“Caaarrrlll, come out and plaaayyyy.”
Honestly, this was probably the tensest episode of Luke Cage yet. With Diamondback hot on the trail of Luke and Claire, it’s a cat and mouse game against an apex predator who comes across as determined and almost “rapey”. As Claire and Luke take shelter in a women’s clinic the police are after them to take Luke in on the murder charge Mariah has framed him for. Luke evades the police as he and Diamondback tussle, while Claire gets brought in by the police for questioning.
When Misty interrogates Claire, it’s apparent that she’s having a rough time of it. Given all of the turmoil as of late, with Scarfe turning out to be dirty and then dying, Misty’s starting to lose her cool. Taking it out on Claire, Misty gets reprimanded by her superior officer. While her frustrations are understandable, the character comes off as slightly irritating but that’s probably because she’s irritated.
Meanwhile, Mariah is making moves, getting the waitress from episode one, Candace, to claim that it was Luke who killed Cottonmouth. Mariah isn’t messing around. With Shades by her side, Ms. Dillard is descending deeper and deeper down the road of villainy, forgoing even the pretense of good intentions. Though Misty’s skeptical of Mariah’s story.
But the meat of the story is in the conflict between Luke and Diamondback. They eventually take their brawl to an old empty theatre and the battle is appropriately operatic given its locale. Accusations of betrayal and sins of the past. The man who shrugs off bullet slugs like drops of rain finally meets a man with the right caliber of weapon.
The brother angle added to their dynamic is an interesting choice. A deviation from the source material where he and Luke were former gang members together. Diamondback has been drastically reimagined from the snake-themed goon-for-hire from the comics. Here he’s a dangerous gun-toting psycho with a preacher’s vocabulary and a Joker-like smile. While the show has already made great use of Judeo-Christian imagery, Diamondback ratchets up the godly language, spitting as many biblical allusions as his guns shoot bullets. But he is definitely no man of God. Diamondback’s a piece of work.
Diamondback’s interaction with Misty, in particular, is maybe the most disturbing bit of villainy that we’ve seen yet. The way he plays with her life when they cross paths outside of the theatre rattles both the detective and the audience in his brazenness. His gleeful cruelty is much more menacing than Cottonmouth’s angry outbursts or Mariah’s calculated schemes. He’s a sick puppy and Luke needs to take him down.
Unfortunately, Luke’s gets clipped and suffers internal injuries from the Judas bullet. Not able to muster up a fight against Diamondback, our hero gets unceremoniously shot into a nearby garbage truck. This calls to mind a scene from way back in Daredevil Season One where Matt Murdock gets pummeled and finds himself bleeding out in a dumpster. These Netflix heroes surely suffer through quite a bit more indignity than their cinematic counterparts. All in all, this was a great episode. The conflict between Luke and Diamondback is exciting and the music as always is on point.
Four Out Of Five Bible Quotes: This was an action-packed episode full of menace villains, interesting plots, and finally a threat that can pose a threat to our once impenetrable hero.
Another reference to the time Jessica Jones shot Luke
Luke’s ability to crack a joke while shot is admirable
Big shot out to the Warriors at the top of the episode