Suckas Need Bodyguards kept Luke Cage’s momentum rolling as another principal character didn’t make it through the episode.
There’s a real sense of progression in Luke Cage. So far it’s avoided that feeling of spinning its wheels, that stalled out the back end of Jessica Jones. She needed to kill Killgrave. For Cage, it’s far more important to humble Cottonmouth and reclaim Harlem the right way.
How great was it that the episode kicked off with Trish Talk? We never got to see Trish in studio, but we heard her discussing Cage and the impact he’s making on the city. There was a very sly commentary on racial strife in America in these chats neatly summarized by Trish.
She concluded that the people who feared Cage were those that didn’t know him. Those who did strongly vouched for him and backed his desire to do good in the community. While the movie universe has been awful about incorporating elements of the TV shows — it wouldn’t be that hard for someone to get an Alias Investigations business card or name drop a case involving Nelson & Murdock — I’m glad to see greater connectivity between the shows themselves.
I really appreciated the pacing of the Scarfe subplot. I was worried that was going to slowly play out until the final episode, but its resolution made sense as we approach the midpoint of the season.
Scarfe’s greed cost him as he tried to extort Cottonmouth. He got shot for his trouble, but Cottonmouth couldn’t finish the job in broad daylight. was getting greedy and extorted Cottonmouth for more money if he wanted Domingo’s guns.
Cage reconnected with Claire, who reinforced Pop’s message that Cage could and should be doing more with his abilities. Claire gets called into action as Scarfe was at Pop’s.
He confessed to being on Cottonmouth’s payroll, killing Chico and the location of all the dirt he gathered on Cottonmouth. More than enough to put Cottonmouth and the corrupt cops behind bars for a long time.
Misty was trying to track down Scarfe as well, but was saddled with the corrupt Lt. Perez. I love the sequences where Misty envisions a crime scene. I’m looking forward to the session where she discovers a vital clue that cracks a case. She’s been close before and it’s been foreshadowed very well. I’m glad Misty figured out Perez was dirty. She would be a pretty lousy detective to miss all his tells.
This was the first episode where the action felt anticlimactic. Cottonmouth’s goons pursued Cage, but they keep employing the same ineffective tactics to fight him. Cage took them out after the end of a car/van chase, but the escape was too much for Scarfe. I really liked that despite knowing he was dirty, Misty was still shattered with losing her partner. Simone Missick did an exceptional job conveying Misty’s loss.
At this point, Cottonmouth really needs a win. He’s been on the losing end of this conflict with Cage since the third episode. My one knock on the series so far is that there needs to be a little more back and forth. The scorecard is heavily in Cage’s favor as of now.
That was starting to extend to Mariah as well. Cage put her on notice and then a fluff piece interview went awry when the reporter questioned her family’s criminal legacy. Alfre Woodard has played Mariah like an evil version of First Lady Michelle Obama and it was fun watching her squirm.
Mariah at least has some intriguing ideas on how to stop Cage. She suggests Cottonmouth try poison, drowning or figuring out how to hurt him through a woman. Cottonmouth may be the face of the family’s criminal side, but clearly Mariah is the true sinister force. Cottonmouth doesn’t hide what he is at least.
Suckas Need Bodyguards definitely sets up an intriguing second half. With Cottonmouth in prison and Mariah’s political career spiraling, the bad guys are going to get desperate. That’s bad news for Cage and worse for those close to him. Side note: one day I hope to be as cool as Bobby Fish.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix
Want to know more about Trish and her call-in show? Check out the Jessica Jones reviews.