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REVIEW: Luke Cage 1×06 “Suckas Need Bodyguards”

“If he lives, everything that you’ve built will come crashing down.”

That pretty much sums up, “Suckas Need Bodyguards,” and can interestingly be applied to many of the show’s characters.

At the halfway point in the season, this is the episode where things began to shift and the heavy-hitters became a bit more evident. Marvel shows often have a minor villain lead the series, and follow up with a bigger bad as the season progresses, which is a format that Luke Cage looks like it too will follow.

Spoilers ahead!

The episode starts off with a bang, AKA a bullet shot from Scarfe’s gun into Scarfe himself.

The crooked detective tries to squeeze Cottonmouth for money, which unsurprisingly does not end well for slimeball #1. Stokes shoots the cop without so much as blinking and, though he manages to get away alive, Scarfe doesn’t last the episode.

He does live long enough to crawl his way into Luke’s apartment (where general savior Claire Temple yanks a bullet or two out of his body) and gives Cage just enough information to be useful. He’s still mostly awful, but at least he knows not to eff around where Luke is concerned. Said information that Scarfe gives Luke pertains to the little black book of dirty info he has stashed in his apartment.

Luke makes his way to the apartment and snags the moleskin, narrowly escaping before Knight and her new partner crash in while searching for Scarfe. Cage then drives Scarfe (and the evidence book detailing Cottonmouth’s dirty deeds) to the police station so that he can put the men away for good. They run into a bit of trouble when some of Cottonmouth’s men begin following the van looking to take out everyone in it. Luke and Claire manage to make it out of the scuffle alive, but Scarfe ends up succumbing to his wounds and dying in the street with Misty by his side.

BUT, his death wasn’t for nothing because the evidence he provided allowed Cottonmouth to be put away.

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Once again this episode of Luke Cage proved that, despite what the public might think, Stokes isn’t the toughest member of his family. I said it since the first episode, Mariah is the one to watch. Her cold command for Cornell, “You need to take his ass out… You find his weakness, and you squeeze,” is one that only solidified the fact that the new matriarch (RIP Momma Mabel, random lady that we’ve never met) of the family means business.

She’s dealt with Cornell’s BS for as long as it meant that it would benefit her, but now that his messes are beginning to overlap with her life, it’s clear that she’s done cleaning them up.

Mariah is very much an individual who’s in the, “ends justifies the means,” camp. She genuinely wishes to do good for Harlem but, unfortunately, she’s willing to do generally terrible things to ultimately bring her section of the city back into the light.

This was clearly Alfre Woodard’s episode and she knocked it out of the park. We’ve gotten a taste of Dillard over the episodes and, now that her cousin is in jail, I hope that we’ll be seeing more of her in the back half of the season. Now that her own life is beginning to crumble, she’s beginning to crack and it’ll be interesting to see how she handles all of these new changes.

Episode Grade: B

Episode Highs:

  • Loved the Trish Walker “cameo.” Hearing Luke’s work intro’d via Trish Talks was a fun coda to Jessica Jones that keen fans likely appreciated.
  • “What do you mean you shot him Cornell? Cornell, how could you be so stupid?!” –Mariah “Yeah well I’d rather be a smartass than a dumbass… Now cuff yourself you piece of shit.” -Misty. The women in this show are the best and don’t even pretend to care about the moronic men that they have to put up with.

Episode Lows:

  • A bit more happened this episode but I still feel like there’s an unbalance in the pacing. There was a literal car chase but it felt like the “chase” was really just two vehicles being slowly pushed uphill.

Additional Comments:

  • I realize that Stokes is technically the central villain but I gave a small fist pump when he shot Detective Scarfe… who was the worst. Having said that, I was surprised by how poignant his death was. I think that’s more of a testament to Misty than anything because, even knowing that he was a shady dude who did some terrible things, as a wholly empathetic person, Knight still shed genuine tears over his death.

What did you think of the sixth episode of Luke Cage? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen

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