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Review- Black Lightning S3:EP12 / The Book of Markovia (Chapter Three) – Motherless Id 

Black Lightning S3:EP12 / The Book of Markovia (Chapter Three) – Motherless Id

Directed By: Bille Woodruff

Written By: Adam Guaudrone & Lynelle White

Bordering on being a “filler” episode, “Motherless Id” still manages to justify its existence amidst its otherwise arrested development. The episode is split between the preparations for a rescue effort to save Dr Stewart from the Markovians, and a more intimate story revolving around the comatose Khalil in the custody of the Pierce family.

Starting first with the Markovian angle, Dr Jace (Jennifer Riker) and Dr Stewart have a less than pleasant reunion. While the conniving and duplicitous Dr Jace tries to play she is a prisoner too and being forced to work with the Markovians to gain Lynn’s sympathy and support, Dr Jace stays true to her survivalist, reptilian personality, seeing Dr Stewart (and by extension the also captured Tobias Whale) as an asset and liability all the same. Riker continues to play her character with a level of cartoonish narcissism, with a notch of over exaggeration in her performance. Sadly, this now ingrained interpretation does Dr Jace no favors. 

Added to this squabble between the two doctors, the Markovian commander smartly plays on Lynn’s addiction to the Green Light drug to gain her compliance, but Lynn puts up a modest fight to resist. The sense of these scenes is that everyone is on borrowed time, as the Markovians’ patience is running out, which adds some appreciated tension. 

Meanwhile, The Pierces (et al), must reluctantly ally with the now in charge ASA pushover Maj. Sara Grey (Katy O’Brian) to lead a super-powered assault team to Markovia to rescue Dr Lynn. For those familiar with the stellar animated series “Young Justice”, this arrangement may seem all too familiar to the third season’s finale, compete with a covert incursion on the same fictional foreign nation with a group of superheroes, including Black Lightning. 

The Markovian mission team up falls short as all of it is set-up for the next episode based on the flimsy philosophy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Another demerit is how gung-ho everyone is, given the high stakes of possibly committing an international incident against a nation, and the real risk of military retaliation and death. Everyone who tags along seems to brush that likelihood aside very nonchalantly, which cheapens their involvement. 

The latter half of the episode is a bit more interesting and substantial. With the help of TC, the episode plays a lot like a low-budget “inception”, with him and eventually Jennifer entering Khalil’s cybernetic subconscious to fight his programming and set him free. This part is crammed with the checklist of clichés unfortunately. Khalil being force to face his failings before he became “Painkiller”, and the things he’s done as that killing machine. Then there is the cringe-worthy “love conquers all” and “believe in yourself” moments. To its credit however, this segment certainly had heart, but the execution seemed undercooked. With real-Khalil resurrected, he’s left in a “Rogue-like” (X-Men) state due to the ASA experiments, literally making him untouchable.

Overall, “Motherless Id” is very sedated compared to its recent predecessors, with the Khalil arc being its only real redeeming factor. While maybe not the weakest or worst episode this season, this one is a fumble in terms of pace and presentation.

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Hailing from the eastern-most Caribbean island of Barbados, Fabian Wood has long since been fascinated by the power of storytelling to inspire and invoke emotions – whether in film, comics or video games. No longer content to be just an avid comic book reader and video gamer, he’s eager to exercise his literary acumen as an aspiring writer and reviewer.

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