With Mariah in charge, Luke Cage may be up against his first formidable opponent. Cornell was struggling since the show started and never really seemed to get a handle on himself since he was robbed, but Mariah has nothing to lose at this point now that her seat on the council is gone. Through all of these Netflix superhero shows we haven’t encountered a female super villain yet… and now it’s time to see what Mariah is going to bring to the table.
Shades has been busy creating a cover story, altering the crime scene and finding a patsy to take on Cornell’s murder, leaving Mariah free and clear to start running the family business. As you might’ve guessed, Shades is setting up Luke to take the fall. Misty pushes Mariah for information, making it seem like she might be on Misty’s suspect list, but after a hostess from the club says that she saw Luke commit this crime, Misty has an eye witness. While Misty may suspect Mariah is behind this, the evidence against Luke is piling up and Mariah and Shades are not done with Luke yet. Mariah speaks to the press and pushes the people of Harlem to find out who exactly Luke Cage is, saying that they trust a man to save the city and no one knows anything about him. While she’s talking to the media, Shades is at the barbershop planting evidence.
Claire is doing her best to help Luke, but they are both baffled over the fact that a bullet actually penetrated his skin. While getting him transported to a safe place so she can get the bullet out, the shooter (a man named Stryker “aka Diamondback”) destroys their ride – clearly he wants Luke dead. Police sirens stop Diamondback from finishing the job, and gives Luke and Claire a chance to escape and fix him up. When they get to a safe house, Claire runs into a major problem: Because Luke’s skin is like steel, she can’t get the scalpel in to get the bullet out. Not only that, but an ultrasound shows her the the bullet exploded in him and the shrapnel is moving.
Misty finds where Luke and Claire are hiding and sees that Luke has been shot. After hearing his story, she knows he has an alibi for Cornell’s murder, but when bloody gloves are found at the barbershop (courtesy of Shades), Misty has no choice but to arrest him… and he still has the shrapnel inside of him. Before Misty can get him in cuffs another round of the magic bullets are shot into the clinic. After Diamondback gets into the clinic, he makes off with Misty. He mentions to her about a preacher father and later learns that Luke and Diamondback used to be close friends growing up. He decides to leave Misty alive so that he can use her later to hurt Luke and takes off, leaving her behind unconscious.
While Claire stays behind to take care of Misty, Luke goes off to find Diamondback. When they come face to face he tells Luke that he felt betrayed by him when they were younger and Luke admits his faults. Diamondback also reveals to Luke that he’s the reason for him being framed and going to jail. What exactly is it that Luke did to Diamondback? It’s never really said, but one thing that was revealed that Luke didn’t know is that Diamondback is actually his half-brother right before shooting Luke with another one of his magic bullets leaving him to die in a pile of trash.
It took a while, but we have finally found a couple of villains that are able to hurt Luke in a big way. Mariah is destroying Luke’s reputation and trying to send him on the run or back to jail and Diamondback is using every one of his magic bullets to pull apart Luke’s super strength. Finding a villain to go up against super strength is always a tough feat as we have seen with Superman over the years. He’s just too over powered. Cornell was a fun character, but he was no match for Luke – finally Luke is going up against worthy foes. Episode grade: A-
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