At the opening of episode 4 of Season 2 of Luke Cage, DW’s (Jeremiah Craft) phone is blowing up with Harlem’s Hero notifications. He assumes that Luke (Mike Colter) is just out doing his thing and goes to find him, showing up just before Bushmaster (Mustaka Shakir) lands the first, heavy hit. DW records the entire fight between Bushmaster and Luke, with Bushmaster barely reacting to Luke’s hits, dodging him, and eventually knocking Luke out cold on the sidewalk. Stunned and still recording, DW asks who he is from behind his camera. Bushmaster identifies himself to DW’s camera and tells him that “I’m the stone the builders refused.”

After coming to on the sidewalk with a circle of unhelpful onlookers, Luke asks who he just got into a fight with, and DW tells him the guy called himself “Bushmaster”. Luke doesn’t recognize the name and stumbles back to Pop’s, eyesight blurry, spitting blood and in pain. He tries to focus, but can’t and when he tries to call Claire (Rosario Dawson), it just goes to voicemail. When Bobby (Ron Cephas Jonescomes in he asks if Luke has a hangover, and Luke tells him about the fight, that Bushmaster was unnaturally fast, with no type of technology to help him, and that he was Jamaican. Luke stops him from trying to call Claire and says that he needs to find Bushmaster. Bobby points out that anybody who can take on Luke with their bare hands can’t be good for Harlem.

In her office, Mariah (Alfre Woodard) and Piranha (Chaz Lamar Shepherd) are drinking and celebrating the merger with Atreus plastics and Glenn Industries, and the success of their plan to make it look like Mark Higgins’ (Jeorge Bennett Watson) idea. Shades (Theo Rossi) is far less excited than they are and asks what’s next. Piranha tells him not to worry about it, that Mariah’s 20k investment is now worth over 300 million dollars. Shades doesn’t believe in money he can’t touch, and Piranha tells him not to touch anything, that everything is in offshore accounts. Piranha has temporary power of attorney to protect their assets and insulate Mariah. It dawns on Shades that Mariah must have put up Harlem’s Paradise as part of the deal. She admits it, saying that it needed to look like collateral. They’re interrupted by Comanche bringing in the video of Luke’s fight with Bushmaster.

The video has gone everywhere, news, internet, and DW has set up a merch table on the street selling DVDs of Luke’s loss to Bushmaster. When Luke finds him and confronts him DW says he’s just a chronicler and that “everyone wants to see the king get knocked down”. DW asked if Luke and Claire are leaving town since he saw Claire carrying bags out of her place earlier that day and assumed they were going to go out of town and lay low for a while.

 

RELATED: Get caught up on all of our Season 2 Luke Cage recaps!

 

Back in Mariah’s office, Mariah tries to dismiss Comanche (Thomas Q. Jones) from her conversation with Shades, saying that she doesn’t trust him. Shades vouches for Comanche, but after he and Mariah get into a round of verbal sparring he sends Comanche out of the room. Shades tells Mariah that Bushmaster is the one who took over the Yardies and when he talks about his “yard” he’s talking about Harlem. If Bushmaster can take out Luke Cage with his bare hands, why does he need Mariah’s guns? Shades thinks that Bushmaster is in Harlem for Mariah, that is probably has something to do with Cornell. She says that it’s old business with her grandfather. She tries to brush it off, but Shades pushes, asking her to let him in and telling her that he can’t protect her if he doesn’t know. He wants to focus on their future, not their past.

In the meantime, Luke has gone to Claire’s apartment to find it packed up, boxes marked for storage and the hole from his fist still in the wall. A woman with a clipboard comes in and says that she knows who he is and that he’s not allowed in the apartment until she hears otherwise, that it’s Claire’s mother’s apartment that she’s been asked to sublet. She shows him a gym bag with a letter for him, and Luke apologizes for the damage before taking the bag and the letter and leaving.

While he’s out walking, Misty (Simone Missick) finds Luke. Misty hates to admit it, but in the case of the fight with Bushmaster, Luke’s a victim and asks if he wants to press charges. He refuses like she expected him to, but she also offers him the police file on Bushmaster, making sure that he knows that she could lose her job for showing it to him. She invites him to ride along with her “in pursuit of a suspect” to find Bushmaster after Luke tells her that he met Bushmaster when he went looking for Nigel to stop the gun deal with Mariah. They get to the warehouse where Luke fought with the Yardies before, but before they get out of the car Misty comments on the bag and the envelope. She guesses pretty well what happened, but Luke says that he and Claire have different definitions of what it means to be a hero. He asks if he can stay at Misty’s place for a few nights, to which she openly laughs and says absolutely not. They get ready to enter the warehouse and misty dons a bulletproof vest. Luke asks why and she reminds him that they aren’t all bulletproof. Inside the warehouse, they find bullets, candles, weed, herbs and a bag from Mother’s Touch – Tilda’s store – which Luke takes a picture of. They both notice the smell at the same time, coming from behind a large door with a lock on it. Luke asks if Misty has probably cause to which she dryly responds “I hear voices. In distress. Open the door.” Luke breaks the lock and the smell gets worse. Inside, they find Nigel’s headless body.

At Harlem’s Paradise, Shades has left and asked Comanche to keep an eye on Mariah. He brings in some coffee to Mariah from her assistant Alex, and after their usual exchange of unpleasantries, she asks if he wants anything else. Comanche says that Shades told him about the deal going through, and he thought that maybe he could help. While he was in Seagate he read about stocks and trading, made it his study. She says she’s not worried about Piranha. He disagrees. He says that men like Piranha move fast so that they can’t track what they’re doing. Mariah says that he’s making her money, and Comanche counters with the idea that if you can’t explain a scam to a seven-year-old, then you’re probably the one getting scammed. She dismisses him but looks nervous about what he’s said.

Back in the warehouse, Misty has called in Nigel’s body and said that she was following Luke so that she can cover the fact that they were there together looking for the Yardies. Misty’s friend Tomas (Rey Lucas)is part of the team that responded, they used to work together on what they called the Zombie Squad. They ask him about the Yardies, but he says it’s unlikely, that they’re old school and by the time he had joined the force they were quieter. They don’t go by the name “The Yardies” anymore. Now they call themselves the “Stylers” and Tomas hopes that this stays an internal Stylers disagreement. If the Yardies were Al Queda, The Sylers are ISIS. Misty and Luke show Tomas a picture of Bushmaster, and tell him they think Bushmaster is involved. Tomas recognizes him and identifies him as John McIver, a previous baby Styler who rose up through the ranks, and now he’s the new news in Harlem. He also tells them that the warehouse is owned by Gideon Shaw, who is being detained in ICE. Misty says that they need to talk to him, but that Luke can’t get in because of his record. Misty agrees to go with Tomas to talk to Shaw. Tomas notices that Luke is in pain, short-tempered and wincing at the light and asks Misty if Luke is okay or if he’s on a bender. Misty laughs at the idea, but tells Luke that he needs to go home. Luke agrees with no fight, and Misty tells him to give Claire some time.

Between all of this, Tilda (Gabrielle Dennis) sees the video of Bushmaster and Luke’s fight and recognizes Bushmaster. She finds the receipt from the herbs he bought and starts combining them, going through books and recipes, trying to figure out what it was for. She seems to realize that the nightshade is important, but is still trying to figure out what it is for. Later that day, Luke arrives at Tilda’s store. She asks if he wants a pain reliever, which seems to surprise him, but he says no, and shows her the photo he took of one of her herb bags at the warehouse. He asks if she sold anything in that, and she said yes, any dried herb she sells. He asks if she sold anything to a large Jamaican man, and she points out that that is most of her clientele. He gives her that one. Tilda asks if he knows where his strength comes from. He tells her its a long story, and she counters that sometimes when we unpack baggage it’s a little less heavy. So he gives in and tells her the cliff notes version of the experiments that were done on him. By the time he is finished she is making him something from herbs and hands him a cup, telling him to drink it and it will help with your pain, and that she saw the video. She was wrong about the taste, but he still thanks her for the herbs and she tells him that he should get an MRI. She can tell he probably has a concussion. He thanks her again and says that the herbs are already helping. Before he leaves, he asks that if she sees Bushmaster again, to give him a call.

In an ICE holding facility, Misty goes to talk to Gideon Shaw. She shows him a picture of Bushmaster and asks what it is that makes him so scary. Gideon tells Misty he hopes she won’t have to find out. They ask him why Bushmaster is in Harlem if he lives in Jamaica. Gideon tells them about the stories that Bushmaster was told growing up about two men, one at the top of the hill one at the bottom. The one at the top thinks he’s better because he can see everything, but the man at the bottom knows he can climb up the hill when the other man is sleeping and kill him and take the hill. Bushmaster’s parents were wronged by Americans, by “Yankees”, and he aims to get back everything that is his, starting with the family on the hill.

 

Marvel’s Luke Cage

At Harlem’s Paradise that night, Bushmaster pays a visit to Mariah and Shades in Mariah’s VIP area. Mariah plays her usual tough card and offers Bushmaster a drink and he notices that it is Bushmaster Rum. Mariah thanks him for doing a public service to Harlem, and says that she’s sad to see him go. Bushmaster looks out at the club and says that Harlem is starting to feel like home, and he thinks he’ll stay. He begins to comment on the craftsmanship, the work that went into the club and asks if there was a recent renovation, who designed the interiors. Mariah shrugs and says that her grandfather had it commissioned in the ’60s. Bushmaster asks if her grandparents ever mentioned someone by the name of Quincy Purcell McIver. Mariah shrugs again and says she can’t remember the name, so they must not have been that important, that history remembers royalty, not flunkies. He nods and takes that in for a minute, then begins to talk about the blues that is being played. He tells Mariah he thinks she is in the best place to listen to the music because she can see everything. He compliments the rum, that only 2 men know how to make it, but both are dead. Mariah counters that maybe some things are better left dead and frozen. Bushmaster responds that some old fires are easy to light, and tells her that her guns will be very useful to him. He tells her is a pleasure doing business and calls her Ms. Stokes. At this point, Mariah snaps and corrects him to Dillard, loudly and angrily. Bushmaster tells her to enjoy the time on the hill. Shades goes to follow Bushmaster and tells Ray to stay with Mariah since Comanche has left. 

Bushmaster enters his uncle’s cafe to cheers, welcomes and congratulations on his fight with Luke. His uncle is less amused than everyone else and makes it clear. Bushmaster tells him that he went to Harlem’s Paradise, talked to Mariah and drank Bushmaster, that he saw his past and his future in the same place. He tries to give his uncle money, who refuses it, but his aunt grabs it happily for them. Across the street we see Shades watching him from his car.

We cut to seeing Comanche walking through a garage and getting into a black car. He tells the driver that he’s risking his life to talk to them, at which point we see that it is Captain Ridenhour (Peter Jay Fernandez). Comanche reiterates that he can’t do this overnight, that Mariah and Shades don’t trust him. Ridenhour tells him that the purpose of him being on the streets is to infiltrate Mariah and Shades. If they find out, it isn’t his problem, it’s Comanche’s. The faster Comanche gives the cops information, the faster he will be free.

At the police station, Misty gets an invitation from Danny and Colleen, with a drawing of a bionic arm enclosed and the instructions to “Call us when you’re ready”.

Back at Pop’s, Luke tries to sit down, but shortly after Bobby walks in and surprises him. Bobby says he looks like an elephant on rollerskates could sneak up on him right now. The bad news is that Bobby’s daughter is sick. She lives in San Diego and needs a transplant. The good news is that he’s a match, and he can be a donor. He’s flying out the following morning. Bobby says that she called him her hero and that he cried. He says that much be how Luke feels every day. He asks Luke if he’s talked to Claire. Luke says no, that he’s trying to give her space. He thought he knew how to handle himself, but Bobby points out that he’s trying to be two Luke Cages, and he’s only one man. He also tells him that he has to be more careful than the average person because if he loses control, peoples’ lives could be at stake. They say their goodbyes and Bobby goes to get ready for his trip. Before Luke can finish closing up shop a young man comes in and asks for Luke Cage, then serves him with papers.