Luke pulls up his head, looks at a piece of paper with his name on it, and walks into a crackhouse. Inside, women are packaging heroin in packages with Luke's name on it. Luke takes out a guard and then steps out. The guards aim at him while the women run, and the lead guard says that their boss has to know that they have to try. They open fire and bullets bounce off Luke. He takes them down and they run off. Luke grabs the last man and tells him that his boss was a fool for putting his name on his package.
A guard runs past a street pusher pushing Luke Cage heroin, and Luke walks up. The pusher realizes who is there and runs.
The next day, preacher James Lucas complains that Luke is being hailed as a new savior.
Luke walks down the street and the women watch him while the men run.
In his office, Captain Tom Ridenhour goes over photos of Luke on his wall.
Luke poses with local kids.
James says that Luke is Soul Brother #1, and practices his sermon asking if Luke serves the Lord or himself.
Misty checks herself in the mirror.
James says that his congregation has to realize that one man can't save his community by himself. He insists that Luke is a man and they don't worship men.
Luke looks at a bullet that flattened against his skin.
At Pop's Barbershop, and Dave Griffith is going over his Luke Cage merchandise. Bobby is playing chess and complains that Dave is always pointing his camera in his face. Dave says that he didn't chose Luke's voice, and Bobby points out that the landlord is about to double the rate because of the damage in the battle against Diamondback. The older man insists that Luke isn't driven by money. Joey Ross comes in taking footage of the barber shop, and Dave shoves him out and says that it's his job.
Luke comes in the back and marks off another location on his map. He tells Bobby that he doesn't need the spotlight. Bobby suggests that Luke pick up some of the money laying around after he busts up crackhouses, and tells him to think about sponsorship.
Claire is doing physical therapy with Misty and checks the stump of her right arm. Misty says that she'd do it again if she had the chance, and doesn't need Claire's pity. Claire assures her that it's appreciation, not pity, and Misty tells her to hold on to what she's got and make Luke realize that "the fight" isn't going to love him back.
Shades meets with Comanche and gives him the keys to a nearby car.
Misty visits Luke at the shop, and Luke admits that he's not making a difference. He says that the department isn't moving fast enough and he has to stop it, and he could really use Misty as a partner. Misty tells him that she's done since she lost her arm, and walks out.
That night at Ginny's Supper Club, Shades, Mariah, and Raymond "Piranha" Jones watch the singer. Piranha talks about Mark Higgins and h is ownership of Atreus Plastics, but Mariah isn't impressed. Undeterred, Piranha says that he could use a $20 million investment. Shades is skeptical but Mariah agrees and Piranha says that he's already set up the shell corporation. He wants Mariah to convince Mark to sell the company. A waiter comes over and assumes that Shades is Mariah's nephew. Shades isn't thrilled but Mariah flirts with Shades until the waiter leaves. She tells Shades that their relationship works and he reluctantly agrees and kisses her.
Luke and Claire have dinner at a cafe, and Luke describes what happened to him at the crackhouse. She points out that he's branding himself, and says that she could use the money to move. Luke isn't thrilled at it, but Claire points out that firemen and policemen get paid. She suggests that Luke formalize what he do. A father and his boy come over to get their photo taken with Luke, and Claire agrees to take the photo. Once they leave, Luke worries that things will turn against him eventually. Claire tells him to enjoy it for the time being, and they kiss.
Misty sits at home drinking, looks at her Purple Heart, chuckles, and takes another drink.
Shade has his thug beat up a man.
Luke and Claire at Claire's mother's apartment, and then make love. Later, a police siren goes off in the distance and Luke dresses. He meets a former prison mate, Sugar, who says that he bodyguards and drives now. Sugar says that Mariah is going legit but doesn't know who is financing her. Luke tell Sugar to call him at the shop if he finds out who is involved, and scratches the car. He then says that he knows Sugar is lying and can't let him get away with it.
As Luke walks down the street, he meets his father James. James tells Luke that they need to talk, and admits that he wasn't ready to talk when Luke was in prison. Luke complains that James never came to see him after his mother died, and figures James needs money. James makes it clear that he isn't interested, and says that he doesn't need to cash in on Luke's reputation to bring in a congregation. Luke says that he's saving souls his own ways and cleaning up James' messes. His father says that he's not perfect but they both deserve a fresh start. Unimpressed, Luke tells him to bring his mother back from the dead and then they'll talk, and reminds him of how he raised Diamondback.
The next day in her office, Mariah checks out a new girl, Stephanie. She then tells Stephanie that she should play both sides against each other and enjoy the perks of being provocative. Mariah says that Stephanie will start tomorrow and renames her "Billie" on the spot. Once Billie leaves, Mariah pours herself a drink and tells a photo of her grandmother that she's better than her.
A man, Bushmaster, meets with an underling man and says that Harlem will have to wait because they're taking Booker first.
At the shop, Dave comes in and tells Luke and Bobby that his friends are dying from the drugs. He suggests that Luke try Washington Heights, and check out Arturo "El Rey" Gomez. Bobby recognizes him as a Diablo that used to run with Shades and his men. He realizes that Arturo is now hawking discount furniture under a different name.
That night at the Harlem Club, Joi is singing while Mariah watches from the balcony. Mark is there drinking and watching, and flirts with a hostess. Mariah smiles in satisfaction then talks to Shades. He points out Arturo at a table, and explains that he smuggles drugs in his couches. Nigel Garrison, head of the Yardies, is at another table and Shades tells Mariah that he runs all of the guns. Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton is at the bar and Shades says that he's an uptown player who runs a casino. Shades says that they shouldn't sell the business when there's more money to be made, and suggests that she sell the painting. Mariah insists that the painting is part of the family, and tells Shades that the deal represents the complete end of risk.
Shades brings Cockroach, Nigel, and Arturo up to make their offers to Mariah to finance her. Arturo says that he'll bring peace, Nigel says that she can use his guns to fend off any intruders. Cockroach chuckles and says that she just wants a controlling interest so they can keep Harlem Southern Black.
Luke enters the club and Mariah's men warn her that Luke is there. When Luke knocks out one guard, Shades and several more men arrive and Shades tells them to back down. Mariah comes out and tells them to put their guns away, and asks Luke what he's going to do. She flirts with him but says that it would make Claire jealous. Claire is on the club floor with two men, and Mariah tells Luke to take her home.
As Luke takes Claire home, he asks what she's doing. She says that why everyone was looking at Luke, she snuck into Mariah's office and took photos so they could identify the men meeting with Mariah. When Luke objects to her involvement, Claire insists that she's his partner. Luke tells her that he keeps thinking of the same thing happening to Claire that happened to Misty. He tells her that Mariah threatened her, and admits that he loves Claire. Claire kisses him and says that he can't lose her, and Luke jokingly says that she's a pain in his ass and they walk home.
The next day, Luke gets a call from Sugar. Sugar says that he drove out some of Arturo's men and heard them saying that they had stuff hidden on the river. Once Luke hangs up and leaves, Sugar makes a call, says that Luke took the bait, and demands his money.
Misty finds her former boyfriend Cockroach waiting for her outside of his apartment. He says that he got out early from prison when the charge got tossed because of Scarfe, and taunts her about her missing arm as she walks away.
Mariah is at home drinking when Shades comes in and notices that she's drinking something else. She says that she's celebrating her grandmother's birthday, and Shades tells her that Cockroach is right. Mariah disagrees, figuring that he's stable. She wants the lack of risk, and asks Shades if he wants to give up the criminal life. Shades says that Arturo will settle that night and he gave him some presents to sweeten the deal. Mariah tells Shades that she trusts him.
That night, Luke goes to the river freight yard and finds one of Arturo's trucks. He opens the back and gets in, and a watching Arturo sets off a bomb inside. Shocked, he watches as Luke emerges from the burning wreckage. Arturo gets out a gun and shoots Luke with a Judas bullet. Luke goes down to his knees, but the bullet is apparently a dud. Both men are surprised, and Luke knocks Arturo out. Dave records the entire thing, and explains that Luke got tagged and that's how he found him. Luke addresses the camera, saying that no one can break him or burn him and he's Harlem. He then picks up Arturo and tosses him in the man's car before driving off.
Misty goes to the station and Tom greets her. He wonders why she's back when she could retire on three-quarter pension. When Misty says that she wants her job back, Tom tells her that she's not ready. She explains that she saw Cockroach, and Tom admits that as many as thirty cases got bounced because of Scarfe. Misty vows to put them all back.
Luke brings Arturo in and drops him on the floor in front of Misty and Tom. He shows Misty the Judas bullet and points out that it's a Federal offense, and Misty figures that they can use it as leverage to get Arturo to turn on Nigel and Cockroach. Tom introduces himself and tells Luke that he can't keep shutting down drug labs. Luke denies doing it, but Tom tells him that he needs to work with him legally. Unimpressed, Luke tells him that he's doing the police's job and that they need to step up, and walks out.
Nigel arrives home and finds Bushmaster waiting for him. Bushmaster says that he wants in with his deal with Mariah, and dismisses Nigel as soft and weak. Nigel warns him that he can't take on Mariah, but Bushmaster insists that Harlem is his. When Nigel says that he'll also have to deal with Luke, Bushmaster grabs him, uses him as a shield against the bodyguards' bullets, cuts his eyes out, breaks his neck, and then takes out the guards with a few martial arts moves. The other guards shoot him, and Bushmaster rips open his shirt to reveal the bullet holes in his chest. He tells the men to leave or stay, and if they stay they have work to do.
Luke enters Mariah's office and tells her that the Judas bullet bounced off of him. He says that he'll kill Mariah if she mentions Claire's name again, and tells her that nothing can stop her from getting to her. Once Luke walks out, Mariah slaps her glass of alcohol across the room in frustration.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 24, 2018