Written by Akela Cooper
Directed by Andy Goddard
Luke casually busts an arms deal orchestrated by Zip (Cottonmouth’s last lieutenant), but Zip informs him that Cottonmouth is getting out of jail soon. Which is true. Misty doesn’t have the right kind of evidence, so he’s out. But he still has lots of problems because of Luke. He wants the ammo that can supposedly kill him, but Shades won’t get it from Diamondback for him yet. Luke is very frustrated about Cottonmouth getting out, and Claire points out that he’s going to have to supplement the law. Wow, she’s fully on board with vigilantes. Cottonmouth calls to arrange a parlay with Luke. Misty’s captain gets fired by Internal Affairs because Scarfe was dirty and she didn’t realize it. They’re investigating Misty too. Mariah has had time to regroup and get at least partially on top of her bad press. One of her rival politicians wants to take her spot and keep running all of her operations under the table. She’s not interested. Shades is at her house. Misty’s career now depends on her investigation of Luke. We get flashbacks to Cottonmouth’s backstory. Mariah was very studious and Cornell spent all his time on the piano, and Mama Mabel ran some kind of escort service right out of the house. She also chopped off insolent drug dealers’ fingers right in front of teenage Cornell! Luke has to admit Cornell has some musical talent. Luke wants to haul Cornell in to confess in Misty’s interrogation room. Cornell wants Luke to work for him, or he’ll turn him in as the fugitive Carl Lucas. Luke’s instinct is to run, but Claire tells him he has to stand up to Cottonmouth. Luke shakes down Domingo for the location of the Hammertech weapons so he can turn them over to the police. Mariah is asked to resign by her party, and she goes to see her cousin. She isn’t impressed with his recent efforts. They start arguing about what Mama Mabel taught them. He resents the family for taking his music away from him and making him into a criminal. And the only family member he genuinely loved was the uncle who was sexually abusing Mariah. Their fight gets louder and louder until he tells her she wanted Uncle Pete to sleep with her. Then she clubs him over the head with a wine bottle, shoves him through the window into the ground floor of the club, and bludgeons him to death with a microphone stand. Holy crap. Shades saw the whole thing and is very impressed. This is what he was hoping for. They plan to frame Luke for Cornell’s death. Luke meets with Misty to tell her about the Hammertech guns. She doesn’t appreciate his attempts to relate to her over her partner’s dirty dealings and death. The pressure on her is getting more intense at the precinct, and then she gets the phone call about Cottonmouth’s death. Luke is walking around with Claire, telling her about his backstory. Then he gets shot by someone with that Judas bullet.
Holy crap this episode is amazing. We think Cottonmouth is going to turn things around and get his shot at Luke, but then Mariah kills him! And then Luke gets shot anyway! Argh! And there’s still six whole episodes left! I wish I had time to marathon them all tonight! There’s some interesting stuff with all those flashbacks of Mama Mabel and her twisted operation/family life. All that family loyalty stuff was pretty meaningless in the end. Real family loyalty is supporting each other’s goals, not molding them into what you want them to be. It’s also not favoritism. No wonder Cornell and Mariah both had tons of bottled up resentment attached to that “family first, always” concept.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
So the Bible motif is clearly pointing towards Luke being a Jesus metaphor. The bullet is a Judas bullet, and Cornell scoffs about how he can walk on water. I’m not sure what to do with that. Wait, maybe I do. Cornell was all about the Old Testament. Eye for an eye, and stuff. I think he might’ve identified with Moses. He certainly wasn’t doing a great job of emulating him, but he was focused on having power and authority, and making Harlem something to be feared and respected. Luke is the Jesus metaphor. He’s interested in Harlem becoming something better because the individuals living in it have the chance to be their best selves.
Claire likes Luke better than Matt (not romantically, but in terms of his methods) because he does his particular brand of vigilantism out in the open instead of sneaking around in a mask. He lets people know who he is, so it’s inherently not as shady as what Matt does. I think I agree. As much as I adore Matt, Luke isn’t leading a double-life. But he has to let go of the fantasy of being left alone if he’s going to play it this way.
Is Misty going to crumble under the pressure from Internal Affairs? Will she throw Luke under the bus to save her career, or will she realize the system is broken and stop trying to work with it?
Holy crap, I was right about Mariah stepping up to become the real Big Bad, but I did not expect her to violently kill Cornell. That was an amazing twist. I’m both intrigued and extremely apprehensive about what kind of Big Bad she’s going to be now that she’s beginning to shed her illusions about the kind of person she is.
Wow, apparently Cornell didn’t want to be a criminal. He wanted to be a musician. I suppose he’s been consoling himself for his shattered childhood dreams by being the best criminal he could be? That worked out great for him.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.