Back in the Day...
A young Willis Stryker teachers Luke how to box. Once he calls time, he asks why Luke is doing it and warns that he's going to get himself killed. Luke insists that it's about respect and says that Stryker wouldn't understand because he's not a Lucas. Stryker warns that James won't be happy with it, but assures his half-brother that he's with him--always. After they bump fists, Stryker warns Luke that he's not ready and Luke goes back to practice.
In the barber shop, Luke lands a punch but Stryker shrugs it off and says that his battlesuit is Hammertech, made just for Luke. He comes at Luke and punches him into the wall. Stryker then throws a sink at Luke, who ducks and the sink flies out onto the street outside. As a crowd gathers, Misty orders everyone back and she realizes that she lost her phone.
Across the street, Mariah and Shades get into their car and Shades realizes that he left the folder behind. Mariah says that she has another play, calls Alex, and tells him to call Thembi and tell her that Mariah is there with Luke. She then tells Shades that Misty will arrest her but she can still spin it.
Luke tells Stryker that he has to let go of the past before he really hurts him, and finally slams him into the ceiling. Unimpressed, Stryker gets to his feet and tells Luke to keep it coming.
At home, Claire and Soledad watch the fight on the news. Soledad agrees with Luke that Claire should stay there, and points out that Claire's eyes sparkle when she talks about Luke. Claire insists that Luke needs her, as Candace comes in and Claire tells her what is happening. She insists on going out and tells Candace to stay put so that she can bring Mariah down with her testimony.
Luke and Stryker keep fighting, and Stryker mockingly reminds Luke of his boxing lessons. Outside, officers arrive just as Stryker throws Luke out a window. The locals cheer Luke on, and Stryker slams Luke down the street and then kicks him again. Luke knees Stryker in the head and sees the power pack on the back of the battlesuit. They keep fighting and Stryker says that James was going to leave Etta for Dana. The bystanders tell Luke to put it on Stryker for talking about his mother, and Luke attacks again.
Mario with the ESU orders his men into position and to take the shot if they have it. When Misty hears him, she asks what he's doing but he ignores her. Meanwhile, Mariah gives a statement to Thembi asking exactly who Luke is, pointing out that he escaped from Seagate. She insists that it's a battle for the soul of Harlem, while Luke beats Stryker down... and Stryker gets up, smiling.
Claire arrives and Misty says that she has to stay back with everyone. Meanwhile, Luke tells Stryker that he isn't fighting anymore. Stryker says that he's not done until one of them is dead, and Luke tells him that he's more like James then he thinks. He refuses to pay for James' sins anymore and tells Stryker that he shouldn't, either. He tells Stryker to kill him if he's going to do it, and Stryker beats him while remembering how he won in boxing because Stryker told him to let his opponent wear himself out. Misty tells Mario to save Luke, but he refuses.
Stryker continues beating Luke until he finally staggers with exhaustion. Luke looks at Claire, who whispers to him to remember who he is. The crowd chants Luke's name, and Luke punches Stryker repeatedly. He finally sends Stryker flying and takes him down. Mario moves in and orders Luke down on the ground, warning that they've got Judas bullets. Misty tells Mario to stand down and whispers to Luke that she's got him. She then goes over and arrests Mariah for Cornell's murder.
After the police take Mariah away, the EMTs finish with Stryker and she tells them to take him away. Meanwhile, Claire goes over to Luke and the street cameramen turn off their cameras. Once they leave, Claire wonders how Luke knew he could beat Stryker. Luke says that he stopped feeding him hate and repeats what Claire said earlier about tossing out the science and going with what he knows. He assure her that he hears everything she says, even if she doesn't say it.
Misty comes over and tells Luke that she's going to have to bring him in for a statement. Luke says that he's done running, and Bobby looks at the wreckage of the barber shop but it'll be famous because of what went down there. As they go, Claire confirms that Candace is safe at Soledad's place.
At Soledad's apartment, Soledad and Candace watch the news interviewing the Harlem locals about the good Luke has done. Misty texts Candace and asks her to meet her so she isn't followed.
The reporters approach Luke as he walks to the station, and he tells them that he's just a normal guy living one day at a time. They go inside where Mariah is being booked, and Ridley introduces herself and says that there's still a warrant for his arrest. Luke insists that he hasn't done any of the things that he's accused of, and refuses an attorney so that he can speak for himself. Ridley tells Misty to put Luke in interrogation, but Misty warns that he won't go for it and asks about Mariah. The inspector says that they're showing her every courtesy... very slowly.
Mariah waits in the interrogation room and demands her phone call.
Misty and Bailey take Luke's statement and Luke explains that he was out-of-state when Albini was attacked. He says that the doctor who transformed him did it again, removing the shrapnel, and Claire tells Misty to match the fist prints from Stryker's suits. Luke says that they killed Pop and he didn't trust the police or lay in the cut, and he shut down the complex. When Misty says that it isn't his job, Luke says that the people needed someone who didn't need a badge or a gun and Pop always said "Never backwards, always forward."
Mariah tells Ridley that she always told Cornell that he had enough money and had the talent to make it big. But he always had to make another deal and fell in with Stryker. She claims that she knew nothing about it, and that Cornell was scared and wanted out. When Mariah went to the club on the night of Cornell's death, Stryker pulled a gun on her and told her to say that Luke was the killer. She says that Candace tried to protect her and that she'll do whatever she can to confirm Luke's innocence.
Misty comes in and tells her to tell the truth, and shows her photos of Cornell's corpse. The detective says that Cornell was struck in the back of the head before he was pushed out his office window. Then he crawled but his killer beat in his skull with a mike stand. One mike stand is missing, and Cornell was weak enough that anyone could have killed him if they were angry enough. Misty then plays a recording of Candace's testimony against Mariah, confirming that Shades was there. She advises Mariah to make a deal and tell the truth so that they can nail Shades and Stryker, but Mariah says that the evidence is flimsy and dares Misty to go to trial with what she has.
Bailey comes in and says that there's something Misty has to see. When they're out in the hall, Misty chews him out for interrupting. Bailey says that Chang found Candace's body with Misty's phone number on it.
Earlier, Candace shows up at the meeting spot that "Misty" texted her. Shades steps out of the shadows and shoots her in the head.
Bailey warns that the records show that Candace was in contact with Misty's phone. She says that she lost her phone during the fight at the barber shop, and realizes that Shades must have taken it. Misty has Bailey show her the photo of Candace's corpse, and then goes back into the interrogation room. She screams at Mariah that she murdered Candace, and tells Ridley what happened. Mariah denies everything and insists that she loved Cornell, and dismiss Candace as one of Cornell's whores. Ridley has no choice but to let her go, and Mariah tells her to do the right thing and keep Stryker in prison.
Once Mariah leaves, Ridley tells Misty that she's out of control. Misty insists that her shield isn't worth anything if Mariah can walk, and says that the system is broken. Ridley tells her that she has to work in the system, and Candace wasn't in protective custody because of Misty. Mariah walked because of Misty because she didn't trust the system... and didn't trust Ridley. Once the inspector walks out, Misty breaks into tears.
As Luke and Claire eat takeout in the break room, Claire says that they need to talk about Luke's future. He says that he just wants to chill and Claire asks if he wants to get coffee when they leave. Luke says that he likes coffee depending on the blend, and makes it clears that he's talking about Claire.
Luke sees Mariah go and goes over to her. She congratulates him on being good for the neighborhood, and Luke asks where the file is. Mariah denies she had a file and walks out, and Misty and Claire come in. Misty explains that they killed Candace and Soledad is fine, and they used her phone to lure Candace out of the apartment. With Candace dead, her confession is worthless. Claire says that she told Candace not to leave, and Luke hugs her. Federal marshals come in and tell Luke that he's going back to prison for unlawful arrest from Seagate. Luke tells them that they won't need handcuffs because he's done running, and Ridley says that they've done all that they can. She thanks Luke for all that he's done, and they figure that Mariah revealing Luke's real name on the news notified the Feds.
Luke tells Claire that the coffee will have to wait and goes with the marshals. As he goes, Claire kisses him and then says that she'll call her lawyer friend. As the marshals take Luke out, he sees Mariah giving a statement to the reporters. She smiles triumphantly at Luke and he gets in the SUV. Meanwhile, Alex arrives in a car with Shades and assures her he's there for her. Shades gives her the gun he used to kill Candace, and points out that it belonged to Cornell. He tells Mariah that it suits her, and Mariah agrees.
As the marshals prepare to drive off, Luke says that he won't have time to read because he's got work to do. They drive out of town past the barber shop.
At the morgue, Misty looks at Candace's body.
As she walks home, Claire takes the number for a martial arts studio.
Bobby turns on the lights at the barber shop and sees the folder underneath a shelf.
At Harlem's Paradise, Mariah looks at Cornell's keyboard while her men take down Cornell's painting. Shades comes in and Mariah kisses him briefly before walking out. Misty comes in, wearing a red dress, and sees Mariah and Shades up on the balcony.
In the hospital, Stryker lies in a hospital bed with a brace, under guard. Burstein examines him briefly and then leaves.
As they leave Harlem, Luke remembers what Pop used to say about always moving forward.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 18, 2016