LUKE CAGE | S1 E9

Another day and other great episode, but as I shun the real world in favour of my Luke Cage fix, will Luke’s origin story prove to be this series lull? ….. Join Film and TV Nerd to find out!

This episode is all about the recovery period for the heroes of the story. Mainly for Luke Cage, but for Misty Knight as well. It’s all about the knockout punch for the villains of the story. But, for all the weight given to the ending scene to ‘Blowin’ Up The Spot’, it’s a little bit of a disservice for Cage to just bounce right up and out of the garbage truck. Unfortunately, and I’ll complain about it again, the fact that Stryker (Erik LaRay Harvey) doesn’t shoot Luke in the head is a big misstep by the showrunners in my opinion. I’m not suggesting that Luke should be dead, but that last shot should be in the shoulder because Stryker missed (maybe it was a glancing shot as Cage escaped the wrath). Not because it was a conscious choice. It makes the menacing opening scene with Stryker, where he’s yelling at his minions to go find Cage, laughable;

As for Misty’s breakdown, this episode goes a long way into helping me accept the change in stance that felt out of place in ‘Blowin’ Up The Spot’. Christian Taylor (writer) does an incredible job of breaking down her character and examining what makes her tick.

We even get an origin story for her career as she explains the fateful day that she lost her cousin because she was thirsty. It changed her and it’s why she’s relentless in her pursuit for justice. There’s also considerable effort by Taylor to illustrate that she always wants to control her surroundings. It adds to the level of horror she felt when a gun (her gun) was pressed against her head and that scene is heightened by this exploration of her state of mind. It’s interesting to note that this episode feels like it’s primarily about Misty’s PTSD (given the fact that Luke is on the brink of “death”).

While the opening scene for Stryker didn’t work for me because of unintentional elements, one of the closing scenes that had Diamondback’s entrance to the crime boss meeting is his best moment of the series. It’s a little strange that he let Mariah speak and talk him into keeping her alive, but I’ll chalk that up to his love for Cottonmouth.

Which reminds me. Taylor’s portrayal of Shades (Theo Rossi) changes the audience’s view of him completely. Throughout the first half of the season, you’re under the impression that he’s carrying out Diamondback’s orders. But, it seems that Shades has been bending the objective given to him by Stryker to his own will and benefit. Overall, my only problem with this section of the narrative is Mariah’s influence at this point. Why would she still have political power after being dismissed as councilwoman? However, the manipulation of the press to “talk” the police into buying the Judas bullets is a nicely written turn of events. It plays perfectly with Mariah’s opportunistic nature (with Luke’s run in with the cops).

 

Unfortunately, the problem with Luke’s side of the story, at this point, is that it lacks any real intrigue. The only interesting element about Cage getting back on his feet is “How”. The effort put into the explanation for Luke’s abilities is admirable (the abalone shell). The convoluted way that they’re attempting to get the bullets out is not. If Dr. Burnstein (Michael Kostroff) knows the basic structure of what he created, he should have a better idea about what would penetrate it. The method that Burnstein and Claire end up using might very well be accurate, but it feels like they’re throwing darts at the problem. For a scientist that was able to create Luke Cage (even if it was partly by accident), there should be some certainty involved with his assessment.

Overall, the episode serves as a re-staging narrative just fine. The players are effectively regrouping and formulating a new strategy. For Diamondback and Mariah, they’re setting up a multi layer attack (where they don’t have to do the heavy lifting). For what it’s worth, it’s a well devised plan and it adds another element to the challenges that are waiting for Luke.

Misty and Luke are simply trying to stay in the game at this point. While the suspense and drama of this question is effectively nil, the execution of this section (by taking the opportunity to fill in some backstory) was outstanding.

What did you think of this episode?

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