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Recap / Black Lightning 2018 S 3 E 9 Earth Crisis

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As the Crisis reaches Black Lightning's Earth, Jennifer sees how two other versions of herself dealt with the ASA.

Tropes

  • Addled Addict: Lynn tries to cook some more Green Light due to going into withdrawal.
  • Alternate Self: Jennifer meets two other versions of herself from other Earths.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Jinn seems to be driven by the need to prove she's the best and most powerful meta, leading to her committing genocide against her own kind and, eventually, her own family.
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  • Badass Boast: Jinn, when her mother demands she turn herself in to the authorities.
    Jinn: I am the authority.
  • Bad Future: Both Earth-1 and Earth-2 are this — Gen's desire to be rid of her powers and Jinn's desire to develop them fully both end up with Freeland succumbing to the ASA's tyranny.
  • Beam-O-War: Jinn gets into one with her father, easily overpowering and killing him.
  • Coming-Out Story: Turns out Earth-1 Anissa still didn't have hers, as Jefferson is a conservative in this reality. She is dating Shaquandalyn here, the daughter of Lawanda.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Jennifer, at the beginning of the episode, is torn between her family and her services for Odell, especially with the latter giving her an ultimatum.
  • The Constant: It turns out that no matter what choices Jen makes, her father will risk his life — and in the other two Earths, eventually lose it — to fight back against oppression. In Earth-2 the oppression just happens to come from Jinn herself.
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  • Cross Through: In the grand scheme of Crisis, Black Lightning's Earth was just one of many in the process of getting erased, with Jefferson (and possibly Jennifer) escaping the Anti-Monitor Wave to take part in the Crossover.
  • Dark Is Evil: Jinn is wearing a black costume and is definitely not a good person.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode focuses mostly on Jennifer
  • Dimensional Traveler: Jennifer becomes one of these as she absorbs antimatter energy.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: How Odell contacts Jennifer.
  • Downer Ending: Just when it seems that the others can get through to Jennifer and rescue her, the Anti-Monitor's Anti-Matter Wave arrives. Jefferson disappears before the wave hits, but Gambi, Lynn and Anissa are seen to dissolve with the rest of their Earth.
  • Energy Absorption: It turns out Jennifer and both of her counterparts are able to do this with the antimatter storm, causing them to glitch between timelines.
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: Major Sara Grey seems disturbed when Odell orders her to turn all the test subjects into the ASA's Child Soldiers.
  • Evil Counterpart: Jinn is definitely this to the main Jennifer.
  • Extreme Doormat: Jinn sneers at Gen for being this, although by the time the Crisis arrives her father's death has already given Gen serious second thoughts about her choices.
  • Genre Shift: For at least this episode, Black Lightning was allowed to have elements more commonly found on The Flash and Supergirl.
  • Good Counterpart: Gen is set up as this to Jen, being dressed in all white (which turns out to be a prison uniform from the Pit) and being defined by the choice to fully renounce the power Jen remains so tempted by. It turns out her choices weren't necessarily as good as they seemed.
  • Happy Ending Override: Turns out the ASA intercepted the feed of the footage from last episode and instead of reporting on the truth, the media portrays the Resistance as nutty anti-vaxxers fighting the government's attempts to contain an epidemic.
  • I Am the Noun: When her family demands Jinn to turn herself in to the authorities, she retorts that she is the authority.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Odell is still unapologetic about everything.
    • Jinn also justifies her deeds like this.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: This is Gen's primary motivation, leading to her causing a mass-depowering event in Freeland and accepting a Power Nullifier herself in hopes of ending the war and letting her family live a normal life.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: This is Jinn's primary motivation, leading to her accepting Odell's offer to train her in using her powers until she becomes The Dragon for him and the ASA.
  • Intangible Time Travel: Jennifer is able to see what happened in the past few days in each of her counterparts' lives but only as an invisible, intangible ghost. She tearfully tries and fails to save her father's life, twice.
  • Internal Reveal: Jefferson learns about Khalil's "survival".
  • Ironic Echo: Jinn repeats her fathers school motto in a mocking way when she kills him.
  • It's All My Fault: Gen blames herself for what happened to her father, due to curing everybody's metagene.
  • Kick the Dog: On Earth-1, not only does Odell tortured and kill Reverend Holt after he reveals Jefferson's help in the Underground Railroad, he also forces himself into the Pierce's home and executed Jefferson right in front of his daughters. On Christmas!
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Inverted. Gen tampered with the water supply of Earth-1's Freeland so that all metahumans in the city would lose their powers.
  • Meaningful Name: Assuming Jinn's name is an alias, it's an appropriate one given her relationship to Odell — she plays the role of the dangerous, amoral being Odell has made a Faustian pact with for power, neither one of them caring a bit for the other beyond using each other for what they need.
  • Mirror Match: The main Jennifer gets into a fight with Jinn after seeing what she has done.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The preview of this episode made it seem Jefferson was dealing with his daughters from alternate Earths.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Only our Jennifer is in the "Lightning" superhero outfit. Gen has given up the superhero life and is in an ASA prison uniform; Jinn ditched her father's superhero style for a more "mature" (and villainous) look.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Gambi's Techno Babble about realizing from a short examination of Jennifer's condition that she's phasing uncontrollably into other timelines makes little real-life sense and makes him much quicker to figure out the Multiverse than even the world's greatest geniuses on the Arrowverse's Earth-1 were...but we do, after all, need a Mr. Exposition for this concept just so Jefferson doesn't go into the Crisis totally unprepared. (Wild Mass Guessing ensues that the ASA is involved in even more branches of clandestine super-science than we were previously aware of.)
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Jennifer has a low opinion of both of her doubles, especially Jinn.
  • Parental Abandonment: Earth-1 Lynn barely visited Gen in the Pit before the death of Jefferson.
  • Pet the Dog: Earth-1 Odell's twisted way of saying sorry for murdering Gen's father is allowing her family to still visit her in the Pit.
  • Place Beyond Time: The strange void Jennifer and her alternative selves meet in appears to be this. As while their respective Earths are destroyed at different times, they are only able to go to the void once the anti-matter storm has arrived on their Earths. This would also explain why it appears their Earths are destroyed simultaneously; since each version of Jennifer only has the time frame of when the storm hits their Earth until it inevitably destroys it.
  • Power High: Jefferson warns Jinn her power has become like a drug to her and destroyed her judgment. She responds by killing him just to prove she can.
  • Power Incontinence: Absorbing the antimatter energy causes Jennifer to uncontrollably phase through dimensions, and apparently keeps her and her counterparts from using her powers in the Void Between the Worlds, forcing her and Jinn to fight hand to hand.
  • Power Nullifier: Gen is forced to wear one after curing the metahumans in Freeland. Notably it suppresses her normal powers but can't stop her from phasing out of her prison cell to the Void Between the Worlds once she starts absorbing antimatter.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: At the end, the universe is consumed by antimatter, but Jefferson being teleported away gives hope that he and the other heroes in the Crisis can reverse the damage to some extent.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jinn and her family dish it out against each other, with Jinn eventually killing them all.
  • Red Skies Crossover: Other than the skies literally turning red and Jennifer seeing the alternate Earths, this episode doesn't tie in very closely to the Crisis, until the ending where Jefferson gets warped away and all three Earths get erased.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: In our own Earth, Anissa confronts Jefferson about how his resistance to the ASA has escalated into full-blown war and they can no longer be concerned with collateral damage if they're going to survive.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Gen directly compares her own tampering with the Freeland water supply to the lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Both of the Bad Futures Jen sees involve her father's tragic death — one at the hands of Odell's thugs, one at the hands of her own Alternate Self.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Jinn wound up killing her whole family.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Jen's arc in this episode seems like this for now, since she barely has time to have her epiphany before all three versions of her are destroyed by antimatter.
  • Shoot the Dog: Anissa is still advocating for putting Khalil down, as there is nothing left of his old personality.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Jinn doesn't care for Jennifer calling her out even one bit.
  • The Social Darwinist: Jinn insults her family as worthless, as Jefferson needs a suit for his powers, Anissa needs to hold her breath and her mother doesn't even have any powers at all.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The alternate versions of Jennifer are differentiated from her by the spelling of their names: her Earth-1 counterpart is "Gen" and her Earth-2 counterpart is "Jinn". The former seems like she may just be named "Gennifer" rather than "Jennifer"; the latter, judging by the rage she exhibits when her father calls her "Jennifer", picked "Jinn" as a supervillain alias (see Meaningful Name).
  • Take a Third Option: Jennifer realizes the lesson of her two counterparts is that both her I Just Want to Be Normal and her I Just Want to Be Special desires are selfish and narcissistic, and to take her father's lesson not to obsess over how her powers affect her own life but to think about the responsibility they give her to protect others.
  • Visions of Another Self: Because of her powers and the antimatter, Jennifer gets to interact with her alternate versions and witnesses events of their lives; Gen (Earth-1) and Jinn (Earth-2).
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Gen asks Lynn this in regards to curing the metagene, as it got her father killed and herself imprisoned. Surprisingly, she answers yes.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Jennifer, after witnessing both Gen's and Jinn's fates, is adamant on not repeating either's mistakes and calls them out on it.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Jinn kills a ton of metahumans that helped the ASA fighting the Markovians.
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