Luke Cage: Who's Gonna Take the Weight?

"It's like a beehive of misery. That place is a suicide mission, for real."

From the chaotic cold open to the explosive final moments, this was a big episode.

The centerpiece was Luke's raid on the Vault. It was very impressive watching Luke walk through the heavily guarded building like a human tank, using car doors and couches as weapons, and managing to not kill a single man. It fully illustrates what a hero with that kind of power can do, even when he is full of rage, pain, and loss.

It isn't about killing Cottonmouth. It's about taking him out of the equation, restraint being the key, like the scene between Luke and Cornell in the funeral parlor. Luke could've killed him without any effort, and Cornell was clearly holding back his natural impulses out of respect for Pops. Luke wants revenge, but he cannot just take out Cornell like he might want to.

Of course motivation is a tricky thing, and both of them have complex reasons for their actions. Cornell is all about building his power, even when someone like Domingo waves his relative lack of power in his face. So like everyone with a taste for power, Cornell tries desperately to hold onto it. He reacts to Luke taking down his smaller business exactly the way Luke wants him to, and in all other situations he would've made the right move.

Luke's motivations, on the other hand, are all about his lack of power and money, despite the fact that he is Power Man. He shows that he can easily take everything from Cottonmouth. It's fascinating to consider that for the most part Luke knocked out almost all of Cornell's finances, implicated Mariah in criminal activities, and even took down most of Cottonmouth's crew in a single day. Guess he doesn't waste time.

The rest of the episode dealt with Misty and Scarfe investigating the fallout of Luke's actions, with the final revelation that Scarfe is a bad guy who kills Chico and reveals Luke as Cornell's mysterious adversary. So Cottonmouth launches a rocket at Genghis Connie's, effectively destroying Luke's home. I hope Luke doesn't go full on wrath after the fallout settles from yet another extremely violent attack, but I wouldn't really blame him if he does.


I keep waiting for someone to mention the Hulk destroying Harlem.

Mariah is kind of weird and seems to successfully compartmentalize. She is clearly evil but does seem to genuinely want to help Harlem.

A Mama Mabel was mentioned (grandmother?) related to Mariah and Cornell and seemingly the inspiration for their criminal lifestyles.

Misty had a long history with Pop, and played college basketball. I loved her conversation with Scarfe about basketball.

What the hell was with Domingo and the candy, taking one bite and tossing it on the floor. Was it a strange power gesture?


Cottonmouth: "Flourish is a silent way of us treasuring the dearly departed."

Mariah: "That is not a plan, that's a reaction. You ever hear of not putting all your eggs in one basket?"

This series seems to be more focused on telling a story about interesting characters than being a superhero drama, even though the action in that raid was fantastic.

3 out of 4 Car door shields

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.


JRS said...

Another great episode - although I think this show is taking its time building up our heroes. Can we give a nod to Bobby Fish, our chess hero? I wonder if he'll take over Pops' place as a sort of advisor to Luke.

Anonymous said...

Something this show has going for it that even Jessica Jones and to an extent Daredevil failed to do is showing the city of Harlem as an actual character. Why it is worth saving.
Also i believe this show has a better supporting cast to carry the show when Luke isn't the focus.

Billie Doux said...

Nice review, JD. Exciting episode. I particularly liked the car door sequence.

migmit said...

OK, now Cottonmouth is an enemy. Which is kinda the problem. Yes, he is a bastard, but a bastard that Luke successfully ignored for most of the time. And he made it absolutely clear that he didn't order a hit on Pop, and even kinda sorta apologized. Luke's revenge doesn't seem to have a rational basis, and that makes me like him less. Although slightly, because it's very hard not to like Mike Colter.

And now Chico became collateral damage. He is probably not the last. So... is Luke's fight really that good?