Sorry for the delay in this review, folks. I’m filling in for Matthew today, because of another Matthew that is causing trouble. I’m incredibly excited to be talking about Luke Cage episode 1×05, “Just to Get a Rep”. It is my favorite of the season, bringing the calm cool energy that I expected of the series. Just a warning, there are spoilers in this review for season two of Daredevil, which I’m sure nobody will mind at this point.
The episode starts with a musical montage that is absolutely perfect for this point in the story. We are now well-introduced to Harlem, it’s people and our hero. With Jidenna’s “Long Live The Chief” playing in the background, we see Luke cleaning up the remains of his apartment, Cottonmouth in Harlem’s Paradise, and (for her first appearance in this series) Rosario Dawson appears, as Claire Temple. While the lyrics of the music give an air of Cottonmouth being perfectly in control, it contrasts beautifully with Claire running after somebody who stole her bag, eventually kicking her attacker in the nuts. In my sleep deprived first viewing of this scene, this moment woke me right up.
Claire’s in Harlem, and even though this show is already packed with fierce, incredible women, they add yet another with Claire’s mother, Soledad Temple (Sonia Braga). Momma Temple is concerned for Claire starting a fight, but otherwise, is refreshingly encouraging for her daughter’s position. Considering that her daughter just quit a nursing job, and is openly talking about wanting to start treating super-heroes, and her mom is nothing but supportive. We see where Claire gets her personality, with a very rational approach to life, but an open mind for doing what many can’t. God Bless Momma Temple!
While talking about Claire’s entrance, it’s important to note that this gives us a clear explanation of where we are in the timeline of Netflix Marvel events. Claire has just quit her job because she saw a kid who already had cuts from being autopsied. Therefore, we can assume that episode 5 of Luke Cage is a day or two after the hospital ninja-fight in Daredevil episode 2×11, “.380”. This gives clarity as to why Turk Barrett momentarily thought Hell’s Kitchen was safe in episode 1×01 of Luke Cage. He hadn’t yet been kidnapped by The Hand.
After a kick-ass musical intro, we also get a Harlem cameo from Dapper Dan, the “Hip-Hop Tailer of Harlem.” Luke is treated to a well-fitted suit, which we get a fabulous view of as he takes the streets of Harlem to get back at Cottonmouth, who has been terrorizing the locals to get Luke’s attention. Mike Colter is giving Charlie Cox‘s Matt Murdock a run for the money when it comes to making the suits look good. I never thought I’d want to see The Defenders in court, but perhaps I do, now.
Luke’s adventure in recovering all the items stolen from every-day people of Harlem helps give us a feel of the personalities in the neighborhood. We learn of an alcoholic father that used to be a baseball star, and his daughter, who’s willing to go to any lengths to keep one small piece of his legacy. Luke, himself, is learning the neighborhood. We’re reminded that he is as much of an outsider to all of this as we are.
Meanwhile, in Harlem’s Bad-Guy Paradise, Shades introduces the Judas Bullet. This bullet will drill into kevlar, then explode again. Its abilities are demonstrated in a video that shows an Eastern European man quite literally exploding as advertised. Even worse is the price, which leads Cottonmouth to his network of dirty cops, including Scarfe, to get his guns back.
With a few gunshots in his new, fine, suit, Luke is able to hide them and go to Pop’s funeral, which Misty had asked him not to do. He subtly prevents more drama at the event by balling up the gun that was surely meant for Cottonmouth. Luke needs to start making some art with these guns he’s mutilating. He could weave them together and create a kick-ass think-piece for all anti-gun activists.
Pop’s funeral ends with Cottonmouth and Luke giving their campaign rally speeches on the pulpit. Cottonmouth seemed sincere, but when Luke got his turn, he blew it all away. After an episode about the people of Harlem, we get a speech about Harlem being great because of its people.
5 Dapper Suits out of 5. This episode had a great mix of character growth and action. It was all that I wanted from this series.
- “Hail To The Chief” This song, the montage that went with it, was so perfect. I have re-watched it many times and love it more every time. There’s something about the polished suit of the singer, while he talked about people being shot, that brings the reality of the situation into view.
- MOMMA TEMPLE. The way she supports her daughter is so refreshing.
- “PER BULLET?!” Cottonmouth’s reaction to learning the price of the Judas Bullets was priceless.
What did you think of this episode? Put on a well-fitted suit and walk the streets, talking about it with people in your neighborhood, or let me know in the comments, below!