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 “Blowin’ Up the Spot”.

Luke Cage on Netflix Logo

We begin in an interrogation room with Misty Knight and an NYPD psychologist after she is investigated after choking Claire Temple in the last episode. Misty answers the psychs questions with frustration and letdown. During the conversation, it is clear her main issue is her need to be in control in a world that continually tries to detach it from her. Coming into the reality that control was taken from her when William Stryker/Diamondback held her at gunpoint, she recognizes that she misjudged both her partner Rafael Scarfe and Luke Cage.

“I see everything and I forget nothing,” she tells him.

She now questions her choices and responses. From the look in her eyes and the determination in her voice, we can see Misty will not rest until the Diamondback downfall is taken care of completely and Harlem is crime free. From these emotional and sorrowful scenes, Misty Knight may be the breakout character of this series and one that we will be seeing more of in future seasons.

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Luke Cage is riding in the back of a garbage truck suffering from two bullet wounds.

“Oh…Sweet Christmas,” he mumbles while stepping out onto the streets again.

Staggering down the street looking like a drunk, he gets stopped by two Harlem cops. The police ask him for ID and to take down his hoodie. They ID him as Most Wanted and order him to get on the ground. Cage apologizes for his upcoming actions and knocks out the approaching cop and shields him from the oncoming bullets of the other. Of course, they bounce off of him only leaving behind bullet holes. In retaliation, Cage picks up the cop and throws him towards the front window of a police car window as its dash cam records the action. The video goes viral.

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As Shades is watching the band warm up through the brand new window, he receives a visit at Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth’s former club Harlem’s Paradise from Stryker who doesn’t take kindly to Shades wanting to take over his slice of the business.

Diamondback learns Luke Cage is still alive. He sees the viral video of Luke Cage vs. the cops. They need to find Luke Cage.

Mariah Dillard does not want any part of Cottonmouth’s antics and wants to move past his death. At the suggestion of Shades, Mariah gets Domingo Colon to bring together all of the crime lords of Harlem to offer a buyout of the Cottonmouth/Stokes empire so she can legitimize the family. “I’m out,” she stresses. Which makes everyone at the table feel a bit uncomfortable. In walks Diamondback. Frustrated by the bosses for crippling his business, he kills off all except Domingo. Leaving him alive to tell others that he is the new King of Harlem. This begins the Stryker/Mariah partnership to kill Luke Cage, market the Judas bullet and profit from it as a device to kill “super freaks” like him.

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Claire and Luke make their way to Dr. Noah Burstein‘s home, the man who ran the experiments on Luke. They are hesitant with sharing Reva’s findings because of not trusting him completely. Dr. Burstein comes up with a plan to heal Luke. He wants to dip him in a boiling acid bath to soften his skin so it becomes easy enough to cut open and remove the shrapnel of the Judah bullets. Claire translates that perfectly, “Um, I think he wants to deep fry you…Like a turkey.”

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Luke reluctantly agrees. Telling Claire to get Reva’s data back if the procedure doesn’t work so no one can recreate it and make more like him. Dr. Burstein proceeds to lower Luke into the vat of acid. Unfortunately, it does not go as planned. They can’t get Luke’s skin to optimal temperature. The episode ends with Luke’s erratic vital signs which cause him to go into cardiac arrest.

Observations:

  • The found footage scene is an eerie good example of art imitating life with what is happening in the world today. It also humanizes immortals. Exhibiting that people with extraordinary abilities are not exempt to race-related incidents.
  • In this episode, Mariah Dillard seems to be transitioning more into the image of a villain than in previous episodes. But Diamondback has the evil spotlight now. He even has Shades bowing down.
  • No doubt that the series has invented some good catch phrases. Like this one. Mariah to Diamondback explaining her plan to sell the Judas bullets to enforcement, “You gotta go big pharma on this s—. You invent the disease, then you sell the cure.”