The chaos in Freeland doesn’t stop for anything and holds no prejudice when taking lives as evidenced by the death of Khalil. Despite his efforts to reform after succumbing to Tobias’ influence, the former Painkiller fell at the hands of the iron fist of Freeland. The loss rocked Jennifer, but the combination of arriving Markovian forces and an insensitive principal left little room for solace and grieving. Both Jefferson Pierce and Black Lightning found battles to tackle ahead of Khalil’s funeral, but the amalgam of situations could prove to be the calm before Tobias’ next meta-fueled storm.
Anissa and Lynn’s discussion about supporting Jennifer while grieving is interrupted by gunshots. Anissa is hit as a mysterious group of special ops agents try to abduct Lynn. ASA forces, including Odell, chase off the group. Lynn informs Jefferson of the attack as Anissa recovers. Jefferson and Gambi try to identify their assailants as Lynn confronts Odell about following her. He doesn’t give her much to work with, dismissing her comments and hinting that he knows Lynn is hiding something.
Gambi has better luck with his search, pegging the crew as Markovian agents. Their intentions in Freeland aren’t known yet, although their attempts to take Lynn and Perenna point to something involving meta-humans. Jefferson suits up and crashes their hideout in search of answers. He easily takes them down and drags their leader away to Henderson. Unfortunately, the Markovian has diplomatic immunity, preventing Henderson from holding him.
Helga clearly has a better idea about their intentions. News of their presence in Freeland startles her, pointing to past issues while working on the nation’s meta-human program. Odell visits her, offering protection if she helps move the pod children to a more secure location. She suggests working with Lynn once again, but Lynn isn’t as keen about that. She doesn’t have much of a choice. Odell isn’t the only one in need of Helga’s service. Tobias wants her to revive his newly acquired pod people and deliver a crew of meta-human war criminals to use at his discretion.
Building A Life
Anissa, fresh off of getting shot, treats a woman named Monique at the free clinic. She is clearly a victim of domestic violence, but won’t give up her abuser. Anissa later learns that Monique is involved with a member of the 100 named Rayvon that has threatened the lives of the clinic’s staff. That doesn’t sit well with Anissa, leading her to don the black mask once again and deliver a physical warning to Rayvon at home. She takes him and his crew down before leaving with a handful of Rayvon’s cash. She fights her way out of the building, injuring herself in the process.
Gambi finds her passed out in his lab. Anissa realizes that she’s doing everything that her dad said would get her killed. Gambi convinces her to adjust her actions so that she can build a life for herself outside of crime fighting. She gets started on that after delivering the cash to cover Khalil’s funeral costs. Anissa and Grace spend the day together, but Grace freaks out when Anissa notices her eyes change color momentarily. She recoils again when her skin begins to change while in her embrace. Grace runs away, telling Anissa that being around her makes her lose control. Anissa goes to Grace’s apartment to discuss everything, but finds it hastily emptied. Grace is gone.
Honoring The Fallen
Processing Khalil’s death is taking a toll on Jennifer. Her powers begin fluctuating while spending time with Nichelle. She still harbors guilt about his death, but Anissa comforts her, pointing out that pain and loss strengthen them. The talk emboldens Jennifer to tell Jefferson that she is ready to don a suit and go after Tobias. Jefferson talks her down, stressing that vengeance isn’t the answer. Their powers are intertwined with their emotions, leaving them highly volatile if not controlled. He uses Khalil’s days as Painkiller as an example, pleading with her to not make the same mistake.
Jefferson and Lynn allow Jennifer to return to Garfield High in an effort to help her work through the loss of Khalil. She comes across a makeshift memorial to Khalil in the hallway, but it is quickly thrown in the trash at the instruction of Principal Lowry. Jennifer decides to rebuild the memorial herself, leading to a racially charged confrontation with Lowry. She is taken away by security as Jefferson stands in solidarity with the students against Lowry. He later confronts Lowry in his office, questioning his sensitivity toward Garfield’s community. Lowry dives head first into a tirade that clearly demonstrates his lack of understanding of white privilege, proving Jefferson’s point.
Khalil’s funeral finally arrives, but Jennifer can’t bring herself to watch his burial. Jefferson encourages her, stating that Pierces don’t give up on others or themselves. Jennifer stands over her first love’s casket as he is lowered into his final resting place. She promises Khalil that she will put Tobias in the ground as Odell watches from a distance.
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