Luke turns to someone in his past for help, Mariah gets in deep with Diamondback, and Misty has to face her control issues.
Beware the Spoilers
Cheo Coker chose this episode to put a big spotlight on an image we have seen in the news too many times over the last few years. Luke, injured and trying to make his way to the diner where he knows Claire is at, is stopped by police for staggering around in a predominantly white neighborhood. Eventually this all leads to a confrontation where the one of the police officers is taken down by Luke and the other unloads his weapon into Luke’s turned back. Luke tosses the man 50 feet onto his squad car before dragging him off of it and stealing the car. This highly provocative image is later leaked, but it ends up being used for different reasons than you would think (more that in a bit).
Now Coker could have had a scene like this earlier in the show, or have had more police run ins with the citizens of Harlem which would have looked like this, but he chose to tell a different story first and show the police in a more human light with Misty. She states it perfect with Inspector Ridley when she says “they hate us, until they need us.”
The detective is dealing with the ramifications of her attack on Claire by going to counseling to prove she is a good cop who had a bad moment. Thru these conversations with the psychiatrist, we learn much of what caused her to snap was Diamondback getting the drop on her. She lost control of the situation and her attacker toyed with her about it, laughed at the idea of killing her and let her go because he felt like it. His taunting was the straw that broke the camel’s back and something essential snap inside of her. She let in Luke Cage and the evidence is piling up that he is not the good man she thought he was. Her partner, the one person she could talk to and trust, was dirty and she didn’t see it. A gangster shot and killed a cop, then walked away free.
Misty gets her badge back, but again is pointed in the direction of Luke Cage by Ridley. She says okay in finding him to the Inspector’s face, but Misty is going to go for the man who wants to find Cage more than she does.
Last episode had me disappointed with the illusive Diamondback. This time, I’m much happier with his introduction. Shades has his men looking for Luke, who caught a ride with a garbage truck to get away at the end of the last episode, but it is not fast enough for Willis. He can’t assume his former friend is dead until he sees a body. Willis may not be thrilled Luke is in the wind, but he is pissed off at Shades for the role he played in the death of his closest friend, Cornell Stokes. For now, the man with the sunglasses gets to live.
Shades definitely has a plan, but so far it is being played very close to the chest. He claims to not know Willis considered Cornell such a close friend, but I don’t think he is being completely truthful there. Shades actively kept the gangster from reaching out to Willis by putting doubt in Cornell’s head as to where he stood with Diamondback. Warning him going to Diamondback for help when it is evident things are not under control shows the king is losing his crown. When Cornell was at his weakest, Shades went to Mariah to plant the seeds of her take over. Now he is using Mariah to push Diamondback’s guns (more on that). What is Shades’ end game? Was he hoping to make Mariah the big woman in charge because he can influence her in a way he couldn’t with Cornell? Is he looking to takedown Diamondback?
Getting to Mariah’s deal with Diamondback, it could be very interesting if this transaction somehow made an impact on the whole of the MCU. After Willis kills all but one of his former buyers for not being loyal, Mariah seemingly pulls the best reason for him to trust her out of thin air (though I doubt she came up with that alone). Luke Cage is a thorn in both of their sides, but he is just a means to an end. After video footage of Luke tossing a police officer was leaked, the public is bound to start thinking of the once hero as a monster.
The world has seen plenty of “freaks” wreak havoc on the streets and the government is attempting to do something about it, but the situation is still out of their control. Now there is a bullet that can penetrate the skin of a man who was thought to be bullet proof and only Willis has them. Selling guns to gangs makes good money, but selling to the government makes billionaires (ala Tony Stark and Justin Hammer, before he was sent to prison). If this plan works in future episodes, the Judas bullet and possibly Willis Stryker could have a massive impact on the MCU. A bullet that could potentially penetrate Iron Man’s suit, cut thru Vibranium, take down a hulking monster and a god? How can that not make its way into the films?
The episode ends with Luke succumbing to Dr. Burstein’s treatment to get the bullet fragments out of his organs. The good doctor stole what he could when Seagate shut down experimentation after the explosion and escape, but the research Reva took was what he needed to help with the difficulty of getting thru Luke’s skin. The problem is, the best way he can figure removing the bullets is to give Luke an acid bath in hopes it will burn enough of his skin away to surgically remove the fragments. The pain of the acid bath sends Luke into cardiac arrest and another cliffhanger makes it hard for me not to say to hell with it and just binge.
In the beginning of the episode, The Delfonics are rehearsing “Stop and Look” as Shades looks on like Cornell used to do, but by the end, it is Willis watching the performance as the heir apparent of Cornell’s legacy in Harlem.
What did you think of “DWYCK”? Was this a better introduction for the real foe in the series? Do you think the Judas will have ramifications in the MCU? Let me know what you think in the comments section below and please do not post spoilers for future episodes in the comments section. Not everyone gets to binge. Comeback on tomorrow for “Take it Personal” and click here for all of the Luke Cage episode breakdowns so far.