Black Lightning: The Book of Occupation: Birth of the Blackbird review S3 E1

Time to finally get started with Season 3 after a lengthy delay. Birth of the Blackbird was a solid kickoff to a season that already greatly upsets the status quo of the series.

For starters, there’s a new comic book style art that pays homage to the source material more so than any other Arrowverse series.

And the two biggest players — Jefferson and Tobias — are in custody as the government has Freeland under quarantine in preparation for the pending Markovian War.

Jefferson struck a deal with Odell to be placed under custody to keep Anissa and Jennifer safe. This seems like a bad idea since Odell has clearly violated some trust with the Pierce family and generally just comes across like the shadiest dude possible.

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And he’s doubled down on the shadiness with the arrival of Commander Carson Williams (Christopher B. Duncan, The Jamie Foxx Show), an OG green light baby with the ability to mimic any meta’s powers. That’s handy. And he quickly asserts his power by threatening Henderson’s job and family if he doesn’t comply. This government occupation doesn’t seem to be working out too well for anyone. 

Then there’s the matter of Odell being super creepy and popping up as Jefferson and Lynn were about to enjoy a little conjugal visit time. Boundaries dude. They’re important. 

While Jefferson is busy being blocked, he’s better than Tobias, who looks like he’s dying. Odell sends Issa to interrogate Tobias for some potential intel on the Markovians and with that wrapped, Odell slips something in Issa’s food to kill him. Again, I’m not sure why Jefferson or Lynn would trust this dude at all.

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At least Anissa is still free and now living up to her Harriet nickname by ferrying captured metas beyond the Freeland borders as Blackbird. I’ve always found it odd that no one in Freeland seems to consider the option that Blackbird and Thunder isn’t the same person. Their build is similar, they both inhale mightily while in action and have the same abilities. It’s not like there’s a ton of superheroes operating in the city. 

Rescuing captured metas and keeping an eye on Jennifer is proving exhausting so Anissa is happy to hook up with a local reporter, Jamilllah Olsen (Adetinpo Thomas), to let off some steam. 

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After being a focal point last season it was nice to see Jennifer in a more supporting role at least for this episode. She mainly stayed behind in operations while Gambi helped Anissa come up with rescue operations. The whole using the image intensifier to make herself look like an Asian girl was an odd choice. Do we bash Jennifer for cultural appropriation? Asking for a friend. 

In her latest rescue effort, Blackbird manages to get the metas that were shacked up at Rev. Holt’s clinic out, but ends up getting caught herself. This could cause some problems especially since it’s now just down to Jennifer and Gambi. And oh yeah, Lala is back. I’m not quite sure what the game plan is for Lala at this point since his main focus had been getting payback on Tobias. With Tobias a dead man walking and Lala completely ineffective the last time they fought it doesn’t seem like he has much of a purpose now.

Birth of the Blackbird definitely set Black Lightning up for an exciting season with some jarring changes from the norm. I like this huge shakeup as it promises to shake the season up in a major way before the formula got too stale. 

Rating: 8 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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