In court, DA Blake Tower charges Mariah with 12 counts of murder in the first degree during her arraignment. Ben objects to Tower's "grandstanding", while Luke and Misty watch from the back. Misty figures that they finally have Mariah, but Luke figures that Mariah will duck the charges. Two people start yelling about the people that Mariah had murdered, and Judge Amanda Garmon has them removed and then denies bail and remands her to Rikers until a trial date is set. Mariah asks to speak and the judge agrees, and Tilda gets up and walks out.
Mariah tells the court that she is not a flight risk and loves her people. She talks about how her grandparents built a wall around Harlem, and now the wall is eroding.
On the streets, gangsters shoot it out with each other. Misty and Mark arrive at one crime scene.
Mariah warns that nothing has been fortified and the city resources will be overwhelmed.
At the precinct house, Ridley deals with the crimes breaking out throughout Harlem. Luke shields one bystander from two shooters and then takes them out.
Mariah says that she will fortify the wall around Harlem if released. Garmon finds Mariah's Katrina references offensive, and Mariah says that there has always been a Stokes patching up the wall around Harlem and they need her out there.
Misty exchanges shots with one ganger. When they both run out of bullets, Misty tackles the ganger and easily subdues her.
On the news, Thembi reports on the outbreak of violence since Mariah's arrest. Her guest, Dr. Jelani Cobb, says that he's shocked at the violence.
In the barber shop, D.W. is taping up boxes. Luke joins him as Jelani talks on the TV about Luke. Jelani says that not even Luke can deal with all of the violence. Luke tells D.W. that he thought things would get better with Mariah off the streets.
Misty goes to Mother's Touch and asks if Tilda is making up more drugs for Bushmaster. Tilda says that she isn't, and Misty says that someone helped him heal himself and get into the club. The owner insists that Mariah is evil and she wants to move on with her life, and that she has no idea where Bushmaster is. Unconvinced, Misty starts to look around and Tilda tells her to get a warrant. Misty says that Tilda sounds just like Mariah, advises her to stop what she's doing, and leaves.
Once Misty is gone, Tilda calls to Sheldon, telling him that Misty is gone but not for long. She warns that the healing solution won't work, and Ingrid brings out Bushmaster. Tilda tells them that she has a root preparation to temporarily help him, but he needs rest and nightshade from Jamaican. After drinking the preparation, Bushmaster asks if Mariah is dead. Tilda says that she isn't, and Bushmaster insists that Mariah must burn before collapsing. Sheldon and Ingrid take him into the back.
Luke meets with Sugar and D.W. and points out that Jamaicans haven't begun since the surge began. Shades comes in and says that the Boricuas and the Italians are moving in. He admits that no one will deal with him since he's a snitch, but he can help Luke win because the old rules are being broken and innocents are dying. Luke points out that Shades started it when he and Tone shot the shop up and killed Pop. Shades insists that was Tone, and Rosalie Carbone is hoping to snatch up Harlem. He says that Luke is the only one who can make things right, and says that there needs to be someone other than Rosalie and Bushmaster to run Harlem, someone who wants to flip the system on its head. Luke considers what Shades is saying, and then tells him that if he comes back again without an invite then he'll kill him. Shades tells him that he' not polite anymore and that's how it starts, and walks out. Sugar agrees to talk to his fellow drivers.
Mariah goes into Rikers and two women kill the guard with her. They throw gasoline on her and say that Rosalie sends her regards, but two more women come up and cut the two killers' throats. Kalinda "Sunflower" Potter comes in and tells Mariah that she'll have to pay her for protection. Mariah agrees but says that she wants to carve her name into one of her attackers. Sunflower gives her a knife, and Mariah cuts her throat and tells the others that she's the one in charge and will pay them to be on her side. They quickly agree, and Mariah tells them to clean up the bodies. Mariah then goes to the guard, takes her phone, calls Ben, and tells him to get there and bring the money she needs.
Luke goes to the Italian mob's stronghold and takes out the guard, breaking his arm. He then goes up to Rosalie's office, breaking another guard's leg. A third guard tries to suffocate him with a plastic bag, and Luke breaks his wrists. Rosalie's bodyguard opens fire on Luke and he shrugs off the bullets, and tells her that he'll never. He tells her to stay out of Harlem, and when she refuses he stops breaking her bodyguard's fingers and repeats his demand. Rosalie asks what he's going to do if she doesn't leave and strokes his cheek, and figures that her Russian friends will shoot up school yards and taking out whole families if he does. Luke promises to destroy her trucks and raid every warehouse, affecting her Russian partners will hand her over to the Feds to get him to stop. He tells her to have everyone back off and promises retribution on anyone who deals in Harlem. Luke says that he can't be bought. Rosalie agrees and suggests that they meet over coffee next time.
That night, Sheldon takes Tilda, Ingrid, and the near-comatose Bushmaster to a waiting van and tells Tilda that NYC is getting too hot. Sheldon tells Tilda that he's glad he didn't kill her, and she tells Sheldon to tell Bushmaster that she's no longer paying for Mariah's sins.
In prison, Ben meets with Mariah and Ben says that he gave the money she asked for to the proper people. He warns that Shades is untouchable and is already on the record. Mariah suggests that they convince the jury that Shades manipulated her into a life of crime. Ben agrees that they can get reasonable doubt, and Mariah says that they can't give anyone else the chance to snitch. She orders Ben to kill everyone who isn't blood or protected by client/lawyer privilege. She tells him to make sure and spare Sugar because his wife loaned he3r clothing after the brown house burned.
Soon, a new wave of killings hits Harlem. Misty confirms that they were either part of the massacre or were going to be named in an indictment going out that night. She tells Ridley that Shades might already be dead.
Alex goes to Mother's Touch and asks her to tell Mariah that he'd never rat. He says that he wanted to walk away but couldn't, and assures Tilda that Mariah loves her. Tilda tells him that she can't help him and he should leave before she calls the police.
The next morning, Luke looks out on the city. Sugar meets with him and says that everyone who was with Mariah is now dead. He explains that he ended up working for Mariah after he played football in high school and twisted his knee. Mariah paid his tuition anyway and Cottonmouth gave him a job after he dropped out. Luke figures that he's just being a diplomat, and Sugar tells him that Mariah really does love Harlem.
That night, Shades is walking down the street when a man comes after him. Shades disarms the man and shoots hi, takes his phone, finishes him off, and calls to tell Ben that he wants to speak to Mariah alone.
Misty and Mark arrive at the spot where Alex was killed. Tilda is nearby, watching, and makes a call.
Shades meets with Mariah in prison and tells her that there's a lot he can do to her. She wonders if Shades ever loved him, and Shades says that he still does. Mariah brings up Comanche, and Shades says that when he returned to the real world, he committed himself to Mariah and Comanche would have figured it out eventually. Shades tells Mariah that she sold her soul for the legacy of a last name she hates, and all she had to do was give up the club and then they could have been out there doing their thing. Mariah says that she already killed someone in prison and can do it again, and Shades tells her that it's her life now looking over her shoulder 24/7. He assures her that she's a natural, says goodbye, and leaves.
Ben comes in and says that Tilda called and is ready to see Mariah. Mariah shrugs and says that they can get it over with, and starts sobbing.
As the techs take Alex's body away, Luke arrives and Misty asks if he's seen Sugar. Luke claims that he hasn't and says that he needs to see Mariah and talk some sense into her. Misty warns that he's not the right person for it and walks away. Luke calls Foggy and asks for Ben's cell number.
At Mother's touch, Tilda is mixing up a reddish liquid based on a formula in a journal. She then goes to Rikers and meets with Mariah, and Mariah explains that there was a part of her that couldn't feel after she was raped. Mariah admits that she doesn't know how to love Tilda, and Tilda tells her not to say anything because she's just evil. Her mother insists that she's necessary, and Tilda asks her what all of the murders were for. Mariah figures that if there's anyone from Harlem on the jury, she'll walk. When she gets out, Mariah promises that the two of them will start over from scratch. Tilda tells her that she's pushed away everyone who ever loved her, and Mariah points out that Tilda is better off because Mariah pushed her away. She asks Tilda to look in on the club for her because it's home, and it's up to Tilda whether she surrenders. Mariah tells her to stand in the club and then tell her that she's wrong. She says that she sees her face, not Pete's, when she look at Tilda.
Tilda comes over, tells Mariah that she loves her, kisses her on the lips, and wishes "Mother" peace even though she doesn't deserve it. Once she leaves, Ben comes in and Mariah figures that Tilda didn't mean a thing that she said. Mariah tells Ben to do something for her and make it official, and then asks who called him.
The next morning, Tilda goes to the club and looks over Mariah's office. She goes to the keyboard and plays, singing about finally knowing the truth and how things must come to an end.
Luke walks down the street.
Misty works out at the gym.
Shades sits in the park and looks at a photo of him and Comanche together.
Tilda finishes, singing that everything has come to an end.
Luke arrives at prison and meets with Ben and Mariah. He tells Ben to leave when the lawyer protests, and Mariah says that she wanted to see him. Luke tells her that he met with Rosalie and repaired the wall, and says that he's a sheriff rather than a gangsta. He says that Shades and the Stylers are done, and Mariah shouldn't undercut the peace he's brokered by killing anyone else. Mariah points out that Luke is the only one who came on his own to see her, and says that he helped her find who she really is She figures that Harlem needs a king and she's glad that it's Luke. Luke tells her that she's never going to get out of prison and he'll be the last person to walk away from her. Mariah starts coughing up blood and realizes that Tilda poisoned her with her lipstick when she kissed hear earlier.
Mariah collapses on the floor and Luke goes to her. he says that he can't save her but he'll keep her company, and Mariah thanks him. She tells him that they're not done yet and dies.
Later, Shades sits in a diner and reads an article about Mariah's death. Misty comes in and puts him under arrest for the murders of Candace and Comanche. He points out that he has a deal, and Misty tells him that the deal was dependent on Mariah standing trial. once she died, the deal died. They also received an anonymous ledger of his Aeneas dealings. Shades figures that Mariah had it sent and smiles in admiration, while Mark and the unis arrive and take Shades away.
Tilda goes to the Spurlock Funeral Home and tells Joel to cremate Mariah and loses the ashes. When Joel calls her "Mrs. Stokes", Tilda says that the last Stokes has died and her name is Tilda Johnson. Joel apologizes to Mariah and covers her over.
At the shop, Luke tells Sugar and D.W. what happened. Sugar says that he knows Mariah was evil but will miss her. Sheldon comes in and says that Harlem is in the right hands, and wishes Luke luck. He leaves, and Luke insists that he's not a gangsta. D.W. wonders what he's done, and Luke insists that he made things right and he can't be bought. The teenager says that Luke is a crime boss and he's going to use the money from the merchandise to buy the shop. He tells Luke and Sugar to get out because he's going to keep the shop neutral. Luke agrees, just as Ben comes in and says that they need to talk. Luke and Sugar go outside to talk to him, and D.W. tells Luke that he thought he wasn't a king. Luke says that he's a rook, not a king, and D.W. begs him not to do it. In response, Luke says that someone has to.
At the club, Luke and Ben meet with Tilda. Ben says that according to Mariah's will, the Basquiat will be transferred to Harlem's Studio Museum, and her leftover millions will transform the Family First Initiative into the Family First Foundation. Mariah left Cornell's keyboard to Tilda, and the club to Luke.
Earlier in prison, Mariah tells Ben that she figures that the club should go to someone who loves Harlem as much as she does. She figures that the club will change Luke.
Tilda walks out of the office. Ben says that Mariah told him that Luke can't rule a kingdom from a barbershop. The lawyer asks if Luke wants it, and after a moment, Luke says that they should burn it down to the ground.
D.W. cleans up the shop and opens it for business.
A suit-wearing Luke watches from the office as Ali Shaheed Muhammad performs. Luke then turns to watch men take away the Basquiat and replace it with his own painting of Joe Louis. Misty comes in and tells Luke that he didn't have to take the club. He insists that it's the right move and things are quiet, and says that together they can protect Harlem. Misty asks him about the law, and promises that she'll take him down if he starts acting the fool. Luke says that he's counting on it, and Sugar comes in and says that Rosalie and Anibal need to talk with him. Once Luke tells him to put them into VIP, he asks if there's anything else and Sugar looks at Misty. Exasperated, Misty steps outside and Sugar starts whispering to Luke as the guard closes the door on her.
On the floor, Rakim starts rapping about Luke and how everything has a price. Tilda comes in and looks around. Luke watches from the balcony, and Sugar tells him that Claire is there. Luke tells him to tell Claire to go home, goes back into his new office, and remembers what James told him about power defining a man.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 15, 2018