On the last episode of “Luke Cage” we saw Cornell and Luke both take public shots at each other at Pop’s funeral and while both made great speeches to get Harlem rallied behind them, Luke came out as the winner of that match. We mentioned in the last review that with Luke being as powerful as he is, we need to see Cornell stop unraveling so much. He was weakened from the very first episode and things have only gotten worse for him as the show has gone on. If Cornell has any shot at beating Luke, this magic bullet that can allegedly kill the indestructible isn’t necessarily the only way to take him out. Luke is a smart guy, but if Cornell is smarter, more charismatic and has more resources at his disposal he could take out Luke in other ways, like by destroying his reputation and having Harlem push him out.
Scarfe is making enemies everywhere and the main one he’s got right now is Cornell. Scarfe decides he’s going to give Cornell his guns, but for a price and with Cornell being as broke as he is, $100K isn’t going to magically appear. Does Scarfe really have enough on Cornell to play this kind of game? Turns out Scarfe under estimated a broken down Cornell, who is desperate enough to grab his gun off him and shoot Scarfe. He now has to explain what he was doing down at the docks, why his car is shot up, and why he is bleeding out, shot by his own gun. With Scarfe in the wind, the police department are focusing on finding him.
We haven’t seen Mariah in a few episodes, but she’s back and she’s unhappy that Cornell has shot a cop. Killing Luke Cage is at the top of his mind, but with him being bulletproof it’s Mariah that has some alternatives to hurting Luke bringing up poison, drowning, fire and even breaking him down with a woman. She wants Cornell to focus on finding a weakness and squeezing it. Really her focus needs to be on her own problems, because after a talk show exposes all of Mariah’s criminal involvement over the past year, she is in hot water herself.
We already saw a guest spot from Claire “The Night Nurse” on the last episode and this one ties in a “Jessica Jones” favorite Trish Walker with her radio show “Trish Talk”. The show reveals that everyone knows Luke has super powers now and while some are questioning what Luke is doing, others are happy for his help. Speaking of Claire she meets with Luke to convince him that he needs her help, but he’s trying to shake her off. When they get to the barbershop, they find Scarfe bleeding out asking them for help. Luckily, Claire is there to prove how useful she can be to someone like Luke and she patches Scarfe up. Scarfe comes clean to Luke about everything, including killing Chico and when he hears this, Luke is ready to leave Scarfe to die. He tells Luke that he has what is needed to take Cornell down and if Luke will to go to his apartment to get the notes he has on Cornell he will testify against him.
After Misty sees Luke at Scarfe’s apartment, he decides to take Scarfe and his notebook to the police department and get him into a protection program until he can testify against Cornell. When Cornell learns that Scarfe is with Luke, he puts a hit out on him and with most of the city’s criminals after them, Luke, Claire and Scarfe try to get him to safety, but his wounds are too much. As Scarfe lays dying on the ground, Misty finds them (after she learns that Scarfe and Perez are both on Cornell’s payroll). After Scarfe dies, Misty heads straight to Cornell’s club and arrests him. With Cornell in custody, Luke is ready to leave Harlem and start somewhere new, but Claire suggests that he stay and continue to good for the city, with her help. We had a very cute moment where Luke asks her for “coffee” and she tells him that she’s not sleeping with him calling him out on his charm.
At this point in the series, we really need to see Cornell have a win or two. He’s been basically done after losing his money, guns and most of his workforce and now he’s in police custody – we are not really seeing him as much of a threat. He’s not even doing much against Harlem in general at this point. While he may be angry at what’s happening, he’s been taken apart. With more then half the series left to go, this needs to turn around, or what’s the point of Luke’s battle? Episode grade: B-
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