This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Luke Cage season 1, episode 8, ‘Blowin’ Up the Spot’.
The episode opens with Luke Cage (Mike Colter) on the ground having been shot and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) trying to take care of him as the shooter, Willis “Diamondback” Stryker (Erik LaRay Harvey), watches on. Claire calls a friend with an ambulance to take them some place discreet, but Diamondback follows and shoots the ambulance, flipping it on its side. Luke and Claire get out and Diamondback approaches, yelling out references from the movie The Warriors and calling him Carl. This tells Luke who is after him. But the cops come before he can finish Luke off and he leaves. Luke and Claire take off.
Cut to Harlem’s Paradise with Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) dead on the floor. Hernan “Shades” Alvarez (Theo Rossi) walks Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) through everything she needs to do to get away with murder and blame it on Luke. Misty Knight (Simone Missick) arrives and starts working the crime scenes — she sees some discrepancies. She goes up to talk to Mariah, who is saying she found the body. A hostess named Candace (Deborah Ayorinde) claims to have seen Luke kill Cottonmouth.
Mariah talks to the press and lays out her claim that Luke killed Cottonmouth and that no one knows who Luke is. Shades plants evidence at the barbershop while Claire gets Luke to someplace where she can try to help him. She starts trying to get a look at the bullet, and there is another Power Man reference as that was what Pop used to call him. She can’t even cut through the soft tissue of his skin, so he takes the scalpel and it breaks. She tries an ultrasound.
Meanwhile, Misty questions Candace. Her story has some holes, along with the idea that she went from being scared to see Cottonmouth alone to sleeping with him. But Candace sticks to her story that it was Luke, and her lawyer gets her out of there. Misty then talks to Mariah, asking what they have on Candace. Mariah decides not to make a statement, and we find out that she and Inspector Ridley (Karen Pittman) are “friends”. Mariah leaves and Ridley questions Misty on liking Mariah for the murder and asks where Luke is.
Misty calls and talks to Luke, telling him that Cottonmouth is dead and he needs to come in. They hang up before she can trace them, but she gets close. Shades takes over Cottonmouth’s gang, telling them they’re first class all the way now. The police find the bloody gloves in the trashcan at the barbershop.
Claire discovers that Luke’s cells are super elastic and energy absorbing, but they’re trapping the shrapnel inside of him. Misty finds them and hears what happened, but then gets the call to arrest Luke. Claire sees a laser pointer on the back of Luke’s head and yells to get down. He ducks just as a bullet flies in and hits the wall. It then explodes — another Judas bullet. Misty fires back. She goes out to check, and Diamondback punches through the window and grabs Claire. Luke pulls him inside and they fight. In his weakened state, Luke can’t stop Diamondback, and the latter grabs Misty and her gun. He shoots a few rounds at Luke then takes Misty outside. Diamondback quotes the bible then asks Misty if she’s going to beg. She tells him to just shoot her, but he knocks her out instead. He then leaves and hides out in a movie theater. Luke follows and finds Misty, and Claire looks after her.
Luke follows the blood trail into the theater. We hear about Diamondback’s mother and that there is a past between him and Luke as Diamondback loads a third Judas bullet. There are more hints of their past — that he was friends with Luke and Luke didn’t stand up for him. And we learn it was Diamondback that framed him and sent him to prison. He says he sent Luke to hell and he came back with superpowers. He fires from the balcony above, but Luke starts running and takes out the column, causing Diamondback to fall to the ground below. They get up and resume fighting. Diamondback tries to hit Luke in the wound as much as possible. Luke throws him through the doors and into a pillar, but he’s bleeding internally.
Cut to the police station, where they’ve been questioning Claire. Misty is still shook up but wants to question Claire herself. Claire gives her nothing, and when Misty gets angry, Claire calls her weak, to which Misty grabs her by the throat just as Ridley walks in. Ridley lets Claire leave, if she doesn’t want to press charges against Misty. Back at the theater, Luke goes to find Diamondback, but he’s vanished.
Mariah pays off Candace, but she seems to be wavering a little as she leaves. Shades asks what happens if she folds, and Mariah says they’ll have to kill her and her whole family — make it look like a home invasion.
Luke walks down the street, staggering, when Diamondback comes out and calls his name. He tells him about the Judas bullet and how he won’t survive a second. Luke tells him he’s sorry — that he loved him like a brother. Diamondback tells him that he is his brother, then shoots him in the shoulder. Luke falls back into a trash truck that then pulls away.
The episode was interesting in that we see Mariah embrace her heritage and become a criminal like Mama Mabel. We see Shades pushing the right buttons to make that happen. The other thing we get is a new take on Luke through the eyes of Diamondback, and we start putting together some of the pieces of their past and how it ties to Luke’s father. Diamondback goes from the mysterious crime lord figure to a crazy hitman type that’s quoting bible verses. It’s kind of a shocking switch. And there’s a bit of convenience that Luke is the one that got involved with the Cottonmouth stuff, suddenly making all of this personal. Quite the tonal shift from the first seven episodes.
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