline introduced but now followed up on this week is the arrival of Brandon, a student from another school who’s been bussed into Garfield because of the perimeter put up in the city. He’s told Jennifer can give him an introduction to the school, and she does, but the two begin verbally sparring when it becomes apparent Brandon has some pretty naive views of race relations: it seems she almost delights in recounting the disturbing events that have happened to her to demonstrate structural racism is alive and real today. It may just be a funny one-off scene, or have greater significance later (I guess we’ll know by the end of the season).

    3. New Suit, New Powers

    Odell gives Jefferson a new black-and-yellow costume, a nanosuit that’s contained within a watch and activated by applying ten volts of electricity. I could be snide and joke about how all superheroes must wear nanotech now, so instead I’ll say I love the new suit, it’s much sleeker and far more evocative of the comics’ costume than the older one. It’s certainly streamlined enough that we see Black Lightning flying now, coming in at the Markovians like a meteor instead of hovering around like Iron Man now: we also see Jennifer soaring through the skies this week when Odell entrusts her with her target – boy is Anissa going to feel left out or what?

    4. Mayoral Ambitions

    During the scene where Henderson gets accosted by an old woman over the occupation, his wife mentions mayoral ambitions, indicating we’re getting an even more politically charged storyline this season. I suppose it’s only natural once this occupation is over that Henderson will try to gain more power to really improve Freeland, and to really make it up to those who died, like poor Sgt. King, who dies from the outbreak while in the ASA’s custody. Henderson delivers the cash she had stashed away to her widower himself, so I suppose he’s got at least one vote.

    5. “Melanated”

    Odell tortures Whale by exposing him to UV light for an hour at a time, burning his incredibly sensitive skin. Is it any wonder Whale hates the law and black people? He’s come face-to-face with this man of the law, who’s as manipulative and ruthless as he is, and he’s using his own skin as a weapon against him. Odell genuinely creeps me out: as awful as Whale escaping would be for Jefferson and his family, I’m actually rooting for him to get his revenge now.

    (And no, I didn’t know that was an actual word for dark skin.)

    Bonus thoughts:
    – Why does Jennifer have the key to Anissa’s apartment?
    – Anissa totally killed those ASA agents in self-defense when she tossed that car at their helicopter.
    – The scene where Khalil takes out the Markovians in the safehouse is clearly sped up to demonstrate his new reflexes, and it’s unintentionally hilarious.

    Alright, see you all next week, when we watch how Jefferson’s return home plays out in part four of the “Occupation.”

    //TAGS | Black Lightning

    Christopher Chiu-Tabet

    Chris is a writer from London on the autistic spectrum, who enjoys tweeting and blogging on Medium about his favourite films, TV shows, books, music, games as well as history and religion. He is Lebanese/Chinese, although he can't speak Cantonese or Arabic. He also writes for Nerdy POC.


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