This article contains spoilers for the Marvel’s Luke Cage season two episode – Straighten It Out.
The episode starts with Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) talking about how the second chemical bath may have made Luke’s skin even stronger, explaining the Judas bullet bouncing off of him. Claire wants to test him, which leads to them meeting Bobby Fish (Ron Chepas Jones) and D.W. Griffith (Jeremiah Craft) at a park where New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles puts Luke through his paces as the media and an audience watches. He even gets approached by a Nike rep who ends up talking with Bobby Fish. Where it’s a fun day, Claire suddenly starts worrying that there may be something out there worse than a Judas bullet. Move to Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) who is upset that the Judas bullet no longer works and that Luke took down her buyer for the business. Hernan “Shades” Alvarez (Theo Rossi) suggest she sells her painting and stay in the business, but she wants out. Shades tells her that he and Comanche (Thomas Q. Jones) will get her Rey’s money. Misty Knight (Simone Missick) is back on the job on light duty. We meet Detective Nandi Tyler (Antonique Smith), who Misty already has a rivalry with and we learn that Bailey (Justin Swain) got promoted and is Nandi’s partner. They’re off to interrogate Arturo Rey (Otto Sanchez).
John “Bushmaster” McIver (Mustafa Shakir) is pulling the bullets out of his chest from the last episode. They went in about a quarter of an inch and stopped. Pulling them out hurts, so he’s not bulletproof exactly. He then hits the streets and sees the video of Luke after the explosion, comments that he’s ready to test him. He then sees someone who doesn’t seem happy to see him. At the barbershop, Reverend Lucas (Reg E. Cathey) shows up, Luke is cold and sends him off. Claire shows up after and Luke tells her his father’s in town. She doesn’t understand why Luke doesn’t to try and make amends with his father. She was angry at her father and he died before they can reconcile and she regrets it. We get more attitude from Nandi towards Misty, but she sneaks in and talks to Rey. Turns out that being in possession of anything related to the Incident is a federal crime. She pushes him to give of Mariah. But before he flips, Mariah’s lawyer gets him out on bail. She lets Luke know. Luke, Claire and Bobby Fish look at the options of how to get Mariah and Luke decides to try and get Dontrell “Cockroach” Hamilton (Dorian Missick) to flip. Luke hits the streets to find him.
Bushmaster and his friend talk about the past and how his powers are tied to nightshade. He needs more and his friend, who saved Bushmaster’s life and showed him how to get the power, tells him there’s a place in Harlem. Bushmaster has a grudge against Mariah, who he calls Mariah Stokes. His friend tells him to walk away from that. He also tells Bushmaster to leave Luke Cage alone, that he’s not Mariah’s ally. But Bushmaster says Harlem is his by birthright and Luke can’t have it. Mariah’s new PR person recommends that she reconnect with her daughter to help her image. Shades and Comanche go to visit Rey. Shades paid a judge to get Rey out, but Rey wants nothing to do with Mariah anymore until he is free and clear of the charge or he’ll talk to Misty. He insults Mariah and Shades loses it, shoots Rey in the head. Comanche quickly shoots his two men. This wasn’t the plan. Misty goes to the scene even though it’s Tyler and Bailey’s case. There is no evidence. She catches Luke up on the information and helps him get a lead on Cockroach. Maria goes to see her daughter Tilda (Gabrielle Dennis) who has opened a shop for holistic medicine. Their relationship is obviously strained. Mariah asks for another chance to be the mother Tilda wants, but Tilda is skeptical.
Luke goes to Cockroach’s ex-girlfriend’s apartment and we see that he was there and beat her and his son. She won’t talk but the neighbor tells Luke where Cockroach runs a dice game. Shades goes and tells Mariah about Rey and she’s very not happy. Comanche comments that she has two other buyers and the painting, she sends him away again. Shades says he screwed up, but couldn’t let Rey talk to Misty about them and that he will get the money. Luke goes to the dice game, Cockroach sees him and has one of his thugs hit Luke with a taser. It does nothing and he throws the guy across the room. Everyone runs but Luke grabs Cockroach. Cockroach pulls a rifle with multiple barrels and fires, blowing Luke out a second story window and down into a car below. Looks like it didn’t break the skin, but the concussion or the fall may have dislocated his shoulder. Claire goes to see Bobby Fish about protecting Luke and him not reconciling with his father. Bobby suggests she let Luke heal on his own and be his woman, not his mother. She gets a call from Luke and runs out. She puts his shoulder back in and then starts lecturing him on the fact he’s not invulnerable and mentions that Matt wasn’t either (Matt Murdock). Luke says he’s not like Matt, but Claire says they’re more alike than he knows. He starts talking about how she’s always falling in with people with abilities and she tells him that he’s not mad at her and brings up his father. He blames his fathers actions as the catalyst for everything from Willis framing him, his going to Seagate, meeting Reva, moving to New York, Reva meeting Kilgrave. But Claire tells him that the thing with his father is another Judas bullet that is eating him up from the inside and if he doesn’t deal with it he will never heal. He tells Claire that if she wants to help him, stay out of his head.
Bushmaster goes to visit Tilda’s shop. She doesn’t know him but recognizes what the ingredients he’s asking for will make. He tells her to just give him what he wants. She puts the stuff together and he overpays her for being helpful. At Harlem’s Paradise, it’s now Detective Tyler sitting at the bar watching Mariah. Shades tells Mariah the Jamaicans reached out to make the deal, not as much as Rey would’ve, but enough to get them out. Tilda arrives at the club and tells Mariah that she has one more chance. And we find out Comanche’s first name is Darius. Shades doesn’t seem happy to see Tilda. When then get a montage while Reverend Lucas gives a sermon about the two wolves inside of us. Claire has gone to see him. Bushmaster uses the items he got from Tilda to do a ritual to heal himself, which makes him strong. Cockroach is beating on his girl for ratting him out and the neighbor calls Luke, who starts to run there. Luke busts down the door just as Cockroach is about to hit his son. Luke beats Cockroach around and looks like he’s about to lose control when he see the scared boy looking at him.
Where the first episode put all the pieces, both old and new, back on the board, this episode started moving them in whatever direction they’re supposed to be going. Introducing Tilda, who is Nightshade it he comics, as Mariah’s daughter is an interesting touch and having her shop be the connection to Bushmaster works well. Shades seems to be losing it some and Comanche is noticing. The tension between Luke and Claire seems a bit forced, but that may be just on the surface and we’ll get more about it as we go. Detective Tyler could be interesting or just a pain for Misty. Bushmaster has that compelling quality that Cottonmouth had in season one, you want him to be on the screen so you can see what he’s doing. The episode had some great music and having it mix with Cathey’s sermon created a great mood builder to Luke losing his cool with Cockroach. I’m sure that’s not going to end well. I also think Comanche is someone to keep your eye on.