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‘Luke Cage’ Watchalong: Chapter 3, “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”

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 “Code of the Streets“.

Luke Cage on Netflix Logo

We pick up in medias res, with the sound of gunfire and a couch being thrown out the window of the Crispus Attucks building. Soon a moment of silence and Luke walks out with a bag. We’re hitting the ground running!

Changes

Flashback to earlier that day, with both Cottonmouth still dealing with what happened the previous day at Pop’s Shop. Cornell watches the news silently, while Luke still has Pop’s swear jar with him as a reminder. Luke then heads to the shop and pays his respect at the impromptu memorial in place. “Forward. Always.”

Cut to a robbery of Stokes’ men, with Misty and Scarfe trying to determine afterward if this has to do with the falling out of Domingo and Stokes. It seems that Chico should be able to fill in the gaps for them.

Luke Cage has the law looking for him
Detective Rafael Scarve (Frank Whaley)

Luke wants to provide a decent funeral for Pops after all that he’s done for him, but as anyone can attest, a funeral service can get very expensive very quickly. Enter Cottonmouth, who offers to cover the cost and then some. We see a brief stand-off between the two. Both men have been affected by Pop’s passing, and Luke makes it known that he places the blame squarely on Stokes’ shoulders.

Enemies All Around Me

Back at the shop, Luke takes a quiet moment to reflect. He’s interrupted by Bobby, where they both talk about Pop but more importantly the status of the shop. It was an important landmark, both culturally and socially, but without any income coming in they’ll have to either sell or the bank will take it over. Luke then figures that since this is Cottonmouth’s fault, he’s the one that should pay. Since it would be foolish to go after him directly, he’ll start making moves against his street business.

At the hospital, Misty and Scarfe try to get Chico to roll on Stokes. They know he was involved in the junkyard heist but can’t prove anything yet. Chico tries to stay loyal but it’s visible that everything he was involved in is eating away at him. Scarfe then cuts Chico loose and throws his business card at him, letting him know that unless he helps he’s on his own.

Chico does end up filling in the gaps, but only to Luke. He explains what he knows about Cottonmouth’s business: where he has stash houses, Mariah’s involvement, how heavily fortified the Crispus Attucks building is, etc. Luke then gets a sly smile and formulates his plan: hit the small places, get the money transferred to the heavily fortified building for safety, and then let loose with his abilities to hit Stokes where it hurts.

Ain’t It A Sin

Without wasting any time, Luke starts hitting Cottonmouth’s stash houses. Luke being Luke, he disarms and takes out the men stationed there without a single fatality. He also confuses the cops by leaving the money. Misty and Scarfe are trying to figure out the path of destruction, with an unreliable eyewitness not helping matters.

Luke Cage had better not underestimate them...
Cornell (Mahershala Ali) and Mariah (Alfre Woodard) discussing their plans

Cottonmouth and Mariah sit outside and argue the increased security measures that are taking effect because of the stash house getting hit. We also get to see more of their viewpoints on the future of Harlem, as well as how they compliment each other in their “joint business venture.”

Misty and Scarfe discuss turning Chico as a witness a little bit, but Misty’s still dealing with Pop’s death. She explains how his shop was a neighborhood beacon. It was there that she was exposed to basketball, and seeing how much her father and Pop loved the sport, started to play. She feels she owes everything to Pop and knows the neighborhood is poorer for losing him. She’s also very suspicious of Luke since he’s inadvertently involved in all aspects of the case so far.

At Harlem’s Paradise, Domingo confronts Cottonmouth because of the lost shipment. While Stokes still feels that Domingo’s responsible for his stash houses getting hit, Domingo just taunts him. Now that he’s weakened and knowing Stokes’ supplier is the still-unknown Diamondback, there’s no reason for the truce anymore. War could be hitting the streets very soon.

Bring Da Ruckus

Cue Luke’s final chess move. After observing the money being put into the Crispus Attucks building, he waits until night to stage his attack. He calmly puts in his headphones, rips off a car door, and goes to work. All the men inside with their guns and barricades can’t do anything to this walking tank.

Luke Cage in a moment of victory
Luke (Mike Colter) finds a LOT of money. Sweet Christmas indeed...

We cut to the aftermath, where Misty is picturing the scene. Luke has taken only a small amount of money and left the rest to be confiscated by the police which is a huge blow to the criminal operation. Both detectives also discuss the usefulness vs. legality of Luke’s vigilante ways. Scarve then gets a call from Chico, who wants to turn state’s witness.

Scarfe picks up Chico and has a heart-to-heart over burgers. While Chico is unburdening his soul, we get a glimpse into the detective’s as well, and it’s owned by Cottonmouth. Scarfe kills Chico, then notifies Stokes not only of what he did but that he can also provide the location of the man who caused him all his trouble.

Luke’s calmly having dinner at Connie’s restaurant and pays her what he feels he owes for rent. It’s then that we see Stokes on a rooftop across the way. With a laugh and an RPG, he blows up the building and ends the episode on a cliffhanger.

Observations

  • We see how Stokes keeps the bodies buried, so to speak. Having a funeral director on the payroll is pretty handy.
  • Being in the center of everything is not the place to be, and I can relate to Misty’s frustration and curiosity about Luke.
  • “Just ‘cause the brother’s dead don’t mean I got to start changing the facts.”
  • The music throughout the series so far has been ON POINT.

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

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


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