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‘Luke Cage’ Watchalong: Chapter 2, “Code of the Streets”

Welcome to the Luke Cage watchalong! This new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe joined it’s 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 “Moment of Truth“!

Luke Cage on Netflix Logo

In a flash forward, Luke is held at gunpoint.

Misty plays out the raided gun deal in her head. Her partner, Detective Rafael Scarfe, discusses their findings with her.

Elsewhere, Luke and Pop dig into what happened at “Genghis Connie’s” the night before. Pop discloses that the thugs work interchangeably for Dillard and Stokes, but that they don’t interfere with the DMZ that is Pop’s. No sooner do they speak of Stokes than does the man himself arrive with his entourage. Luke tries to avoid Shades’ attention while Stokes gets a shave from Pop. Shades and Stokes subtly pump for information on Chico. Stokes recognizes Luke from his club, but Shades does not recognize Luke from Seagate. Stokes intimates that there will be no mercy for Chico once he’s found.

After they leave, Pop wants Luke to find Chico so that Pop can broker a deal with Stokes for leniency. Luke initially refuses, but Pop calls in his chit for keeping Luke’s powers secret.

Luke strikes out in his search until he sees Stokes and Shades visiting Dillard at her office. Behind closed doors, they dump a bag of cash on her desk (Shameek’s half of the take from the raid), but it’s not enough. She dipped into her donations fund, and that money has to be replaced soon.

Luke tracks Chico to a hotel room (in under four hours), and lays out Pop’s plan to get leniency for Chico. Chico reject’s Luke’s offer but is obviously conflicted about it.

Pop reveals his past connection with Stokes: the two (plus Fredo, Chico’s father) used to be a crew until Pop went to prison and turned his life around. He established the barber shop as a neutral zone for those who want to get out of the thug life. Luke’s stand for justice at Genghis Connie’s was an inspiration. Chico comes in the back, and Pop forgives the youth. Turk, who has been playing chess with Bobby Fish up front, sees Chico and a fearful Luke tells Turk to leave.

Misty and Scarfe hit the courts of St. Nick to find Chico and later drop into Pop’s (and Misty and Turk exchange unpleasantries outside).Pop tells Chico to hide in the restroom while he stalls the police out front.  Luke emerges from the back and Pop reads into the chemistry (and history) between the two. The detectives leave empty-handed, but now that the police have eyes on the shop Pop can’t broker the deal with Stokes. He nominates Luke, since working already at Harlem’s Paradise it won’t arouse suspicion.

Luke delivers the offer for parley to Stokes (with Shades and Dillard), the weapons in exchange for safe passage for Chico. Initially, Stokes is dismissive, but Luke reminds him of their shared history.  Stokes fires Luke, who already quit on the way up.

Turk tells Tone and Shades that Chico is holed up at Pop’s, and the gangsters stiff the man for the information. A furious Tone (knowing Chico was right under their noses) fires into Pop’s with assault weapons. He and Shades enter and grab the money from Chico’s corpse. Newly arrived (and bulletproof) Luke is able to act as a human shield for the customer in Pop’s chair (Lonnie, Patty Wilson’s son), but there is no saving Chico and Pop dies in Luke’s arms.

Misty tries to understand the aftermath of the scene but is at a loss to understand how Luke is un-injured. She asks if Chico was there the whole time, and Luke does not lie to her. Scarfe tells his partner that there’s no evidence tying Stokes to the shooting and that Stokes has a solid alibi, leaving the police with no witnesses to work with.

At the club, Tone lays out the timeline to Stokes, who executes him (throwing him from the top of the building) for breaking the DMZ and shooting up Pop’s (thereby killing his former partner). DIllard is horrified, but mollified that she’s gotten her money back.

Luke’s hold-up across from the Crispus Attucks building, referenced in the flash forward at the beginning of the episode, is seen in full: Luke delivers a stirring monologue about the legacy of a cultural hero, and how, like Pops, he stood up for what was right and started a movement which cost him his life. He ends it by demonstrating his impervious body, scaring the robber off. Across the street, he watches as Dillard brings Chico’s bloody backpack into her office to reclaim the money inside.

Luke and Pop

Observations

  • I love the interplay between Stokes and Dillard about the price of respect and power.
  • Stokes is upset that the rules of etiquette and honor are not being followed. He’s every bit as worthy an antagonist as Wilson Fisk. When he cries for Pop, it’s deeply moving.
  • RIP Pop.
  • There’s no way Misty won’t figure out Luke’s secret soon.
  • I got chills during the final Crispus Attucks scene.

‘Luke Cage’ Watchalong: Chapter 1, “Moment of Truth”


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