This was a sad episode. The opening of the episode is great. The best thing about Luke Cage is his dialogue with other characters. He doesn’t hold his tongue and has a cool aura surrounding him. A young man puts a gun to the back of his head and calls him a nigga. Luke tells him, “I’ve had a long day. I’m tired. But I’m not tired enough to ever let nobody call me that word. You see a nigga standing in front of you? Across the street from a building named after one of our greatest heroes?” As he talks, a soulful chant is playing in the background. It’s an awesome moment capped off by the young man saying, “Yeah, a dead one.” It’s another clash of generations with the word, nigga. Older blacks don’t like to use the word. The younger generation tend to be more liberal with it. It’s an interesting conversation and one this show isn’t afraid to have. I love that.
Colter continues to impress me with his charisma. Harlem is a lot like Hell’s Kitchen in the sense you can’t run from your problems. Cottonmouth visits Pop’s barber shop asking where Chico is. A tense moment comes when Luke tells Cottonmouth to pay for his haircut. There aren’t any free cuts, unless you’re on the list (which Cottonmouth is not.) Once again, Luke refuses to be intimidated by criminals.
Pop’s is a born-again man. He used to run the streets, but as he’s gotten older, he realized the streets aren’t a place for young boys. He wants to help Chico in the worst way. Luke doesn’t want any part of that, but finds Chico to help Pops. Tone, one of Cottonmouth’s associate’s gets word of Chico’s location from Turk (yeah, you read that right. Ole’ Turk from Daredevil.) Tone executes a brutal drive-by shooting that wounds Chico and kills Pops. Luke shields a little boy who was in the chair at the Barbershop. Luke is clearly shaken up by the death of one of his mentors. It ignites the hero within him. Every word from this point on is the echo of Pops. Luke feels as if he’d dishonor the memory of him if he didn’t help people with his abilities. This is an awesome moment and reminds me of Uncle Ben and Spider-Man. I’ve said it before, but Spidey and Luke both have that same type of “save the little guy” code. A code built up on honor and respect. It’s why they’re two of my favorites.
There aren’t any negatives for me in this episode. The beginning comes up again and the BEST moment of the show happens. Luke snaps on the young man with the gun. He compares Pops to Crispus Attucks. He hates himself for holding back for so long, but now he is done holding back. The anger in Luke’s eyes is frightening. Cottonmouth accidentally woke up a monster. The stage has been set for the rest of the season!