Luke Cage Recap: S1E6 “Suckas Need Bodyguards”


Episode 6 of Luke Cage gives us the tale of two Harlems as Mariah and Cottonmouth’s carefully constructed empire comes crashing down.

"“There are actually two Harlems. The one shown to us in that video: historic, hard working and hopeful. But in this next video we see an entirely different Harlem. A historically corrupt Harlem…so you can see it can be difficult to decipher which Harlem you stand for.” -Thembi Wallace"

Mariah and Cottonmouth are in trouble in episode six of Luke Cage. The careful facade they built up as the benevolent saviors of Harlem has crumbled and all they can do is watch. Since Luke stole Cottonmouth’s money in episode three Cottonmouth has been scrambling to earn back his reputation, but it looks like that will be harder to get back than his millions.

No money means no power in Harlem and people like Scarfe are starting to fight back, emboldened by Luke’s actions. Scarfre confronts Cottonmouth and demands $100,000 in exchange for stealing back the guns from the deal gone wrong from police evidence. Scarfe is looking for a fight and the more pressure he feels, the more reckless he becomes. This leads to him getting shot by Cottonmouth and in desperate need of help, especially as his corruption become clearer to everyone.

Image via Netflix

Having a relationship with Cottonmouth is hurting everyone this episode, including his cousin Mariah. While being interviewed by Thembi Wallace (Tijuana Ricks), the reporter asks her, “Which Harlem do you stand for?” There are two Harlems Mariah is a part of, the one that she professes to care about on television and in her speeches and the one she is (not so secretly) involved in where her campaign is funded by Cottonmouth’s illegal money. Thembi even has police footage of Fort Knox and reports of all the money that was stolen by Luke, proof of Mariah’s involvement and further confirmation of Luke’s rising power.

It is this power that is another subject of conversation in this episode as well. While there are two Harlems, there are also two Lukes as well. The Luke that was to live a quiet life away from the spotlight and the Luke that realizes (to steal a line from another Marvel property), “with great power comes great responsibility.” He has conversations with both Bobby Fish and Claire in this episode about whether to use his powers for good or for profit. (“‘I ain’t no hero, pay me.’ You could market that s***,” Bobby tells him.) Luke thinks since Cottonmouth has been arrested he can retire. Little does he know this is usually the point where things get much harder for the hero.

Image via Netflix

Yes Cottonmouth has been arrested and Scarfe is dead, but nothing is solved. As we see at the end of the episode, the city is worried about what the news of a dirty cop will do, especially in connection with a prominent city councilwoman and a successful Harlem businessman. Misty looks ready to fight for justice, but just what kind is uncertain at the moment. She remained loyal to her partner even though he worked for Cottonmouth and despite the fact that Cottonmouth was involved in the death of another person she loved, Pop. If the law doesn’t work this time will she have to take matters into her own hands and team-up with Luke (and Claire) to make things right?

Next: Luke Cage Recap: S1E5 “Just To Get A Rep”

Stray Observations & Easter Eggs

  • This episode opens with a really cool nod featuring people calling in to “Trish Talk”, Trish Walker’s radio show from Jessica Jones 
  • “Does he have gills? Drown him. Can he burn? Can you poison him?” Mariah is scary and probably only going to get scarier now
  • Where *is* Shades?
  • It’s nice to see that Claire has zero interest in “getting coffee” with Luke