“Take It Personal”
Written by Jason Horwitch
Directed by Stephen Surjik
Claire improvises a defibrillation system for Luke. And then she decides they need to actually boil the acid for it to work, since that’s what the jerk guard did in Seagate. Then she starts working on the shrapnel. Success! Diamondback shows Mariah his rather large stock of Chitauri metal that can be melted down into bullets and sold. Diamondback goes around trying to taint Luke’s image even further using power-gloves made with the Chitauri metal, by punching a cop to death in a single blow. Misty thinks it’s a trick somehow. Mariah is not happy that his strategy involved killing a cop. The police crack down looking for Luke. Misty is working on facial recognition on the cop-killer. The police bring in the kid Luke shielded from the gunfire when Tone shot up Pop’s. The kid is adamant that Luke would never kill a cop. Luke and Claire poke around in Reva’s files while the doctor steps out for a minute. He’s probably calling a storm down on them, but okay. Reva knew about the fighting ring and seemed pretty cold about it. Facial recognition pulls up Willis Stryker. The doctor tells Luke that Reva was lying to him the entire time. Luke doesn’t believe him, and he trashes the man’s barn lab. The officer trying to get info on Luke out of that kid beats him up! And Mariah wants to use that to spin things her way. Misty goes to see Domingo to learn more about Willis Stryker. Claire and Lucas go to Savannah so Luke can find answers about Willis. He remembers things from his childhood that he never pieced together before. His dad definitely had a mistress, and Willis is definitely his brother, and their father hates him, and Willis blames Luke. Mariah throws a rally for the beat up kid at the club so she can consolidate anti-Luke Cage sentiment. She gives a speech igniting the right kind of fervor to create the market for Diamondback’s ammunition. Mariah’s rival is pretty sure he knows where all this crap is coming from. When Luke and Claire get back, the kid selling footage of superhero stuff warns him of the reception he’ll get. They keep a low profile and walk into Harlem’s Paradise. Luke follows Misty upstairs to where Stryker’s lurking. Stryker starts shooting her, and Luke takes the rest of the fire from quite a few bullets.
It’s a relief to have Luke bullet-free again. That was very stressful. The backstory and visit to Savannah were interesting, even though I was hoping for a little more from that. Things managed to go very far south in the episode and a half that Luke was out of town. Mariah and Stryker didn’t waste a moment with their plans, but I think Domingo’s going to end up on Luke and Misty’s side. The Bible references keep on coming full-speed, and now we’ve ended up with a Cain and Abel situation. Also, the doctor managing to keep all those files is a great setup for future horrifying storylines and villains.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
I think Luke has a tendency to see the best in people, which is why it never occurred to him that Willis was his brother, even though there were plenty of clues.
I love that even though Misty has some legitimate issues with Luke and started off convinced he was behind a lot of the bad crap going on, she doesn’t let her own biases cloud her judgment when there’s good evidence pointing in another direction, or when the existing evidence feels staged. She definitely deserves to be on the police force.
Mariah is embracing her extreme shadiness by being opportunistic and manipulative, using any type of misfortune in the city to build momentum against Luke, even if it’s only tangentially related. It’s frustrating to watch her audience just eat that up without questioning why that kid would’ve taken that beating in defense of Luke. If anyone asked questions, they’d learn that Luke shielded that kid from a hailstorm of bullets; why would a villain do that?
Okay, so the pieces are coming together about Willis Stryker's motivations. He was angry over his father's rejection of him, and he probably befriended Luke less to actually be his friend and more to be a deliberate bad influence and sneakily take out his anger on him. I doubt he was genuinely a good friend to him. Then he was probably the one who convinced Luke to help him steal that car, and then it was probably Luke's testimony that got Willis in more trouble than he expected. He felt personally betrayed over that and for some reason decided it was fair to get Luke sent to prison where he'd then arrange for him to get killed. Sheesh. Definitely not a proportionate response.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.