“I don’t just seek justice, I stalk it”
The last episode was a rough one for Luke, getting shot and falling into a garbage truck, and this episode isn’t much easier. Wandering the streets after his nap in the back of the truck, he’s confronted by two NYPD officers, and as one could guess, the encounter doesn’t go well. The whole thing feels so horribly familiar. A black man in a hoodie gets stopped by the police because they assume he’s up to no good. To be fair it’s understandable why the police think Luke is drunk based off of his awkward movements, a bullet wound will do that to you. But when they approach him and Luke asks if there is a problem and one of the officers retorts, “No. You tell me. What’s your name, son?”, it feels a little off.
Things go from bad to worse when Luke is forced to pull down his hoodie and they confirm he’s the guy they’re looking for. The situation goes awry and as luck would have it, Luke’s tossing one of the officers about was recorded in the dashcam of the cop’s car. Though Luke was able to get away and rendezvous with Claire, Luke’s situation is still murky. With the only hope to save him from his bullet wounds lying in the hands of Noah Burstein, the doctor from Seagate that gave him his powers.
So it’s a road trip down to Georgia to see the good doctor and as luck would have it, Doctor Burstein still has some of his old equipment in his barn. With the data from the mysterious jump drive that was featured way back in Jessica Jones, Burstein is able to devise a plan that could help save Luke. But this is where the show goes a little off of the rails for me. The plan is to completely submerge Luke in acid. Why can’t they just localize the acid to where his wounds are? The whole thing, while dramatic and exciting, stretches the boundary of the suspension of disbelief and could have been handled better. While comics science is always kind of goofy, but in this instance, it’s really jarring when juxtaposed with the subdued style of the series so far.
While Luke is off getting fixed up down south, back in Harlem Diamondback is on the warpath, hunting for him. His aggressive management style includes shooting members of his own newly acquired crew to motivate them to find Luke. He’s definitely not going for ‘boss of the year’.
On the other hand, Mariah’s still reeling from her murdering of Cottonmouth. There’s a really poignant scene at the morgue where she’s talking to his body, recalling his parents, who he never knew. His father having OD’d and his mother having left him in a basket and run off. She tells the deceased Cottonmouth, “You always thought I called you Mo for Cottonmouth. Mo was for Moses”.
It’s a striking performance, showcasing the mixed emotions she had for her cousin. She laments trying to protect him from the world and himself and admits that she failed. Shades is, of course, on hand to help steer her towards the agenda of finding Luke and taking on Cottonmouth’s business. Which she handles by arranging a meet with the heads of all the local crime groups. Though the meeting turns into a bloodbath when Diamondback enters the scene. He’s a freight train of death and madness. Though when tested by Diamondback on why they should be friends, Mariah is able to ride his wave of crazy and sell him on the idea of selling his Judas bullets to the police department in light of Luke’s troubling dashcam footage.
While there’s a lot of external drama going on for our other players, on the other hand, this episode is a very introspective one for Misty. After her “confrontation” with Claire, a psychologist tries to help Misty deal with her issues. Though at first, she’s suspicious and uncooperative, the psychologist is able to gain some ground and help Misty overcome and realize some of her demons about feeling helpless in the face of Diamondback using her own gun to toy with her life.
They also deal with some of the pains of the job and Misty’s motivations for doing police work. In particular, an interesting and insightful bit of Misty’s character is revealed as she describes a heartbreaking story about her cousin Cassandra being abducted and murdered after Misty had left her to simply go buy a lemonade from the store. This anecdote helps illustrate Misty’s desire and drive to, as the quote at the top of the article says, not to seek justice, but to stalk it.
Misty’s storyline this episode also deals with sexism. When the psychologist asks whether she couldn’t see Scarfe for who he was because she was blinded by her emotions, she forcefully rebukes the notion and decries it as a sexist insinuation. The double standard that women are held to in comparison to their male counterparts in uniform is surely something she’s had to deal with as long as she’s been on the job. This coupled with Luke’s encounter with the police earlier on shows how the series is able to sprinkle in bits of socio-political commentary throughout the story.
Again, the female cast members in particular really bring their all in this show. Simone Missick hits home with a powerful performance that radiates humanity in the face of both internal and external horrors. Alfre Woodard as well delivers a nuanced and electric turn as her character navigates the shadows of Harlem’s underworld.
Three Out Of Five Acid Baths: The episode was strong and had some fantastic performances, but the treatment for Luke’s injuries was a bit goofy. Though overall this was still a good entry in the series.
Diamondback had the line of the episode, “I’ll murderize everybody. You or you die.”
We are back to some more hardcore surgery scenes.
Musical performance by The Delfonics! They were fantastic!