It’s pretty hard for an episode to go wrong when it features Wu Tang Clan and rocket launchers. Who’s Gonna Take the Weight was the most action-packed installment of Luke Cage yet.
Beyond the greater action emphasis, the show continues to shake up its briefly established status quo. The writers aren’t feeling any obligation to stick to a slow roll-out of character motivations and story arcs. So far that’s worked in its favor. Weight again had some shocking moments that would have been delayed to the second half of most seasons. Hopefully, these early decisions don’t end up working against the writers in the back end of the season.
Cage and Bobby Fish (Ron Cephas Jones) agree they’ve got to keep Pop’s barbershop open. But there’s the little matter of the $80,000 debt Pop was carrying. Hardly a non-starter if you’ve got bulletproof skin.
As much I enjoy Misty and Cage’s steamy flirty dialogue, her scenes with Det. Scarfe are even better. Beyond the special guest musical performance, the New York Undercover influence is heavy with Knight and Scarfe’s banter.
Their exchange over vigilantes running unchecked now was interesting. We’re starting to see some cracks in the continuity between the movies and the TV shows. This was an excellent opportunity for Misty, who’s opposed to vigilante actions, to mention the Skovia Accords introduced in Captain America: Civil War. Scarfe, somewhat surprisingly, took the other side of the argument.
I’m worried the decision to out Scarfe as being on Cottonmouth’s payroll so early in the series will come back to bite the writers. Now, the viewers are ahead of Misty and we’ll continue to get frustrated that she misses even the tiniest clue he’s no good. That probably won’t be as aggravating with the Netflix binge format though. Poor Chico never had a chance. Course this guy had about 30 chances to skip town and kept ignoring them.
Mahershala Ali continues to kill it as Cottonmouth. He’s getting some of the series’ best lines like ‘nothing humbles a man like gravity,’ which helps to make him such a smooth villain. The Netflix shows have to keep the bad guys at a certain power level. Following Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin could have made every other crime lord redundant, but Ali is making Cottonmouth stand out.
Similar to Misty and Scarfe, Cottonmouth has a philosophical difference with Mariah. She’s convinced the way to fix Harlem for the better is legally. Cottonmouth sees his way as the far more effective option. One thing they agree on — keeping Harlem black and keeping it in the green.
Cottonmouth’s empire takes some big hits as his former associate, Domingo (Jacob Vargas) declares war over the weapons robbery incident. His more immediate concern though is Cage, who obliterates his safe house. Hallway fight scenes are like a right of passage on the Netflix shows and Cage’s lives up to the high standards.
Bring Da Ruckus was a pretty fitting song for the action. Cage used whatever was remotely handy from a car door as a shield to a water pipe as a weapon. After watching Daredevil take as many punches as he gave, it was fun to watch a hero shrug them off.
Cage wasn’t greedy, just taking a duffle bag full of cash. It’s enough to keep Pops rolling for now. He doesn’t have long to celebrate since Scarfe knows where Cage lives and tips off Cottonmouth. Rather than bothering with some subtle, drawn out message Cottonmouth levels it with a rocket. Cottonmouth is exactly the type to bring a rocket launcher to a knife fight.
Who’s Gonna Handle the Weight escalates the action and stakes for Cage. Whether it can keep this accelerated pace up is the biggest challenge, but for now it’s proving to be pretty fun. Onto the next episode!
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix
Missed the earlier Netflix series? Check out the Netflix Marvel TV Episode Guide.