The third season of Black Lightning gets an interesting, animated opening sequence, and feels very different from the previous two seasons.
A lot of that has to do with the simple fact that Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is not out on the streets fighting crime, or in the classroom trying to guide his students. He has been locked away, along with his wife Lynn (Christine Adams) in order to keep them safely out of the hands of the Markovians, who are launching their war against the city of Freeland.
I need to interject, this “war” concept bothered me in the previous season, and does so again. We keep hearing about it, but never see anything that resembles a war. And one would think this would be a more national thing. When does one country launch a war against an individual city?
Anyway, with Black Lightning no longer around, and many people believing that he is dead, Thunder (Nafessa Williams) has become the city’s protector. For some reason people are now calling her Blackbird.
Anissa Pierce, who has always been one of the show’s stronger characters, has risen to this challenge. Not only is she Freeland’s hero, but she is also raising her sister, Jennifer (China Anne McClain), who is struggling to get control of her own powers, and still hunting for her shape changing ex-girlfriend, Grace (Chantal Thuy).
On top of this, Anissa begins a new relationship in the season premiere with a reporter, whose name I did not catch clearly. Janissa Olsen I think. Her name seems to riff off the fact that Jimmy Olsen was a supporting character in Blac Lightning’s book back in the 70s. We also meet another character from that run, the Cyclotronic Man, in this episode.
So there is lots of set up, and groundwork laid for this season, but that doesn’t mean the premiere is lacking bite. Right off the top we are treated to images of children who have been separated from their parents, and are being kept in cages. Impossible to watch without thinking of the concentration camps along the southern border of the US. And a minor character from the previous season, Issa Williams (Myles Truitt), who has the ability to make people speak the truth, gets some excellent scenes as well.
As in the previous seasons, Black Lightning maintains a darker and more uncomfortable tone than the other CW hero shows, and that looks likely to continue.