Luke Cage Recap: S1E3 “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”


Episode 3 of Luke Cage brings ruckus and revelations.

Netflix loves their hallway fight scenes. Daredevil became known for them, filming memorable scenes in both seasons. Luke Cage features a hallway scene too, but it’s not really a fight. You can’t fight Luke Cage, he is unstoppable and unbreakable. Set to Wu-Tang Clan’s “Bring the Ruckus”, Luke acts more like a battering ram, pushing his way through legions of Cottonmouth’s thugs with what appears to be very little effort. Luke is mad, he wants revenge for Pop’s death, but with the recent events that have happened in our country to black men and women it’s hard to not read his anger as something more. He’s not just mad at Cottonmouth, but society in general for forcing him to hide his power and act a certain way just to survive. And he’s not going to take it anymore.

Luke Cage is bulletproof.  Just the image of a black man wearing a hoodie while covered in bullet holes sends a powerful message. This black man can’t be shot and killed. In this way he become a symbol of hope for not only Harlem, but for black communities everywhere.

Image via Netflix

Mariah’s idea of hope revolves around the creation of vibrant community life and affordable housing. She is using her cousin’s money to fund the development of housing projects that will become the center for black arts and cultural life. Cottonmouth is just using her building sites as a place to store his cash. They are at odds because of their differing opinions on how to change Harlem. Mariah is starting to see Cottonmouth’s activities as just another way of breaking up the community. Before it might have seemed like her political motives were questionable, but seeing her displeasure over some recent events has changed things.

"“Nothing I do is a hustle. I sincerely care about what happens up here. The only way to save Harlem is to do it legally, fortify it against the real invaders.”"

Mariah’s platform and housing communities are built around the idea of keeping Harlem black and celebrating the rich history of the area. It does not seem that her cousin shares the same respect. It looks like this may create a splinter in the family as the episodes go on.

A duo that seems to be doing better are Misty and her partner Rafael Scarfe (Frank Whaley). They have great rapport and a close relationship, so close that Misty tells him how Pop was the one who made her want to play basketball and even reveals that she spent the night with Luke. It makes it all the more devastating when near the end of the episode, Scarfe kills Chico, who Luke convinced to come clean about his knowledge of the gun exchange gone wrong. Scarfe doesn’t want that information to come out because he works for Cottonmouth.

Image via Netflix

Whaley’s performance in this episode is incredible. Around Misty he acts brotherly, teasing her and playing up his status as the dorky white partner. But when he walks into Harlem’s Paradise with knowledge over who took out Cottonmouth’s organization he is all swagger. His body language changes, his stance becomes the relaxed confident posturing of one who has all the control. It’s interesting as well to see Cottonmouth in this position of weakness, he’s simmering with rage, but can’t do anything about it.

Luke has taken action, but the question of retribution remains. We see Cottonmouth fire a rocket launcher at Luke at the end of the episode, which doesn’t make me too worried, but still. The only thing that can happen from here is the further escalation of violence. Luke wants to do right by Pop, but is this what Pop would have wanted?

Next: Luke Cage Recap: S1E2 “Code of the Streets”

Stray Observations & Easter Eggs

  • Misty has a problem with vigilantes which is interesting considering we know she is going to be in The Defenders
  • “I saw the incident up close. What we can do as cops. What we can’t do” Scarfe tells Misty. Is this the reason he went bad?
  • Cottonmouth calls Mariah “Black Mariah” which is her name in the comics
  • “Unless this sidearm I’m holding suddenly turns into some magic hammer, this whole job is irrelevant.” Everyone is really obsessed with mjolnir.
  • Misty is a Celtics and Pistons fan which is frowned upon in NYC