[Review] Luke Cage Episode 1×06: “Suckas Need Bodyguards”

written by Sabra Schirm

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Vengeance is ugly, but – as Episode 6 shows us – the fallout can be even uglier.

Scarfe, holding true to his M.O. as a Shady Dude, tries to extort $100k from Cottonmouth in exchange for the liberated guns, only to end up with a bullet in his gut for his trouble. Of course, since drama is the name of the game in this Marvel series, it doesn’t end there. Instead, we get the start of what I call “The Flaming Clusterfuck Effect.”

It’s like The Snowball Effect, but with more gunshot wounds, corrupt cops, and general mistrust of your fellow humans.

Meanwhile, Luke and Claire are having an awkward-cute reunion, with a little catching up, and a lot of Luke waffling between grateful and awkward-twelve-year-old-on-first-date. Claire, being Claire, couldn’t give two shits about Luke being a self-identified “freak”, and instead sets herself up as the Trish to Luke’s Jessica — encouraging him to get out there and use his abilities for the good of the people.

This, of course, brings us back around to Scarfe. With literally nowhere else to run, Detective Gunshot Wound goes to Luke in a last-ditch effort not to die (even more) bloody. Claire, Super Nurse that she is, is on top of shit. Even so, things don’t look so good for Scarfe. Like, at all.

In the end, Detective Dirty comes clean — about Cottonmouth, about Chico — and offers up “enough to take Cottonmouth down”, in exchange for protection for anyone and everyone who would want to silence him.

[cue: rumbling sounds of Flaming Clusterfuck growing louder]

Other shit going down in the meantime (and adding to the ominous rumblings of the Flaming Clusterfuck that’s headed Harlem’s way):

  • Misty, paired up with Detective Shady 2.0 (Perez), tries to find Scarfe to get some answers.
  • Luke confronts Mariah about her hand in all the shady goings-on.
  • Mariah, sick of Cottonmouth’s shit, offers her cousin a bit of free advice:

    Mariah: “Talk less.”
    Cottonmouth: “What?”
    Mariah: “Kill more.”
    Cottonmouth: “Ha.”
    Mariah: “Don’t let Cage know you’re coming til you kick down his goddamn door.”

  • Luke, casual as fuck, absconds with Scarfe’s notes on his dealings with Cottonmouth, while Perez and Misty are actively staking out the missing detective’s apartment.
  • Mariah, in the midst of an interview, is called on her shady bullshit — not just her connection to Mama Mabel and Cottonmouth, but the shit that went down at Crispus Attucks. Mariah, cool cucumber that she is, is delightfully classy with her GTFO…and it is most definitely a GTFO.
  • Misty, in a moment of fucking brilliance, outmaneuvers Perez and gets to the bottom of the steaming bullshit.

[cue: people Kermit-Flailing as debris from the Flaming Clusterfuck starts raining down on their heads]

All of this — and I do mean all of it — culminates in a very Victorian Gothic episode finale, in which everyone pays for their sins, in one way or another. Scarfe dies, after a very sad and touching reunion with Misty. Cottonmouth is led away in cuffs (with Misty the one to cuff him). Mariah is confronted — live, and by the reporter she told to GTFO — with Cottonmouth’s monumental fuck-up and his various other shady dealings going public.

There may or may not be shady cops (including Perez) whose asses are on the line, depending on how the chickenshit dudes in charge decide to handle it.Whether or not this is the end of the Flaming Clusterfuck? Well…considering that Misty isn’t one to let shit fly, and neither Cottonmouth nor Mariah are going to go down quietly, I have a feeling that shit is just getting started…

…and I. Can’t. Wait.

[cue: me, roasting marshmallows over the writhing mess that is the Flaming Clusterfuck]

My guesses for future episodes:

  • Misty taking shit into her own hands when her superiors refuse to come clean and/or punish the cops on Cottonmouth’s payroll.
  • Cottonmouth trying to undermine Luke from behind bars.
  • Mariah trying to salvage her rep, even as she quietly plans out ways to make her “helpful suggestions” to Cottonmouth re: Luke a reality.
  • Claire being a bad-ass and subverting stereotypes, like “I may be the through-line character, but I’m not sleeping with you, Luke. Nuh-uh.”
  • Maybe a(nother) cameo: if Mariah gets dragged through the mud, I can see her hiring on our favorite morally gray big shot lawyer, Jeri Hogarth.

Luke Cage is available now on Netflix. Sabra can be reached on Twitter @cue_face_palm.

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