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 of 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 recap for the previous episode, “Manifest”.
“Blowin’ Up the Spot”
We’re right back where Chapter 7 left off. Luke, shot in the gut by a sniper, bleeds, and screams. We see the sniper (Erik LaRay Harvey) loading rounds of Hammer-branded Judas rounds into a magazine. When Claire and paramedic load Luke into an ambulance, the sniper follows in his black Humvee.
Claire and Luke speak in the back of the ambulance, and they deduce that the Judas bullet is still lodged in Luke’s body. Then, with a big fireball, the ambulance flips onto its side. We see the sniper lower his rifle and smile. Roll credits!
Luke and Claire exit the overturned ambulance and take cover behind a car. The sniper walks over to them and bellows “Can you dig it?!” Luke knows it’s a reference to The Warriors. The sniper calls out again. “Carl, come out and plaaaay!” Due to the approaching police sirens, the sniper drives off.
Meanwhile, Mariah sits at the bar at Harlem’s Playground. She’s totally numb after smashing her cousin Cornell Stokes‘s face in with a microphone stand. Shades coaches her this post-murder shock. Later, Misty Knight and her police pals investigate the club. She knows the fall alone couldn’t have killed Stokes.
Mariah shows up at the crime scene and tells Misty that Stokes was already dead when she arrived at the club. Needing a (fake) witness, Mariah has Candace Miller, a VIP hostess, claim she saw Luke Cage murder Stokes.
Later, reporters chase Mariah to the door of the NYPD Station. Her accusation of Luke Cage has gone public. On camera, she denounces Luke and his vigilantism.
In an empty women’s clinic, Claire tries to extract the bullet from Luke’s gut. In an attempt to find the bullet, she gives him an ultrasound. Bad news — the bullet is nothing but shrapnel now. And because of that, the pieces are slowly worming their way into Luke’s abdomen.
At the station, Misty interviews Candace about Stokes’s murder. Stokes’s smarmy lawyer shows up just in time to make sure Candace says all the right things. Candace claims she saw Luke, wearing yellow dishwasher’s gloves, walking away from Stokes’s body. But Misty is no dummy and sees through Candace like cellophane. The lawyer yanks Candace out of the interview.
Misty, walking in the hall of the station overhears Mariah trying to spin Stokes’s death into something positive for her political career. Misty and Mariah trade a few nasty verbal jabs before Inspector Priscilla Ridley interrupts. As it turns out, Mariah and Ridley are college pals. After they exchange pleasantries, Mariah leaves.
Misty and Priscilla Ridley argue about the case. Ridley advises Misty to forget about the whole cover-up with Mariah and Candace Miller. Instead, her primary focus needs to be finding the only suspect: Luke Cage.
Back at the clinic, Luke’s phone buzzes — Misty is calling. Claire picks up and puts the phone on speaker. Misty tells Luke to come to the station, and Luke refuses. Then, she tells Luke that Cottonmouth is dead and that Luke is the only suspect. Claire hangs up, but the police have traced the call.
At Harlem’s Paradise, Shades speaks to Zip and a few other intimidating dudes. Now that their boss is dead, there are a few things to sort out. Zip and his cronies now work for Shades, and the club belongs to Mariah. Shades stuffs a wad of cash in Zip’s hand and tells him to buy some new clothes.
In search of Luke Cage, the NYPD tear Pop‘s Barbershop apart for evidence. They locate a pair of bloody rubber gloves like Candace mentioned in her interview with Misty. Speaking of Misty, she arrives at the clinic to find Claire and the injured Luke. After a terse phone call (probably with Ridley), Misty tells Luke he’s under arrest for the murder of Cornell Stokes.
But before Misty can put Luke in cuffs, the sniper attacks again! Misty calls for backup and fires a few shots in return. Then, Misty does something uncharacteristically dumb — she walks outside to see if she’s hit the sniper. And just after she’s gone, our mysterious sniper breaks through a window, and Luke drags him into the clinic. They fight, and the sniper escapes to find Misty. He knocks her out and leaves.
Claire tends to Misty’s wounds, and Luke leaves to find the sniper. He follows a trail of blood into a beautiful theater. From somewhere in the mezzanine, the sniper speaks vaguely about some past experiences they shared. Then, with Luke in the sniper’s sights, we learn who he is. It’s Willis Styker! “I prefer Diamondback,” he says. Then, Luke says something hilariously silly: “Because you’re a snake… just like Cottonmouth.” Well yeah, Luke. That is the naming convention. Thanks for spellin’ that out.
Seems like these two have a complicated history. In the comics, Luke and Styker used to lead a gang together. But the show hasn’t fully defined their relationship yet. They fight, but Luke’s shrapnel injuries are catching up with him. He tosses Diamondback out of the theater doors and collapses.
Back at the station, Misty’s feeling much better. She grills Claire about the sniper attack and the gunman’s connection to Luke. Claire doesn’t know anything about Diamondback and Luke’s history, though, so she and Misty get into a shouting match.
Misty, due to the pressure from Inspector Ridley, is starting to act very weird. She throttles Claire, and Inspector Ridley steps in to apologize for Misty’s wack interrogation methods. Claire leaves, because she’s done putting up with bulls*** for the day.
In the morning, Mariah hands Candace a big manila envelope full of cash. Mariah arrives at her office and takes a long, hard look at the framed photo of Mama Mabel on her desk. But because this is not a subtle show, Mariah says “I’m not like you!” and slams the photo face down.
Finally, back at the theater, Luke Cage stumbles out into the cold morning light. Diamondback confronts him on a nearby street and reveals that he is Luke’s brother. He shoots Luke in the chest with another Judas bullet, and Luke falls backward into the open hatch of a garbage truck. As the truck drives off, Diamondback glowers.
- Has Misty lost her flippin’ mind?! She made some terrible decisions in this episode.
- This episode proves, once again, that Claire is the MVP of this whole Netflix/Marvel thing. This woman goes through so much hell to aid these heroes. There had better be an episode of The Defenders where they throw her a really nice surprise party.
- They are setting Candace Miller up to fail. There’s no way this girl is going to stay quiet about Mariah’s guilt. Mariah’s remark about the market value of Candace’s apartment building seems especially telling.
- A lot of Diamondback’s characterization feels forced, which I hope improves with time. His dialogue is just bizarre, too.