From one of the worst episodes to one of my favorites next to episodes 4 and 7. This episode set more of the Luke vs. Harlem storyline forward. At the beginning of the episode though, Luke is saved by the doctor and Claire. They get the shrapnel out of his body. About freaking time am I right? Luke decides to look at some of Reva’s old files too. He finds out the painful truth that he was targeted for the experiment since day one. Nothing more than a lab rat. Of course, Luke is crushed. If they didn’t establish the connection between the two in episode 4, this moment wouldn’t have had the impact it did. Mike Colter continues to impress me with his vulnerability when it comes to playing this character.
The growing relationship between Luke and Claire is nice. It feels genuine, thanks to the acting of Rosario Dawson. There’s a reason she’s in every single one of these shows. Her authentic reactions to some of the crap she’s seen in the MCU make her one of the most enjoyable parts of every show. I like how they aren’t rushing this relationship either. Sleeping with Luke doomed Misty as a character this season.
Back in Harlem, Diamondback kills a cop and shouts “I’m Luke Cage.” He does it while wearing a hoodie so people don’t see his face. Mariah takes complete control of the situation by telling the media that she’s organizing a protest at Harlem’s Paradise. I love this part of the episode because you can feel something big coming.
Misty doesn’t like what she’s seeing in regards to Mariah. She can’t crack her though. Mariah is bulletproof right now with the cops and the media. Her cousin is dead and most people think Luke did it. The video of him beating up cops doesn’t help him either.
This show hasn’t had a ton of social commentary that jumps off the screen. It’s been a show rooted in black culture, but hasn’t done much to make non-blacks go “Man, I didn’t know that happens.” A moment like that happens when a young teenage boy is interrogated by a detective. The boy is clearly no threat, knows his rights, and is a good kid. The detective doesn’t care though. He assaults the boy and bloodies his face. A cruel realization that even when you know you’re rights, have done nothing wrong, and are a kid, you can still get your ass beat by the cops if you’re black.
The episode ends with the rally at Harlem’s Paradise. Mariah is approached by another politician who says he knows what’s really going on. It was nice to see someone call her out on all her bull. Luke, Claire, and Misty are all at the club during the rally. She goes upstairs looking for Diamonback but is shot in the arm (cybernetic arm on the way?) Luke shields her and gets her away from Diamondback, but there are more men surrounding the club, firing bullets. The screen cuts to black.
After a slow episode 9, this one gave us the return of Power Man! Luke is back in Harlem and has to do something to prove to people he’s the hero they thought he was. Tensions have reached a climax and the episode cutting off during such a tense gun battle only leaves me wanting more. Only three episodes left. This show is fantastic!