Zip and his men are making a gun deal when Luke comes over. The others run and Luke tells Zip that Cornell is done as he destroys the guns. Zip says that Cornell is getting out and runs off.
At the station, Misty is going over the photos of all the crime scenes that Luke has been involved with. She then turns and watches Cornell in the interrogation room with his lawyer. Misty starts to go in but Audrey stops her long enough to warn her who she is. Inside, Cornell's lawyer tells Misty that she needs actual evidence to charge his clients. Misty says that she'll see Cornell in prison, but he just chuckles and walks out. Outside, Luke watches as Cornell walks past the reporters without comment. Misty sees Luke and after a moment, Luke walks away. Mariah is coming and sees the two of them looking at each other.
Back at his office, Cornell watches the news about his release and laughs. The news is also running the video about Mariah, and Shades warns that Mariah shouldn't like it and neither should Cornell. Cornell says that Zip picked up the guns and delivered them to Domingo, and everyone will fall in line. He asks Shades when he gets his money to pay for the Judas bullets, and Shades warns him that he's too hot. Cornell angrily points out that as long as Luke is around, he can't do business. He tells Cornell to bring in Diamondback, and Shades reluctantly agrees. Once he's alone, Cornell takes a revolver out of its case, and remembers holding it when he was younger.
At the barber shop, Luke tells Bobby that Cornell walked. Claire says that Luke can still do something about it because he's not afraid of Cornell, and says that Luke can do things that the cops can't. Claire admits that sometimes people have to get justice themselves, and asks what Luke is afraid of. Cornell calls and suggests that they parley, and Luke agrees to meet him at the club.
At the station, Audrey tells Misty that they've fired her because the corruption happened under her watch. IAB inspector Priscilla Ridley is in the next room, and Audrey warns Misty that IAB will have her under watch and she shouldn't let Cornell twist her. Once she leaves, Ridley comes in and Misty insists on calling her by her first name. The inspector says that it's going to be fun.
Mariah's political rival Damon Boone shows up at Mariah's brownstone, and Mariah says that Damon is there because she asked him there. The reporters ask if her housing program was funded with drug money, and Mariah denies the charges against Cornell. Inside, Damon says that he's there as a friend and figures that most of what they're saying is true. He warns that Mariah is tainted and contagious, and tells her to step aside and let him take her seat. Damon can push her imitative through, but Mariah says that he's not going to knock him out. He warns her that she'll fall eventually and he'll enjoy watching, and Mariah orders him out. Once Damon leaves, Shades comes in and says that they need to talk.
Luke heads for the club.
Ridley points out to Misty that Luke has been tied to all of the recent violence. She warns that Misty's career depends on wrapping the case up and walks out.
Cornell plays his keyboard and remembers the past.
At a tenement next to a brothel, Cornell practices on the keyboard as uncle Pete listens. Mariah is trying to study, and Pete says that Cornell should be in Julliard. When his sister agrees, Mabel tells her it's none of her business Pop comes in and hands over some money to Mabel, and asks if Cornell is coming with him. Pete tells Pop that Cornell is practicing, and Pop's friend Xxx snickers. Mabel dismisses Pop and tells Xxx that she, her husband, and Pete built the Harlem underworld but they never sold drugs. She wonders why Xxx is doing it, and Xxx insists that he was helping them. Mabel grabs his hand and cuts off a finger, and then tells Mariah to finish studying upstairs. Mabel figures that someone gave Xxx the idea, and Xxx glances over at Cornell. Pete punches him and Mabel tells Cornell to dispose of Xxx. Her brother-in-law says that Cornell isn't ready, but Mabel overrides him and Pete drags Xxx out with Cornell following
After a few minutes, Cornell comes back in, his hands covered in blood. He sits down at the keyboard, and Mabel takes his hands.
Luke comes in and admits that Cornell has talent. He promises that he's there to take Cornell in but he's no murderer, and tells him that he's going to confess everything to Misty. Cornell says that he knows Luke used to be Carl Lucas, and that eventually Luke is going back to prison. Luke figures that Cornell wont snitch, but Cornell says that the people will turn on Luke when they find out he's a criminal. He tells Luke that now Luke is going to do whatever he says or he'll go back to Seagate.
Shades tells Mariah that he was a kid growing up in Harlem, growing up on the street. The Stokes name and Harlem's Paradise meant something, but now they're nothing. When Mariah tries to stop him, he stops her and says that she has no power to shut him up. Shades tells her that when she gets the nerve, she'll be surprised what she's capable of. With that, the man walks out.
At the barber shop, Luke is packing when Claire finds him. He says that there's nothing he can do, and tells her that Cornell is blackmailing him. Claire warns Luke that if he runs then he'll be doing it for the rest of his life, but Luke isn't impressed and wonders who will die next because of him. She tells Luke that if he stands and fights then they'll follow him, and if he takes down Cornell then he frees himself and Harlem.
At the club, Cornell is auditioning D-Nice when Shades comes in. Cornell apologizes for what he said earlier. He explains that he's blackmailing Luke with what Shades told him, and Shades says that Diamondback has plans for Luke. Cornell says that Luke will fall in line.
Cornell comes in and see Mabel checking a local transvestite, Sister Boy. Mabel complains that Sister Boy didn't have protection because Cornell was gone, and when Cornell says that Sister Boy needs to protect herself. Mabel slaps him. She demands to know where he was, and Cornell says that Pete took him to an audition and then they stopped in Spanish Harlem. Pete was in the back with the Spanish mobster Salvador Colon in private while Cornell hung with Domingo. Mabel tells Cornell that he did good.
Luke checks in with a street vendor, Vvv, and asks him what he's heard. Vvv insists that he's no snitch, and Luke says that he just needs to borrow his eyes to find Domingo.
Later, Luke breaks into the boxing gym that Domingo owns. He easily takes out most of Domingo's men, and the remaining two shoot at Luke. The bullets bounce off of him, and Domingo takes cover from the ricochets. Once they're done, Luke takes them down and then demands the guns from Domingo. Domingo gives them up
The CSI tech Bailey points out to Misty that there's only one photo of Luke, on his driver's license. He figures that Luke is too clean and has no paper trail.
Mariah is on the phone with her party chair receiving word that they're forcing her to resign. She throws the phone across the room, sobbing, and looks at a photo of her and Cornell as children, with Mabel. Mariah then tells her driver Tony to bring the car around.
Cornell is in his office playing the keyboard.
Pete comes in and finds Mabel waiting for him. She pours him a drink and reminds him that when her husband Buggy was dying, Pete promised to take care of her and the business. Pete insists that he's always put it before anyone else, even though Mabel was his women before she married Buggy. Mabel accuses him of betraying her to the Puerto Ricans, and Pete angrily says that the business should have gone to him. He says that the Puerto Ricans will let them in on the ground floor and they can own the city, Mabel figures that it was all about Pete, and Pete figures that she's got a plan and asks what it is.
Cornell comes in, gun drawn, and takes Pete out. Pete says that he paid for Cornell's lessons so that he could be someone better than them, and he doesn't have to kill him. He tells Cornell that he's not built for killing, just as Mariah comes out. She says that Pete deserves to die for what he did to their family and to her, and Pete says that it was just a game. Mabel tells Cornell to pull the trigger like she told him, and he does. Pete goes down and Mabel tells Cornell that family always comes first.
Mariah enters Cornell's office and tells him to drop his problem with Luke Cage and get back into the game. Cornell says that he has Luke in his pocket, but Mariah says that her reputation is gone. When she says that they're family, Cornell tells his cousin that he's sick of hearing about Mabel. Mabel put Mariah in school and made him learn the streets, and Mariah says that Mabel sent her away to get her apart from Pete. Unimpressed, Cornell says that Mabel made him kill a man when he was 14, and Pete was the only one who had his back. Mariah insists that she spent her life protecting Cornell when his junkie mother dropped him off with Mabel, and Cornell says that he saw her flirt with Pete. His cousin slaps him but Cornell continues, saying that she wanted it.
Shocked, Mariah screams that she didn't want it and knocks Cornell out the office window onto the dance floor below. She runs down, grabs a mike stand, and beats Cornell to death. Once Cornell is dead, Shades comes in and congratulates her on finally stepping up. Mariah insists that she didn't want it, but Shades tells her that deep down she did. After a moment, he asks if there are rubber gloves in the kitchen. She says that there are some by the dishwasher station that Luke used to work at, and Shades says that they can frame Luke for the murder.
Luke texts Misty and arranges a meeting on the street. She points out that no one knows anything about him, and wonders why Scarfe went to him for protection. Luke points out a nearby van and says that the Hammer guns are inside. Misty warns him that he's in trouble as a vigilante, and doesn't want to hear Luke say that he knows what she's going through. He tells her to be ready to move on Cornell when he does, and all he wants is to be left alone. Misty demands all of the information he has on the record, but Luke refuses. He asks her how the system is treating her, and says that he won't kill Cornell because he wants him to suffer. Luke tells Misty that she should trust him like Pop did.
Misty takes the guns to the station and tells Ridley that she got them on an anonymous tip. The inspector warns that Misty isn't out of trouble and leaves. Someone calls and tells Misty that Cornell is dead.
Luke and Claire are out walking and he tells her about his past. He talks about his father and how he's the older man's shame. When Luke went to prison, his father didn't want to talk to him. Claire thanks him for opening up to her, and Luke admits that he can't keep running. He warns Claire that if anyone figures out that he's Carl Lucas, then he goes back to Seagate. She says that he should avoid a mask because too much happens in the shadows, and Luke is different because people see him.
From a nearby hummer, Diamondback fires a Judas bullet, hitting Luke in the chest. The bullet penetrates his skin and he collapses.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 10, 2016