The death of Cottonmouth is actually a shame because Mahershala Ali was doing a fantastic job with the character and he was such a fun adversary for Luke to face off against. However, this was sort of something that has been coming since the beginning because Cottonmouth was never the controlling party; Diamondback was.
While Cottonmouth was, as said before, a really solid introductory villain for the show, it was always clear that he was never the end game. “Blowin’ Up The Spot” is where viewers finally meet Diamondback, who manages to hit Luke with one of the alien Judas bullets that does it’s job on the hero. Yet, it becomes frustrating when a show builds up confrontation only to save it for later. More specifically, Diamondback knows the bullet strikes Luke, he then proceeds to stop the ambulance but won’t pursue Luke to finish him off knowing he’s within a couple hundred feet somewhere.
Luke Cage does really well with it’s build up in a lot of situations, but this was one that felt like a cheap ploy to avoid these two character’s confrontation until a later point. Eventually, it becomes clear that the reason for this was to avoid the reveal that Diamondback and Luke share a past of some kind, and Diamondback has been slowly trying to ruin Luke’s life all along.This was actually a pretty tame episode for Luke as well, who was out of commission thanks to the Judas bullet.
While it seems a little forced to have Claire being such a major presence in the show after having only a minor interaction with Luke in Jessica Jones, it is fitting to have her around as the Marvel Netflix nurse. Claire was actually really great in this episode and her interactions with Luke felt very normal compared to everything else she’s done so far, and while her timing is convenient for story purposes, it was nice to see her continued role in the MCU aiding these vigilantes.
Claire has also been a really nice counterpart to Misty, who is a pretty tiring character through eight episodes. Although Misty is a pure by the books officer, her constant doubt in Luke is pretty frustrating because even though she has heard his side of things and what he’s out to accomplish, she can’t ever nail him. Misty is just doing her job, but this episode really pushed her into the realm of annoying when she tries to arrest Luke despite knowing in her gut he wasn’t actually responsible for Cottonmouth’s death. Her character just always has an attitude but Claire finally calls her out for basically knowing deep down what’s right but not acting on it because she is afraid to step outside of the corrupt system.
With the death of Cottonmouth, the villain power is shifting in Luke Cage as the third act kicks into gear. Mariah is basically in debt to Shades and Diamondback because it’s the only way her career and stability stand a chance of surviving, Diamondback has finally entered the picture and seems like a wildcard, and Shades is quietly climbing the totem pole of success. It seems like this is going to be the long-term hierarchy in the show, at least, unless Diamondback falls to Luke by season’s end.
It would be nice to see how the show sets up for it’s sophomore season though because Mariah and Shades just won’t cut it in the long-run and are pretty sub-par people for Luke to deal with.“Blowin’ Up The Spot,” is actually a pretty oddly organized episode of Luke Cage compared to everything else viewers have seen so far in the season. The show tries to transition into the final act but things feel rushed and convenient which ends up dampening the impact of things like Luke not being completely indestructible, Diamondback’s introduction, and Mariah’s grieving process.
The show seems to instantly brush over the fallout of losing Cottonmouth and there is no full display of the character’s reactions to this shift in the power of Harlem. Despite having 13 episodes, sometimes these Marvel Netflix shows feel unbalanced in their progression and the speed of the storytelling, which is what Luke Cage suffers from in this eighth episode; yet, the show still hasn’t completely lost the tone and pace it’s had up to this point, which is why it will hopefully smooth itself out and finish strong.
What did you think of this episode?
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