Week of July 9, 2023:

Suckas Need Bodyguards (Luke Cage s1 e6) released September 30, 2016 (where to watch)
Manifest (Luke Cage s1 e7) released September 30, 2016
Scott Hardie | October 30, 2023

Suckas Need Bodyguards: Once you get past the high improbability at the center of the episode -- that Detective Scarfe could have made it undetected and apparently on foot from the waterfront to Pop's after being shot three times -- this episode becomes a little better. Luke Cage sneaking into Scarfe's apartment is fun but even more so is how he escapes. (Other than production cost savings, I've never understood why indestructible superheroes don't simply jump from great heights instead of slowing themselves down.) Claire Temple teaming up with her third superhero is also neat to watch, though I don't understand why Luke didn't hold down the squirming Scarfe while she removed the bullets, and I don't understand why she didn't make more of a pitch for her "paid nurse to superheroes" concept, although perhaps that's what the ending suggests is coming next (besides coffee and sex). I recently read about the falsehoods that Hollywood keeps portraying such as sound traveling through space, and car doors stopping bullets was on that list, so I was prepared to be disappointed that the catering van doors could have shielded Claire and Scarfe from the street gang's machine guns, but the hole in the wall was a delightful surprise. Scarfe admitting to Chico Diaz's murder partially redeemed him; it would have been better if he had shown us in the audience any remorse over it prior to that moment, especially in light of having lost a son of his own to violence. Seeing Cornell Stokes's fall happen as a direct result his own impatience and testiness was satisfying. It's nice to finally see a few cracks in Mariah Dillard's façade, though I don't buy that a seasoned politician like her wouldn't have found it easy to improvise a decent response to the reporter's questions. (7/10)

Manifest: At last we get to the big controversial mid-season twist. Mahershala Ali would only do the show if his appearances could be limited to six or fewer episodes, so Cornell Stokes's death was planned from the start, but boy did it tick off a lot of viewers who were invested in the Cage-Cottonmouth conflict. Me, I think his exit is a blessing for the series: 13 episodes (or 26 or 39…) is a long time to drag out a never-ending conflict between the same hero and the same villain over and over again (*cough* Wilson Fisk *cough*), and this "war" between them was already starting to feel repetitive, so the show was lucky to put it to bed just in time. Without spoilers, I think it's also safe to say that this twist creates an opportunity for Mariah Dillard to grow as a character: She is revealed not to be Cornell's lesser partner but a frighteningly capable villain in her own right when motivated. As Cornell himself said to Mariah in the first episode, "It's easy to underestimate a n****: They never see you coming." What do you think of this episode's major turn of events?

Elsewhere in the episode: Claire has little to do in this hour besides providing self-contradictory and unwise advice. (Luke should don a mask now to protect his identity? Isn't it a bit late for that?) It's neat to see attorney Benjamin Donovan again, making another connection between these shows. The flashbacks to Mama Mabel and Pistol Pete were well-acted but lacked a fresh take; I feel like I've seen a version of this story in too many other shows and movies. The fight in Domingo Colon's gym and the non-fight against Zip at the beginning are both fun, and a reminder of just how overpowered Luke is against most of his street enemies. Shades Alvarez is an interesting character to me because you can never quite know for sure what he's going to do next; his overtures here to Mariah are perhaps overwritten but still a pleasant dose of unpredictability. Wasn't the Judas bullet supposed to explode like a grenade after hitting its target? And why in the world wouldn't you target Luke Cage in the head if you're only going to get one clean shot at him with a magic bullet? (8/10)

Scott Hardie | October 30, 2023
This comment contains spoilers for Luke Cage. Reveal it.

Want to join the discussion? Log in or create an account to comment.

Return to the main menu of The MCU Project.