TV Review: Marvel's Luke Cage - Season 1 Episode 6 "Suckas Need Bodyguards"
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EPISODE 6: "Suckas Need Bodyguards"
SYNOPSIS: After Cottonmouth and Scarfe’s bloody clash, Luke realizes that saving the community may turn former allies into enemies, and enemies into allies.
REVIEW: 1When I attended San Diego Comic Con in August, the cast of Luke Cage presented multiple sequences from the first season of the show. The full starring cast were all in attendance and talked about their inclusion in such a unique superhero project. It would not be apparent which characters would live and which would die over the course of the season but I did not immediately suspect that Frank Whaley's Rafael Scarfe would be one of them. Sure, when the crooked cop was outed as being on Cottonmouth's payroll a couple of episodes back, I had my suspicions that his days were numbered, but I did not expect it to come so early in the series. While major characters have died on both Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the deaths on Luke Cage seem to be more profound and earlier in the season than either of those other series. Still, Scarfe's death serves as a turning point for the season as, to put it bluntly, shit gets real.
The sixth episode of Luke Cage revolves around the knowlesge that Scarfe has that could bring Cottonmouth down once and for all. Scarfe gets cold feet in helping Cottonmouth get his siezed cache of weapons which results in the criminal shooting the cop and leaving him to bleed to death. Scarfe makes his way to Pops' barbershop where he knows Luke is the one who will help him. Luke finds Scarfe and is immediately pissed as he knows the cop killed Wilfredo, but that is where Claire Temple comes into play. Claire, who helped Luke when Jessica Jones shot him, seeks out the hero and wants to help. She gets drawn in to saving Scarfe thanks to her medical expertise. Luke is then sent to find a notebook that chronicles everything Scarfe has on Cottonmouth. It looks like Luke will finally be able to avenge Pops.
At the same time, Misty Knight and the NYPD are hunting for the injured Scarfe. Refusing to believe he is dirty, Misty wants to try and prove his innocence. Misty is partered with the also dirty Lt. Perez who is ordered to kill Scarfe before he can take down Cottonmouth. Once again, Misty's intuition doesn't seem to work well with her coworkers, but all it takes is a simple fake phone call for Perez to out himself as a rat. Misty cuffs him and heads off to find her partner. Meanwhile, Mariah Dillard is working on an interview for her re-election campaign but it doesn't go well when she is connected to her cousin, Cornell Stokes, and the reporter suggests that the councilwoman may be involved with criminal enterprises. Mariah kicks the reporters out but it doesn't bode well for her constituency.
Using a van from her mother's diner, Claire and Luke help try to get Scarfe and his notebook to 1 Police Plaza where the injured detective will turn on Cottonmouth. It may be too little too late as Cottonmouth's thugs are tracking the van, forcing Claire and Scarfe to make a run for it while Luke kicks some serious ass. As much as I am enjoying this show, it seems to be fairly repetitive that the criminals continue to unload clip after clip into Luke with nary a drop of blood being spilled. Wouldn't they at least begin catching on at this point that bullets aren't going to work? Six episodes seems like more than enough time for these thugs to come up with better weapons and tactics. Nevertheless, Luke repels their ammunition and even takes out an oncoming van. While the impact is offscreen, seeing Luke with the engine block wrapped around his woundless body is a badass sight.
Misty arrives with enough time for Scarfe to apologize for his actions before he dies on the street. Luke, Claire, and Misty are left watching over his lifeless body, but what comes next is what we have been waiting to see. Taking the notebook to the NYPD, Misty has the honor of arresting Cottonmouth herself and taking him to jail. The reporter interviewing Mariah Dillard also gets a bonus treat as she returns to the Councilwoman to let her know that her cousin has been arrested and her ties to him implicate her in illegal trade. Six episodes in and we already have the downfall of our primary villain...or do we? Having watched ahead, I know what comes next. For now, this is a satisfying step in the narrative of the story but clearly not the final one.
I enjoyed this hour quite a bit. Scarfe's demise was a bit disappointing as I was starting to really like Frank Whaley's performance. As the lone Caucasian actor in the primary cast, his absence will no doubt be noted by those looking to turn this series into a politcial powderkeg. For me, I didn't really pay attention to the ethnicity of the actors as I watched the show but recognized Whaley from his countless film appearances over the years. His death leaves Alfre Woodard as the biggest actor in the cast which leads me to believe her role is about to get a whole lot more substantial. Keep in mind that Kingpin was arrested before the first season of Daredevil concluded and look how that turned out. Harlem may be safe, for now, but violence is definitely coming.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Trish Walker, Jessica Jones' best friend, appears in voice only on her radio show discussing Luke and his actions in Harlem.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S LUKE CAGE: Episode 7 "Manifest" - Mariah’s political career comes under fire, and Cottonmouth picks up information that could put Luke on the run.