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REVIEW: Luke Cage 1×08 “Blowin’ Up the Spot”

Written by Z. B. Hunter

My oh my, oh my. I don’t know what to say. What an eventful episode!

First we were hit with the reality that Luke Cage isn’t as invulnerable as we once thought. I mean, I knew the Judas bullet would work – every hero has their weakness – but I was a little unsure of how effective it would be. But holy crap! When Shades said there was a bullet for everyone, he wasn’t kidding!

Speaking of Shades, he has really come into his own within the past few episodes and this one pretty much crowned him. Looking back at his previous appearances you can tell he was in control of the situation from the get go. I mean, he said it wasn’t a take-over, but it was. It always was. He spent most of his time calculating moves and reading the situation, and gave us the illusion that Stokes or Mariah were in control but really, he was. Forget about Cottonmouth or Diamondback, Shades Alvarez is the real snake here and it was really satisfying to see him come out of his little snake hole (what do snakes live in?) and pull the strings.

Now he’s going to be more actively controlling things and Luke won’t know what hit him – well, besides from really expensive armour piercing bullets.

Now let’s move on to a character who has also come into her own this episode: Mariah Dillard. There’s nothing better than watching a character be worn down and lose everything before snapping completely. We all knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when and how. She demonstrated quite clearly early on how fake she was, but only recently how much she was running away from her past as well.

I’m a little disappointed about how late her backstory is being told, and also how little of it we are being shown. Most of the snippets in this episode were spent telling us about Stokes’ youth, which even then is too little too late because he’s killed off straight after. I wanted to know earlier on about the cousins’ relationship growing up… especially when they were living under the roof of a domineering matriarchal character like Mama Mabel.

To me all this character exposition feels a little rushed. It would have been better if it gradually built up alongside the current timeline and had been drawn parallel with the murder scenes, that way we could have been slowly fed information about each character to help us get a better idea of what makes them tick; not just when it’s immediately relevant.

And what the hell is going on with Misty Knight?

I started off this show liking her a lot and now she just annoys me. She’s bloody clever, I give her that, but I feel like she’s wasting her talents chasing the wrong leads. And part of my frustration is based in the fact that she doesn’t really like Luke, and it’s taking her far too long to realise that they’re on the same side. She’s slowly spiraling out of control and she’s too focused on the wrong things to see that. And how dare she put her hands on Claire!

How. Dare. She.

That was the last straw for me. I hope she gets suspended because it’s going to take something drastic like that to make her come around; and something even more so for me to like her again.

Last but not least, let’s talk about Diamondback!

After eight episodes of referring to this mysterious character that oversees everything, we finally have the great reveal and he’s attacking Luke Cage. I guess he got tired of waiting??? I don’t really understand what led him to confront him personally. Someone in that kind of position would surely have a lot of expendable pawns (chess metaphor again) at his disposal.

We’ve seen literally nobody affiliated with Diamondback apart from Shades, but even he didn’t know Luke was Carl until recently. Did Diamondback know this whole time, and therefore sent Shades in to investigate? Did he just want to deal with Cage himself and have no middle men to potentially screw it up for him? I don’t know! I’m a little confused as to why he’s suddenly come out of the shadows. Why now? And why is he the one to put an end to Cage?

Okay, sure, whatever. They go way back. I mean, they’re brothers and whatnot but none of that has been explored before so it all seems very rushed. I figure episode nine will be another one of those backstory episodes that delve into that at the same time we see Luke trying to recover from near death. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.

What do you guys think? Am I the only one who likes to be fed constant little bits of information for me to piece together? Does anyone still like Misty Knight at this point? Let us know in the comments or on twitter.

About the author

Z. B. Hunter

Fresh out of university, Zaibien is hoping to make a splash in the world of literary art. When he's not figuring out new ways to subvert the fantasy genre, he's somewhere between writing his first novel and wishing there was a way to telepathically communicate his ideas onto paper exactly as they are in his head.
Unlike his characters, we can't all have superpowers, so he's just having to settle with reading comics, going to the gym and occasionally pouring his heart out over his laptop.

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