We return to Luke Cage, season 2, episode 2 with Claire (Rosario Dawson) inspecting Luke’s (Mike Colter) nonexistent gunshot wound from Arturo’s Judas bullet. Luke isn’t sure how he’s still standing, but Claire thinks that the second bath he went through made him even stronger than before, and she wants to test him. They go and meet Bobby at a football field and very quickly the press begins to show up, thanks to the Harlem Heroes app. Todd Bowles, head coach of the New York Jets, comes up to say hello. He’s a client of Bobby’s (Ron Cephas Jones) , and he’s going to be testing Luke. They put him through the broad jump, monster truck tire flip, running trials, and all sorts of Olympic tests, all of which Luke blows out of the water, running faster than Usain Bolt, jumper further than the world record for the broad jump, and easily tossing a 400 lb tire while barely breaking a sweat. Claire looks worried, especially about all of the attention they’re bringing.

In Mariah’s (Alfre Woodard) office, Mariah is livid to find out that the Judas bullet — the only way she thought he could be killed– left Luke standing. Shades (Theo Rossi) calls out the fact that she is already drinking, and it isn’t even 10 AM yet. Again, he tries to convince her to sell the Basquiat. He says there’s no reason to sell the business, but Mariah wants to get out of the business that has already taken so much from her.

At the police station, Misty (Simone Missick) greets Nandi Taylor (Antonique Smith). They are High School acquaintances, and Nandi relays a story about Misty taking her place on a sports team after Nandi suffered a knee injury. She tries to tell Misty to take a new desk, but Misty insists on getting her old one back. With Misty on light duty, Nandi is interrogating Arturo. Misty tries to convince the captain to let her interrogate him, but he refuses.

Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir) is taking a walk through Harlem, and runs into kids play-fighting and arguing about who ‘s Luke Cage in their game. He asks the children about him. They show him the video that D.W.  (Jeremiah Kraft) shot of Luke surviving the bomb and issuing his challenge to anyone who wants to come up against him. Bushmaster continues his walk and finds a coffee shop with a server that he obviously recognizes.

Back at Pop’s, Luke’s father pays a visit. The barbers aren’t in, and Luke tells him to leave. His father asks him to come by and see him and calls him “Carl” again before he leaves. Claire comes in and asks what’s wrong. Luke tells him that his father just left. She thinks it’s great that his father is reaching out, but Luke clearly disagrees. She pushes Luke to make amends with his father, but he pushes back, telling her that he will deal with it in his own time and way. She asks him to not wait too long since she lost her father before she could make amends.

At the police station, Misty talks to Nandi outside of Arturo’s interrogation room. Nandi clearly resents Misty, and tells her that her injury makes people feel uncomfortable, claiming that Misty is back because she wants the pity. Nandi’s partner tries to calm Misty down, saying that there’s plenty of people ticked off about what Scarfe did. But he’s not one of those people. He adds that it would be dumb to go talk to Arturo because he’s already got lawyers. Misty, however, waits for them to leave and goes in to talk to Arturo anyway. She only gets to talk to him for a few minutes, most of which are taken up with jokes about her arm, before his lawyer, Ben Donovan (Danny Johnson) —  one of Mariah’s lawyers — walks in, and says that Arturo made bail. The captain tells Misty that she is already close to being suspended. Once she is alone, Misty calls Luke and tells him that Arturo is out.

At Pop’s Claire, Bobby and Luke discuss Mariah, the Judas bullet, and Mariah’s business deals. Luke thinks it would be stupid to give Cockroach (Dorian Missick) any type of control, but he looks like a good possibility for the buyer. Luke heads out to shake down the associates of Cockroach, and eventually gets the name of Cockroach’s girlfriend.

In the meantime, Bushmaster is at the cafe we saw him at earlier, talking to the waiter we saw before. Their conversations reveal that it is Bushmaster’s father and that the cafe is named after his mother. His father tells him he should walk away. Instead, Bushmaster says he needs more nightshade and asks where he can find some. His father tells him that the more he uses it, the more it will hurt him, but tells Bushmaster where to find it. They see the news about Luke’s tests on the football field that morning, and his father tells him that he has to deal with both Mariah and Luke, that Mariah has the crown of Harlem, but Luke has the heart.

In a meeting, Mariah is informed that the scandal surrounding her family has damaged her reputation, and it’s recommended to her to reunite with her daughter, that it will make great publicity, and help her win back peoples’ trust and affection. While Mariah contemplates the tactical value of reaching out to her estranged child, Shades and Comanche (Thomas Q. Jonespay a visit to Arturo at his store. Comanche tells Shades that he’s not okay with how Mariah treats him and wants to know what’s going on with Shades. Shades stays quiet and refuses to discuss his relationship with Mariah. During their meeting, Arturo accuses Shades of setting him up with a defective Judas bullet, and informs him that he’s no longer bidding on Mariah’s business, saying that he’ll give them the money when he is entirely free and clear of any charges. Arturo starts insulting Mariah and Shades shoots him in the head. Comanche kills both of Arturo’s bodyguards before they can draw their guns.

At the police station, Misty is struggling to complete paperwork with everyone casting sideways glances at her and talking behind her back. Someone passing asks if she needs a hand, and that is her last straw. She gets everyone’s attention and pulls off her jacket. She tells them to take a look, because this is what she is, and she doesn’t need anyone staring at her or making jokes while she’s trying to do her job. The captain enters and announces that Arturo is dead, which is somehow more comfortable news than Misty addressing everyone’s attitude about her arm. Misty follows them to the crime scene and reconstructs as much as she can. She can’t get a read on who the shooter was, but she puts together most of the rest of the scene. Her gut tells her Mariah and Shades but she has no evidence. She meets Luke outside who suggests Cockroach, and Misty gets her address.

 

At the same time, Mariah pays a visit to her daughter, Tilda’s (Gabrielle Dennis), homeopathic medicine store. They are obviously very tense and Tilda asks what Mariah wants. Mariah asks for a second chance, before leaving.

We see Luke knock on an apartment door, which is answered by a boy with bad bruises on his arms. When asked, he tells Luke he got it trying to get his dad to stop hitting his mom. Andrea Powell, Cockroach’s girlfriend, comes to the door, but when Luke tries to talk to her she slams it in his face. Luke goes to leave and is stopped by an old woman down the hall. She tells him that cockroach is always beating Andrea and that he runs a dice game in the warehouses. She asks for Luke’s number so that he can call if she sees him.

Shades comes to Mariah and tells her that he had to “end negotiations” with Arturo. He admits to having killed him and when Mariah asks why, Comanche speaks up and says that it was because of Arturo insulting Mariah and threatening to talk to Misty. When Mariah asks why he didn’t get the money first, Comanche steps in again and tells her that she still has two buyers and the Basquiat, that she isn’t hurting for anything. Shades admits he made a mistake but says that he did it for Mariah.

At Cockroach’s dice game Luke arrives, and Cockroach’s bodyguards try to taze him. In response, Luke tosses them through the table. Cockroach pulls out a modified gun and shoots Luke. The shot has enough force to throw him through a window and into the street. When he tries to stand up he realized that the shot actually hurt him and he walks away limping and in pain.

At Pop’s, Bobby is on the phone, negotiating with the Nike rep when Claire comes in. Bobby asks Claire what’s on her mind. She wants to protect Luke but doesn’t know how. She wants to be with him, but says he isn’t whole, that he won’t address his father or his past. During their conversation, Luke calls and Claire leaves in a hurry. At home, Luke’s shoulder is out of place and even though it looks like he is mostly healed from his injuries, he is obviously still in pain. This is exactly what Claire was worried about and they fight about his safety, and his father.

Back at Tilda’s shop, Bushmaster walks in. He tells her that he was told she would have everything he needs and hands her a list of ingredients. She recognizes it as the ingredients for something called Obeah, but sells it to him. She’s uncomfortable with him, and he notices. He overpays her and tells her that the extra is for being so helpful. At the Harlem club, Shades informs Mariah that the Jamaicans have reached out, but that it’s not Nigel, Instead, it’s someone who he doesn’t know. Mariah wants the money that Cockroach would bring, but Shades assures her that Jamaicans will give her enough money to get clean and that they can make up the rest. Down at the bar, Nandi sees the conversation happening. Unexpectedly, Tilda arrives but is initially stopped by Comanche. Once Mariah introduces her as her daughter, Tilda tells her that she recognizes that Mariah’s pain is real and that she has one more chance. Mariah asks Shades to give them a moment, and even though he does, he is obviously unsettled by being dismissed so easily. At the bar, he and Comanche watch the talk, and Comanche tells him that he’s lost his spot with Mariah.

Later that night, Cockroach attacks his girlfriend, blaming her for Luke knowing where his game was. The old woman next door hears the fight and calls Luke. Luke arrives and pulls Cockroach off of Andrea. He beats Cockroach up, and is choking him almost to death when he sees the girlfriend and son in the corner, cowering. When he sees the son’s face, he let’s go of Cockroach’s throat.

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