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- One of the funnier things about the show as a whole is that both Cottonmouth and Diamondback trafficking Hammer Industries weaponry. Yes, Hammer Industries has finally made working weapons. But Justin Hammer had to go to prison before they could.
- Shades' entire position as the Only Sane Man among the villains, growing increasingly frustrated at none of his new partners seeming to have their head on right as they're pulled into a personal vendetta against Luke when they could be making some good money. The poor guy's like an old school Al Pacino character who's stuck in the middle of a cartoon superhero world.
- In Season Two, Luke gets his abilities tested, and his run time is 3.72 seconds, which a news reporter says is faster than Usain Bolt. The entire Jamaican community acts like Luke himself said it, and proceed to give him shit about it for the rest of the season.
Episode 1 - Moment of Truth
- The entire opening scene in Pops' barbershop:
- Pops calls Luke Power Man after he casually lifts up a washing machine to get something under it.
- After Luke takes care of three of the four goons harassing Genghis Connie's, Sugar just leaves, saying he never liked those guys.
- A street corner salesman is peddling Blu-Rays of the Incident:
- Shades walks into Cottonmouth's office to make demands on Diamondback's behalf. At one point, Tone calls him "a fake-ass Ray Charles''. Shades looks at him for a bit and then looks down again, like he's trying to think of a really good comeback line and then just gives up.
Episode 2 - Code of the Streets
- Cottonmouth shows up at Pop's barbershop with Tone and Shades, obviously looking for Chico. Their entry is accompanied by suspenseful music, like serious gangster shit is about to go down, and then the scene immediately cuts to Cottonmouth getting a haircut.
- While Cottonmouth is learning about Pop's death from Tone and Shades, Turk crashes their rooftop meeting, intent on getting the money Tone promised him:Turk Barrett: Yo! Where's my money?
Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes: [confused] How the hell did you get up here?
Turk Barrett: I'm Turk Barrett, baby. The door ain't been built yet that can hold me back. Now where's my money?
Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes: Okay, Mr. Barrett. Tone promised to pay you for finding Chico, right?
Turk Barrett: Yeah.
Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes: [to Tone] Right? [Tone nods] Okay...[Cottonmouth grabs Tone and drags him to the edge of the roof]
Tone: Hey! HEY! [Cottonmouth throws Tone over the side of the roof. Tone falls and lands on top of a parked car, killing him instantly]
Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes: YOU CAN COLLECT YOUR MONEY FROM TONE DOWNSTAIRS, MR. BARRETT! [calmly] I assume that completes our business.
Turk Barrett: [completely unfazed] Ya'll Harlem niggas are off the hook. I'm going back to Hell's Kitchen where it's safe.
- Cottonmouth and his guys deliver Shameek's money to Mariah's office. At one point during the exchange, Mariah notices Shades staring at her intently and asks Cottonmouth, "Does your guard dog want a drink of water?" Even funnier is the fact that Shades really does look incredibly thirsty.
- As Misty and Scarfe walk up to the barbershop, hoping to find Chico there, they cross paths with Turk.Misty Knight: Turk.Turk Barrett: [strained politeness] Misty.Misty Knight: I'm surprised to see you this far uptown.Turk Barrett: I'm mostly Midtown nowadays, you know? Puffy ain't got shit on me, baby. I'm the real bad boy worldwide.Misty Knight: Yeah, your rap sheet got so many hits, your record could put out a record.Turk Barrett: Hey, I just fell through to see my man, Bobby Fish, and to play some chess.Misty Knight: Well, you need to fall your ass back downtown, 'cause if I catch you around here again it's gonna be checkmate. Understood? Mr. Barrett?Turk Barrett: I hear you... Detective. Loud and clear.
- Then Misty and Scarfe go into the barbershop. Luke and Pop are hiding Chico in the backroom. Luke of course, can't help but remind Misty of the one-night stand they had in the previous episode:Misty Knight: You are?
Luke Cage: Luke Cage.
Misty Knight: Detective Misty Knight.
Luke Cage: Detective. Looks like you found some better clothes to audit in.
- And of course, Pop picks up on it and comments after Misty and Scarfe leave.Pop: Really?
Luke Cage: We had coffee.
Pop: Mmm-hmm. Right.
- Then Misty and Scarfe go into the barbershop. Luke and Pop are hiding Chico in the backroom. Luke of course, can't help but remind Misty of the one-night stand they had in the previous episode:
Episode 3 - Who's Gonna Take the Weight?
- Cottonmouth and Mariah's conversation on the park bench about Crispus Attucks. Especially when Mariah points out the jungle-gym on a nearby playground, reminding Cottonmouth that Mama Mabel used her connections to get that built. He counters by pointing out that Mama Mabel technically blackmailed them.
- When Misty and Scarfe are on the trail of Luke's warehouse infiltration, they come across a woman that seems to be on some manner of drugs. When they question her on any description of who did this, her answer, with a smile forming on her face, is a simple, "He was fine."
- Connie's reaction to Luke pulling out a roll of hundreds to pay for dinner.Connie: It wasn't that good.
- It's Black Comedy at its finest, but let's face it, the incredibly abrupt jump cut from Connie embracing Luke to Cottonmouth launching a bazooka at them is jarringly funny.
- The music during that scene just makes it even better; it just snaps from heartwarming to cartoony the instant the scene cuts to Cottonmouth.
- Not to mention Luke's reaction to the incoming rocket.Luke: Sweet Sister!
Episode 4 - Step In The Arena
- Luke trying to explain to Connie how he plans to dig them out from under the rubble."The best way I can put this is... I'm kinda strong."
- Luke's reaction to the Mythology Gag where his makeshift outfit looks exactly like his classic costume:Luke: You look like a damn fool!
Episode 5 - Just to Get a Rep
- Cottonmouth calls a "State of the Union address" to deal with recuperating his lost money. After his accountant explains his financial standings, one henchman, Koko, raises his hand so he can give his two thoughts (which are surprisingly insightful for a seemingly slow thug).Cottonmouth: Koko, this ain't P.S. 154. You ain't gotta be raising your hand, man.
Koko: I've been reading this book.note
Cottonmouth: [laughs] You READING now?
Koko: It's about politics and the social conditions that created hip-hop. The Dodgers left Brooklyn, Robert Moses created the Cross-Bronx Expressway and white folks went running for the suburbs! This cat named [Daniel] Moynihan, was hollering at Nixon and he told the Prez that the city might benefit from the "benign neglect".note
Cottonmouth: "Benign" what?
Koko: [gets up and, still reading his book, then turns to Cottonmouth] It's...It's the benign neglect. What I'm saying is this: maybe if we leave this Luke Cage cat alone: let him take his side of the street, and we take ours. (Gives an "I'm just saying'" shrug)
[without missing a beat, Cottonmouth suddenly pulls out his gun and shoots Koko in the head]
Cottonmouth: "Benign neglect". [laughs] Yeah, okay.
- It's not just the abruptness with which Cottonmouth kills the guy. It's that Koko genuinely seems to think Cottonmouth is interested in a henchman giving him advice on dealing with a guy who just cost him 80% of his money.
- Bonus points when, during Koko's explanation, we briefly cut to Shades standing in the corner, who looks like he's thinking to himself "I'm gonna give this guy five seconds....."
- Sidenote: the fact that Sugar is wearing a Zelda T-shirt under his jacket.
- Having ignored Koko's advice, Cottonmouth orders his men to go across every store across Harlem and extort 10% of their earnings, to recoup his losses and to get them to turn on Luke for causing their misery:Cottonmouth: ...And when they ask you "Why? Why?", you tell them to go talk to Luke Cage down at the barbershop. They're paying a "Luke Cage stupidity" tax.
- When Luke shows up at the club, one of Cottonmouth's men shoots at him while also sprinting, and then knocks himself out by tripping over the speakers on the stage.
- Amos, the guy who broke his hand on Luke's face in the first episode, clearly still hasn't learned his lesson as he is the first to take a swing at Luke, with predictable results.
- Cottonmouth asks how he can get his hands on a Judas. Shades says he can either A) pay for it, or B) let Diamondback handle Luke. Cottonmouth doesn't want Diamondback handling his problems, so he asks Shades what the price is. Shades writes down a number on a piece of paper, then hands it to Cottonmouth.Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes: ...per bullet?!
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Mmm-hmm.
Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes: For real?!
- Luke and Bobby try planning the seating arrangements at Pop's funeral, made complicated because of Pop's long line of lovers:Bobby Fish: Seating everyone at this thing is gonna be the toughest move I've mastered since the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. I mean I gotta put Estelle up front, 'cause she's been with him the longest, at least as far as the neighborhood knows. Keep her far away as hell from Charlene. She's real sly. Moves like a bishop on the diagonal at all times. Now, they both have to steer clear of Candy, who they both think is his cousin.
Luke Cage: Candy?
Bobby Fish: She rubs everyone the wrong way but Pop. Who she rubs the right way, every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:45.
Luke Cage: Looks like Shaft ain't had nothing on Henry Hunter. Pop was a mack.
- When Luke helps the dancer by confronting the goons who stole her tips, one of them tries to attack Luke, and he literally just smacks him upside the head without breaking his stride, knocking him out cold.
- Luke confronts Zip and his fellow thugs as they're playing dice in the park.Luke Cage: Damn! You guys actually take lunch breaks like real employees!
- After the funeral, Cottonmouth turns someone down for a handshake as he walks out of the church.
Episode 6 - Suckas Need Bodyguards
- When Luke Cage refers to Mariah as a spinster, her response is "Who you callin' a spinster? I'd wear your narrow ass out." It's so brazen and out of nowhere that it's kind of hilarious.
- Not just a spinster. A criminal spinster. She doesn't even respond to the accusation of being a criminal.
- When Claire first approaches Luke in the diner, Luke has a hard time remembering exactly who she was. When he does finally recognize her, Bobby immediately reads the mood and decides to leave the two alone.
- After Luke asks Claire out to coffee:Luke: Why don't we start by getting some coffee first.
Claire: I'm not sleeping with you.
Luke: Whoa! Did I say anything about that?! Why can't coffee just be coffee, huh?
Claire: Okay, you didn't even touch your coffee this morning. You drank the orange juice. Okay? You don't drink coffee.
Episode 7 - Manifest
- Luke walks up to Zip while he's selling some Desert Eagles to prospective crooks.Luke Cage: Do I even need to say it?
[Everyone present runs, except for Zip, who looks more annoyed than anything. Luke looks at the guns Zip had been dealing]
Luke Cage: [exhales] Ah. Come on, Zip. [crushes up one of the guns] You should find a new profession. Cottonmouth is done.
Zip: You ain't heard? Cottonmouth's gettin' out. So you ain't done shit. BOOM! [mimes a finger gun as he takes off]
- The show just can't let the Mythology Gag of the costume go as Claire and Luke debate what shade of yellow the shirt is.
- Luke goes to Colon's Gym to talk to Domingo. After fighting off a few of Domingo's men, a couple of them point guns at him.Luke Cage: I guess you guys haven't heard about me, have you?
Domingo Colon: Take him out.
[Domingo's men empty their guns into Luke. Their bullets just ricochet off him, and hit everything else in the gym. The only damage to Luke is that they put lots of bullet holes in his jacket]
Luke Cage: ...I'm about sick of always having to buy new clothes.
Episode 8 - Blowin' Up the Spot
- Diamondback takes out the ambulance transporting Luke and Claire. As Luke and Claire take cover behind a car, Diamondback walks into the middle of the intersection, shotgun in hand, and....Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: CAN YOU DIG IT!!
Claire Temple: [utterly confused] What the hell?
Luke Cage: Every Friday night at the drive-in. Warriors....
Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: [smiles] CAARRLLL! Come OUT and PLA-AAYYYY!
Claire Temple: [to Luke] You know him, don't you?
[The police sirens get louder. Diamondback begins walking back towards his Jeep]
Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: I'm enjoying this shit, Carl! Keep running!
- Shades is directing Mariah on how to cover her tracks. Part of this is that he needs her to get rid of her current clothes:Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: The trash bag is for the clothes you're wearing. Every stitch goes in. Jewelry, too. Spurlock will incinerate them. The towels you use, the rugs, they all go in that trash bag. Get dressed from the clothes in the garment bag.
Mariah Dillard: I look like I'm in shock. Is that why you're speaking to me as if I'm a child?
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: I need you to hear me. I want you to win! Do what I say. And when you get away with this, you can go back to being the sexy, domineering bitch that we all hate to love. Now go.
Mariah Dillard: [sighs and gets up] That's the last time you will ever call me a bitch.
- Zip and his cronies come to Shades demanding to know what happens with the business now that Cottonmouth is dead.Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: I thought you went back down south, Sugar.
Sugar: Ain't nothing down there for me. I'm back.
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: What do you guys want?
Zip: Well, Cottonmouth's gone, so...
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Yeah. You guys did a real bang up job protecting him.
Sugar: What are you talking about? He sent us away.
Zip: Anyhow, shit done changed. So we're gonna need to work out some type of—
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: What? Severance? [beat] Y'all work for me now.
Amos: What about the club?
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: It belongs to Mariah. But I'm in charge. Do you understand? [no response] Good. Oh, and do me a favor. [Shades shoves a wad of $100s into Zip's hands] Buy some new clothes. Please. We're first class all the way.
Zip: You ain't worried about Luke Cage?
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Leave.
Episode 9 - DWYCK
- Misty and her psychologist take a moment to bemoan the loss of Copeland's.
- There's a line of Black Comedy to Diamondback's magic trick, wherein he pulls his right hand out of his jacket like he's drawing a gun from a shoulder holster, waves it around like a gun, then "fires" a live bullet into one henchman's shoulder, and then we see he just drew a real gun with his left hand and fired that from the hip while everyone was distracted.Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: [impressed] Well, you ain't Houdini.
Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: And you ain't a Rick from Casablanca neither.
- After Diamondback crashes the meeting at Colon's Gym, and kills all of the crime bosses save for Domingo. Then he talks with Mariah and they strike a deal. After the deal is made, he goes to remove the throwing knife he used on one of the bosses and this line:Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: Domingo, sorry about the mess, hermano, but I have no doubt you have people who can clean up.
- When Luke asks what could go wrong with the procedure:Luke Cage: Just so we're clear... what could go wrong?
Dr. Noah Burstein: Well, your skin could peel off, like wax paper, and, uh, after about ten seconds, you'd beg me to put a bullet in your head because the pain would be so bad, but your head looks fine, so I guess the bullet would ricochet off your skull.
Luke Cage: Sweet Christmas.
Episode 10 - Take It Personal
- Luke trolls the shit out of Claire when he wakes up pretending to have amnesia.
- At a rally where Mariah Dillard is trying to turn the Harlem community against Luke Cage by playing into the public's fear of superhumans, one of the protest signs reads "THE ONLY SUPERFREAK WE LIKE IS RICK JAMES."
- While Mariah is speaking, she leads a statement by saying Luke Cage appears to be a "friend." Before she can even finish her point, someone in the crowd shouts, "He ain't my friend!"
- Misty pays a visit to Colon's Gym to speak to Domingo:Misty Knight: Domingo!
Domingo Colon: Do I know you?
Misty Knight: [flashes her shield] No, but I know you. I've seen your rap sheet. How do you have time to commit crimes and train boxers?
Domingo Colon: I guess you must have to be good at multitasking.
- Diamondback pulls out his super-strength glove in the midst of conversing with Mariah with no explanation.Mariah Dillard: I hate to interrupt your isotoner moment here, but this is serious!
Episode 11 - Now You're Mine
- Diamondback tells Shades that they are going to stay until they capture Luke. Shades replies, 'Whatcha talkin' about, Willis?' Diamondback replies "You got jokes? Right now?"
- Misty to Luke after Diamondback shoots at them with a grenade launcher:"Your family is jacked up!"
- Misty's been shot. While Luke and Claire are trying to treat her in the club's Prohibition-period basement:
- Diamondback tells his entire life story to Boone, who's just sitting down with the best possible "wtf?" look on his face.
- Diamondback forces Luke to play the hero and catch Candace rather than run and save his own skin:Luke: Willis...
Diamondback: Bye, Carl. [beat] Bye, Felicia! [drops Candace from the balcony]
- This exchange before that, capturing Diamondback's sheer absurd hatred for Luke:Luke: Couldn't we have resolved this peacefully a long time ago?
Diamondback: Couldn't you have died in childbirth?
- This exchange before that, capturing Diamondback's sheer absurd hatred for Luke:
- Diamondback referring to Damon Boone as "Diet Obama".Diamondback: Take Diet Obama upstairs, Ty. Keep a gun on him until I get up there.
Boone: You can't do this!
Diamondback: Yes We Can!
Episode 12 - Soliloquy of Chaos
- The entire scene where Luke saves Method Man is gold:Robber #2: [emptying the register] Don't move! He'll blow your head off. He's crazy like that. Don't try no shit!
[the first robber does a double take, then pulls up his ski mask]
Robber #1: My bad, Meth. I grew up on that Wu-Tang shit. But you know how it is.
Method Man: ...Are you serious? Are you really tryin' to have a conversation right now?
Robber #1: I'm tryin' t' — I'm just sayin', man.
Robber #2: Yo, man, pull your mask down! You're supposed to be watchin' the damn door, Bryce!
Robber #1: What'd I say 'bout usin' my government name, MICHAEL?
[Luke calmly enters the bodega with his bullet-pierced hoodie on]
Robber #1: Damn, homie, look like you went through a cheese-grater...
[Luke tilts his face up]
Robber #1: [more surprised than afraid] Oh, snap, you Luke —
[Luke backhands him into a shelf, and Robber #2 fires off several rounds; Luke looks down at his chest, then back up]
Robber #2: ...I'nt mean that.
Luke: [advancing] Gimme your phone.
[Robber #2 instantly hands him his gun]
Luke: The PHONE, fool!
Robber #2: Yo, my bad, man, y' know, I just got a little nervous an' shit when you threw my mans across th' —
[Luke reaches out a hand and flicks him unconscious]
- Then Method Man and Luke Cage squee over each other. Followed by Method Man's recounting of the incident on a radio show.
- After leaning on Turk for information by trapping him in a dumpster and starting to crumple it from the outside, Luke wisely decides not to let him out. Turk's reaction as he goes to pieces is absolutely hilarious.Luke: [putting on a very "heroic" voice] Sit tight, Mr. Barrett! Trash pickup is tomorrow. You can breathe just fine. There's food in there, too.
Turk: You can't LEAVE me in here! There's BABY DIAPERS in here, man! COME ONNNN!
- Oh, and remember that earlier Badass Boast Turk made to Cottonmouth? Yeah. The door may not have been made to hold Turk Barrett back, but a standard-issue dumpster has.
- When Bobby Fish sees Diamondback's new suit:Bobby Fish: What type of Jean Paul Gaultier shit is this? What are you, a pimp Stormtrooper?!
Diamondback: No, I'm the angel of death.
- Willis had just made his entrance by setting off a hand grenade. Bobby is of course upset by the damage.Bobby: [angrily] God damn it! I just fixed this place up all perfect and shit! Y'all can't take this outside?!
Luke and Diamondback [shouting] No!
Bobby: [nervously] All right, just... just saying.
- Willis had just made his entrance by setting off a hand grenade. Bobby is of course upset by the damage.
- Zip trying to ape Shades' style at the start of the episode. Diamondback shuts him down right away.Diamondback: Take those off!
- Shades gets interrogated by Inspector Ridley.Insp. Priscilla Ridley: You should be at Rikers right now, but I held you. Because I think you have something to say.
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Lawyer.
Insp. Priscilla Ridley: I know your record, Mr. Alvarez. Came up in Harlem, rode around with Cottonmouth in the late '90s, spent some time at Spofford, Sing Sing, then you made it to the big time. Went to Seagate.
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Lawyer.
Insp. Priscilla Ridley: Cornell Stokes is dead, yet you're still alive. And I've never seen an arraignment happen so quickly. $2 million bail? And someone paid it in cash. Who's your new sponsor? [beat] Is it Willis Stryker?
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Law. Yer.
Insp. Priscilla Ridley: You were part of a hostage situation, Hernan. Even if your lawyer does get you out, you won't be walking away from that. That's multiple kidnapping with weapon charges. How does 25 years to life sound to you? Minimum.
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Are you serious?
Insp. Priscilla Ridley: Yep.
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: [sighs] Okay. Okay, I was in the club. I saw what happened. I know who did it.
Insp. Priscilla Ridley: Okay, we can protect you, but I need a name to verify. Who was it? Was it Stryker?
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: He goes by....."lawyer". [beat] Do you need me to spell it? [Ridley storms out of the interrogation room while Shades breaks out laughing]
- Later, Shades is in the box when the door opens and in walks Ridley with the unnamed lawyer that Diamondback has sent to pick him up.
- Sgt. Jake Smith and a couple plainclothes cops raid Pop's Barbershop, looking for Luke. Only Bobby is present, and Jake notices Bobby's chess set:Sgt. Jake Smith: I understand playing against a computer, but...how do you beat yourself?
Bobby Fish: Chess is a game of anticipation. [Sgt. Smith stares blankly at him] If you know every single possible move, you can anticipate your adversary's next move before he does.
Sgt. Jake Smith: Oh. That's deep.
Episode 13 - You Know My Steez
- The moment the fight gets attention, one dude calls another and tells him to bring the filming equipment. He ends up recording the entire thing.
- And after the fight, when Luke and Claire are having a tender moment, the guy tries to start filming again, only for the Blu-Ray salesman to push the camera back down. "Brother deserves some discretion!"
- During the fight, Diamondback tells Luke that their father never loved Luke's mother, and was going to leave her for Stryker's mother. A bystander overhears."Wait, wait, wait. Yo, the dude's talkin' bout your moms, Luke? You reppin' Harlem, you better put it on him, son. "
- Claire proposes "coffee" herself, bantering with Luke about it. Cage then proceeds to speak about Cuban coffee being particularly robust with an awfully proud and smooth look on his face. Claire then does an eyeroll with her entire body and calls it the most corny thing he's ever said. Then confirms it.
- Afterwards, Luke gets cock-blocked by the US Marshals. When one asks if he wants anything, Luke says he "had something tall and dark lined up" before getting arrested. The Marshal then offers to stop at Dunkin Donuts before they leave New York, and Luke grumbles that it wouldn't be the same.
- Mariah is so excited to earn her Karma Houdini status that for a second she drops her poise and acts like a smug child.Mariah: Haaa...the Hero of Harlem. Congratulations. You [smacks Cage on the chest with her gloves] are good for the neighborhood.
Luke: You're not. What about our deal? Where's the file?
Mariah: What file? [waves her gloves like a fan] Buh-bye. [walks on out]
Episode 1 - "Soul Brother #1"
- The episode opens with Luke storming a drug lab where some gangsters are making drugs with his name on them. As he enters, the women making the drugs flee in terror while the thugs overseeing them aim their guns at Luke:
- Bobby Fish laments to D.W. how Luke is becoming more and more of a prop for others' amusement with the rise of the Harlem's Hero App. The conversation is even interrupted at one point by one such obsessed fan with a selfie stick coming in the barbershop, who Bobby and D.W. nonchalantly shoo away before resuming their conversation.
- Learning about Arturo Rey's identity, Luke finds he's one of several crimelords Mariah has summoned to Harlem's Paradise for a deal. As he makes his way up to Mariah's office, he's stopped by Comanche, standing guard outside. Comanche pulls his gun and Luke just taps him out in the most nonchalant way possible. The ruckas prompts the visiting gangsters, plus Mariah and Shades to emerge, with the gangsters pointing their guns at Luke. Luke just casually twists Comanche's gun and tosses it to Shades before dealing with some rather dark Faux Yay with Mariah.
- Arturo tries to kill Luke by luring him into one of his furniture store's semi trucks, which he then proceeds to remotely detonate. When Luke emerges from the remains of the trailer, clothes charred to a crisp, he pulls a gun and shoots Luke with a Judas bullet. Luke collapses, hit, as the bullet makes the drilling sound and explodes...and nothing else, much to his and Luke's surprise.Arturo Rey: I don't understand... [Luke knocks him out]
Luke Cage: Neither do I.
- Much to Luke's annoyance, D.W. then reveals himself, having filmed the whole thing and followed him by Harlem's Hero App, which he describes as being like a personalized Waze. After some persuasion, Luke makes a Badass Boast to the camera so D.W. can plaster the footage on YouTube.
Episode 2 - "Straighten It Out"
- Luke shows off his superhero strength by competing in the physical and mental tests of a crossfit. Highlights include a 24 foot long jump, and effortlessly throwing a 400 pound monster tire like it's a loaf of bread.
- A reporter calls Luke faster than Usain Bolt, which the Jamaican population naturally doesn't take kindly to and repeatedly act like Luke himself said it.
- As condescending as they may be, some of the cruel jokes that the other cops and criminals make towards Misty about her disability are actually kinda funny.
- Especially Arturo Rey's, "Who are you supposed to be, the short arm of the law?"
- Or Donovan's, "Detective! As always, I find your charm disarming."
- Shades and Comanche go to Arturo Rey to collect the $20 million he promised them.
Darius "Comanche" Jones: "GO!" Like I'm some damn dog! [laughs] You-you, you don't say a word! By the way, what's up with all this American gigolo shit you're on, man? [Shades whips off his sunglasses and gives Comanche a harsh glare; Comanche hastily backpedals] I ain't making no judgements, all right? [Shades puts his sunglasses back on and they resume walking] I mean look, you get in where you fit in. Literally. I just wish Rackham had picked us for that experimental shit, y'know? Think about all the shit that we'd be running if we were bulletproof, man. We'd be unstoppable!Hernan "Shades" Alavrez: Stop talking. We're here.
- As they get out of their car, Comanche questions Shades' sucking up to Mariah.
Arturo Rey: What are you doing in my store?
- They meet with Arturo, who's unhappy about his legal problems and is now threatening to go to Misty. The whole conversation reads of Black Comedy:
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: Our lawyer got you out, and a judge we control allowed us to bail you out. You should show me a little more respect.
Arturo Rey: [scoffs] You and the defective Judas bullet is why I was even locked up. You and Mariah set me up.
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: [smirks] Why would we set you up? You're our customer.
Arturo Rey: Not anymore, I'm not.
Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: What? We had a deal!
Arturo Rey: You say you got a judge. I'll give you your money when I get off free and clear, or, I'll go back to that one-armed detective and tell her what I know. She's got a hard-on for that old bitch of yours. [Shades whips off his sunglasses] Whoa, you don't like me saying that? Oh. Sobre tu morena, lo siento chico. Pero ella es una perra, una puta morena negra del-Translation
[Shades abruptly whips out his gun and shoots Arturo in the face. His bodyguards promptly draw their guns, but Comanche quickly kills them both]
Darius "Comanche" Jones: Damn, my nigga! That pussy must be ridiculous! What the hell were you thinking? How are you gonna get the money now?
- After Cockroach's elderly neighbor gives Luke a tip about Cockroach's whereabouts, she invites him in for coffee.
Episode 3 - "Wig Out"
- Tilda agrees to have breakfast with her mother at her brownstone. As she is reminiscing with Mariah about the things she remembers from the house as a kid, the conversation is abruptly interrupted by Shades showing up to inform Mariah about Cockroach's situation.
- What makes it funnier is that we don't even hear Shades enter. The camera is focused on Tilda, she looks up, her eyes widen at the sight of Shades, and then the camera changes angles to show him there, lurking in the hallway looking irked as if Mariah is using Tilda as a replacement for him.
- As Misty is having drinks with Colleen Wing at a bar, she is accosted by Mortimer "Mr. Fish" Norris, whose brother she put in Clinton Correctional several years ago. He breaks a pool cue and prepares to attack Misty. At one point, Misty punches Mr. Fish with her left arm, then tries to follow up with her right... only to remember she doesn't have that arm anymore.
- Before that, when they're having drinks, they're talking about their answer to the hypothetical question "What would you do if you suddenly won a million dollars?" Colleen would go to the British Library, second only to the Library of Congress, and read every single book therenote . Misty calls that lame, and states that she'd get a black Ford Mustang with a 6-bolt V8 engine and cast-iron water pumps.Colleen Wing: Well, your dick is definitely bigger than mine.
- During the fight, Misty looks at Colleen like "you gonna help?" Colleen just rocks back in her barstool and drinks her beer. Resigned, Misty gets back up to keep fighting.
- Before that, when they're having drinks, they're talking about their answer to the hypothetical question "What would you do if you suddenly won a million dollars?" Colleen would go to the British Library, second only to the Library of Congress, and read every single book therenote . Misty calls that lame, and states that she'd get a black Ford Mustang with a 6-bolt V8 engine and cast-iron water pumps.
- Tilda shows up at Mariah's fundraiser and is greeted by Alex.
- Luke continues to feel the full ramifications of a random news reporter at the previous episode's crossfit stating that he's faster than Usain Bolt, eating shit from the Jamaican population.
- Luke has faced some of the most dangerous people in New York, but the toughest foe he faces in this episode? A group of snarky old Jamaicans playing dominoes who are absolutely unintimidated by him. This is Luke, who helped take down the Hand, and yet he is getting absolutely roasted by these old men who make a mockery of the "faster than Usain Bolt" claims.Luke Cage: I don't mean to interrupt your game—
Old man: Then don't.
- From Gwen's, Luke follows a courier back to Bushmaster's lair. The courier quickly figures out Luke is tailing him and runs back to the lair. He bursts in and bars the doors while yelling for the guards to point their guns at the doors. Luke just kicks down the doors. Two henchmen (the same ones who had earlier escorted Shades in when he came by) proceed to shoot him as he strides into the room. He knocks down one of the thugs, while tossing the other into the ceiling. The ceiling is so high up that several seconds pass between when the man leaves the camera frame and when we hear him hit the ceiling, and then he falls back to the ground. Then Bushmaster, his right-hand lieutenant, and a bunch of his other foot soldiers, emerge from another room with chains, machetes and guns.Luke Cage: I'm Luke Cage.
Bushmaster: Oh, me know who you are. You must be mad coming up to my turf. You're not faster than Usain Bolt, y'know?
Luke Cage: [rolls his eyes like, "Yes, I've heard that said to me a million times today"] I never said I was. I'm looking for Nigel, man.
Bushmaster: Him gone. Headed elsewhere. [laughs] If you have something to say, say it to me.
- From Gwen's, Luke follows a courier back to Bushmaster's lair. The courier quickly figures out Luke is tailing him and runs back to the lair. He bursts in and bars the doors while yelling for the guards to point their guns at the doors. Luke just kicks down the doors. Two henchmen (the same ones who had earlier escorted Shades in when he came by) proceed to shoot him as he strides into the room. He knocks down one of the thugs, while tossing the other into the ceiling. The ceiling is so high up that several seconds pass between when the man leaves the camera frame and when we hear him hit the ceiling, and then he falls back to the ground. Then Bushmaster, his right-hand lieutenant, and a bunch of his other foot soldiers, emerge from another room with chains, machetes and guns.
Episode 4 - "I Get Physical"
- During Bushmaster's family reunion at Gwen's, one of the Jamaican regulars praises him for beating Luke Cage. Bushmaster's reply is that Luke had it coming for saying he's faster than Usain Bolt.Bushmaster: You know me had to correct him!
- Misty is waiting by her car when Luke comes out of Claire's place with an overnight bag.Misty Knight: Jamaica'n me crazy?
Luke Cage: [dry laugh] Ha ha ha.
Misty Knight: Bobby Fish told me I might find you here. I hate to say this, but you are a victim. You wanna press charges? You want him locked up?
Luke Cage: Nah, I'll handle it myself.
Misty Knight: I knew you'd say that...
- Tomas Ciancio, a detective in Brooklyn who is a contact of Misty's, apparently hasn't seen the viral video of Luke being beaten by Bushmaster (which has gone on all the news stations) and thinks Luke's dizziness is from a hangover. Misty has a priceless "You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!" face as she says to him, "You should go on the Internet a little more often."
Episode 5 - "All Souled Out"
- Foggy has a suggestion to Luke about how he could've avoided this legal hassle of being sued by Cockroach:Foggy Nelson: Given my history on the subject, I can't believe I'm even gonna say this, but...if you're gonna fight crime, have you considered wearing a mask?
Luke Cage: I'm 6'3", black, and bulletproof. You really think that wearing a Lone Ranger mask is gonna keep people from figuring out who I am?
Foggy Nelson: [shrugs] Maybe. There are people out there who still think that Shock G and Humpty Hump are two different people. [Luke stares at him] Digital Underground?
Luke Cage: I know who Digital Underground are, Foggy.
Foggy Nelson: Don't be so surprised. I've been known to rock a hoodie back in the day.
- Later, Foggy calls after finding out about some performance gigs Luke could do to raise money for his legal troubles. Luke immediately says, "I won't do porn."
- Of course, before accepting Foggy's suggestion to perform at Piranha's party, Luke has a montage of him spending a day trying to find other ways to get money to pay Cockroach.
- Nike is backing out after the footage of Luke losing to Bushmaster, because it's not inspiring, and inspiration sells shoes.
- The NFL scout from the Jets says they're no longer interested simply because Luke wasn't born with his powers.
- Lastly, a TV producer wants to run a series called Bulletproof vs. Beast, the premise of which will be Luke fighting wild animals. He proposes for Luke to fight a shark...but only as the season finale. They'll start him off with a honeybadger first. Luke puts the producer on hold, dials up Foggy, and asks about that offer for appearing at Piranha's party.
- Piranha turns out to be quite the obsessive fan of Luke, and keeps a lot of memorabilia from some of Luke's greater feats around his office. Luke is understandably weirded out seeing things like his prison shirts and bullets that bounced off him being displayed in cases.
- For the party, Luke is to wear the bullet-riddled hoodie he wore to Crispus Attucks. As he's putting it on, he mutters "Goddamn cosplay..."
- Foggy has an epic one-liner upon first arriving at Piranha's party as Luke's plus one: "I gotta get superpowers."
- Black comedy ensues as other patrons at the party more or less look at Luke as an item of property, thinking it'll be funny to break bottles on Luke or try shooting him to see the bullets bounce.
- Shades goes to Piranha's party himself because he doesn't trust Piranha to not be reckless when drunk. When he spots Luke in the crowd, the two gradually work their way over to each other and stare each other down in a hilariously awkward silence.Hernan "Shades" Alvarez: You do parties now? 'Cause my cousin's quinceañera is next week.
Episode 6 - "The Basement"
- Bushmaster has fired the opening shots of his war on the Stokes gang, leaving three severed heads at Mariah's ribbon-cutting for the Shirley Chisholm complex, and dispatching the Stylers to kidnap Piranha from his party. What is Bushmaster's alibi while all this is going down? Watching a soccer game at his aunt and uncle's restaurant.
- At one point, Sheldon clinks beer bottles while yelling for Luke to come out of hiding with Piranha, a la The Warriors:Sheldon: MR. CAGE! You can release the little guppy, or you can war! The choice is yours!
- Once they get to the abandoned theatre, Piranha gets on Luke's case about Luke questioning him all the time, prompting Luke to reply with one of his most famous comic lines◊:Piranha: Why are you questioning me? You work for me! I'm paying you, you are my Hero for Hire!
Luke Cage: Well where's my money, honey? You stole me from the party.
- Turns out Comanche picked a hilariously terrible time to meet with Ridenhour in the previous episode. The end result is that he's left completely clueless as to what the hell's going on when he gets back to the club and finds Shades beefing up security in response to the severed heads.
- There is something darkly humorous about the Stylers patrolling Harlem armed to the teeth, while blasting slow reggae out the stereos of their cars to announce their presence as loudly as possible.
Episode 7 - "On and On"
- Misty suggests to Luke that they work together to hunt down Piranha.Luke Cage: Just so you know, I'm not in the market for a...sidekick.
Misty Knight: Who says you're not my sidekick?
Luke Cage:...Me. It's my show.
- When they hit the garage where Bushmaster's cabs are serviced, Luke deliberately doesn't help Misty so that she'll have to fight much harder. Once she's taken down a couple of her attackers, Luke replies, "Wow. You make me rethink this whole sidekick thing."
- When intimidating Piranha into emptying Mariah's bank account, Sheldon thinks that Piranha gets his nickname because he likes sea life, despite Piranha's efforts to claim otherwise.
- Comanche attempts to convince Shades that Sugar may be the snitch. Unfortunately, he's just such a terrible liar that Shades sees right through him:Comanche: Look, I don't trust him. All right? He's one of those big sensitive emo-niggas, alright, who cries watching This Is Us.
Shades: I cry watching This Is Us. [pregnant pause; Shades eventually lets out some tension cutting laughter]
- It's not just the line, but really, the thought that matters. Shades of all people watching This Is Us?
- The line's even funnier on rewatch, knowing that Shades himself is going to become a snitch towards the end of the season.
- Not to mention Theo Rossi revealed in an Instagram FAQ that he is a fan of This is Us in real life.
Episode 8 - "If It Ain't Rough, It Ain't Right"
- Luke is a little unsettled when Tilda abruptly takes an interest in his bulletproof skin and wonders how he has no major burns.
- Shades and Donovan show up just as Misty is questioning Mariah. After some legal BS from Donovan, Misty tells Mariah she's free to go, but Shades will need to answer some questions about Ridenhour's murder:Misty Knight: [as Nandi is escorting Shades to another room] We'll see what Mariah's faun has to say for himself.
Mariah Dillard: What the hell is a faun? [Misty gives her a "You don't know what a faun is, of all creatures?"]
Misty Knight: A baby deer. I read somewhere that cougars like to prey on fauns.
- Midway through repping Shades, Donovan suddenly gets a phone call. When he steps back in:Benjamin Donovan: I am no longer representing Mr. Alvarez. Good luck to you, sir.
Shades: ...What? Hey!
- Father Lucas beating the crap out of one of Bushmaster's thugs in a hallway when they try to attack him at the church. Even Luke thinks it's too much and has to get him to calm down.Luke Cage: That's enough, man!
James Lucas: He shot you!
Luke Cage: Bullets bounce off, man.
James Lucas: I don't care! You can't be shootin' my baby.
Episode 9 - "For Pete's Sake"
- Luke getting frustrated with the coffee vending machine until James tells him that a lighter touch might suffice to get the machine to work.
- Luke's explanation to Mariah as to how he knows Danny Rand? "Hot yoga."
- After rolling up in multiple cars, blasting Jamaican music, and using rocket launchers, high tech grenades, and other sophisticated Hammer guns, Bushmaster then proceeds to talk about how his people were masters of camouflage and made do even against superior British technology.
- Mariah mocking Luke's dad when he wants to do a prayer circle. Alfre Woodard's Preacher Man impersonation is bitchy sarcastic gold.
Episode 10 - "The Main Ingredient"
- Despite having finally defeated Bushmaster in the previous episode, since Bushmaster escaped and there was no video, everyone assumes that Bushmaster beat the crap out of him again. Much like the "faster than Usain Bolt" gag earlier in the season, no amount of Luke insisting that it went the other way around keeps people from giving him crap about it.Turk: I heard he kicked your ass and bounced.
Luke: Hey, for the last time man, it was the other way around! "Kicked my ass..."
- Whenever Danny tries to tell anyone about his story, Luke cuts him off before he can finish.
- D.W. Griffith being the avatar for everyone in the audience who was waiting for the Luke and Danny teamup.
- Turk Barrett is now running a marijuana shop.
- Danny finds a pipe with a chinese-dragon designed in the shop and shows it to Luke in amusement.Luke: You smoke?
- This time, instead of pummeling Turk for information, Luke threatens to destroy his shop. Starting with dropping one glass pipe. That does the trick.Turk: [while Luke and Danny are leaving] Hey! You gonna pay for that!?
Luke: Bill me!
- When they leave, Turk compliments Danny's aura.
- Danny finds a pipe with a chinese-dragon designed in the shop and shows it to Luke in amusement.
- Luke and Danny are surrounded by thugs producing the nightshade. Luke's solution for this is Danny to Iron-Fist punching Luke's hand to cause a shockwave to knock them all down, recounting what happened when Danny used the Iron Fist on him when he, Matt and Jessica were trying to subdue Danny at the theatre. The name of this combination?Luke: Patty-Cake.
Danny: [beat] What?
- The way it takes Danny a few seconds to process what Luke just said and turn his attention away from the gun wielding goons surrounding them just to hear him clarify.
- Luke and Danny then proceed to torch the marijuana lab:Luke Cage: A bit much to burn the whole thing down, dont you think?
Danny: Eh. Only way to be sure. Besides, I got Rand to purchase the building and the lot underneath it, so no harm done. I mean, it's not like I'm gonna pursue a complaint, is it?
- The episode ends with Luke and Danny having another argument about whether Shao-Lao the Undying actually exists.Luke: Hey, look man, between me and you. That dragon that you fought. That was metaphorical, right? It wasn't actually real?
Danny: ...[Face Palm] Man, I don't get you. You can accept that you're bulletproof, right [Luke nods] And you can accept that my hand it... it glows? [Luke nods again] But you can't accept a dragon?
Luke: ...Hell no.
- Luke's expressions and the way he nods is funny enough. When Danny asks him about being his being bullet proof, Luke immediately nods like he's saying "Sure why not?". When Danny moves on to his Iron Fist, Luke pauses for second, closes his eyes and nods again as though he was saying "Fine, I buy into your glowing fist now. No arguing about that." The idea that a dragon exists is so far beyond his threshold that that was when he felt the need to speak.
Episode 11 - "The Creator"
- Told to go check other leads just to make sure the Rum Punch Massacre wasn't the work of another gang, Luke shakes down the other gangs for leads. At one point, we see him working some Italians in the back of a Queens bakery. After roughing them up, he exits the kitchen and nonchalantly declines the barista asking him if he wants an espresso.
- While Mariah having an argument with hallucinations of Mama Mabel and Pistol Pete may be a sign she's losing her mind, there's no denying that watching Mabel and Pete argue is pretty funny.Pistol Pete: [to Mariah] You was always smart, tough. Beautiful. Just like I molded you.
Mama Mabel: [annoyed] Shut up.
Pistol Pete: I forgive you for telling Cornell to shoot me.
Mama Mabel: That was me, you disloyal nigga.
- Shades' gradual breakdown that leads to his HeelFace Turn has some admittedly funny moments, especially in regards to Mariah delegating more responsibilities on Alex.
Shades: Well that was quick...
- First there's his disbelief at Mariah deciding to task Alex with going to Brooklyn to smoke out Ingrid, their witness to the Rum Punch Massacre.
- That night, we see him walking in on Mariah in her office while she's getting overly flirtatious with Alex.
Episode 12 - "Can't Front On Me"
- When Luke and Bushmaster team up to attack Hai-Qing Yang's drug manufacturing plant, Bushmaster hits Luke in the back with a hatchet while fighting the Yangshi-Gonshi henchmmen making them. For a few seconds, Luke turns around gesturing "The hell man!?" while Bushmaster just shrugs it off as if to say "force of habit."
- Later in the fight Bushmaster tries to cleave one of the goons with a hatchet, only for Luke to block it and remind him he said no murder. Bushmaster immediately drops the hatchet and clocks the criminal.
- Wearing a wire, Shades approaches Mariah at Harlem's Paradise.Mariah: Take your glasses off. [Shades does so] You been crying?
Shades: Allergies. I'm allergic to bullshit.
- In a bit of a meta-joke, the song that KRS-One is rapping when Bushmaster shows up in the club is "Jack of Spades". In other words, he's singing a track from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka as Bushmaster has come to do just that.
Episode 13 - "They Reminisce Over You"
- Luke barges into Rosalie Carbone's fancy apartment, stoicly kicking the butts of every guard he sees. Then he passes by the opulent indoor pool in the home.Luke: [beat] Nice.
- Luke threatens Rosalie into leaving Harlem alone. On his way out, she hits him with this:
- Donovan, upon Luke showing up to visit Mariah in jail:Benjamin Donovan: This is highly unusual, and admittingly awkward.
Luke Cage: So leave. [Mariah chuckles]
- There's something humorously- and deliciously- ironic about Mariah Stokes, one of the most emotionally violent crime bosses, being killed by a simple kiss.
- You can even savor the irony. Her incestuous rape was the catalyst for her becoming a villain. The kiss on the lips that kills her is from her own daughter, a product of that rape.
Meta and unsorted
- Mike's interview with Seth Meyers. Among other things, he describes his fighting style as "smack-fu".
- He also mentions that filming in New York City was difficult because New Yorkers would gather around the set to watch the filming and refuse to leave. He particularly remembers people who brought boomboxes and were chased around the set by security.
- The show gets opening credits set to the Family Matters theme song. Thanks to just about every major character managing to get a shot where they're smiling at the camera, it's actually kind of eerie how well it fits.
- Cheo's tweet after Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for Green Book.Cheo: Can y'all finally forgive me for killing Cottonmouth? We good?