Things are coming to a head with the ASA’s occupation of Freeland. They’ve been thugs, throwing their weight around, acting like the worst examples of authoritarian figures I can think of. I don’t think they quite stooped to randomly shooting people in the streets, but they’ve done just about everything else wrong you can. Freeland’s most famous resident has been avoiding taking sides, but you can only do that so long if you have a conscience. Things get turned up a few notches in “The Book of Occupation: Chapter Three: The Battle of Franklin Terrace.”
The first scene is Tobias Whale, going through one of the computer interviews we’ve seen before at the Pit. He seems more amused than intimidated by the interview, and, as usual, thinks he has an angle. This ends with Jefferson starting awake, so it may have just been a nightmare. Shaken, Pierce tries to call his wife, but she’s not answering, which isn’t surprising considering their relationship is on the downswing again. Down in the Grotto, Gambi is testing Anissa, who seems to have largely recovered from her run-in with Painkiller. Gambi gives her some good advice that she immediately admits she’s going to ignore. He’s managed to hack into the ASA enough to find out how they’re getting away with at least some of what they are in Freeland, and I have to admit, it’s a great cover story. The graphics we see also confirm that Freeland is in Georgia. Gambi is working on a plan to get the Resistance’s message out past the ASA’s firewalls and blockades, and Anissa thinks she can help with that.
Still shaken by what she learned last episode, Lynn is trying to find out more about Khalil, and where the ASA is keeping him. She hurriedly hides her search when Tobias is brought back for more testing. He makes more of his sneering, irritating comments, and, as the conversation goes on, gives some grudging respect to his arch-enemy Black Lightning. Somehow, the captive crimelord knows more about what the ASA is up to than Lynn does, and warns her about what’s coming. At Brandon’s place, the awkward team up/courtship continues between him and Jennifer. They theorize about their powers, and Jennifer recklessly puts some of the ideas to the test.
At the Resistance’s pirate radio station, Jamiliah Olsen concludes another broadcast, and then gets a visitor. Blackbird sees how the reporter would feel about reaching a wider audience. Excited, the two make plans and do some research. A quiet few moments in the kitchen get interrupted for Jefferson when Henderson comes in. The two argue once again about their approaches to dealing with the ASA, and I still think Jefferson is being ridiculous, star of the show or not. Henderson abandons the argument for now to bring news about someone they’ve both known a long time, and how the ASA is worse under Williams than it was under Gray, who Black Lightning put out of action last episode.
Sharing some recreational activities the Pierce parents wouldn’t approve of, Brandon tells Jennifer about some of his past. Not buying into everything, Jennifer lies about the origin of her powers. She offers him something he really wants and enjoys his surprise. Pierce and Henderson get to the building where their friend is in danger, and Pierce has another snarling argument with Williams. Going inside, we finally get to see who the two men are concerned about, and she’s far from a stereotype on any level. Jefferson tries to talk her out of the course she’s chosen, but the woman has made up her mind and isn’t listening. Finally acknowledging there’s no more time to be on the sidelines, Jefferson calls Henderson, and then changes clothes to go meet the ASA thugs that are about to break in. Black Lightning makes a dramatic entrance to the scene.
Gambi and Anissa are working on the next step of their programming plot when they hear the radio chatter about Black Lightning takin a stand. Gambi doesn’t even try and stop her from going to help, but he does suggest a different wardrobe than she’s been wearing of late. The ASA prepares to attack Black Lightning, with Gardener Grayle once again voicing moral qualms, even though it appeared he was mauled to death by Grace-as-Leopard last episode. The ASA’s plan is fairly simple, and Black Lightning really should have seen it coming, but fortunately, Thunder makes a timely arrival and backs him up. The Resistance also shows up to help, mostly masked, although Henderson for some reason isn’t wearing one.
While things get more violent at the titular apartment building, Gambi has his own mission. There’s yet another abandoned building that somehow has power, and Gambi finds what he needs, and then a few other things as well. Snooping around on her own, Lynn makes a shocking discovery that backs up at least some of Tobias’ wild claims. She goes back to the prisoner, who, of course, has a plan, but it involves Lynn doing more things she’s not comfortable with. Brandon is not at all happy with what Jennifer has to tell him, and we see another facet of his powers that scares even overconfident Jennifer. She does manage to help talk him through his crisis when he recovers a bit.
Gambi’s task gets even odder as a new ally tells him about some side effects of his abilities. The newcomer helps Gambi do what he needs to, won over by Gambi’s sincerity about how bad the ASA is. Thunder patrols the building and runs into an old foe. They fight, and it’s a well-done blend of skill and powers. Our hero makes a surprising discovery just before she hurls her opponent away. While Williams prepares for direct action, Gambi and company manage to succeed in their task, which should affect a lot of things for the ASA.
Mission accomplished, Gambi returns to the Grotto for some reading and research, looking concerned at what he finds. His night gets interrupted yet again when more alarms go off, and his hacked connection to the ASA tells him Lynn’s in trouble. He gets in touch with her and manages to guide her around various guards as she blames Jefferson for what’s going on. Seriously, those two need counseling or something. She finally manages to escape, but suffers a loss that’s going to complicate a lot of thing along the way. Williams uses his own abilities to take on Black Lightning, but learns why some of Gambi’s tech is necessary. The episode ends on a good note as things are looking up for the heroes for the first time in quite a while.
What I liked: I’m glad at least most of the people are on the same side again, finally. It was nice to see Thunder again after too long. The ASA cover story was brilliant, but I’m glad Gambi and company managed to blow it out of the water. The scenes at Franklin Terrace were really well done, especially Jefferson coming to his decision and the various fights.
What I didn’t: If Brandon is who I think he’s supposed to be, I’d really like to hear why he’s been changed so much. Jennifer is way too cocky, and should know better by now. I’m not sure how Grayle is still around. They’re both getting so annoying that I almost think Tobias and Lynn deserve each other at this point.
I liked a lot about this episode. I’ll give it a low 4 out of 5. Now let’s see if the combined forces can kick the ASA out of Freeland.