Blowin Up the Spot broke away from the show’s established format to put Cage in a wounded, vulnerable position. And it was all courtesy of the architect behind Cage’s recent woes. Diamond back made his first appearance a memorable one that further rocked the fabric of the show.
The trouble with Supermen type heroes is it’s hard to create genuine suspense. Cage has walked away from every scenario unscathed save his skyrocketing wardrobe budget. The Judas magic bullet was exactly the kind of Kryptonite he needed to encounter. It’s rare enough that not every two-bit thug can possess it, but common enough to pose a problem for Cage in every situation.
Rather than sending a second wave of bosses building up to the big boss, the show opted to have Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) himself attack Cage. That was an interesting choice, but one that worked. Lex Luthor needs to be the one who pulls out the Kryptonite ring or chain around Superman, but hired gun #4.
Diamondback doggedly pursued Cage throughout the episode culminating in a magnificent confrontation. I appreciate the visual distinction of Luke Cage compared to Daredevil. That show primarily kept Daredevil in the shadows. Cage has been in various backdrops and the opera house was a terrific setting for this initial Cage/Diamondback battle.
But is the man Cage knows as William Stryker really his brother? And what did Cage do that was such a terrible offense as a friend? There’s still more intrigue to this dynamic that will likely unfold over the next few episodes.
Shades is busy trying to help Mariah gain control of the Cottonmouth murder situation. I like that Alfre Woodard is making Mariah go through a range of emotions. She killed her cousin in a heated moment, but the switch didn’t immediately turn her into an outright supervillain. This is a more complex turn for Mariah and the writers deserve a lot of credit for not going the obvious route.
It’s starting to become clearer now that for Shades, the end game was always control of Harlem’s Paradise. Mariah can control the political realm and Diamondback can have the streets, but this is his big win. Shades is a rare henchman who doesn’t overstep his place and hasn’t been too greedy to be an obvious threat.
Misty is torn. She knows Mariah’s story is fishy and finds it hard to believe Cage actually killed Cottonmouth. Simone Missick was the unknown factor in Cage, but she’s gradually turned in the secret MVP performance. She’s never been off.
The same can’t be said for Misty who is losing control. Diamondback got the drop on her and toyed with the thought of killing her. Mariah is deemed untouchable by Misty’s supervisor. Misty takes her frustration out on Claire as she throttles her in the interrogation room.
I loved Claire’s response. She went off on Misty in the verbal equivalent of slapping some sense into her. Rosario Dawson has had a larger role in Luke Cage than just being a nurse. She’s been a listening ear, confidante and now advocate. Claire is becoming an asset to the superhero community in more ways than one.
Blowin Up the Spot further propelled the season’s second half arc. Diamondback had a killer debut and Misty and Claire had terrific showcase moments. Even with a hobbled hero this was another great episode.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix