Luke interrupts a back alley gun sale and everyone but Zip, Cottonmouth’s new right hand guy, runs off. Zip runs too, but not til he tells him Cottonmouth is going free. Misty trades barbs with Cottonmouth as he’s getting released. She and Luke lock eyes outside as reporters swarm Cottonmouth. Opening credits.
Cottonmouth is watching news reports about his release and laughing his ass off, and his arrogance is bloated beyond belief as he thinks killing a cop and walking away Scott free makes him untouchable. Shades the Skeevy guy tries to reel him in but Cottonmouth is determined to end Luke Cage and demands an audience with Diamondback. Cottonmouth handles a gun and remembers his first murder.
Claire uses Daredevil as an example of how Luke should proceed. Luke is unconvinced. Cottonmouth calls him direct at the barbershop and invites him to parlay. Misty LT tells her she’s been removed because of Scarfe, and Misty old LT is now her boss. Friction is palpable.
Councilwoman Dillard meets a fellow councilman who wants her seat and wants her to step down because of the media circus. She doesn’t bite. After he leaves Skeevy Shades says he and Dillard need to talk. Misty new LT bullies her to pin everything on Luke and Misty isn’t happy.
Flashback to Cottonmouth’s youth. More layers unpeeled for Cottonmouth as he’s shown to be a sensitive, gifted piano prodigy who wants nothing to do with this gangsta crap, but Mama Mabel really was as horrible and vile a human being as they’ve been talking her up to be. She thinks his beautiful piano playing is pointless and stupid and wants him to get dirty and be a funky in her criminal empire. She cuts a finger off a street goon who sold Crack behind her back and forces Cottonmouth’s dad to make Cottonmouth help him kill and dispose of the boy.
Luke arrives at Harlem Paradise as Cottonmouth is playing and compliments him genuinely, wondering how someone with such gifted hands became what he became. He tries to get Cottonmouth to turn himself in, but Cottonmouth tells him he knows all about his old life. He keeps acting smug and tells Luke he can serve him or go back to jail. Luke walks out and Cottonmouth laughs and goddess I want to punch his smug laughing face.
Shades is giving Dillard a history lesson and tells her how powerless she and her cousin really are and tries to fire her up to do something about it. Since Cottonmouth refuses to listen and play smart, I’m guessing he wants her to take over. Luke is about to run but Claire tells him to get over it because this is his chance to make everything right.
Cottonmouth tells Shades about his attempt to browbeat Cage but Shades isn’t happy. Another quick flashback shows more abuse from Mama Mabel that shaped him into what he is. Back in the present Luke takes Claire advice and goes to Domingo gym to get the guns Cottonmouth gave him. Meanwhile Misty and a police tech are talking and the tech thinks Luke Cage is a fake identity and Dillard is officially asked to resign by her party’s chair. She’s angry and every minute she becomes more and more like her grandmother.
Another flashback shows Mabel meeting her son Pistol Pete over his betrayal of her by meeting with a rival gang. She makes Cottonmouth kill his own uncle. Goddess what a horrible woman she was. As much as I want to punch Cottonmouth every time he smugly laughs, I still feel sad for him knowing what she did to him. When Dillard yells at him he yells back, and after some very ugly things are Saud she snaps and kills him. Shades steps out of the shadows and applauds her, so I was right. He supports her and helps her dispose of her cousin. And tells her that Luke Cage did it.
I need to pause this recap a moment to delicately address something. This episode lightly addresses the issue of sexual abuse in black families and communities. As a sexual abuse survivor the issues is under my skin, and the victim blaming Cottonmouth engages in pretty much deserves the reaction it gets him. But as I myself am not black, it isn’t my place to go much deeper than that. I DO feel it IS an issue that does need addressing though, so here is a link to a site with more room to talk than I feel I have here;
Misty confronts Luke after he texts her to meet to collect the guns. She still defends the system, he tells her she’s naïve. He wants her ready to move when he takes down Cottonmouth. He tells her he won’t kill Cottonmouth. Later Misty gets the call that Cottonmouth is dead. Claire and Luke talk about his past. She still pushes him to be a hero. They talk about what him being a hero would take as Luke gets shot with one of those nasty Judah bullets Cottonmouth wanted to buy from Diamondback and sees his own blood for the first time in years. Way to end the episode there guys!
Tags: Luke Cage, marvel, Netflix