[Review] Luke Cage Episode 1×10: “Take It Personal”

written by Sabra Schirm

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Sabra Nicole here, reporting to you live from the Leaning Tower Of Used Tissue, with a review of Episode 10 of Luke Cage.

(Finally)

Where last we left off in Episode 9 (ages and ages ago), shit was not going so well for anybody. While Misty was coming to terms with the fact that she done fucked up with Claire, Mariah was slipping from shock and into a full-blown case of nervous collapse. Meanwhile, Luke and Claire are racing against the clock to get a handle on his steadily worsening case of sepsis…which ended as well as anything else in this episode.

(SPOILER:it didn’t end well)

As for Shades? Well, Shades was quietly shitting his pants, because ho-ly fuck.

Speaking of “ho-ly fuck”? This episode. You can’t see my notes, but trust me, that is the underlying tone of all my reactions. Granted, we are down to the last three episodes after this one, so obviously the shit is going to be hitting the fan in greater quantities and at a higher velocity from here on out. Even so…fuck.

To be honest, I’m not sure where to even start.

(That’s not even the cold meds or the brain fuzz talking.)

You know what? Let’s change this shit up a bit and talk about a few of this episode’s notable characters, starting with Claire. I fucking love Claire. Claire, who has been the Netflix Marvel through-line. Claire who has been set up as the love interest who ties all this shit together. Claire who is forever kicking the inherent “Cape Groupie” stereotypes in the face.

“I never back down from a fight. Even if you don’t trust me, trust the fighter in me.”
-BAMF Claire Temple

Claire is you. Claire is me. Claire is everyone. Especially after watching all the fucking incredible Women’s March footage from January 22nd, she – as a woman who never backs down, who says fuck you to naysayers, who holds strong to her convictions – speaks to me. Aside from the playing the role of life-saver, risk-taker, all-around badass (and all within the first few minutes of her being on-screen), she is the one holding this shit together. When Luke wants to back down, she tells him to push forward. When Luke decides to confront the demons from his past? She drives his ass home, ready and waiting to get shit done.

Welcome to the Claire Temple Show.

(Netflix, you should seriously get on that. Right now)

Now, Misty on the other hand…she’s dealing with a lot of shit as she tries to balance her desire to get to the heart of matters, and trying to keep her head down as her station – and the rest of Harlem – descends into chaos. She knows things aren’t right, but she’s also realistic enough to realize that she’s one person, and without help and official backing, she’s not going to be able to steer people in the right direction.

Even so? She tries. She sticks to her guns about something being off. She makes sure she’ll have official backing, should she turn up new facts. She does her research. She follows leads. In short? She COPS.

For all the times she’s flubbed basic police procedure in this series, she comes through here. Whatever the writers’ reasons for this – whether it is purely in service of Luke Cage, or will be important in the larger arc – I can’t say. Honestly? I’m just glad to see her do it. I’m glad to see her using her knee-jerk “IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT LUKE CAGE” reaction in service of the truth as it is, not as she assumes it to be.

All that to say? She’s not perfect. I wouldn’t want her to be perfect. I enjoy her for who she is, for her determination to dig deeper, for her being unafraid to fix what she’s broken. Like with Claire, she is a woman to be admired, and definitely not one you want to fuck with.

With the shit flying heavy and fast at that industrial-sized metaphorical fan, I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot more “…and then it got worse” moments. I’m not necessarily looking forward to them, but I’m braced for them. I’d say “bring ’em on,” but…I don’t want to tempt fate.

Honorable Mentions of this episode go to:

  • The almost-a-fake-out with the Amnesia Cliché, post shrapnel-extraction-via-hellbath.
  • Stryker Super-Villaining as hard as he possibly can; I’m surprised there aren’t more shots of him steepling his fingers and cackling, though his “I’M TOTALLY LUKE CAGE, BTW” moment came close.
  • Luke’s startlingly coherent flashbacks of his childhood which make it kind of hard to believe he didn’t suspect who Stryker might be, as soon as he heard his fucking name.

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

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