luke cage episode 8

There are three things happening in episode eight of Luke Cage:

  1. Injured Luke is weaker, bleeding and caught in a game of cat and mouse with Diamondback.
  2. Mariah is ascending to her throne, assuming her place as Mama Mabel’s heir.
  3. Misty is making a mess of things.

When we last saw Luke Cage, he had just been dropped by an alien Judas bullet, fired by Diamondback from a sniper rifle. He was writhing on the ground, where Claire was kneeling to tend to him (fortuitously on hand at the moment he’d need her nursing expertise), and this is where we rejoin them as the new episode opens.

luke cage episode 8

What follows is Luke and Claire’s mutual incredulity when they discover that there is a bullet that can pierce Luke’s skin. She calls an EMT friend who arrives in a borrowed ambulance to discreetly transport them to somewhere Claire can treat Luke outside of a hospital. Unfortunately, Diamondback is giving gleeful chase and shoots the ambulance with a rocket launcher, knocking it over without causing its occupants any real harm.

luke cage episode 8

Claire and Luke escape on foot, taking refuge in a closed women’s clinic, where she struggles to get a scalpel to penetrate his wound and discovers with the help of a sonogram that the bullet has exploded inside him and the shrapnel is burrowing through his innards. Yuck! She looks at his tissue under a microscope and sees that his cells are like Legos that immediately click back together if anything disrupts them, which is the thing that makes him superhuman and that is trapping the shrapnel inside him.

luke cage episode 8

While all of this is going down, Mariah has been asserting that Luke killed Cottonmouth to the police and has brought in Candace (Deborah Ayorinde), the waitress we met in episode one who was afraid to serve Cottonmouth alone, to act as a corroborating witness.

luke cage episode 8

Candace is claiming that she and Cottonmouth were lovers, that she was using his private shower when he was killed by Luke Cage, and that she saw enough to be sure it was Luke. Fortunately, Misty can see the minor inconsistencies that suggest that Mariah and Candace aren’t being truthful, but her boss’s insistence on following the evidence instead of instincts (and Inspector Priscilla’s apparent cronyism with Mariah) mean that Misty can’t back off.

luke cage episode 8

Misty traces Luke and Claire to the clinic and arrives to share in their shock that Luke is not completely invulnerable. While she’s getting up to speed on their situation, she loops them in about Cottonmouth’s death and receives a phone call alerting her to the fact that her crime scene investigators have unearthed the bloody gloves Shades hid in the trash at the barbershop to incriminate Luke.

luke cage episode 8

She is midway through arresting Luke when Clare catches sight of a sniper’s red dot on the back of Luke’s head and pulls him out of the way of another Judas round.

luke cage episode 8

The three take cover while Diamondback targets them, with Misty returning fire. Diamondback gets close enough to get his arm in the window, and Claire stabs him repeatedly with a scalpel.

luke cage episode 8

He withdraws, Misty goes out to try to get him, winding up on the wrong end of his gun for a few tense moments before he leaves her to run off into the night. Luke pursues, knowing he needs to face this foe himself.

luke cage episode 8

Luke limps after Diamondback to the GORGEOUS United Palace Theater, which is the scene-stealer supreme of this episode, where they have a pretty epic showdown. Diamondback is perched in the balcony, ready to shoot, when Luke enters. (Bear with me for a quick architectural tour, will you?)

luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8luke cage episode 8img_0709luke cage episode 8This is where we learn for sure that the shooter, Willis, is Diamondback. He has some issues with Luke from the old days, and he confides in Luke that he’s the one behind the framing that led to Luke’s being in prison and all of the terrible things that happened to him in there (which explains why Shades is everywhere). Diamondback says, “I sent you to hell, and you came back with superpowers!” and takes aim. Luke knocks one of the balcony’s support columns out and brings Diamondback down with the balcony.

Back at the police station, Misty is brushing off her experience with Diamondback and loses control while interrogating Claire. Where these ladies differ seems to be TRUST. Claire trusts Luke completely, and Misty doesn’t seem to trust anyone except her dead, dirty partner. Misty wants answers, and when Claire either doesn’t have them or won’t share them, Misty tries to choke them out of her… until the big boss intervenes, which throws Misty out of the frying pan and into the fire. (As they say.)

luke cage episode 8

luke cage episode 8

As the episode winds down, we witness Mariah paying off Candace, who is trying to reconcile what she’s done with what she knows of Luke’s character and how she felt about Cottonmouth. (She hated him.) Once she’s out of earshot, Shades asks Mariah what they’ll do if Candace doesn’t stay in line. Mariah outlines a grim end for Candace and her family, which lamentably might affect property values.

luke cage episode 8

luke cage episode 8

luke cage episode 8

luke cage episode 8

Home at her desk, she tells a photo of Mama Mabel, “I’m not like you,” and turns it face down.

luke cage episode 8

After all that, we get to the last few seconds of the show and the biggest moment it has to offer: Luke, weak and limping away from the theater, is standing in the middle of a street when Diamondback catches up to him. Luke says: “Willis, I’m sorry. You don’t have to do this. I loved you like a brother.”

luke cage episode 8

Unmoved, Diamondback says, “N**ger, I am your brother,” and BAM!

luke cage episode 8

Diamondback shoots Luke a second time, propelling him into the back of a trash truck that drives away.

luke cage episode 8

#BechdelTestPASS

Read the rest of my Luke Cage Season One recaps HERE.

Leona Laurie