Luke and Misty take James, Mariah, and Tilda to a Rand Enterprises pharmaceutical facility that won't open for another month. James says that he has a service the next day, but Luke points out that Bushmaster has a bounty on all of them. Misty figures that they'd be safer at the precinct house, but Mariah points out that many of the cops would kill them for Bushmaster's bounty. Tilda goes to the bathroom, and James wants to do a prayer circle. Mariah objects and Luke tells her to shut up and have some respect. They join hands and James prays to God for protection. Afterward, Misty sarcastically looks at Mariah and says that she prayed with the devil.
Bushmaster goes to Mother's Touch with his men and the Styler killers tell him that Luke took them out. Sheldon suggests that Tilda might still have some there, but Bushmaster discovers that all of the nightshade is gone. He tells Sheldon to up the bounty but he wants them alive.
James is cleaning his bloody knuckles when Tilda asks if she can help. He says that punching the Styler felt good. She mixes an herbal mixture for his cuts and says that Luke saved her age, and James tells her that Luke is strange but magical. Tilda explains that nightshade is one of the herbs that she used, and insists that it can be used to relieve pain and cure disease. James takes her hand and says that it's okay to be scared, but they'll get through everything safely. He tells her that he has faith in Luke. Mariah is yelling at Misty, and Tilda says that she wishes she had the same faith in her mother.
Misty tells Mariah that if she goes on record that Bushmaster burned down her home, they can have him locked up. Mariah refuses, and Luke suggests that she come safe. When Mariah points out that Bushmaster already beat Luke twice, Luke reminds her that she sold him Hammer weapons and Bushmaster has leverage on her unless she turns on him. Mariah demands total immunity on the guns in return for her testimony, and Misty refuses. Luke warns her that they won't include Shades on the deal, but Mariah doesn't care and tells Luke to get it done. She insults Misty and Misty goes after her until Luke pulls her away.
Once Mariah leaves, Misty wonders how Luke can side with Mariah after she put him back in prison. She insists that Mariah is responsible for Tom and Candace, but Luke warns that Bushmaster will torch Harlem to get Mariah. Misty wonders why he won't testify against Bushmaster, but Luke tells her that the black negates everything else. He figures that they deal with Bushmaster first and then if they're lucky, they'll get Mariah on something else.
Misty returns to the precinct house and Nandi asks if everyone is okay. She says that the brass in back in charge, just as Deputy Chief Ridley comes out and asks Misty where she is. Ridley agrees to talk to Misty privately.
Luke watches Mariah, saying that she's not letting her out of his sight. She insists that she's done more for Harlem then he ever has, and Luke tells her that Harlem just survives her. Mariah says that Harlem fights for her and would die for her, and she elevates it while Luke oversees it. She insists that Harlem needs a queen, not a hero, and walks off. Tilda is watching, hearing the whole thing, and Luke walks past her.
Misty tells Ridley that Mariah wants immunity for the gun sale, and says that it's the smart play. Ridley agrees to take it to the DA, and points out that Misty has grown. She asks who else knows about the deal, and tells Misty to make sure no one else finds out until she gets hold of the DA.
Luke gets some cocoa from a machine as James looks on. The machine fails, and Luke shakes it in anger. James steps in and says that there are times for a lighter touch, nudges the machine, and the cocoa drops down.
Mariah finds a phone but discovers that it doesn't work. She hears James tells Luke that his strength is from God, but figures that the burden comes with pain. Luke admits that it hasn't been easy until Claire, and James realizes that she's the woman who visited him at the church. He quotes from Titanic and figures that Luke pushes people away when he's stressed, just like he does. James says that Luke has to take care of himself as well as others or the whole world will pull apart. He describes how Tilda used nightshade to heal his cuts, and says that the real magic is what comes out when the pressure is heaviest.
In the interrogation room, Ridley tells Misty that the DA signed off on the deal, and Misty tells her that Tom wanted to make a deal and she lit into him. She's angry that she's advocating so much more, and Ridley says that Tom taught her that they can only save so many people from the flood. The deputy chief tells her that the violence has to end, and Misty tells her where Mariah is and she'll bring her in within sixty minutes. Nandi is secretly watching from the observation room and hears everything.
Luke finds Tilda and Tilda says that she went her own way like her father Jackson, who died before she was born. Luke asks her why Bushmaster came to her, and Tilda says that she sold him arcane herbs. She figures that Bushmaster used nightshade and wishes she could get access to his bloodwork to see what he's developed. Luke figures that if she does, she could stop him, but Tilda isn't so sure. She agrees to tell Luke everything she knows, in return for Luke telling her everything Luke knows about Mariah.
At the club, Anansi warns Bushmaster that his body is falling apart, and then his mind, and then his soul. Bushmaster insists that he only needs a little nightshade to finish, but Anansi refuses and leaves. Sheldon tells Bushmaster that the bounty is up to $3 million a head, and warns that nightshade production will take some time. One of the Stylers turns on a weapon, and Sheldon runs over and shuts it off before it can go off. Nandi comes in and after a moment, everyone lowers their guns. She tells Bushmaster that she knows where Mariah is and asks if the offer is still good. Bushmaster assures her that it is.
James is standing watch, and Mariah sits down with him. He says that he recognizes her from the news, and says that she did a whole lot of good but paid for it with bad. Mariah admits that she couldn't keep her whole family together, and she wasn't there for Tilda when she was growing up. The councilwoman thought that she could make up for lost time with Tilda, and James tells her that he was there for Luke but not really and parents do the best they can. They chuckle over James' photos of a teenage Luke, and James admits that he made a lot of mistakes with his on. He says that Tilda is a dynamic woman and she got it from some place, and Mariah half-jokingly tells him that she might have to catch one of his sermons. As she goes, Mariah secretly takes James' phone and calls Shades.
Shades is at Gwen's drinking and checking out the restaurant. He sees that Mariah is trying to call him but ignores her. Meanwhile, Tilda finds Mariah and asks what she's doing. Mariah tells her the truth, and asks Tilda why she set up in Harlem. Her daughter explains that she wanted to be home, and she thought the curse would end when Cornell was dead. Mariah admits that she thought the same, and says that Stokes is real and a lot of people died to make the family what it is. Tilda figures that Mariah hates the Stokes because they were dark-skinned, and Mariah always tried to keep her away. Her mother says that Tilda brought her joy and her deepest shame. She explains that Jackson wasn't Tilda's father, and he was gay. The Stokes hated Jackson for it, and Mariah kept the Dillard name alive by playing the widow after Jackson died. The cover-up gave Tilda a good role model, and Mariah says that she's a survivor.
Tilda asks if her mother killed Cornell, and Mariah admits that she did. She explains that Cornell lost his mind trying to kill Luke, and he loved Uncle Pete more than he loved Mariah. Mariah explains that Pete was the only one who told her she was beautiful and smart. He molested her and the result was Tilda. When Mabel knew, she insisted on no abortion and had the Johnsons raised Tilda after she was born. Mariah eventually managed to get Tilda back, and Cornell taunted her saying that she wanted Pete molesting her. That's when she killed him, because he was wrong and she never wanted it... or Tilda. Mariah says that she tried to love Tilda but doesn't, and every time she looks at her she sees Pete. She apologizes and walks away, as the crying Tilda tells her that she's a monster.
Misty returns to the safe house and shows Mariah the immunity papers. Mariah finally signs the paper and thanks Luke for his help. Misty calls the station to tell Ridley they have Mariah's testimony. Ridley takes SWAT officers into the club and they discover that no one is there.
The Stylers drive to the safe house.
Ridley calls Misty and tells her that the club is empty. James spots the Stylers arriving and warn the others, and Mariah runs to the back. Misty calls for backup, and Sheldon loads up a rocket launchers. The others run to the back as well, and Bushmaster calls to Luke, saying that he should give up Mariah before someone he loves gets killed. He offers to let everyone but Mariah go, saying that Luke knows that Mariah is the Devil made flesh. Luke considers handing her over, but James says that he can't. He asks Mariah what he would do, and she admits that she'd hand herself over. Luke tells her that he was raised better than that and goes out.
When he gets no response, Bushmaster orders his men in.
Misty leads the others to a conference room.
Luke tosses out a desk onto one of the cars and jumps out. He shrugs off their bullets and knocks down Bushmaster and then the others.
Misty barricades the conference room door and fires at the Stylers who have made it into the building.
Luke knocks the powder out of Bushmaster's hands, and Sheldon tosses Bushmaster a baseball bat so he can continue fighting Luke.
Misty takes out one Styler and another fires at her.
Bushmaster knocks Luke into a scaffold, and he sees a loose pipe.
Mariah sees a semi-automatic that a Styler drops.
Luke uses a pipe to parry Bushmaster's blows, and manages to disarm him.
Mariah grabs the semi-auto and shoots one Styler. She fires a grenade at another, and looks at Tilda before going after the other gangers, killing any in her path.
Bushmaster draws a knife and tries to drive it into Luke's eye. Luke knocks him into a car, and Bushmaster tells him to kill him because he'll never stop coming. Punching him unconscious, Luke says that he'll always be there to stop him as the backup arrives. They take away Bushmaster and his men, and Ridley comes over to greet Luke. She says that Mariah slipped away and the immunity deal is in the trash now that they have Bushmaster on a murder charge.
L:uke finds his father at the ambulance, and James says that he came to Harlem to reconnect with his son but it didn't turn out as he planned. He suggests that Luke come home to Georgia with him, and Luke says that he has to finish what he started just like James taught him. James warns him not to let his anger consume him, and to be better than him. He says that the best part of Luke, he got from his mother, and he should follow that compass. Luke says that some of the better parts are from James as well, including the swagger. His father says that he's never been more proud of him and he loves him, and they hug. They go to get something to eat.
The police van taking Bushmaster heads across town, and Bushmaster tells the officers a story about how Nanny never forgot the old ways in Jamaica. The Maroons resisted the British, broke their chains, and fled to the mountains to become the resistance. They cut the heads off of their oppressors and put them on spikes to warn the others that no white man was safe. Bushmaster explains that the resisters became masters of camouflage and won because they had the will, the determination, and the magic. He reveals that he has one of the bombs in his hand and lets it detonate.
Tilda return to Mother's Touch and finds Sheldon there. He says that Bushmaster needs her and nightshade. Tilda warns that she doesn't have enough, and Sheldon warns her that if Bushmaster dies then he'll die with her. Bushmaster is sitting in a chair, moaning in pain, and asks Tilda to help him. After a moment, Tilda agrees.
Mariah is walking down the street when a SUV pulls up behind her. She turns and aims the gun at it, and then realizes that Shades is there. He says that he always has her, and Mariah tells him that she's done denying who she is and she wants what is hers. The two of them kiss and Shades shows her Anansi, tied up in the trunk. They agree that family always comes first.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 8, 2018