Luke Cage | S1 E2

As Luke Cage is standing and contemplating his actions, he’s held at gunpoint by a young thug. He calls him a black man (but the impolite version of it), and first tries to talk him out of pulling the trigger. But it’s clear that this kid has no sign of respect when he calls Luke “a dead man.” This isn’t going to end well for him. The first episode  gained my attention … but would this one do the same? Join Film and TV Nerd to find out!

As the cops looks over the photographs from the robbery gone wrong, Misty Knight tries to revisit the scene. She envisions it as best as she can, but her boss chides her for taking that approach. While they know Chico is responsible, since he’s the last one from that scene who’s alive, it’s another matter trying to track him down.

We head back to Pop’s Barber Shop, and Luke Cage is present. Pop lectures Luke about his low ambition despite his gifts. He tells him about the scene at Genghis Connie’s and says he knew Luke was responsible.

In the middle of Pop’s heart-to-heart with Luke, Shades and Cottonmouth walk into the barbershop. But they don’t want any trouble — they’re paying customers for the best barber in town. Pop asks Cottonmouth why his hands are so bloody, but he says it’s due to shaving; hence why he sought a professional.

Luke does his best to keep a low profile around his prison mate, who still doesn’t recognize him. However, he inadvertently breaks his mop, which he tells Shades is because it’s old. Shades inquires about Chico, a regular at Pop’s, pretending that he’s an old friend. But Luke’s onto him, and states that people “come and go.”

Cottonmouth waxes poetic about Luke’s name, since it’s from the Old Testament. He’s into “old school guys” who are all about an “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, fire and brimstone.” Perhaps that’s why he beat up Shameek in cold blood. But while Cage is capable of that, he chooses not to go down that road. When they leave, Pop reveals that he figured out Cottonmouth killed Shameek, and wants him to track down Chico before they can.

Luke tracks down Chico, making an entrance by destroying his door. He tells him that Shameek is dead, but doesn’t believe that he killed Dante. He also warns him that he found him in four hours, so imagine how quickly one of Cottonmouth’s hired guns, or the cops, could track him down. Pop meets him later at his shop and chides him for his stupidity.

Obviously, Misty won the HORSE battle, since they end up at the barbershop. While Pop tries to stall them, Luke recognizes her from last night. This is going to get awkward. When he sees her, Luke says “you’ve found some better clothes to audit in.” The detectives don’t find what they’re looking for, while Luke has lots of ‘splainin to do.

Cage goes directly to Harlem’s Paradise, but not to work his shift. He wants to meet with Cottonmouth and Mariah. He wants to set up a parlay with Chico, and shows him a photo of the two back when they ran the streets together. But his plan goes south when Tone receives a text about Chico’s whereabouts. Cottonmouth tries to fire Luke on the way out, but he says he quit before he walked in.

Once his hored gun tells him they tracked down Chico, Cottonmouth sends people over to the barbershop. Luke goes back there, thinking the meeting was successful, but they’re coming armed and dangerous. Chico tries to leave with the money, but Cottonmouth’s gunmen shoot up the shop before he can. Luke is unscathed but pretends to play dead, while Pop isn’t so lucky. With his dying breath, he tells Luke to go “always forward, never backward.”

When the police arrive at the scene, Misty wonders how Luke survived it. He doesn’t bother giving an excuse and says he doesn’t need to see a paramedic.

Back at Harlem’s Paradise, Tone and Shades return with the money, comparing the scene to “Django Candyland”. But when Shades tells him Pops died, Stokes gets upset. He proceeds to throw Tone off the rooftop and tells Mr. Barrett he can collect his money from him downstairs. Mariah, meanwhile, isn’t happy that she got her money back because of all the blood that came with it.

Meanwhile, the cold open turns out to be a flash-forward. He gives the thug an impassioned speech about Crispus Attacks, as well as Pop. He isn’t going to be reserved any longer, as he takes the gun from the kid and shoots himself to show it doesn’t affect him. The kid runs away scared, while Luke vows to clean up the streets.

What did you think of this episode?

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