Welcome to the Luke Cage watchalong! This new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe joined its brethren (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) on September 30 on Netflix, and we want you to watch along with us. Over the next several weeks, we’re going to run recaps and reactions to all thirteen episodes in the show’s first season. If you haven’t started watching, read this article at your own risk. SPOILERS will occur! If you haven’t already, read the previous entry for “DWYCK”.
We left off with our hero in an acid bath after going into cardiac arrest. With sharp mind, Claire drops an electrical device in the acid to revive Luke recreating the electrocution that happened during the original experiment. And it worked. On the brink of death, his skin softened enough for Claire to cut through and remove the Judas shrapnel.
Luke wakes up, he examines the information on Reva’s flash drive and uncovers a list of lies she’s told him. It’s discovered that she knew about Rackham’s prison fight club and how it was linked to Dr. Burstein’s experiment. Luke is shocked at what the video shows because he trusted Reva.
In her office, Misty stares at the surveillance image of Willis ‘Diamondback’ Stryker just after he held her at gunpoint and wonders about his identity. Who is he? Meanwhile, at a hideout, Mariah Dillard meets with Stryker. He shows her the bullet supply and gives the idea to use Luke Cage’s “bad” image and sell the Judah bullets to the cops while they are in fear of Cage.
Dillard: “I’m a politician, I’m not a gun dealer.”
Diamondback: “Well…What’s the difference?”
This leads Stryker to pretend to be Luke Cage on the streets. Using a high-performance glove, Stryker dresses as Cage and punches a cop killing him on impact. He made it look like Luke Cage created the destruction. Yelling out,”I’M LUKE CAGE!”. The plan works, but now the police are arresting anyone that resembles Luke Cage and questions everyone that could identify him. This creates an open for Dillard to make a political statement.
While researching the background of Willis Stryker, Misty runs across a newspaper ad featuring a story on Willis and Luke’s father.
Misty: “Carl Lucas is Luke Cage”.
Inside Ridley‘s office, Misty tells her she can get proof to bring Cottonmouth’s reign down and Stryker too. Outside of the New York City Police Department, Mariah continues to stir up emotions with a public speech about stopping the fear of having a person like Luke Cage running around the streets killing cops. She encourages the cops to arm themselves with the Judas bullets and stop Cage.
Now that Luke has uncovered the truth, he wants to know more. But before leaving, he destroys Burstein’s equipment in the barn. He and Claire take a trip to his hometown in Georgia to the church his father built. After he steps into the building, a memory occurs to him as a little boy. It helps him to realize Willis is truly his brother and hates Luke because their father hated the idea of Stryker. Even saying “I am my brother’s keeper.” They head back to Harlem’s Paradise. Meanwhile, at the barn, Dr. Burstein is trying to salvage any remaining notes on the experiment.
During a visit to Domingo Colon, Misty lets him know of her suspicion towards Stryker and her mission to find him. She heads to Harlem’s Paradise to look for him for questioning. Simultaneously, Luke and Claire are there to see the speech as Diamondback watches from the top balcony where Cottonmouth stood to oversee the business. Councilman Damon Boone knows Mariah is lying and knows she is staging all this to stay popular in the public eye. Misty confronts Diamondback in an arrest attempt but he shoots her in the arm. Soon enough bullets are flying and people start to scream and run in panic. Luke Cage appears just in time to shield the bullets from hitting Misty. “I got you.” He tells her.
This episode had easter eggs galore. Such as, Mariah dropping information about Jessica Jones. “That woman in Hell’s Kitchen snapped a man’s neck because he was ‘mind controlling’ her.” Mariah sees Jessica Jones killing Kilgrave as an example of superpowered beings out of control in New York City. The file named “tiara” on Reva’s flash drive pays homage to the headpiece the character is known to wear in the comics.
Diamondback’s plan is clear. He wants money and power. World domination is not a goal and getting revenge on Luke is a bonus. Unlike some Marvel villains that set way too high of goals for supremacy, Diamondback’s idea seems obtainable and clear.
The series is moving forward well. In “Take It Personal”, Luke has fully accepted his true identity as “Luke Cage”. No more hiding and “Carl Lucas” is in the past. He can move forward and try to resolve his issues with his half-brother, Willis Stryker. The show continues to have its social importance.