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Headscratchers / Luke Cage (2016)

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Season 1

    No recording Scarfe's words 
  • Since they had no idea whether Scarfe would survive the day, why didn't Luke or Claire think to record his confessions? That would've made anything he said admissible against Cottonmouth under the "dying declaration" heresy exemption (like we later saw in Daredevil season 3 with Ray Nadeem).
    • Luke's not a lawyer. Nadeem's case was a particularly unusual one (plus Fisk had much more influence than the Stokes).

    Mariah's rally logic 
  • I can sorta follow Mariah's logic at the rally, trying to appeal to both sides. With the point being that the police lack of proper arming to combat super humans caused a police officer to get killed, which in turn made the entire force desperate, which had repercussions on the community, and that it went hand in hand with the community not having any way to fight these super humans either (with Cottonmouth's framed murder being the example), so the best option is to give the people who are supposed to protect them a means to. The police won't be so stressed and desperate, and Harlem won't have to be so fearful of powered menaces.
    I get Mariah's chain of logic there, but that's a really long chain of logic. Angry mobs generally don't cheer for solutions that require that many steps, they want to deal with the immediate problem IMMEDIATELY. We see this after every mass shooting. And in this case, the immediate problem is "an overzealous cop took his anger out on an innocent person in custody". That problem is limited to the interrogator, and nothing else. Not to mention, why is everybody suddenly upset about Cottonmouth's murder? Didn't they all hate him when he was alive, and didn't a good deal of them want Luke to just kill him?
  • Put it another way, "the police go all Rodney King on some kid and I'm supposed to believe the thing to do with my outrage is to...empower the police even further?" Does anyone at that rally remember the manhunt for Christopher Dorner? The police, in their pursuit of him, opened fire on a vehicle that didn't even match the description of the one they were looking for at all (they weren't even similar colors) and wound up injuring two innocent people. How would you respond if someone got up and told you the appropriate response to that was to arm the police with RPGs? And I'm supposed to buy this from a woman who was enriched by her cousin's criminal empire. At least Damon Boone was there to call her on her bullshit, even if she was getting away with it regardless.
    • The angry mob wants a scapegoat as much as Mariah. Since Luke showed up, the barber everyone loved got shot, a restaurant has been shot with a rocket, and now cops are doing Police Brutality. It's easier to just blame things on the new superhuman breaking the status quo than admit that, yes, things are actually pretty fucked up in Harlem right now, that maybe they shouldn't have let Cottonmouth own the streets.
    • For people who don't have superpowers, whether they're shot with a Judas bullet or a regular bullet isn't going to make much of a difference. So giving the cops Judas bullets doesn't make them any more dangerous to regular people, only to normally bulletproof people like Luke Cage.
      • There's a reasonable chance of surviving being shot by a standard NYPD 9mm bullet. A Judas round would blow an ordinary person into tiny pieces.

    Ignored 10- 13 
  • Misty calls a 10-13 for "shots fired" right as Diamondback opens fire on the clinic. Then Diamondback overpowers her, takes her outside, and knocks her out. Luke checks on her, then follows Diamondback's blood trail to the theater. However, a 10-13 is "Officer needs assistance", meaning EVERY COP in the area should be dropping what they're doing to immediately respond to the clinic. Somehow, all of the above is able to happen without any other cops showing up?
    • Yes the police got lambasted for their presence in Harlem a few weeks ago you bet they are far and away.

    Problems with the Cottonmouth frameup 
  • The Cottonmouth frameup really only works because Candace got paid off. Shouldn't the police be able to determine that some of the blows to Cottonmouth's face were inflicted post-mortem and not inflicted with enough strength to have been caused by Luke's fists (if Luke had done it, wouldn't Cottonmouth's head be completely gone)? Also, why didn't the police bother to dust the inside of the dish gloves for fingerprints when they found them?
    • Shades used the gloves to not leave any of his own DNA. He didn't leave those gloves here. Even if the autopsy can say the wounds on Cottonmouth's face were done precisely five minutes after he expired his last breath (even if smashing his heart somehow directly caused his brain to die, it takes roughly ten minutes before any real autolysis sets in and even more for putrefaction), the prosecution could argue Luke punched him lightly for him in the face to add insult to injury.
    • Of course, the Cottonmouth frameup would be more easily exposed if Misty asked Luke, when she found him at the clinic, "Where were you at the time of the murder?" and Luke provided her with an alibi, one that Claire almost certainly would be able to corroborate.

    Bulletproof skin, normal clothing 
  • How come there are bullet holes in Luke's clothes when he gets shot? His skin is impervious to any force (save for force applied by himself, probably), so why would bullets tear holes in the clothes that seem pulled quite tightly over his clothes? At most, the bullets would fuse with the fibres of his clothes, not tear perfect holes...
    • Giving that he winced in the first episode when he caught the bullet. It's possible that it tests the skin elasticity so it could scratch the clothes.
    • Some bullets don't hit straight on, but rather bounce off at an angle and tear some cloth off. You can see this when Domingo's men shoot at Luke in Colon's Gym. You can clearly see the bullets hit and ricochet off Luke's skin.

    Who's the President of the United States in the MCU? 
  • Stryker refers to Damon Boone as "diet Obama" or something along those lines, implying Barack Obama is the current President. And there's another episode where one of the montage songs makes a reference to Obama. But Matthew Ellis was the POTUS in Iron Man 3 and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Are we to assume Obama is famous in some other way within the MCU or is it a Continuity Snarl?
    • Excellent point. Since the MCU seems to run Like Reality, Unless Noted, unless it's a Continuity Snarl, it's likely that Obama ran in 2008, but lost the 2012 election to Ellis (who in this scenario beat Mitt Romney for the ticket). Iron Man 3 (set in 2013) suggests that Ellis was recently elected, and on a "security platform" following the Battle of New York (which was in spring 2012). Ellis has previously been set up as a No Party Given president, but going by Obama's inclusion in the MCU, Ellis was the Republican candidate in 2012. How his administration has fared with the SHIELD/HYDRA fallout, the Mandarin's attacks, and his Secretary of State Thunderbolt Ross botching the Sokovia Accords should make for an interesting 2016 election.
      • Iron Man 3 takes place around Christmas, 2012. Ellis already being President means he either won the 2008 election, or that he assumed the office in the wake of a resignation (possibly as a result of the New York Incident).
    • In Agents of SHIELD Ellis mentions problems with Fox News, which implies he's not a Republican. It's possible that he is from a third party. Hell, it's even possible that Obama's reputation got tanked so much that he chose not to run for a second term, and Ellis was the Democratic candidate. The Battle of New York changed the game, and we don't know the exact political fallout. Regardless of Ellis' party, the fact that he was on HYDRA's kill list was probably a political win for him, while the Mandarin's attacks and the Sokovia Accords are a bit more neutral, depending on how he spun them.
    • Him being Republican doesn't preclude problems with Fox News. He could be more of a moderate, which clashes with the farther-right politics of the network's most popular commentators and guest speakers.
    • Looking at Obama's political career on the national stage, there could be another possibility. He was a state senator in Illinois before getting elected to the US Senate in 2004. A moment that gave him a lot of recognition on the national level was his keynote address in the 2004 DNC, which inspired some talk about a presidential run. While this obviously came to pass in real life with the 2008 presidential election, during the run-up to said election, one of the popular criticisms of Obama was that he was a relative rookie compared to veteran politicians or that he lacked executive experience like ex-governors in the race. Perhaps in the MCU, Obama heeded that criticism, and maybe ran for Illinois governor instead. In addition, there actually would have been a vacancy for governor after the 2008 elections, as the then-governor Rod Blagojevich would be arrested, impeached and removed from office (while he was famously arrested for essentially trying to sell Obama's vacated Senate seat, he was already under investigation for bribery and corruption charges). If he became governor, it might be easy to say he became as influential and well known to the national audience that way. Plus, the show drops a lot of Genius Bonus moments about famous black people in history and pop culture (some mainstream, some less talked about), so he could easily fall in as a reference.
    • Another theory is that Obama is currently running for president in the MCU, much the same way an election is coming up in the real world, which would explain why Diamondback made a reference to his campaign slogan "Yes, we can".
    • Gotta figure that an alien invasion in New York City and the appearance of superheroes are both going to upend the political landscape a bit.
    • It's interesting that you mentioned Obama's mention in the musical montage (Jidenna's "Long Live the Chief"). The song is semi-autobiographical, including the mention of Obama. Jidenna straight up says in an interview that it's a quote from Gov. Deval Patrick, whose children he went to school with. He says that it was explicitly about then-Senator Obama. It's worth remembering that the Senate produces its own extremely charismatic and otherwise noteworthy and well known members like Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. It's entirely likely that in the MCU that's exactly where Sen. Obama stayed.
    • For what it's worth, a Runaways (2017) character tells her parents that they "...haven't had a date night since the Obama Administration." in a way that sounds like it had been several years.
    • There's a theory that the Netflix shows take place in a different reality from the movies, which would certainly explain why the Netflix MCU is Like Reality, Unless Noted. Such as the discrepancy about who is President, or why the MetLife Building is still around instead of Avengers Tower. Trump is clearly President in season 2, and Piranha Jones has a photo of himself posing with Obama.


    Cottonmouth's money 
  • Cottonmouth had upwards of $7 million in cash from his various criminal enterprises laying around in his stash houses. So why didn't he give Mariah the cash she needed to cover the embezzlement from there? Why did he need to use the cash from the botched weapons deal specifically?
    • Mariah was in panic mode. Just a year ago, Wilson Fisk was brought down by a three-person startup law firm with limited resources, so she doesn't want there to be anything that could possibly put the IRS, or even just the police, onto her, even saying that she and Cottonmouth and everyone in his organization would be risking jail time if the cops began looking into her, so he must find money quickly. And Cottonmouth isn't going to give up all of his personal finances. He wants what was stolen from him.
    • As said under the "Street Hierarchy" folder below, Cottonmouth's crew may be a new ring and the money from the weapons deal was all he had.
    • In episode 12, Mariah tells Shades that Cornell was never going to pay her back; he just wanted to bring her into the life. She could be wrong — but the fact that he had all that money in his stash houses suggests she was right.

    Scarfe's shooting 
  • I'm curious why Scarfe tried to double-cross Cottonmouth. Was he in debt to someone else or was that just pure blackmail?
    • Greed. Scarfe saw the chance to squeeze an extra $100,000 out of Stokes and take it. He just didn't anticipate Cottonmouth would react like that.
    • And there's another reason it went bad: Scarfe made the mistake of thinking that his status as a cop meant he couldn't be killed, that cops were off-limits to organized gangs because of the unwanted heat that comes. As Wilson Fisk showed in season 1 of Daredevil, corrupt cops don't get the protection of the badge that non-corrupt cops do.
    • On a second look, I think Scarfe could have reduced the chances of himself getting shot if he'd done something as simple as taken his gun out of the holster and had it where he could easily use it if Cottonmouth made a move. Yes, his hand went for his gun the moment Cottonmouth began to charge him, but the moment he spent fumbling to unholster the gun allowed Cottonmouth to wrestle it away from him.
    • There's a bit of Fridge Brilliance here: remember how in the previous episode, we learned that Scarfe was under investigation by IAB. That seems to imply that Scarfe was a lot more reckless / careless than any of the other crooked cops in Cottonmouth's pocket. If he was reckless enough to cause an IAB investigation to start looking into him, it makes sense that he'd be reckless enough to try putting the squeeze on Cottonmouth.
    • Scarfe's main mistake was to try and squeeze a man who specifically said he did not have any cash (as all of his stashed money had been seized). Cottonmouth could hardly produce $10,000, much less the $100,000. Now, it would be understandable from someone else, but how Scarfe, who was obviously in the know of the situation, did such a mistake is unclear.
    • Earlier, there was a scene after most of Cottonmouth's dirty money had been seized, where he listed what assets the cops hadn't gotten to. He mentions that he still has the profits from the nightclub to keep him afloat. This implies that the club makes enough money to actually function on its own as a legitimate business without the arms dealing. It also implies that Cottnmouth had more than $100,000 on hand that he could've paid to Scarfe. But Cottonmouth probably realized that if he caved and paid Scarfe, he'd eventually get greedy and start demanding more money, and Diamondback and Shades would eventually have come to kill Cottonmouth.
    • Part of me is surprised Scarfe didn't bother to tell Cottonmouth that Internal Affairs was investigating him. I think that Stokes wouldn't have been so quick to shoot Scarfe if he knew that, or if Scarfe claimed he had damning evidence in his possession that would be released to the media if he should turn up dead or go missing.
    • Given that Perez, the guy who told Scarfe about it, is also on Cottonmouth's payroll, chances are he already knew. Plus a lot of his recklessness comes from covering up Cottonmouth's fuck-ups like Chico. It's hard not to see Scarfe be stretched to the breaking point after having to help with removal of the seized weapons and do it while under IAB scrutiny, and thus decides to force Cottonmouth to pay his retirement, since he probably figures he'll be set up by the other crooked cops as a fall guy for any further problems.

    No mention of the Hulk's incident? 
  • Since The Incredible Hulk is canon in the MCU (Daredevil season 1 showed a framed Bulletin front page about it in Ben Urich's office), I'm somewhat incredulous to think that no one in Harlem talks about the showdown that happened in their streets between the green monster (and I don't mean Fenway's) and the other bigger monster (the Abomination). Granted, it's been five or six years and the Midtown "incident" was on a much larger scale, but still...
    • According to the MCU's official timeline, the Incredible Hulk was set in 2011 and the "Incident" took place in 2012, while Luke Cage takes place in the fall of 2015. It's odd that the Harlem fight isn't mentioned, but maybe the Incident was just that much of an eclipsing event. Aliens and all.
    • If you pay close attention, however, it is mentioned: there was that guy who, after being asked if he had ever seen anything like Luke Cage (a huge man impervious to harm and that hits like a truck) just answered "Harlem", referencing exactly that.
    • Given that a large part of the show's theme revolves the uniqueness of Harlem's black culture, it's likely that the shopkeeper's response to Method Man had nothing to do with the Hulk incident and was more about the overall nature of Harlem itself; especially since the Harlem community as a whole still treats superpowers as an entirely new experience for them, likely because few superheroes would be fighting crime in a place like Harlem (which is a major plot point in the comics as to why people like him, Iron Fist, Moon Knight and other B-list heroes are called 'street-level heroes' within the Marvel roster)
    • Watch the Hulk/Abomination fight again. Despite what Banner claims, he didn't actually "Break Harlem". It caused actually very little damage. A couple cars, one deserted building, and one military helicopter. The only casualties seem to be the helicopter crew. Compare this with the destruction of The Incident, plus the sheer number of deaths in New York City tied to organized crime, and it seems that Harlem no longer really cares about it.
    • Also, there's the difference between the Hulk (a metahuman) and the Chitauri (aliens). Metahumans have been a factor in the MCU since at least World War II - Captain America is the most famous soldier to come out of the war, and there's a whole museum exhibit about him, along with all the stories from soldiers he fought alongside, which can testify to the superhuman feats he was capable of. Agents of SHIELD shows that there are various metahumans just living around the world, some of whom don't put much effort into hiding their powers, along with a number of human-looking Inhumans. And there has been an upsurge in recent years: between Hulk, Abomination, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Spider-Man, and Thor, it's not a live-changing event to hear about, or even see, a metahuman.
The Chitauri, on the other hand, are bona-fide aliens, who came through a highly-visible portal above New York City. This is the first time most humans have become aware of any life outside of that on Earth (since very few know enough about Thor to realize that he's an alien too), so it would make sense that "Aliens exist and they're trying to kill us" is still a bigger story than "Two guys with superpowers had a fight here a few years ago".

     Hammer Industries 
  • So who is exactly is running Hammer industries and making all these weapons and ammunition, as Justin Hammer was put in jail and the series is taking place after the Chitauri attack with the 'All Hail The King' one-shot establishing Justin Hammer still being in prison after that occurence.
    • New management.
    • After Tony got out of the arms business, Hammer was essentially the main supplier of military tech for the U.S. military, a billion dollar industry. Hammer and few aides going down can't take out the systemic ties of Hammer Industries to the Department of Defense. The guys who weren't caught are the ones that now traffic weapons to Eastern European gangs.
    • Its Board of Directors probably just elected a new CEO. Hammer likely has a controlling interest (51% of its stock), so he still technically "owns" it, but the rest of his investors elected a new CEO in his absence.
    • Could be Justine or Sasha. Though, considering Hammer's youth relative to the comics, if these two exist in the MCU, they're probably his sister and niece respectively. There's precedence for this, given how Iron Fist de-aged Ward Meachum from being Harold's brother to Harold's son.

    Armor-Piercing Judas rounds 
  • Aside from using Chitauri metals and a bit of delayed explosive, is there really much difference between regular armor-piercing ammunition and Judas ammunition?
    • It's incendiary, hence the delayed explosive. It's gonna be convenient in a situation where viewers will go "but even incendiary armor piercing ammo can't do that." The writers can just say but it's Judas.
    • The Judas rounds appear to have some sort of drilling component at the tip that activates on contact, the teeth of the drill being presumably microscopic and made of Chitauri metals. The drill gets between Luke's skin cells and force them apart to allow the incendiary portion through. Regular armor-piercing rounds are usually based around a hardened, pointed core, which are far too thick to get through Cage's cells.

     Street Hierarchy 
  • So Wilson Fisk controls Hell's Kitchen, Cottonmouth had a hold on Harlem and speculating the Gnucci might control wherever the Punisher is gonna be going. But they are dealing with mystical Chinese heroin, advanced military weaponry, the Hand conspiracy container of prostitutes. Isn't that stuff too big for people whose reach is just a district? Like there can't be four Capones in one city right?
    • The Chinese and the Japanese both operate throughout all five boroughs. Their operations are much broader than anyone else. When Domingo gathers all the local crime bosses, he specifically mentions that the Chinese "have their own thing." Given what we know about Madame Gao and her role in the Hand, it seems that the Cottonmouth power vacuum is too small for them to care about. The Japanese aren't mentioned, so it seems likely that the Hand has gone to ground in light of the Karen Page kidnapping and Nobu's death. They were always a smaller presence, albeit with disproportionate power.
    • Luke Cage takes place in the middle of Daredevil season 2, so the Hand is still active as it all goes down. Regarding the great access to technology, well, it's New York City, the largest populated city in the United States. And a port city, too, so it gets a ton of black market guns, drugs, and human trafficking. Add in that a giant alien invasion happened just above them only 3-4 years before the events of this, and that tech is going to be most accessible there than anywhere else.
    • Cottonmouth doesn't seem to be as important as the other crime bosses, relatively. Madame Gao and the Hand are both nonhuman, and the Hand explicitly is an international organization. Even Fisk, who at most had limited influence over Manhattan as a whole, is able to organize several crimes of massive scale like the Russian bombings and the shootings of several cops. Cottonmouth, on the other hand, specifically says $7 million was everything he had when Mariah demands he provide money to cover her embezzlement (though given later remarks, it's implied he may have had much more money in his stash houses). It's very possible Cottonmouth's ring was much newer and much smaller than the other established crime rings, and the gun shipment was going to make or break his operation.
    • Diamondback said to Mariah in 1x10, that power doesn't travel. It's intimately tied to ethnic loyalties, and the enclaves in New York City that the different groups of immigrants have established. Wilson Fisk wouldn't have a clue how to control or profit from the Harlem network effectively. Can you imagine him trying to be involved with a popular nightclub that appeals to African-American tastes? It just wouldn't work. It takes a man of the people, like the offspring of one of Harlem's most notorious crime ladies Mama Mabel, to lead them; The Hand needed Fisk's help in getting Elena Cardenas' property, the Hand and the Russians let the Kitchen-native Fisk coordinate their heroin distribution, etc.
    • That's not to say that a guy like Fisk couldn't enter into a partnership with Harlem gangs. Theoretically. In season 3 of Daredevil, he does extort Rosalie Carbone for his protection racket, and she's from the Harlem's Italian section.

     Diamondback's Missing Organization 
  • Diamondback is a powerful and feared arms dealer/trafficker. He's able to get his hands on some high-level gear, get it into the US, and connect with various gangs. His organization is apparently powerful enough that even Cottonmouth fears it, and he's got Shades as an employee. But when Diamondback does show up... it's just him. He has Cottonmouth's henchmen work for him, but we never see anyone from his own organization. Considering the large amount of gear we see him with, plus the logistics needed for his kind of operation, he has to have at least a crew. Where are they?
    • When Mariah visits his warehouse where he is keeping his guns and Judas bullets, we see henchmen of his around the place. It seems he just prefers a hands-on approach instead of relying on henchmen outside of Shades.
    • He had a more personal vendetta against Luke Cage and seemed physically capable of killing people, so it makes sense that he wanted to go alone.
    • "One cannot be betrayed if one has no people." Diamondback can get extra hires when he needs them, but he trusts nobody (except Shades) with the finer details. That means he needs to be hands-on, but it also means nobody can sell him out. If anything, Shades is probably the one who seeks out these thugs.

    Was Tone double-crossing Cottonmouth? 
  • Everything under the Fridge Brilliance tab about why Stokes killed Tone makes sense. However, part of me wonders, could Tone have also been in on the robbery? Shades had his suspicions that it was an inside job, after all, and Tone certainly would have had much more information than Dante. And it would explain Tone's eagerness to kill Chico - him being afraid that Chico would have pointed the finger right at him.
    • It would be a good interpretation but Shameek said he isn't splitting the money three ways. Tone didn't try silencing him and the three gangsters had some street rap going on that explains their bond, while Tone is too old and doesn't have the same background. It could still be that he had a plan with Dante that the others didn't know, but with the narration given he is probably a thug who wanted to show how bad he can be.
    • It seems like he was trying to. Tone was texting with Dante regularly (it definitely looks like he was texting Dante in the background when Mariah and Cottonmouth are up in their box), so he was the inside man on this. Maybe Shameek, being the hothead he is, didn't realize they had an inside man.

    Can Turk even be in Harlem? 
  • I don't know much about bail, but Turk at the very least was caught for selling weapons (maybe twice since I don't remember if Matt let the police arrest him or just punched him in season 2 after throwing his car keys) and he has a tracking bracelet, that he can rig but a bracelet nonetheless, shouldn't he be restricted in where he can go or live with his surety at this point? I mean isn't he somehow the biggest Karma Houdini in that while he get bruised, no one seems to know his role in the slave prostitution ring and Russian bombings, or care that he stays behind bars?
    • Turk basically disabled his bracelet. Remember that Karen had to activate it to alert the cops when the Hand took them hostage.
    • Even with the bracelet disabled, the cops should know he is in Harlem. He talked to Misty. He is not hiding himself at all from the police or being caught in troubled situation.
    • Misty knowing would imply that she keeps up with every bulletin that crosses her desk. Turk was processed by the 15th Precinct, and Misty works at the 29th. She knows who Turk is because of his connections to Cottonmouth and the other criminals in Harlem, the ones that Misty does actively look at, but she might not keep abreast of every piece of info about Turk or other criminals that aren't directly involved in her cases, unless her superiors tell her otherwise.
    • Yes but Turk has no reason to talk to Misty, unless his parole officer says "you can set foot in Harlem". Even though he's in a different precinct, he should be keeping a low profile after being arrested during the whole crackdown on Fisk's empire, and not try to sass with the cops he meets even on parole.
    • Season 2 of Jessica Jones reveals that Jeri Hogarth is Turk's lawyer, and the dialogue they have as Jeri purchases a gun from him seems to imply that she defended him following Fisk's arrest. With her being closely connected to District Attorney Reyes, Jeri probably was able to argue for Turk to get parole. After the whole Hand kidnapping, it's very likely that Turk's parole officer rewarded Turk by being a little more hands-off, or maybe Jeri put in an appeal for Turk's parole to be terminated (since again, Karen activating Turk's parole bracelet is how the cops found where the Hand was holding their hostages).

     More one for the Streets of New York storyline as a whole, but where's Peter in all of this? 
  • Unlike Matt and Luke, Spidey patrols all of New York City. And as of Luke Cage season 1, he's been active in the MCU for about a year, right? Why doesn't he intervene in all of the Punisher/Hand/Cottonmouth/Luke Cage nonsense that's been going on lately? It might be early to say, but it looks like Homecoming is going to be his first supervillain encounter, so I doubt he has more important things to do.
    • I think Spider-Man is not into organized crime, mostly he stops bank robbers, car accidents and street super-villain. The only event I could see him attempt to stop would be the Hand taking people hostage but that seems something he isn't ready for yet (stopping every ninja before they kill hostages is a lot for a teenager). Spider-Man leans more toward Avengers who reacts to crisis and evil Metahuman (more like Absorb Man than Nobu) than the Defenders who have street experience to investigate crime rings and destroys criminal with a mix of legal actions and fists.
    • There's also the fact that Peter is likely not active or just starting out. Luke Cage is set in the second half of Daredevil season 2, meaning it's set in fall 2015 (Daredevil season 2 covering summer-Christmas of 2015). Civil War is set in spring 2016, and Peter's only been active for a few months then. Even if Peter was operating as Spider-man in the later months of 2015, he was probably just starting out and dealing with Queens or something.
    • Also New York is big. Like, really really big. Peter couldn't cover it all no matter how hard he tried. He also seems to be keeping his superhero activities on the down-low more than anything.
    • It seems Spider-Man is also operating under Tony Stark's supervision, which may limit him.
    • Spider-Man has already made a super-hero team-up, and he ended thrashed by Captain America as a result. And with the classical Spider-Man luck, he won't fare any better here. If he teams up with Daredevil, Elektra will steal his web-shooters. Luke should be easier, right? He works alone, and his arch-enemy is an Angry Black Man with no superpowers. Spider-Man joins the fight... and gets blown to the other neighbourhood with those Diamonsback's trick gloves. Hey, look, there's a girl here, let's team up with her! But she's so angry and mean, that Daria seems like Quinn in comparison. So, let's go to business. A common guy with a purple suit? Easy! And, when Spider-Man gets near him, he suddenly has an irresistible urge to go to "screw himself". Enough is enough, let's go back to Queens and fight against some clown in a flying suit instead.
    • Spiderman operates in Queens; Harlem and Hell's Kitchen are in Manhattan.

    Why has it taken this long for the feds to find Luke after the Seagate incident? 
  • When someone escapes from prison, it almost always makes national (and sometimes international)) news. Facial recognition software exists, so how does no one recognize him simply because he shaved his head and face?
    • In theory, they probably thought he was dead. It's noted that no one survived the swim to the shore before (Seagate is essentially an east coast Alcatraz). And then his records were erased, and Seagate likely wanted to cover up their experiments. Luke was also living with barely any on-the-grid ties beyond a New York State driver's license (remember, Bailey says Luke has no credit cards, no social media pages, no porn....) He was essentially untraceable. They don't notice him until Mariah calls him by his real name.
    • Shades thought Luke was dead and it wouldn't have been hard for him to have assumed that Luke died from the beating he was given. He probably wasn't wanted until someone recognized him and realize he didn't die in an explosion.
    • Shades recognized Luke not because of his physical appearance, but because of his fighting style. Remember that they were both in the same prison fight club. That's why while Luke recognized Shades at the club and at the barbershop, Shades didn't recognize him. Shades might think his voice sounds familiar, but doesn't realize it's the same Carl Lucas he gave a tune-up in prison until he saw Luke fight Cottonmouth's goons on the floor of the club.
      • See, short hair and a goatee make a big difference from distracting afros and beards, and the last time Shades saw him, he was left for dead and then assumed to have died in the escape. Shades is smart, but he needed a lot of visual/evidence to realize it. Physically, he saw Luke at the barbershop and maybe, subconsicously, there's a part of him that thinks Luke bears resemblance to Carl Lucas. But it's only once he sees Luke fight that this is confirmed. And the feds weren't actively looking, and didn't have that evidence.
    • Wasn't the last time anyone seen Carl Lucas in prison when he, half-dead, basically dying, was moved to a prison doctor's quarters, which then *blew up*? One would imagine that everyone expected him not to survive, and whoever paid Dr. Burstein to do his experiments likely wasn't keen on anyone investigating the remains of said lab.
      • And keep in mind, Dr. Burstein was sure Carl was dead as well. He was knocked out by the same explosion that killed Rackham, and when he woke up to find Rackham dead and no trace of Carl, it would make sense for him to assume he was incinerated. When Seagate officials came around, that's probably exactly what he told them and they had no reason to disbelieve him.
      • Yes but what punched man sized holes in the prison wall? Someone must have tried investigating that, sure it won't necessarily be Lucas. The Georgia State Police and US Marshals would think of something, but that's a loose end.
      • Most likely, the state police and the Marshals figured that Luke drowned trying to swim to shore. The body was either swept out to sea or eaten by sharks.

     About Donovan 
  • Is it really a good idea for someone like Donovan to be a Tom Hagen and represent so many crimelords while simultaneously being a partner in crime with them? Sounds like a good way to get in the heroes and police's crosshair (the cops would see that as a gold mine). In Daredevil he is almost a consigliere and friend to Wilson Fisk but turns out he has a bunch of criminals like him that he defends?
    • Answered in season 2. Donovan is the Stokes' family lawyer, his law school tuition having been funded by Mama Mabel (much like Piranha's education). So he defends whichever Stokes is in charge of the operation at the moment, and also any associates of theirs who get pinched. In time, his reputation for defending them grew, enough that Fisk knew about him and chose to hire him to be his defense attorney when he was arrested.
     Why Is Luke Still in New York? 
  • After the events of Jessica Jones (2015), Luke has some pep-talk from Claire then leaves Hell's Kitchen to reinvent moving to the upper part of Manhattan? I know how the neighborhoods of New York City, even within the individual boroughs, can feel like totally different worlds from one another, but he still basically just moved a few miles up the island from where everything went down in Hell's Kitchen. I know Marvel likes to keep things in New York City for practical reasons (certainly easier from a production standpoint when it comes to the Netflix shows), but there's no in-story reason for him to stay in that city when he could have gone anywhere to reinvent himself.
    • The conversations Luke has with Pop explain it. Pop says that when Luke came back asking for a job to be paid under the table, he didn't ask questions. Luke has really low options of where to start anew. He can reinvent himself as a drifter, but it won't help much. He needs families or friends to help him settle into a decent quiet life, and the closest thing he has is Pop in Harlem, as he was close with Reva. Besides, New York City is a large city with plenty of resources, ensuring Luke would be able to land on his feet.

     Zip saving Shades 
  • I know there might be a sensible reason why Zip stopped Diamondback from killing Shades, but Zip doesn't seem like a sensible guy and didn't like Shades, so why do it?
    • Probably because Zip isn't sensible, or even particularly smart. Diamondback asked a question, and Zip just wanted to get in good with him, so he answered the question, not realizing that Diamondback was probably just being rhetorical.

     Luke finding Chico in 4 hours 
  • Don't get me wrong, but Harlem is a fairly large area to cover for Luke if he's looking for Chico stashed with the half a million dollars. How exactly did he manage to find Chico's whereabouts in 4 hours (or less)? All I saw Luke doing is showing a picture of Chico to random pedestrians, and even then, that would probably take longer than 4 hours to find a guy in a district of New York City.
    • Luke knows Chico from the barbershop. He's also a very people person. So he knows where to show that picture and ask. He also has the advantage of not being a cop (well, a former cop) and possibly having a good reputation in the neighborhood. People will recognize that he's a good man and give him leads so that he can help Chico.

    Mariah's speech at Harlem's Paradise 
  • I just don't get how people could applaud Mariah. They show pictures of the boy that was beaten up in police custody, but the speech is about stopping Luke Cage. "The police are terrorizing Harlem so we have to stop Luke Cage." "The police use violence against us so let's give them more weapons." And the crowd cheers. They were going for this angry mob vibe in this scene, but mobs seldom cheer for solutions that require that many steps (help the police stop Luke Cage so they don't beat people in Harlem up). They want to deal with the immediate problem immediately (in this case: the cops beating them up).
    • Angry people want a target. She's just connecting a few dots to give them a face to be angry at. The police aren't just beating up teens because they are black, they are beating up teenagers because they are looking for one man with powers. If it weren't for Luke Cage, a boy wouldn't have been smacked around. If it weren't for Luke Cage, hardworking and legitimate black men wouldn't be accosted on the street. If Luke Cage were a real man, he would turn himself in. It's just fearmongering. It's like everyone wanting someone or something to blame whenever a teenager shoots up a high school with an AR-15.
    • Well they want cops to do their job instead of venting on them, and here the way for them to do their job is to get Judas.

    Police corruption in Harlem 
  • So how many corrupt cops does Stokes have in his pocket? Scarfe, Lieutenant Perez, and Sergeant McClane from Property were the three that we saw on camera. Were there others we didn't see or were those the only three?
    • Probably others. Scarfe mentions he had a list of every cop on Cottonmouth's payroll. The way he worded it makes it seem there were more, not to the level of Fisk, but enough to cripple investigations into Cottonmouth. Thing is, none of these guys are arrested, and with all evidence Scarfe could have provided being rendered inadmissible due to him dying, those other cops never got charged, but were instead quietly transferred around to other precincts.

    Misty and Perez 
  • So how did Misty figure out that Perez was dirty?
    • Scarfe had a notebook stashed beneath his floorboards. If not that, there's the fact that they had just found blood traces at Pop's barbershop and evidence of a bleeder being present. Misty took this as an indication that Scarfe may have been hurt. Perez' refusal to let her drive to where Cottonmouth's other guys are shooting at Luke, Claire and Scarfe, may have further tipped off Misty.
    • She also seemed a bit surprised that her trick with the phone worked. She was probably just a bit suspicious, and tried that to test the waters. She just got lucky that Perez went straight for confessing (while trying to nail Scarfe to the wall).
    • Maybe it was how Perez was acting? I mean, maybe Misty saw subtle behavioral cues.
    • She didn't figure it out prior to her trick with the phone. But then she didn't figure out that Scarfe was dirty either and she had spent a lot more time with him, and finding out he was when she saw no clues would make her suspicious of anyone they partnered her with after that, so she probably just ran a test on Perez to see if he was trustworthy or not. She did seem rather shocked when it worked.

     Cottonmouth released 
  • Despite having Scarfe's notebook, the police have to release Stokes because Scarfe bled out and can't testify, but what about the recording Misty had of Perez confessing to being on Cottonmouth's payroll? Wouldn't that be able to at least keep him in jail until they could investigate further?
    • I think Cottonmouth may have posted bail or something like that.
    • The dialogue between Misty and Captain Audrey indicates that Cottonmouth was released for political reasons, not due to lack of evidence. Basically, knowing he had at least two cops on the payroll and was connected to a city councilwoman would have brought too much bad press to the NYPD, still recovering from the scandal surrounding Wilson Fisk just a year ago. That's not to say he's out of the woods. It's possible that the higher-ups decided, "We'll let him walk on this one, but we'll also send a message that we'll be keeping as close an eye as possible on him." Meaning, they'd let him go, while maybe finding a friendly judge who'd be happy to approve for Cottonmouth's phones to be tapped, do some surveillance on him and Mariah for a couple of months, then bring him in and charge him.

     Reva and Luke under surveillance 
  • Flashback shows that Reva "disappeared" Luke after his prison escape. However, later Dr. Burstein mentions something like "Did you think she really erased you?" But Dr. Burstein seems to have been genuinely surprised to see Carl is alive again. If he knew that Reva did not erase their identities, then he had to known Carl made it to shore, no? If it was indeed a slip on Dr. Burstein's part, it might be a hint to the IGH organization that's believed to have past ties to Jessica Jones, Will Simpson, and Kilgrave.
    • Erased his data. Dr. Burstein probably thought Luke still died at one point or another, since he has no idea how tough the experiment made him, and remember that Luke did change his appearance right after his breakout.

     Downgraded Judas 
  • We never saw the wholesale Judas hitting Luke but he was able to walk and fight a whole day with two original Judas in his body (plus Stryker kicking in the wound) so is it really gonna work if they make it cheaper? Usually foreign objects get pushed outside of the wound when you heal unless, like here, it's too deep in. So if the new Judas doesn't end up deep enough in, Luke is gonna make it. Sure cops can fire a hundred of those but we already know that regular heavy fire can knock Luke out in Jessica Jones, so they might as well just tackle Luke with a bunch of shotguns instead of giving cops explosive rounds.
    • It's extremely unlikely that cops are aware regular fire can incapacitate Luke, just because we the viewers are aware of it. Also, when Jessica used the shotgun on Luke, she had to shoot him point-blank under the chin in order to incapacitate him, and no normal cop, hell, not even an ESU officer, would be suicidal enough to get close enough to try this, when Jessica just barely managed it with super-strength of her own and Luke allowed her to shoot him. The explosive rounds are the safer option, even if weaker than the superior Judas bullets that failed to kill him, they are just cheaper to manufacture and he could be brought down if shot enough times.
    • Judas bullets are regular fire, just with more power. They can use high-power rifle first before buying bullets of dubious backstory (that Ukrainian tape doesn't look legit) that they have no knowledge either if they work (Diamondback can't brag he tested the Judas on Luke Cage or he'l get arrested, so they are going on good faith). He is hardly the first guy with hard skin to show up in Harlem if a mounted machine gun can make the Hulk bleed surely it can shred him.
    • Judas bullets aren't just "regular fire." They're alien-metal explosive rounds that burrow into their target before exploding. At least, the first crop of really big ones are. Whether or not the "2.0s" have all the same bells and whistles is debatable, but they can at least pierce Luke's skin, since that was more a property of the metal itself. For dealing with Luke with regular firearms, while he does seem to feel getting shot (and it seems to hurt, at least a little bit), it does no appreciable damage. The only reason Jessica's shotgun worked was because all the force at the muzzle was directed against Luke's head. Buckshot would be useless against Luke unless it was fired at a similar range, and probably wouldn't affect him much in torso shots either. Luke's Healing Factor worked just as well on his brain as it did on his body, the problem was that brain's method of healing is itself very dangerous without medical treatment (swelling inside the skull is bad). If you were firing rifled slugs or really big rifle rounds, you might be able to do Scratch Damage, but it wouldn't bring Luke down in time to prevent him escaping/beating the best-trained ESU team to a pulp. And for the record, mounted machine guns did squat to Hulk. Luke might get a little banged up by them, but they aren't going to stop or kill him.
    • Luke was shot in the gut by Diamondback. If the cops are able to pierce Luke's chest, he is going to be down for a while. Even when he eventually becomes immune to the Judas bullets, he still has to catch his breath. A whole ESU team will just keep shooting until he gives up or stops moving.

    Judas warning 
  • Why did Diamondback give Luke the heads-up on the Judas 2.0 weapons? If he really wanted to see Luke dead, let him think he was running into a standard ESU team. He tries to run through them, they light him up, problem solved.
    • I'd say that at this point, Diamondback doesn't so much want to kill Luke as much as he wants to see him suffer.
    • Because Diamondback isn't that great of a leader. He makes a lot of poor decisions with long-term consequences in his quest to screw over Luke.
    • He wants to be the one to kill Luke, and not the cops. Shades even says to Cottonmouth that Willis has plans for Luke.

    Luke only changes his appearance once 
  • Carl Lucas is a wanted fugitive who shaves his afro and beard to avoid detection, but once Luke Cage is identified as a bald, goateed African-American male in a hoodie, he makes no effort to change his appearance when hiding from the cops. Why does he maintain his perfectly shaved head and trimmed goatee? And instead of always relying on hoodies to obscure his face, why not try something different, like a hat or sunglasses?
    • Afros and beards don't grow overnight. It would take weeks for him to grow out his hair to the point that he's unrecognizable at first glance.
    • He doesn't know how long he's going to be hiding from the law, so why wouldn't he start? He stays perfectly manicured for the whole first season, so he's deliberately keeping his appearance identical to every public image available on him each day he's hiding out. For a guy who already changed his hair once to go into hiding, it's pretty odd that he wouldn't do so again.
    • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: I'm pretty sure he wasn't manicuring himself when they dropped him in acid or was on the run bleeding to death. It's like wondering why the Action Girl was able to do her hair after a fight, she didn't. Her actress did.
    • Beauty Is Never Tarnished only explains why he never shows a few days of stubble every now and then, not why he never changes his appearance.

    Luke isn't bulletproof 
  • The show makes a big deal out of Luke Cage being a bulletproof black man... except he isn't. Even without funky alien bullets, he can still suffer brain trauma from a point-blank shot to the head and almost died that way in Jessica Jones. It's understandable that he doesn't advertise this vulnerability, but one would think he'd be a little more careful about gunfire instead of making unflinching walks through a hail of bullets.
    • A point blank shot to the head from a shotgun is a great source of brain trauma. But on a non-powered person, this means "it blows your brains out". That's like saying a bulletproof vest isn't bulletproof because the bullet impacted with enough power to break a rib. Given that Luke merely gets knocked down when Cottonmouth tries to take him out with a bazooka, it's not like machine guns from across a room are going to stun him. And Luke decided to show up the young mugger by shooting himself in the stomach instead of the head, so it's not like he is careless about concussions either.
      • Brief pedantry: The phrase "bulletproof vest" is a misnomer for the exact reason you described. Military and law enforcement refer to the equipment as "body armor" precisely to avoid implying that they're bulletproof. Even if a shot isn't fatal, it can still cause injury. And British police use them to protect themselves from knife wounds.
    • When he attacked Crispus Attucks, he tore the door off a car and used it as a shield to absorb most of the incoming gunfire. Luke is well aware how tough he is, but doesn't want to push his superpowers (or his luck) any farther than he has to.
    • Consider the context. In order for Jessica to shoot Luke, she had to be at an arm's reach of him, and at that moment he had ceased fighting, while he resisted Kilgrave's mind control, and actually let Jessica shoot him. Even if the bad guys could have seen a video of that fight, trying to repeat that trick against Luke when he's unwilling to be shot would be very dangerous, almost on a suicidal level.

    Hostage release 
  • One thing I wonder about the hostage situation at the club is, why doesn't ESU use the release of the first group of hostages as an opportunity to enter the building, rather than only move in once Damon Boone's body was thrown out? Were they waiting for the Judas rounds or was there some other reason?
    • Well if they go in at the same time hostages are coming out, it's a good way to get civilian casualties when a shootout happens. The cops also don't know if there might be gunmen waiting to ambush them. Once they have confirmed that the hostage takers have killed a hostage, the police know they can risk the rest of the hostages inside, since it seems they're about to get killed anyway.
    • Standard police procedure is to avoid escalating the situation. Releasing hostages tells the cops that the criminals are willing to negotiate. It also gets more people out of danger, allows them get intelligence from the inside, and means the police can wait things out until they can formulate a plan for entry. They have the advantage of time. Killing a hostage escalates things, and once that happens, negotiation is off the table.

    The practicality of issuing Judas bullets 
  • I'm surprised the NYPD was willing to buy the Judas bullets, considering that most of the perps they deal with are average crooks who don't have superstrength. The only people Judas rounds would be useful for would be Luke Cage and any perp hopped up on drugs like PCP.
    • Jessica Jones can take a lot of punishment. The Abomination can show up again since that doctor still has some of Banner's samples (they are probably tired of calling the army every time something weird shows up). And superhumans are getting more and more frequent. As Scarfe explained in his argument, the police are essentially useless with those people around (they can police the place better than them and guys like Kilgrave and Nobu are out of reach even if they aren't bulletproof). With the Judas bullet you have an equalizer.
  • Maybe the real question should be: Yes, Willis Stryker may have his connections with Mariah, but even with that, he is he able to sell those Judas bullets legally without either being sued by Hammertech, or get put in jail when the cops decide to do a background check on their seller and find that he's got felony arrests for car theft and killed at least one guy? I mean, I know the NYPD may be desperate, especially once Diamondback kills that cop and pins it on Luke, but you would think Frank Reagan or whoever is the NYPD Commissioner in the MCU would be wise enough to order background checks on the people and companies they're buying bullets from before using them. And that the NYPD would actually TEST OUT these Judas bullets in a controlled environment to see how they work compared to regular ammunition before deciding "let's arm the ESU teams with them."
    • Don't forget how preposterously expensive these bullets are. They are made with alien metal after all. The fact that the NYPD were buying them at all is ludicrous, considering their budget in real life. I mean, remember that police departments these days are slow to outfit their cops with body cameras because the cameras are costly and they have to be worked into the budget. Now I know it's in the MCU and shit's a lot different in this world, with aliens and vigilantes and ninjas rampant. So maybe City Hall would've given the NYPD a lot more latitude for stuff like this, sure. But still, those .50 caliber Judas rounds would cost Cottonmouth, what, $1 million maybe? Okay, so the NYPD acquires, for ESU alone, a couple hundred Judas bullets each of .45 caliber, 9mm and 5.56mm (a paltry amount of ammo for any occasion, but I'm being conservative in my guesswork here). That'd cost $20 million. Let's assume further that Mariah cuts them a Buy In Bulk deal and knocks the price down by a third or a half. That's still $10 million for a potential night of insanity. Doesn't seem worth it for the NYPD.
    • From the NYPD side, there's some level of logic for getting the Judas bullets, because 9/11, the first Battle of Harlem, The Incident, and Hurricane Sandy were just that taxing to the NYPDnote . This means that in the show universe, New York City has gone through three 9/11s in the span of twelve years. All of them criminal disasters that wrecked huge areas, all of them things the NYPD was helpless against. And sure, the argument can be made that defending the city against foreign terrorists, then that incredible green guy, and aliens from outer space is more the U.S. Army and the National Guard's job, but do you really think the NYPD cops should be expected to just stand around doing crowd control while "the real heroes" save the day? How do you think that "Heroes of New York" toy line went over with the NYPD rank and file?note  So if some salesperson shows up with bullets that could have just shot and killed the incredible green guy and that other big monster back when they were tearing up Harlem the first time, the NYPD reps aren't gonna be inclined to ask a whole lot of questions other than "How do we fit this into the budget?" and "What's the earliest we can get some for field tests?"
    • It's actually weirder that the government doesn't already have special funds or entire departments dedicated to dealing with enhanced people and criminals using super tech. Look at how fast the Department of Homeland Security got set up after 9/11 and the massive amount of funding it got. If events like the Incident happened in real life, everyone would panic and politicians on both sides of the aisle would immediately pass a bill spending hundreds of billions of dollars to create a new government agency dedicated to superpowers and extraterrestrial defense, and local law enforcement all over the country would be trying to get anti-super power weapons and tools.

    Luke vs Diamondback 
  • How come Luke didn't just rip the battery pack off the back of Diamondback's suit? He saw it glowing, he could've figured it was an important component of the suit and he had multiple opportunities after he grabbed Diamondback but chose to spend it just hitting him or throwing him away.
    • Things aren't designed with gigantic flaws in mind chances. The battery is as hard as the armor. Even the batteries on a Game Boy aren't simply grab and pull. Plus, are we even sure that's a battery pack? The helmet is just a helmet and the gloves give him punching abilities, and the suit is simply a bulletproof vest, it's probably just part of the exoskeleton sticking out which Luke also can't simply grab and crush.
    • The suit appeared to be projecting some kind of force field, judging by the weird way bullets reacted to hitting him. Just trying to rip off the power pack wouldn't have worked. Maybe punching it repeatedly would have eventually broken it, but Diamondback isn't stupid enough to give Luke a big enough opening for that.

     Why Mariah is now a crimeboss? 
  • So Mariah escaped justice and can run her councilwoman career and Harlem's Paradise, but unless she plans on retiring from crime like she always wanted she's kind of finished. All of Cottonmouth's henchmen are either dead or in jail, Shades still has to face trial for the whole hostage thing unless he intends on going underground (in that case he can't even be seen in the club) and Alex is a political aide. Why doesn't she just make legitimate profit off the club try to save her political career and try to get rid of Shades instead of apparently trying to be a new Mama Mabel? Again it's not like she likes being a gangster.
    • Even though she was "cleared" of Cottonmouth's murder, the whole incident probably would hold her political career back to a degree. And I took it as Mariah just being in denial about what she wanted to be. Most of her niceness as a politician (the scene where she's with the kids) were clearly just a PR piece she didn't really care about. She was already ruthless and the events of the season just made her realize her goals are best achieved by being a crime lord.
    • She wanted Domingo to regroup everyone to say she was out of the game. She only stayed because Diamondback was threatening her. Even if she wants to be a crime boss, there is nothing left to return. All the buyers are dead, and the supplier is in jail. She got away with murder in a really lucky move, so why risk it again?
    • The same reason all criminals risk breaking the law in the first place: they feel they can get away with it. Because she did. And while she lost a lot of her cousin's criminal connection, she is also in a position to take all of Harlem's gang activities in the midst of an Evil Power Vacuum. A club can't make anywhere near enough of a profit to save her career anyway. If Mariah ever really wanted to be a straight arrow politician, she would never have gotten into business with Cornell in the first place and distanced herself from her family as soon as she could.

    Dying Scarfe 
  • How did Scarfe manage to get all the way from the docks (or wherever Cottonmouth shot him) to Pop's, with bullet holes in his legs and abdomen, and without leaving a trace of blood anywhere on the street?
    • Adrenaline, pure and simple.
    Jacques the Macoute 
  • Domingo calling the Jamaican gang the Yardies. I get it's because that's probably how they call themselves, but do the Haitians gangsters really call themselves Macoutes or was Domingo just being a dick?
    • We don't know enough about the other gangs, but...yeah, Domingo probably was just being insulting. It's kinda in his character.

     What does Luke do for money?" 
At the start of the first season, Luke has two under the table, low-paying jobs and still can't pay rent. He loses both jobs by the second episode, so how exactly is he able to pay for anything? He makes a point of refusing to accept money twice, so he's not cashing in on his superheroics, either.
  • He saved Connie from getting robbed/killed, so it's very possible she repaid by not hounding him on rent. (He also apparently got food from her as well.) After the Genghis Connies' blast, Bobby gives the apartment above Pop's to Luke, so by that point he doesn't need to pay rent anymore. The only money issue is food, then.
    • He is keeping some money from Cottonmouth's stash, same way he paid for the barber shop.
    • They offer him food as payment for his services.

    ESU convoy 
  • About the ESU convoy that's transporting Luke. Those two cops had a point: wouldn't it make more sense to put Luke in the truck surrounded by ESU officers?

    Misty's misty-rious priorities 
  • In episode 7, Cottonmouth has been released. But rather than find evidence to strengthen her case against him, why is Misty instead back on the warpath against Luke again? There’s nothing that connects him to Cottonmouth whatsoever other than his under-the-table employment at the nightclub. Have I missed something? Sure, Misty mentions how vigilantes make a mockery of the justice system, but that doesn’t seem to justify her bitchiness toward him at this point.

    Could Candace's death have been prevented? 
  • I think it's a good question to ask, what actions could Misty have taken that would've prevented Candace from getting killed?
    • Setting aside the option of going through official witness protection, since in light of what happened with Scarfe, Misty had good reason not to trust the legal system: Locking her phone. "Bricking" it (remotely shutting it down) as soon as she realized she'd lost it. Telling Candace not to leave the safehouse no matter what, until Misty contacted her in person. Setting up some sort of password or code phrase so no one could impersonate her. Or even just telling Candace she had lost her phone and providing an alternate way to contact her.
    • She didn't realize she lost her phone until way later and it's possible Shades unlocked the phone by finding the PUK code or something. If Misty like Shades kept her eyes on the other game instead of being to focused with Diamondback she probably could have done it but here it took a lot of bad luck for this situation to happen.

    Disposing of bodies 
  • How exactly did Cottonmouth get Shameek's body out of the club to be dropped on the streets, without anyone in the club noticing? Same for Koko, who presumably was taken to Spurlock's?
    • It's revealed in episode 11 that there's a secret exit from Cottonmouth's private office through a hidden door in the wall behind the desk. Diamondback and Zip use this to make their getaway from the hostage situation, and in season 2 episode 12, we later see Bushmaster use this entrance to get into the club after Tilda tips him off to its presence. Cottonmouth presumably used this route to get Shameek's and Koko's bodies removed in secret.

    Scarfe's putting two and two together 
  • When did Scarfe figure out Luke Cage was the one hitting up Cottonmouth's stashhouses? Was it when he killed Chico, because I don't see how Chico saying Luke's name would be enough for Scarfe to reach that conclusion?
    • Scarfe probably figured out Luke was behind Crispus Attucks a lot earlier. He saw the same thing Misty saw: that Luke's shirt at the barbershop was riddled with bullets, but none of the bullets had even penetrated Luke. With the number of times he'd been hit, he should've been dead. The Crispus Attucks raid was clearly carried out by someone with bullet immunity, given all the guns fired and the fact that the goons who found must've said something about "this guy used an entire sofa as a club". So that was when Scarfe pieced together Luke's involvement with the raids. The meeting with Chico was purely about killing him for snitching.

Season 2

    Luke vs. Bushmaster viral video 
  • Why are the cops not grasping the significance of the fact that there’s someone new in town who can put a beat-down on Luke Cage and is clearly up to no good?
    • Misty notwithstanding, the NYPD aren't Luke's biggest fans anyway, because he's basically doing for free the job that they're paid to do (enforcing the law and making arrests), and he's doing without any oversight or care for due process. As for the Bushmaster angle, well, Bushmaster is very careful to not actually do that much that can be directly connected to him. So really, there isn't much the cops can do, because the one time Bushmaster came out in public, it was to thrash somebody they don't like.
    • The police don't see Luke Cage as a universal force for good, and to be honest they shouldn't. He is by definition a vigilante (i.e. a criminal) and he hasn't even come to terms with what it means to be a hero or even how to properly use his powers. In their eyes, he is a ticking time bomb that they can do nothing about, and an egotistical one at that, given that he's got his own smartphone app and D.W. is making money uploading YouTube videos of him in action. The superheroes who have the most interactions with the NYPD (Matt, Luke, and Jessica) aren't universally praised as good guys. They're just powered people who usually use their powers to help people, but also sometimes beat people to within an inch of their life (which is against the law). Daredevil even showed how this could be used against them, seeing as season 3 of that show had Fisk dress Dex up in a Daredevil costume to commit crimes that tarnished Matt's reputation.
    • Another thing to consider is that relations between the police and both the public and the press are not that great, and moreso in the black communities, in light of recent controversial police-on-black violence (Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and the aggressive crackdowns that ensued after Diamondback killed Officer Albini). For the most part, the people of Harlem respect and trust Luke more than them. Relying on him more than the police, and that makes the NYPD look bad. Not to mention, to that 98% of the NYPD that who aren't in the Luke Cage fan club, Luke is an ex-convict that's been mixed up in the deaths of two police officers (Scarfe and Albini), the maiming of a decorated detective (Misty), and the destruction of a Midtown skyscraper. While that's not Luke's fault, you can't blame the police for feeling like Luke operates above the law and flaunts it. It doesn't help the NYPD that in addition to the deteriorated relationships with the black community, their public image has also taken a beating thanks to several major police corruption scandals: first, the reveal that half the cops in the 15th precinct were in the pocket of Wilson Fisk, and later that a good number of cops in the 29th were on Cottonmouth's payroll. Couple that with their failures in stopping the Punisher and a bunch of other internal scandals. To see Luke get taken down a notch, in their minds, heals some of their wounded pride despite their misplaced anger.

    How badly run is that prison? 
  • The guard takes Mariah out her cell and starts walking her through a corridor, and is then shivved by two inmates, who douse Mariah in flammable liquid and prepare to set fire to her, then are killed by two other inmates wielding excellently-constructed shivs, then Mariah gets them to give her one of their shivs and kills another person. There's no sign of any other guards in these corridors that had at least 6 inmates loose in them, nor that any of these activities were noticed. Mariah even tells them to clean it up, as though they'd be able to hide the bodies. How poorly run is that prison if these inmates are able to carry out these sorts of shivvings with impunity?
    • That's actually pretty common even in Real Life prisons. Lifers will shank or burn guards if they are still answering to their gangs. The hitwomen even say Rosalie Carbone is the one that is granting them this opportunity. And shanks are ridiculously easy to make when criminals got time. It's no different from how Fisk arranged for Frank's massacre of Dutton and his entire underground crew in the men's facility, or could remotely order a riot in an attempt to kill Matt. The guards let them attack Mariah, all save the one non corrupt guard who couldn't take a hint about letting criminals settle scores between each other. It's kind of silly to single that case as the worst prison depiction when the parts of Rikers where Fisk has control of the guards and inmates are even more terribly run. At least Mariah didn't get used as part of a secret experiment during her stay.

    Claire logic 
  • Claire knows that Luke is a guy who sublimates his anger by beating the shit out of socially acceptable targets. So why is she suddenly behaving as though he's crossing some point of no return because he gave Cockroach, a family abuser, a well-deserved drubbing? Why is she talking to his father behind his back? Why is she crossing boundaries, triggering an angry reaction in Luke that anyone of any gender could have if their significant other were doing these things, and then playing the victim because, gasp, he got angry? Seriously, Luke's dad denied him news of his mother's death, disowned him and cut off all communications when he ended up in Seagate, and abused Diamondback into becoming a crazy criminal. Luke was obviously wrong and needed some course correction ("when you love someone, you love all of them unconditionally?" Seriously, Luke? Matt and Karen know that that's not how this works) but Claire also crossed a line when she kept bringing up his father and not respecting his feelings in the matter.
    • Claire is also seeing the slow effects his life is having. She's also familiar with the signs of a potentially abusive relationship, and she is seeing those signs building in Luke. Punching her wall was also a sign as it shows difficulty controlling your anger. Danny says similar things about Luke letting his anger build and control him. Claire believes that one of the sources of Luke's anger is his hatred of his father, so she chooses to do what's best for him instead of following his wishes. And, honestly, she's right. As we see from further episodes, he does learn to focus himself more after he takes Piranha's advice and starts reconciling with his father. For reprimanding his beating of Cockroach, remember what Rev. Lucas says in one of his sermons: "There are two wolves inside of you," and Luke is feeding the wrong one right now. Luke is trying to be a hero, and a hero doesn't beat people to death when there are easier solutions. Luke wanted to kill Cockroach; he let his anger affect him. If he wants to be seen as the hero of Harlem and a symbol of peace, he has to hold himself to a higher standard. He has the strength and ability to easily end any normal confrontation. We see him knocking out people with guns all the time, but he prolonged his beating of Cockroach beyond an ability to fight back. Killing someone like that just reminds people that you can do it to anyone that disagrees with you. Having to kill someone that can equal your ability, and is also trying to kill you, is more easily seen as self-defense and the only way.
      • What Luke did was wrong, yes, but you don't corner and pressure a wild wolf, now do you? Claire went about the whole situation wrong. Luke needed space, not provoking. She had good intentions, but all she did was corner him, and strip away any breathing room he had, and Luke was already under a ton of stress. She should have left the father topic alone, and given him space like was suggested. Instead she cornered him, pressured him even further. Both are guilty here.
      • And Luke didn't choose to be the wild wolf, either. He didn't ask for his father to come back, or any of the stress of his current situation. Claire did not help one bit by cornering him like that. What he needed was space, and she gave him none.
    • Sure, Claire may be right about Luke getting too aggressive and brutal. But she is also still pushing him to talk to his dad at a time when he understandably does not want to do so. He didn't want to talk it out, so ideally, Claire should have dropped the subject while Luke was still agitated and approached it later whenever everyone was calm: this is called de-escalation and it probably would have worked out.
      • To be fair, she caused some of Luke's anger here. She referenced him being an exterminator, but hey a gig is a gig and if he likes doing it so be it. And he wouldn't have to be an exterminator if the cops weren't completely incompetent (and also judges STILL being bought). She would have a point if he was snapping perp's necks like twigs, but all he did really was beat down a man who honestly deserved worse than what he got (and ultimately did get his deserved fate when Bushmaster made the call).
    • Claire was feeling guilty about how her dad died before they make amends, while the context is different with the Lucas she still feel like she needs to butt in. Claire does have her own motivations for trying to help and rein in heroes' more violent tendencies.
      • Claire's thought process seemed to begin and end with "I had troubles with my dad and he died before I could deal with that and it took some time before I could deal with the whole thing. You are currently having trouble with your dad. You need to make up and out with him this instant or you are a bad person who will regret it." Like, Claire, because your two situations are similar in name only, does not mean Luke must jump to the very end of a hard emotional journey just because you simply insist he should. There's also a lot of projection on Claire's end, given her background.
    • Aside from Rosario Dawson not being as available as in past seasons making a reason for her to leave necessary (since she had to go film Jane the Virgin out in California), Luke needed to have a conflict. Unless they "graduate" him up to the movies, he doesn't really have any physical conflicts. Even Bushmaster was merely someone fighting Luke on equal terms and he still needed to fight dirty. The only option was the, admittedly, tired "angry black man" route. The problem is that it makes Claire look bad. Luke has at least five perfectly legitimate reasons why he wants to never speak to his father again. Also, his argument about enjoying his work too much made no sense, is he supposed to be sad that he's stopping bad people from doing bad things? To anyone observing them, his outburst was wholly her fault. If nothing else, she could've picked a better time to broach the subject than when he just got back and his blood is still up.
    • Claire is hypocritical. She's been this way since Daredevil season 1. She criticizes Matt for beating down criminals, yet knocks out one of the Russians who kidnapped her with a baseball bat. She didn't say shit to Jessica about killing Kilgrave despite Jessica making her plan very clear to all around her. But it's not until Season 2 of Daredevil that this hypocrisy really begins to show. She kills a Hand ninja, cool. Fine. But then when introduced in Luke Cage, she beats up a purse snatcher and helps Misty subdue Shades. Then she goes to train under Colleen, goes to China with Colleen and Danny, and literally hacks and slashes at Hand ninja with poison-tipped claws. By this point, it's like "Claire, you have no right to complain about Luke, Matt and Danny going out to beat up criminals, when you yourself are also beating up criminals, and possibly killing cannon fodder grunts on top of it." But again, she said nothing to Jessica about killing Kilgrave (actually encouraged her to do it), and was all for blowing up Midland Circle to kill off the Hand, an explosion that killed off dozens of Hand ninjas, lower level muscle, and also could've damaged other buildings and killed civilians, since none of them were 100% sure it would work.
    • You're forgetting, though — Claire doesn't have superpowers. Like, at all. The people she's fought, beaten up and possibly killed could have easily killed her in a straight fight. She's fighting for her survival in those instances, and when you're fighting to survive, you hit as hard as you can with whatever you can, and worry about who dies later, so long as it isn't you. Because if you're fighting for your life and decide to hold back, against people who are actively trying to kill you? You die. Luke, however, is invulnerable. When he beats down Cockroach, he's not fighting for survival. He's beating down a man who, without "Josh", has no way of doing Luke any harm. Luke could have literally stood there, taken everything Cockroach was willing to throw at him, and subdued Cockroach with a literal Tap on the Head. Instead, kept beating on him even after it was abundantly clear that Cockroach was incapable of standing up, let alone fighting back. That is what Claire has a problem with.

    Framing Cockroach 
  • In Misty's decision to plant a Judas bullet in Cockroach's apartment....does she think absolutely no one else knows how many Judas bullets they got from the scene? Will everyone just overlook that there’s one missing? Misty already knows how dangerous it is for a cop to be found to be corrupt, considering the backlash of the whole saga with Wilson Fisk a couple years ago, not to mention that she’s currently dealing with all of Scarfe’s convictions being back on the street, Cockroach included.
    • She helped in blowing up Midland Circle. And even before Midland Circle, Misty played loose with the law way too much, with the whole debacle surrounding Candace being very similar to what we see Ridenhour doing with Comanche.
    • Yes, she did realize it was a bad, stupid, amoral idea. That's why she didn't go through with it. Of course, the fact that Bushmaster had gotten to him even before Misty broke into the apartment, rendered the whole thing moot.

    Mariah cleaning house 
  • What was Mariah's plan once she got out? She killed everyone who had a tie to her except Sugar. No one would work with someone like that. She would have no say over Harlem afterwards.
    • Mariah didn't exactly have much of a plan. She's falling apart at the seams and is making things up as she goes. Right then, the only thought she had was to clean house and get rid of any potential witnesses, because that limits the prosecution's case. Whether or not that makes it difficult to staff the club later on is tomorrow's problem, and even with that in mind, Mariah can probably stun a lot of people into compliance with money.
      • Diamondback demonstrated in season 1 that "rule by intimidation" doesn't work long-term. Mariah was officially done on the streets when she started killing innocents and people she worked with.
      • One way that it's clear she's just improvising is that this purge wouldn't last long because, eventually, potential witnesses against Mariah would start going to the police to get protection, and the police would be prompted to launch an investigation to figure out how Mariah was still giving orders from jail. They would seek motions with judges and the district attorney to have all of Mariah's communications intercepted, and maybe even put her lawyer under surveillance.
    • Retire, open a bakery, anything beats prison. And Diamondback's rule of intimidation helped him being one of the biggest gun dealer for years until he decided to kill his half-brother. Hardly short term success.
      • Mariah was delusional. Thought that everybody still loved her and they would take care of her "family first" style. She thought she'd get out until she spoke with Tilda. After the talk with Tilda, she knew that she was going to die soon and set up everything to corrupt Luke and make Tilda his enemy.

    Why spare Donovan? 
  • So what was Mariah's reason for sparing Donovan when he was pretty deeply involved in the organization?
    • Fisk most likely. Mariah presumably is well aware that Donovan is also working for Fisk, and Fisk will be...displeased if anything happens to Donovan.
      • Fisk's power is being overstated here. This season all but states that Donovan is more The Stokes' man than Fisk's who he seems to be just another employee for. Also, it's clear that Harlem is completely insulated from the other crime organizations. Even Turk notes that it's a different world between Harlem and Hell's kitchen. Frank Castle was going after anyone that anything to do with his family's death and, if memory serves, never stepped foot in Harlem.
    • Actually, it’s more likely that Donovan was spared because he was still needed. I doubt Mariah cares about Fisk, or that she even knows she shares a lawyer with him.
    • Donovan is probably known for client privilege. He is too useful and unlikely to talk. He's also brokered plenty of deals for the Stokes family, and that probably translates into how other criminals might come to him as a way of getting an in with the Stokes. The fact that other criminals like Wilson Fisk utilize his services suggests he has a reputation with the New York underworld as their Saul Goodman figure.

     Why Spare Sugar But Not Alex? 

  • So Mariah decides to spare Sugar because his wife gave her some clothes once but not Alex. Never mind that Alex had shown unshakable loyalty to Mariah up until his death, Sugar had already shown his disloyalty towards Mariah by refusing to take part in the Rum Punch Massacre.
    • Alex never had that much to lose for ratting out Mariah, and was just her political aide. Sugar has been an associate of the family for years and despite all this, likes Mariah for the chances she gave him. Alex's loyalty is also in doubt. Because he was never asked to do something like beat someone up or commit a murder, she doesn't know his limits. Sugar might talk to Luke but not to the cops even if he disagrees.

    What's with everyone mocking Misty? 
  • I mean, I'm amazed that Misty was able to restrain herself when everyone else except for Bailey is showing her either egregious contempt or looking at her injury like children.
    • You'd be amazed how quickly people turn on you once they realize you have a disability. In addition, the other cops feel that Misty is wrecking the curve by coming back when she doesn't need to. They think she's in it for the glory. And she's only reinforcing that belief for them every time she tries to interview a suspect or visit a crime scene that she was told not to touch.
    • As Bailey points out to Misty, her injury makes many of the other cops uncomfortable (as would anyone not used to spending lengthy periods of time around disabled people), not to mention a lot of them are pretty pissed off about what Scarfe had done while he was partners with Misty (especially now, when they're dealing with all the convictions of his that got overturned, like Cockroach's). But since Scarfe is dead, not to mention he managed to hide his dirty activities from Misty for years without her ever suspecting a thing, Misty's the closest thing they have to someone to take their anger out on.
    • It seems no one thought Misty would ever come back to work. Then again, no one stayed in contact with her to ask. They kept mentioning the pension and things she has received being a "hero". Nandi has uneasy history with Misty and is trying to prove herself against her. "She stole my spot" and "why is she conveniently here to replace her while Misty was on leave"? It's never good to go from "oh sorry for mentioning your arm" to "don't you think enough people taking pity for you" in the same conversation.

    Who did they pin Mariah's death on? 
  • Who did the authorities pin Mariah's death on? Did they suddenly think it was okay that she was poisoned while trying to save her the entire series and do it by the book? Cause Tilda was there with Luke and was pissed when she didn't get Harlem's Paradise, so what did Misty and Luke think Mariah died from? There certainly would be some hard questions for Luke to answer as he was alone with her in that room when she died, and he's covered in her blood.
    • Sudden unexplained prisoner deaths do not always get properly investigated in Rikers, especially not when crimelords like Wilson Fisk and Rosalie Carbone have guards and inmates there who are on their payrolls.
    • Why would they suspect Luke? She spat up blood and Donovan can confirm to the investigators that Luke never put a hand on Mariah. And once the autopsy finds the poison, it's anyone's guess as to who did it or ordered it because it was on a time delay. It could easily have been Rosalie Carbone or Bushmaster who is responsible for this. There were a lot of people who wanted Mariah dead, and the poison Tilda used is really easy to ingest. It wouldn't be hard to assume that one of Mariah's enemies or someone interested in taking over her territory, like Carbone, Bushmaster, or maybe even Fisk, paid an inmate on the inside to tamper with Mariah's food. Mariah's death also happened in the midst of a gang war that had earlier seen the assassination of Eric Hong as well as numerous public gunfights between rival gangs trying to take over Mariah's turf. So maybe the police believe one of these parties ordered her death under the belief that killing the boss of the Stokes' was the best way to stop the war, by forcing the factions to sit down and choose a new boss.

    What crime was Luke framed for? 
  • A major part of Luke's backstory was that Diamondback framed him for a crime he didn't commit. Despite Luke appearing in two seasons of his own show and having a major role in both Jessica Jones and Defenders, it's never been explained what that crime was, nor what was in the folder Shades had at the end of season 1 that had the information needed to clear Luke's name.
    • Noodle Incident, not really needed since he didn't do it anyway. There was a scene in season 1 where Shades and Comanche briefly speculated with Rackham what the crime was, but it was never revealed, although Rackham implies that it must've been a pretty serious crime.

    Poor security for escorting Bushmaster? 
  • So the cops know Bushmaster's enhanced because they all saw the same viral video. Yet, when they capture him, their idea of transporting him to jail is a single van with three cops (a driver up front, and two ESU cops riding in back) with no backup? That makes no sense. These are the same cops that put Wilson Fisk in a full on armored truck with additional patrol cars for escorts, and Fisk is not even enhanced. For Bushmaster all they got is a van with no pilot or follow cars. Given Bushmaster's enhanced, and probably has more henchmen beyond the other Stylers who got captured at the clinic who might want to try and bust out their boss (much like was the case with Fisk), you'd think Ridley would take extra precautions.
    • Like with the Judas bullets in season 1, or with the jail where Jessica's mom was held in Jessica Jones season 2, law enforcement are just not equipped to deal properly with enhanced individuals.
    • There's not having the training or equipment to handle an enhanced criminal, and then there's not checking a prisoner for weapons and not having a police escort for a violent gang leader. It's basic incompetence.
    • Misty was the highest ranking detective after Ridenhour died and Fisk took out half an ESU team with his half. There is not enough officers left in New York for escort and those that are are relatively new and won't find something that is not shaped at all like a grenade on the guy. Even if only the Netflix series have effect on other series (meaning cops didn't go "fuck this either you put martial law until those Vulture's plasma gun are out or we are on strike") there is still way too many bombing, cop murders, corruption exposed to not have Police Are Useless trope happening. Superhero story is based on the fact that the cops can't win against super-villains.
      • Uh, no, there are always ample cops. Because police departments have relatively high turnover compared to other city departments, they are usually in a continuous state of hiring. There is no excuse for why Bushmaster was so poorly guarded.
    • Hiring, not conscripting, if no one wants to be a cop because it means first respondent to Hulk's rampage than they are gonna be understaffed when bomb goes off. It's ridiculous to think after a bomb engineered earthquake, alien invasion, local and international terrorist cell being revealed and corruption that the series follow the same rule in turnover rate. We don't farm cops if they die and no one is ready or wants to replace them they are understaffed.
      • The NYPD graduates new classes of a couple hundred cadets every couple months. They are far from understaffed. Corruption scandals might cause some issues with filling academy classes, but again, police departments the size of the NYPD are always in a state of hiring as older cops retire or some transfer out to other cities, you name it.
    • Not being enough cops because of all the events happening in NYC is never mentioned or even hinted at.
    • Scarfe mentioned in the first season how inept the NYPD are at shutting down the Stokes crime ring (not helped of course when cops like him are on the Stokes' payroll), and the presence of superheroes make their job worthless. Brett Mahoney mentioned in Daredevil season 2 that public opinion was siding with the superheroes more than the cops given that it was Matt Murdock who re-captured Wilson Fisk. With vigilantism on the rise thanks to the addition of Danny Rand, Luke Cage and Frank Castle to the landscape, one must also factor in how Luke, Jessica and Danny kinda got off clear for destroying Midland Circle because the cops refused to make public how a small group escaped custody and took a whole crate of explosives from the evidence room. It has been explicitly suggested the NYPD are having recruiting issues. Hell, Misty has to step up and run the 29th Precinct Detective Squad following Ridenhour's death at least until Ridley is brought back, which shows that the 29th Precinct doesn't have the best reputation.
      • Misty is not the highest ranked cop remaining. Ridenhour is a captain, Misty is a detective. There are two ranks in between the two: Lieutenant and Sergeant.
    • The reason why Bushmaster didn't have more ESU guards is simple. When the FBI were bringing in Fisk, they were just bringing in one individual, and it was a preplanned operation. Bushmaster brought a few cars full of henchmen with him to the clinic, and those who weren't killed by Mariah during the battle had to be booked into custody. Meaning that those two ESU guards and driver might have been the only cops were available to handle Bushmaster. Everyone else was busy stuffing other jail transports with Bushmaster's henchmen, and since those vans had more arrestees, they naturally needed more guards (and the ESU guards also had no way of knowing that Bushmaster had smuggled a grenade into the van, though this begs the question of why they didn't have him patted down for weapons beforehand). Fisk, on the other hand, had a large amount of guards for his escort convoy because his arrest was part of a planned operation.

    Why didn't Shades tell Mariah about Nigel's death sooner? 
  • So Shades comes back from Brooklyn with the money that Bushmaster gave him. Why doesn't he tell Mariah right there and then about how Nigel is dead? Why did he wait until the next day when the viral video of Bushmaster fighting Luke hits the airwaves?
    • Based on Bushmaster's choice of words ("Him had no vision"), Shades may have thought that Nigel died because of infighting within the Stylers. It was a non-Stokes matter that was nothing to be concerned with.
    • Does she needs to know? She doesn't like details like this. When he killed Arturo she was more upset about the fact that he didn't get the money from Arturo than the fact that Arturo is dead.
    • When Shades is given the bag with Nigel's head, his reaction to seeing the head is to look at Bushmaster with a "What the hell have you done to him?" expression, to which Bushmaster explains, "Nigel had a big head. A big mouth ideas. Him had no vision." Bushmaster leaves no indication that he killed Nigel for the sake of acquiring his forces. He leaves Shades to think that Nigel died because of some Stylers' leadership dispute, which given that it's a lengthy subway ride from Crown Heights to Harlem, has no potential to cause problems with gangs working in Harlem. That, and Bushmaster pays way more than the $20 million that Shades had been sent to collect, which is enough that Nigel's death is the least of their concerns.
      But that night, Bushmaster goes out and attacks Luke in public, an incident that is recorded and filmed by DW Griffith and which goes viral on the Internet. The next morning, Comanche puts the viral video on the TV in Mariah's office. Right after the close-up of Bushmaster's face, the camera cuts to Shades, staring at the TV intently, having instantly recognized Bushmaster. He doesn't say anything, but he briefly dismisses himself with Comanche to talk over what happened at the meeting and what's on the video. What really grabs his attention is the part where Bushmaster says to Luke upon sneak-attacking him, "You told me 'stay out of your yard'. Harlem is not your yard, boy, it's mine." An ignorant observer who doesn't know the history of organized crime in Harlem wouldn't know what Bushmaster meant. Shades, on the other hand, remembers that when he met Bushmaster and introduced himself as Mariah Dillard's representative, Bushmaster irribitly corrected him, "STOKES, Mariah Stokes." His insistence on referring to Mariah by her birth name rather than her married name tells Shades that Bushmaster harbors a grudge against Mariah for something that happened before she was ever married to Jackson Dillard. So he concludes that Bushmaster hadn't killed Nigel over leadership differences, but because he was after Mariah over that earlier beef. Furthermore, a man who can defeat Luke Cage singlehandedly without a powered suit or Judas bullets shouldn't need henchmen or all of Mariah's guns for that matter, unless he wants to make sure that Mariah is unable to fight back.

    Mariah and Comanche 
  • What exactly is Mariah's problem with Comanche in the first couple episodes? He hadn't done anything to warrant such hostility.
    • Mariah's default attitude towards those she doesn't really know is dismissive. Shades is aware of it, since Mariah's first interaction with him in season 1 was asking him (in the company of Cottonmouth), "Does your guard dog want a drink of water?" and she only became more trusting of him after he helped her cover up Cottonmouth's murder. So he doesn't bother defending Comanche or telling Comanche to change attitude.
    • The fact that Comanche was Shades' prison lover may have something to do with Mariah's attitude towards him. Remember, Mariah's husband Jackson was gay and married her to avoid being disowned by his family.

    Thomas Ridenhour, dirty or not? 
  • Can Ridenhour be considered a dirty cop or not?
    • Not really. He's using Comanche as a mole to get information about Mariah's crime ring. His deal with Mariah was protection from Bushmaster in exchange for cooperation. It's weird that Ridenhour, as a Captain, would be personally handling this himself, but he himself said he had to go off the books like Misty to get results. It won't make the investigation null if found out. However, Misty is right that it's still letting Mariah off easy even if it's in order to arrest Shades and Bushmaster, and his past history with Mariah from their school days makes for a conflict of interest.

    What's with Luke at the end? 
  • Why is Luke running Harlem's Paradise and having the respect of criminals treated by Misty as such a bad thing? Furthermore, what's with Luke's dismissal of Claire (beyond Rosario Dawson's lack of availability)?
    • Misty is a cop. She doesn't want criminals' respect, she wants them locked up. The same can be said of inviting foreign gangsters to mess up Luke like Diamondback and Bushmaster because they think he is in the game. Mariah is right in that power corrupts too.
    • It is confusing. The best argument could be that it's a case of the showrunners telling and not showing because nothing depicts him as the crime boss that everyone's making him out to be. The moment DW, the one that sold him being cheap shotted by Bushmaster to ESPN, turned on him came out of nowhere and didn't make any sense. The entire run has everyone telling him that he should be doing exactly what he's doing and now he suddenly shouldn't be? There's literally nothing shown that depicts him as a crime boss other than characters just saying that he is.
    • There's nothing to show that he dismissed Claire as opposed to telling her to go home since it may be a long night for him. As soon as he said that, he spoke to Misty and then went right to work.
      • Alternately, his dismissal of Claire is because he doesn't want Claire to be harmed. Luke asserting to D.W. back at the start of the season that he cannot be broken or beaten? That makes him a prime candidate for assuming a position that puts a target on your back, since, as Ben Urich said to Karen about Wilson Fisk way back in Daredevil season 1, "you don't get to be the man at the top without making enemies looking to tear you down to the ground." It's a tricky conundrum. If Claire is by his side at Harlem's Paradise, she will definitely not condone Luke's actions if he is doing something unethical, which will at least make him question his actions and create self-doubt. However, her presence would also make the virtually invulnerable King, easily vulnerable. Remember what Fisk's allies did to Vanessa when they found she was an exploitable weakness? That's the fate Luke's enemies would give to Claire.
    • It makes sense why Luke has decided to take control of Harlem's Paradise. He has constantly been fighting crimes but every time he stops one location, another rises up to takes it place. Luke has come to believe that his vigilante fighting have no effect on stopping crimes and given how he witnessed how ineffective the NYPD are, he has come to believe that the only way to stop crime is to take control of it. He became more and more pragmatic in his crime fighting as he decided to dictate where the criminals are allowed to commit their crimes in exchange to staying out of Harlem. So when he decided to accept the club, it wasn't out of a desire for power, but out of the pragmatic attitude he has gained over the course of the season and out of his love for Harlem.
    • So he did desire the power that come from controlling organized crime? Call it pragmatism or not, it's still him not being powerful enough for things to go his way. So he gains a powerbase and the money that comes with it to have more power. Cottonmouth had Harlem's Paradise, but that didn't stop Chico, Shameek and Dante from stealing his money. When Mariah had it, she tried her best to get out of the guns and control their customers, but Diamondback showed up and decided differently. There is no reason why Luke would think owning the club and running a gang means no gangs will try getting in Harlem. If they weren't scared of the superhuman (to the point that Arturo Rey was selling drugs with Luke's name on it) before, it's not gonna change. They are likely pleased with that since now the former Stokes associates (like Sugar) are under Luke Cage's no kill rule.
    • Luke's not become a crime boss as opposed to a crime regulator. Power vacuums always lead to a gold rush. It's seen as an opportunity by rival gangs to claim whatever the previous "king" left behind. We saw this in between the first two seasons of Daredevil after Wilson Fisk was arrested, with the Dogs of Hell and the Kitchen Irish (with Fisk later taking advantage of the vacuum resulting from those organizations' demise plus the defeat of the Hand to run his extortion racket in Daredevil season 3), and we see it here too with the eradication of the Stokes-Dillard gang that had controlled a good portion of Harlem for decades. Luke's approach was the clean, "right way". He was a known face who played the hero. But even when he did things the right way, the law wasn't really on his side. He "oversteps" in the moment, he gets hit with a charge (as happened with Cockroach). He plays it clean, the bad guys get away whilst the people on the bottom of the food chain (civilian or criminal) get caught in the crossfire, being easily replaced by others. Even when he eventually is able to get Mariah in jail, it's apparent that the cycle would just repeat again with Rosalie Carbone and the other crews. Taking the club and becoming the "rook" of Harlem is the smart play. Unlike Matt Murdock, Luke isn't an arcane figure. He's not a symbol. He can't intimidate people in that way. So instead of being a reactive "hero", he's being a proactive sheriff. The flip side is that he's keeping the violence out of Harlem. And when a wave is reflected, it only moves further upshore. It's also a question about how much ground Luke is willing to give to keep the violence out of Harlem. As Rosalie said, he can't currently say, because he doesn't know his price yet. And that's more than about money.
    • When he played it clean, it took months before Shades and Mariah made a move. During that time, the main problem with Harlem was when White Hat was hiring muscle to work for The Hand. That was better results than when he just let Bushmaster walk away or let Rosalie push drugs in Italian Harlem because it's not his territory. Plus crime regulator just means crime boss here, he is going to need money to keep the Paradise and the criminals working for him afloat so the racketeering is going to stay and people who don't care about Luke are gonna oppose him anyway. Cottonmouth and Mariah had to make deals with the other crime syndicates and even then, these other guys were threatening or willing to declare war (like Domingo had). You can't regulate individuals whose main thing is not following regulation. Luke's belief that he can do it will just end up backfiring.
      • This is the only way he can keep the peace without it wearing him down as he keeps chasing forever. If he works with the NYPD to lock up all the mob bosses and people causing problems, they'd lawyer their way back on the streets just like Mariah always did, and we'd have like 12 seasons of Luke trying to lock them all up to keep the peace. It's either that or he resorts to killing them all. I feel I like it's much easier on him to play moderator.
      • Yes because Evil Is Easy, might as well go with killing them if allowing criminals to commit crime is his solution. Letting them in the streets instead of having them try to lawyer their way out (which is kind of hard when they are starting to shoot each other in broad daylight) is how the crime bosses got to be that powerful in the first place, by not bothering to stop their rackets.

    Comanche and Shades 
  • Shades and Comanche's scene in the barber shop where they were talking about what happened in prison. Was Shades saying it meant something only in prison because he was lonely, or that he still loves Comanche but he can't be a serious gangster on the outside with a lover who's a man?
    • They were best mates as kids, grew up into hood rats who considered themselves brothers, and then in prison they became lovers. Comanche definitely thought they had a future, but Shades wanted to leave their physical and emotional relationship in the past and just be brothers again. However, after Comanche's death, Shades gets serious regret.
    • These dudes have known each other since they were little kids. There's more than just 'romantic love' going on. There's some genuine friendship and brotherhood. It didn't seem like Shades was really interested in a homosexual relationship with Comanche on the outside, though of course he loves his homeboy.
    • To Shades it was really a case of If It's You, It's OK, but if he has choices he would still rather keep their relation to bro hugs while kissing Mariah since Comanche is a lot of things to him, some that clash with being lovers while when he retells how Mariah killed Cottonmouth or how he acts around her, it's with lust in his voice. He doesn't even act like it's awkward to kiss Mariah in front of Comanche because to him they weren't really lovers or exes, more platonic partners that experimented once.
    Bushmaster's Paralysis Powder 
  • So, did Bushmaster just only bring one handful of his magic super paralyzing drug from Jamaica? Did he have a hole in his pocket? Why did it never show up again in the show? Or, more to the point, why did he have it for just one random scene, when literally any other method of cheating would have made narrative sense?
    • He might had more if it wasn't from Luke and Danny burning his warehouse down. It's likely not just for Nightshade, and Bushmaster was big into mystic stuff until it was revealed to just be a weird pseudoscience thing and he has Hammertech never seen before. And what else could he used against a bulletproof man? If he pulls out his random grenade he is gonna hurt himself more than Luke.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but he had another handful during the showdown at the clinic (before Luke finally beat Bushmaster and got him, albeit briefly, arrested). Luke sees what Bushmaster is trying to do and knocks his hand away before he can blow the paralysis dust in Luke's face. From then on, it's just an honest brawl between folk.
      • Although, that was before Danny and Luke destroyed the warehouse. So it's hard to tell if Bushmaster still had more of that powder or Luke and Danny destroyed his reserves.
    Misty and Shades 
  • Why is she spinning her wheels going after him at the end? She says that his deal was contingent on the successful conviction of Mariah but so what? He came to them willingly and provided enough to indict her if they hadn't already. It's not his fault that she died on their watch. You'd think that a competent defense attorney would tear through that on those grounds alone. It's not as if he's really going to pay for the crimes he admitted to since he wouldn't get nearly the amount of time she seems to think he'd get and, given that "the whole world knows that he's a snitch," he's going to be protective custody if he even goes to a max prison.
    • No one wants him outside after he confessed to shooting Candace, because he is an unrepentant criminal. Shades has a bunch of charges that are going to fall on him, given the number of bosses he's worked for, and the fact that he has a felony record means that no judge is going to go easy on him, especially if the defense is "sure he confessed murdering people and all, but only because he thought he would get away scott-free". Spending time in protective custody, which is still horrible, is still paying more for his crimes than not paying for his crimes. Those deals are made expecting results, not because the mass murderer bravely snitched after one gruesome murder too many.

    Laying out the plan 
  • Why would Misty go into the interrogation room to discuss with Ridley her plans for Mariah, where she knows that someone could be listening in (given that how Nandi found out about where Mariah was being held was also how Misty found out about Mariah's connection to Ridenhour just a few episodes earlier: sitting in the observation room and looking through the glass)?
    • If Misty took Ridley anywhere else, Nandi could have still spied on them but they wouldn't be able to prove it. They spell it out to Bailey that the only people allowed behind that glass are cops who scan their ID through a reader. Misty trusts that her co-workers won't use those info for bad use, and if they do it'll be easy to figure out who the bad apple was.
     Luke's friendship with Bushmaster 
  • I can see Luke saving Bushmaster from the heavy turret gun but why doesn't he clubs him right after or after they beat the Chinese (he only acted hostile when Bushmaster was about to blow the place up and it's not like he needed him to take out people with axes)? Luke is way too friendly and off guard with someone that decapitates people. It feels like a rehash of Daredevil and the Punisher except Matt lets Frank go after saving him from the Irish.

    Donovan's flip-flop 
  • So in episode 8, Donovan switched loyalties from Mariah to Bushmaster after the latter bankrupted Mariah. Yet two episodes later, Donovan is once again at Mariah's side. Was he really quitting because Mariah had no money or was he just looking for an excuse to get himself into Bushmaster's crew as a mole (the reverse of what Stephanie had been doing)?
    • I think when he quit he was being honest, they couldn't pay him so he wasn't interested in helping them. Once he figured out the money transfer was illegal he went back to Mariah.
    • Whatever the case, Donovan acted pretty sketchily. Upon learning Mariah is bankrupt, he immediately declares he will no longer be representing her or Shades... while both of them are still in the precinct (abandoning Shades while Shades was still being actively interviewed). This is known as "abandonment of a client," and is a disbarable offense. He then goes to work for his former client's opponents in a legal (as well as illegal) dispute, also a disbarable offense. Then when he realizes Bushmaster is more likely to kill him than pay him, he goes back to his old client and does what he not only should have done instead of leaving his old client in the lurch, but should have advised Mariah to do before the temporary cash flow issue came up in the first place (namely, report that Piranha Jones, the guy with power of attorney over Mariah's assets, had been kidnapped; and freeze his ability to make money transfers, on the grounds that duress invalidates any and all such transactions).

    Beating up the waiter 
  • Shades beats up that supper club waiter for mistakingly assumed Mariah is his aunt instead of his lover. I get that he isn't thinking straight in this case, why didn't the waiter ever call the police and report about being beaten up by a white man in sunglasses and a black man with dreads?
    • They probably threatened to kill him if he reported it.
      • And if he ignored their threat and reported it to the police anyways, what would happen? Would Misty use it as leverage to get Shades to turn against Mariah or what (like "We will drop this assault and battery charge against you if you agree to give up Mariah Dillard")?
    • And there is only one white man with sunglasses and black person with dreads in Harlem. And if you go in the hypothetical "but what if it's Misty that filed the report" "but what if the waiter has never heard how Harlem is run by a criminal syndicate" it's still gonna end with the waiter coerced by Mariah into dropping charges or he dies like Candace.
    • If he describes his attackers well enough that the police put two and two together that it's Shades, it's pointless to kill him because now, if the man dies, the police will have a general idea of who is responsible. (Incidentally, this incident might very well have been what drove Comanche to become an informant for Ridenhour)
    • They have a general idea too about who killed Candace, didn't stop it. And the waiter will rather shut his mouth than die a pointless death anyway. Again with the amount of ifs it might as well be what if the waiter was Frank Castle's cousin and now he is gonna avenge him. The waiter didn't report it, or he did, and he didn't remember enough of his attackers to give a good description of a sketch artist, which is why Shades was not arrested for assault during throughout the whole season.

    Why not lean on Donovan? 
  • Why didn't Misty or Luke consider at any point that one way to go after Mariah would be go after Ben Donovan? He's been the Stokes' family lawyer for 25 years, he got put through law school by Mama Mabel, and he probably has a lot of dirt on him through his dealings with Mariah and with Fisk. These are also, for the most part, not protected by attorney-client privilege (because this does not exist when the attorney is actively aiding his client in committing crimes). So it would make perfect sense for Misty or Luke to dig up dirt on Donovan, then say something along the lines of, "We're perfectly willing to overlook all this work you've doing for Wilson Fisk if you agree to tell us every crime that you aware of that Mariah Dillard has committed or might commit."
    • Unless it's having Cage breaks his fingers not much to do about it, he is a lawyer, he knows how to file harassment lawsuits if a vigilante or a rogue cop is nosing in his business.
    • Lawsuits mean nothing if Misty or Luke can produce evidence that Ben Donovan is engaged in criminal activity.
    • And how can they do it? The only criminal activity he was shown doing is relay order or transfer funds by ways explicitly said to be untraceable, he doesn't have a smoking gun or concrete stuff on him precisely because he is the lawyer. Misty can't ask to have a lawyer's phone tapped just because she has it for Mariah and Luke is not even a cop so it's gonna be easy for him to destroy the evidence they produce and the moment he feels like they are spying him he can have a court order. Plus he represents virtually every big shot criminals including upcoming gangster like Cockroach so it's not like there is reason to think he knows more stuff about Mariah or Fisk unless you read the script.
      • Although, had Mariah's witness purge gone on long enough, witnesses would eventually start going to the police with what they knew in hopes of getting protection. And it's hard to imagine that the police wouldn't open an investigation to find out how Mariah was still giving orders from jail, which would eventually lead back to Donovan and lead to them tapping his hones and putting him under surveillance 24/7.
      • When the purge started it seemed to occur in just a few days. Those targeted most likely did not know that they were being killed as potential witnesses as they knew already that Shades had gone state's witness. Why would they go to the police when they did not know their former boss would target them, especially with Shades already the star witness? The only person smart enough to figure that Mariah was targeting her old crew was Alex, and even if he went to the police he had nothing to offer them for protection that Shades wasn't already providing. As for the police they would need a justifiable reason to lean on Donovan. They would have to go to a judge and prove within reasonable doubt that Donovan knew of the illegal activities of his client, and the police generally need some pretty damning evidence before a judge will approve wiretaps/surveillance on a lawyer. And with the gang war going on, there's no definitive way for the police to officially say whether these killings are being done on Mariah's orders or are just part of the turf. So there's not really solid legal standing to wiretap Donovan. Also Donovan did not get his orders by phone but in person at the jail in conversations, which he could claim attorney-client privilege (even though technically, that's not true in this regard, as attorney-client privilege absolutely does not apply if your attorney is assisting you in committing your crimes). Hell there was no reason for the higher brass to think anything of the killings. The only person who would try to convince them that it was done on Mariah's orders was Misty and Luke, whose credibility would be questioned due to their pasts with Mariah. Anyhow by the time the NYPD might even start the paperwork ball rolling, the problem regarding Mariah and her giving out orders was resolved by her daughter.
      • In real life, once Mariah started having witnesses purged, what would happen is that Misty and her supervisor would've probably taken this information to the district attorney's office and the judge, and ask for sanctions to be placed against Mariah. And an investigation to find out how Mariah was giving orders would undoubtedly lead to Donovan, which would lead to sanctions being made against him and him certainly losing his license.
      • Also in real life to get a judge to issue sanctions, they have to convince the DA and judge that pursuing sanctions against Mariah and her attorneys without actual proof is worth escalating upstairs. Can it be proven that Mariah is killing off her old crew when she's using others to do her dirty work, insulating her? They would only have a theory that she is, based on her crew being killed off. It's a theory that Mariah's lawyers could punch holes in by arguing that they died as a product of the gang war that was going on in Harlem, which could damage the prosecution's original case against her, at least, until Shades got targeted. Once Shades got targeted (as he was about to be a key witness in the prosecution's case), maybe sanctions could've been brought against Mariah's legal team, but that's a process that would take several days, if not weeks, of arguments and motions. This would also be for nothing since Mariah died a few days after her kill order was issued.

    Had they grabbed Anansi... 
  • One has to wonder, when Luke and Danny went by Harlem's Paradise in 2x10, what would've happened if they'd gone upstairs and found Mariah was holding Anansi captive there. Would they just scoop him up and take him out of the club without Mariah being able to do much or would she and Shades have put up a fight? For that matter, would Luke and Danny still be focused on hunting down the lab making the nightshade, or would they shift gears to spending that time trying to protect Bushmaster's family and friends from retaliation by Mariah?
    • The series is pretty much over, Mariah get arrested for kidnapping, too soon for her to make deal with the triad and Carbone to re-solidify her power so she can't call a purge in, Luke and Danny still destroy the nightshade because they don't want Bushmaster around and everyone gets a pony.
    • Shades and Mariah would've probably had to come up with an alternate strategy to smoke out Bushmaster, without Anansi around.
    • No, because they are in jail, they just kidnapped Anansi they can't squirm around this one with three witnesses present and Luke won't let that blatant crime slip. It's not "oh darn it, on to a next scheme" Luke brings Shades and Mariah to the police, Anansi says "those people kidnapped me" and it's over. It's like wondering what would happen if Diamondback doesn't escape Harlem Paradise, he gets arrested right away the police is not gonna let him go so he can plot framing Luke Cage.
    • Anansi was only supposed to be leverage to smoke Bushmaster out. That’s the reason Shades took him. If Luke and Danny saved him, Shades and Mariah would’ve had to form a backup plan because that opportunity was lost. The fact that there's a mole in the precinct means that Luke would probably be against taking Anansi to the police. (Not to mention, the police want Mariah to answer for all of her other crimes, which means getting someone else like Sugar or Shades who's taken direct orders from her, compared to Anansi who really doesn't know anything about Mariah other than that her family killed his in-laws) And after saving Anansi, Luke and Danny's first priority would have been to ensure the safety of all the other people connected to Bushmaster, and finding new places to hide them.
      • No Mariah and Shades don't form another plan, they go to jail and that's the end of it, you can't kidnap someone. The whole series only work because Mariah and Shades aren't getting caught red-handed, if Luke sees them kidnapping, stealing an artifact or making ecstasy it'S pretty over because he just has to bring them to the police station and show them the proofs.
      • What's to say Anansi wouldn't lie? He might as well tell the police he was there of his own free will, trying to negotiate peace with Mariah and Shades on his nephew's behalf.
      • So Anansi admits he is a gangster and Mariah too and he came of his own free will but had his hands tied up to talk to the woman his nephew almost set on fire? How will that look better? And that's going with the idea Anansi is an idiot who wants Mariah to get away with her crimes, not screaming was to show he wasn't afraid of her, not reporting the crime means the bloodshed he keeps harping Bushmaster to stop continues. Mariah confessing to the police would be less incriminating.
    • One of the reasons Shades snitched was because what Mariah did to Anansi was horrible and against the rules (because he was a lot like Pop, in the sense that his only real crime was being Bushmaster's uncle). If that hadn't happened, Shades would have stayed by her side until the very end (whatever that may have been). Tilda probably wouldn't have killed her, which makes one wonder about all the other ways Mariah's story could have ended.
    • If Luke and Danny had grabbed Anansi, that wouldn't have ended well for Ingrid. It's more likely that the Rum Punch Massacre still happens, but it's Ingrid that Mariah lights on fire instead.

    How did they kill the pike-head victims? 
  • So how exactly was Cockroach killed? They don't make clear how Bushmaster's goons pulled it off.
    • Stephanie is the Stylers' insider at Harlem's Paradise. She gave the info of the persons of interest like Cockroach, Higgins and Ray-Ray. After that it was pretty simple for goons to kidnap and behead them.
    • Stephanie was being used by the Stylers to get inside information from Harlem's Paradise. Since that's how Bushmaster knew that Nigel had met with Mariah, he would've also known about Cockroach that way, and also about the ribbon cutting for Mariah's housing complex. We also see on camera that this is how he knew about the players involved in the Atreus deal (Mark Higgins, Piranha Jones), since Stephanie is seen meeting Sheldon to disclose the details. And Ray-Ray, Bushmaster probably chose him on a whim because he was the guard stationed outside Mariah's box when he visited her at Harlem's Paradise. Bushmaster wanted to provide a very dramatic entrance to announce his war on Mariah, which is what the severed head display was for. As to how his men pulled it off, Higgins was probably the first to be killed, with them abducting him off the street and decapitating him a few days before Mariah's ribbon-cutting (his disappearance having been long enough to prompt the police to start an investigation). Ray-Ray was probably killed on the morning of the event, in the same way as Higgins (since no one notices he's missing until Shades is rallying the men at Harlem's Paradise). As for Cockroach, we see he was killed in his apartment. It's likely that they waited until the apartment was empty (after Drea Powell left for the hospital). They killed Cockroach in the threshold when he returned home from his off-book casino (since that's where the blood trail started), then they dragged him over to the couch, and finished the decapitation work there. After that it was a simple matter of mounting the heads to pikes, and placing the pikes behind the automatic doors right before the ribbon cutting.

    Does Misty ever have to take her robotic arm off? 
  • Like, I can't imagine that thing handling a shower too well. For that matter, is the arm removable or is it permanently attached to her body and the only way to get it off is with surgery?
    • She probably can take out most of it like a prosthetic and for the rest she just cover it in a bag when she takes a shower.
    • That arm is decades ahead of any real-life prosthetic. No real prosthetic arm is durable, agile, and responsive enough to box with, while also having fingers quick and dextrous enough to type on a computer. Most prosthetics are more like Curtis Hoyle's prosthetic leg in The Punisher. Who says it can’t be waterproof as well?

    Bushmaster's age 
  • How old is Bushmaster supposed to be? Bushmaster's father was Buggy's business partner, yet Buggy was Mariah's grandfather, and Mariah is also clearly much older than Bushmaster.
    • Probably as old as Mustafa Shakir. Mariah can be chalked up to teenage pregnancies running in the family or Buggy just being that older than Quincy when they met. They were dishwashers, not classmates. Plus, Buggy's age relative to Quincy was never mentioned.
    • We've got three key pieces of information that provide insight into Mariah's possible age: her relationship with Shades, who is known to have been born in 1977; Tilda's birth and Mariah's age when Tilda was born; and the Stokes/McIver summit in Jamaica in the "mid 1980s". To tackle these from least precise to most precise.
      • Tilda is the hardest to figure out. We know Tilda was born before Mariah met Jackson, but not by much. Probably by a couple of years, at most, otherwise Tilda would have worked out all was not quite right. And that Mariah was quite young when she married, a matter of her wanting to get away from Mama Mabel and of Jackson wanting a beard to avoid being disowned by his own family, so we can also assume there was a fairly quick "courtship" period. It's hard to guess Tilda's age, but given that she went through medical school, presumably worked in conventional medicine for at least a year, then started her own business, it would be difficult for her to by much younger than 30, and she'd be more likely to be in her late 30s.note  Season 2 seems to take place around late summer or early autumn, based on the fact that no one's wearing heavy duty coats, but there's also not excessive heat. It's warm enough for people to eat outdoors in the evening (Shades and Comanche in episode 7), but it's dark by 9pm (Ridenhour and Comanche's deadly meeting by the river that evening), so we know the season takes place in 2017. That means Tilda was probably born between 1977 and 1987. It is unclear if she was born before or after the Jamaica summit in the "mid 1980s". Mariah's age when Tilda was born is also unclear, but could be considered reasonably to have been somewhere between 16 and 20. Added to Tilda's potential birth years, that puts Mariah's potential birth date somewhere between 1957 and 1971. Pretty big range so far.
      • Next, is the Stokes/McIver summit. That happened in the "mid 1980s". Let's assume that puts it between 1983 and 1987 inclusive. By that estimate, Mariah could have been anywhere between 16 and 22 at the summit. On this basis, Mariah could have been born as early as 1961 and as late as 1971. So that narrows the range a little but otherwise largely agrees with the Tilda-based estimate.
      • Finally, Shades. He was born on May 11th, 1977. Misty calls Mariah a cougar for her relationship with Shades, and the waiter in the first episode of season 2 refers to Mariah as Shades' aunt, disparagingly, so it's obvious there's a significant age gap there.note  That would fit with Mariah being born in the mid-to-late 1960s, but that would not hold up much later than 1970, and it works much better if she was born in the early 60s or even the late 1950s. On this basis, it's safe to conclude that she was very likely to have been born in the early 1960s.
      • Those three elements all agree in Mariah most likely being born in the early 1960s, but it's hard to narrow down after that, not without more datapoints. Alfre Woodard was born in 1952, but that's not a useful datapoint because actors have been portraying characters vastly older and younger than themselves for decadesnote , and in any case she definitely looks younger than that.
      • One potential related detail that might factor in: Tilda's dislike of Shades seems to imply they are close in age.note  Now, this might just be that Tilda wouldn't like anyone her mother dates because they're not her "daddy", or it could just be because of all the criminality. But her resentment could be exacerbated by being close in age to Shades.

    Arresting Shades 
  • Am I wrong or are they not going to be able to convict Shades? They only have his confession because they gave him immunity. While that deal fell through and they can prosecute him, they can’t use a confession that they only have because Shades was told he had immunity (and signed documentation to that effect) against him. In addition, Mariah had killed off most of the witnesses that could have talked, so I doubt there is much physical evidence that would point to him or they would have arrested him long before now, and Shades certainly isn’t going to give them anything more. This might be a walk for him.
    • Shades confessed to multiple crimes of his own accord, and not under duress. However, he was also not informed of the terms of the agreement. His lawyer didn't advise him that it was only good from conviction. His lawyer should have fought for it to be good from signature, and also informed him as soon as it was agreed (and well before the interview when Shades got nasty) exactly what the terms were. The police did nothing wrong and the terms of the agreement stand: Shades confessed to several crimes, and is going to jail. However, Patricia Wilson should be worried. She'll likely be disbarred and Shades will likely win if he decides to file a civil suit against her for professional negligence.
    • Shades was informed. He just didn't bother asking what "confession on conviction" means. He has to sign a lot of paperwork for this deal to become official, so the terms were also told to him, but since he is no lawyer and too cocky he just thought "snitch= immunity" and didn't ask details. It's like when a lawyer tells you to not answer the question and you do: the lawyer doesn't need to explain in length why you shouldn't and whatever you say will bite you in the ass. Misty was just mocking him for thinking dismissing legal counsel mid case was smart, because you still need them to remind you of shit like that.

    Why go behind Luke's back? 
  • Lots of people are saying Claire was in the right with the whole argument. I admit, she's right about Luke getting too aggressive and brutal, sure. But Claire is also still pushing him to talk to his dad which he understandably does not want to do. He's told her multiple times to drop it, but she goes behind his back, and throws it in his face in the middle of an argument they're having about his anger? Did she want him to lose it? Luke's not in the right but she sure as hell isn't either, like she's trying to sculpt him into something, instead of being supportive. Why not confront him about his anger? Talk about how that might be conflated with his feelings towards his father, rather than sneak behind his back and meet his dad and then lecture him about it.
    • It comes off as very inconsistent, when she’s used to urge Luke to work things out with his abusive father after some writer decided to also make her a victim of abuse.

    The media leak 
  • Who exactly leaked the news of Ingrid's survival to Karen Page at the Bulletin? Why is there no conversation between Misty and Ridley about also finding out who did the leak, because the leaker compromised Ingrid's safety by disclosing this?
    • Karen's a pretty persuasive person and probably knows the right questions to ask to get people to open up about things they shouldn't. But if anyone gave up information to her about someone surviving the Rum Punch Massacre, it probably was Tomas.
    • Ridley mentions to Misty that Gwen's was a community hangout as much as it was a restaurant. We even see it being used as such on camera whenever Bushmaster is there. So lots of people knew the Mackintoshes, and maybe some of the other victims. One of them probably talked.

    Shades' standards 
  • Why did Shades have such a problem with Mariah killing all those people at the restaurant? He literally scoped out that restaurant. He had a drink there, he kidnapped Anansi, and goaded her to kill the people Bushmaster loves to smoke him out.
    • Shades killed Comanche, his prison lover, just a few days ago. Not only that, but at Gwen's, the people Mariah killed were primarily innocents who were unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When they were holed up in the barbershop, Shades confides in Comanche that he hopes cozying up to Mariah will give him the opportunity to do more than grunt work, becoming a smooth white collar criminal with money and girls, as he puts it. Then Mariah kills a bunch of mostly innocent people. When they learn from a newscast that Ingrid is still alive, Mariah tasks Shades with killing her. Ingrid is an older relative not in the game but is openly aware of her family's criminal activities, kinda like Comanche's mom Janice (not to mention, as an old school gangster, Shades seems to have the same belief that Ben Urich's old mafia contact in Daredevil season 1 had: "leave the gangster's non-criminal family members out of this"). He thought Mariah was above that, but she's proven that she can be as cruel as Diamondback when the chips are down. He expected her to use the restaurant's info smarter than just "kill everyone". His idea was probably that at worst, they would only kill people who had a direct affiliation with Bushmaster, either as family or as associates (meaning just three people: Stephanie, Anansi, and Gwen). They'd leave everyone else in the room alive to send the message to Bushmaster that "Mariah Dillard wants to talk". But Mariah decided to just kill everyone who was unlucky enough to be there. Because of this, the police made this case their top priority.

    "I'm not helping you, Mariah. Never mind, I am" 
  • So Luke goes to Harlem's Paradise to specifically tell Mariah that he's not going to help her any more, but then proceeds to do exactly that when Bushmaster attacks. Something seems like it was missing there?
    • When Luke was fighting alongside Bushmaster in the drug lab, Bushmaster tried to burn the place down. Luke knows Bushmaster is too ruthless to be left alone, and much like Will Simpson's "Reds", the nightshade seems to make Bushmaster even more aggressive than usual. And Luke doesn't want casualties especially when Mariah is so close to being put behind bars. In fact, the whole reason Mariah threw that concert was because she knew that Luke would show up to protect the innocent bystanders from Bushmaster. Plus, while Bushmaster was solely focused on Mariah, and Bushmaster had told Tilda that he'd try not to hurt bystanders, Luke didn't know about that conversation.

    DW's falling out with Luke 
  • Why was DW mad at Luke? Seems like they wanted to force tension between them without Luke actually doing anything bad at the same time.
    • DW's friends were overdosing on the drugs that Arturo Rey and the Triads were pushing in Harlem. Now Luke is letting Rosalie Carbone and the Puerto Ricans continue pushing their drugs as long as they keep their shit out of Harlem. That probably feels to DW like a betrayal of what Pop's Barbershop stands for. DW wanted Luke to be the neutral force in Harlem that tries to make neighborhood kids choose respectable career paths, and makes every criminal know they have to back down. Instead he is actively taking sides by deciding which criminals are allowed to run things.

    Timing of Bushmaster's Plan 
  • Why did Bushmaster decide to leave Jamaica for New York now? His parents were murdered by the Stokes while he was still a child. Harlem's Paradise was stolen from his family while he was a child. He's been "special" at least since he got the vaccination, as a child. By the time he decides to come to New York, it's a nearly middle-aged adult. What caused him to wait so long before seeking his revenge and his "birthright"? Or what happened recently that made him want it more than he had previously?
    • Similar to what Fisk was doing during his time in prison between Daredevil seasons 1 and 3, Bushmaster was biding his time, and gathering up his forces and intel (Stephanie only started working at Harlem's Paradise as a mole at the start of the season). Not only that, but Anansi's "You shouldn't be here" when Bushmaster first drops by Gwen's, and Nigel's reaction to him showing up in his pad, seem to imply that he isn't welcome in New York because his methods are too gruesome for the Yardies to tolerate (as Tomas says to Luke and Misty, "If the Yardies are Al-Qaeda, the Stylers are ISIS"). He was methodical in his revenge too. The first act he does on screen is saying he'll start with Brooklyn first, then move on to Harlem (which is the whole reason he kills Nigel).

    Take over the club. Now what? 
  • Once Bushmaster had control of Harlem's Paradise, what exactly was he planning to do? He obviously only had control of the club for a few days tops, before Mariah began striking back. But had Mariah not inadvertently gotten into a position to start striking back with the Rum Punch Massacre and whatnot, what would Bushmaster be doing with the club, and with Harlem? Would the other gangs like the Italians and Koreans work with him or would they now try to take him down?
    • Harlem is his birthright. Hypothetically, assuming Mariah died in the fire or her manpower was severely decimated, Bushmaster would be running Harlem's Paradise alongside the Yardies' territory in Brooklyn he'd acquired by killing Nigel. He wouldn't have to deal with much opposition from the Koreans, Italians, or the Chinese, as with their limited resources, they would think it suicidal to try going to war with a bulletproof mobster who is backed by heavily-armed Stylers with Hammer grenades. So likely, they'd treat it the same way they treated Diamondback in Luke Cage season 1, and (it's implied) how they handle Fisk when he begins his extortion racket on them in Daredevil season 3: do business as usual and try to not anger the new psycho in town. That said, Bushmaster would still have to deal with the police as well as Shades and many of Mariah's old associates. (Suffice to say, Mariah and her associates, Shades included, would probably be itching to cut deals to help the police bring down Bushmaster in exchange for protection)

     Shades and Comanche in a Georgian prison 
  • Shades and Comanche are both from Harlem. One assumes they were arrested for crimes there, but they ended up going to prison in Georgia where Luke was from. How does that work?
    • Shades moved out of Harlem a while back. This is why in season one he is working for Diamondback.
    • Seagate seems to be where a lot of the more serious criminals are sent, given Cockroach also did time there.

    Why didn't Shades come to Mariah's aid? 
  • In the reggae montage at the end of episode 7, it's clear Shades could see the smoke from Mariah's brownstone from the roof he was on. So why didn't he go rushing over there to make sure his boss/lover was okay?
    • From where he was standing, it might have been too hard for Shades to tell. Bear in mind, he's also still in shock after having just killed Comanche. He was pretty fixated on his own problems until the next morning when Donovan called him while he was giving his condolences to Comanche's mother.

    Obfuscating forgetfulness 
  • When Bushmaster visited Mariah at Harlem's Paradise in episode 4, he asks her if the name Quincy Purcell McIver means anything to her and Mariah replies that she has no idea who he's talking about. Yet when she's chatting with Anansi in episode 10, she knows the exact details of Quincy's partnership with Buggy. Was she pretending to not know who Quincy was when Bushmaster dropped by the club, or did she really not know and had to do some digging offscreen at some point in between those two scenes?
    • She remembers McIver being something that dates back her grandfather's day when Shades ask her about it. If she did know exactly the details she would have refused to deal with him since there is not other reason Bushmaster would be back than for revenge.
      • Shades recognizes the way Mariah's eyes twitched when he said Bushmaster's name, so he knew that the name meant something to her. And he also knows that Bushmaster is someone Mariah must have known personally, given the "Stokes, Mariah Stokes" correction that Bushmaster had given to him when he was collecting the money Nigel had promised. But while the name might ring a bell with Mariah, she didn't know exactly why, given how the Stokes-McIver summit was 30 years ago and none of the Stokes have ever talked to them since. During the music montage later in that episode, when Luke is on the bus headed to Tilda's shop, we see Mariah in her office looking through a scrapbook of old newspaper clippings pertaining to the founding of the club. There was even a photo of the Bushmaster rum in an article about Quincy's distillery. This led her to find that bottle of Bushmaster rum which was probably stored in the club cellar, for when Bushmaster came by the club that evening.

     SHIELD? The Sokovia Accords? 
  • The reason the other Defenders haven't had to deal with the authorities regarding their powers is because they have mostly flown under the radar. Luke, however, is by far the most public and outgoing out of all them, and he is openly worshiped as a hero. With his name plastered all over the place AND it being an open secret that he's been helping the NYPD, why hasn't he been visited by men and women in suits about signing the Accords? Especially at the end of the second season where he's now running the biggest nightclub in New York City and controlling Harlem's underworld.
    • The Accords don't apply to Luke. They are an international treaty designed to specifically reign in the Avengers as multinational actors conducting intelligence and military-style operations across borders. They're for acts of treason and diplomatic screwups and such, not for bulletproof ex-cons who only want to help a single neighborhood of Manhattan.
    • Actually the Accords apply to anyone gifted, hence why Inhumans had to register as a result. Providing bio-metric data and DNA samples. It is possible that Luke signed up off-screen however.
      • The Accords do not apply to the Netflix heroes. From what we see of the Accords in Civil War, they were drafted specifically to deal with The Avengers. That doesn't seem to affect Spider-Man's ability to do vigilantism in Queens in Homecoming, so it shouldn’t affect street level heroes. It was a writing mistake on Agents of SHIELD that led to the assumption that all enhanced people had to be registered. Civil War stated the Accords were specifically for regulating the Avengers since they were a non-sanctioned, American-based team acting internationally. Agents of SHIELD turned it into the comic’s version of the superhero registration act which then muddies the waters. It's the fact that The Avengers were an international team with no oversight or regulation (this is supported by people like Ridenhour and Nigel talking about Luke) that was the problem. This is further supported by Black Widow having to sign despite not having superpowers.
      • I am unsure what you mean by writing mistake? Daisy and her team of Inhumans had to sign up because they were super powered American assets of a intelligence agency working out of the US. While the accords were written originally for the Avengers. In Agents of Shield, its powers were broadened due to the influx of Inhumans on the world stage. As for the Netflix series they were always part of the main continuity. As shown in Jessica Jones when they mentioned having the option of putting Alisa in the Raft, and Trish actually being sent there at the end of season 3.
      • The Sokovia Accords have to be signed by any individuals who are being deployed by governments, as well as the Avengers. They don't pertain to civilians, and civilians cannot be forcibly drafted into service. Luke, Danny, Matt and Jessica for example. However they also operate as vigilantes outside the law, which means that while they may not be SHIELD's problem, they're still a problem for the NYPD.
      • Good point. However the point before was that the Accords exist in the Netflix version. So the rules apply to them as well. Including the one about super powered people committing crimes or vigilantism being punished by the accords. It is surprising that Luke was never made to sign the accords for being a former criminal despite being exonerated. The main fact is that all of the Defenders have violated the accords one way or another, assault, break and entering or vigilantism. Which goes back to the original point how any of them NOT registered or NOT in jail.
      • The Accords may not be mentioned, but the Netflix heroes are not immune to the general superhuman paranoia of which the Accords are a symptom. In Daredevil season 2, Marci Stahl mentions that Samantha Reyes is building a campaign platform based on prosecuting these vigilante-types. In Luke Cage season 1, we had Mariah taking advantage of the public's fear of the unknown to get them to believe that the NYPD needed the Judas bullets. In Jessica Jones season 1, we had that subplot with Audrey Eastman. In Jessica Jones season 2, Oscar showed initial signs of bias against Jessica until she saved Vito's life, while Detective Costa's partner showed clear signs of prejudice against Jessica for having powers.
      • While we have seen some echoes regarding the Accords in play. The original fact remains that the group basically operate in the open. Semi-public and known by most, operating in the open and breaking the accords in small and big ways. The US government is one of the main backers of the accord but take no action regarding its violation in its own backyard.
      • Based on what the movies and Agents of SHIELD have established, the Accords are for super powered people who work internationally, and super powered people working for (or are under supervision) of a government agency . Just having superpowers does not automatically mean you must sign the Accords. If you are superpowered and work locally, then you are the problem of the local justice system. If you are super powered and just keep to yourself, then there's no issue. Matt works incognito and wears a costume, so no knows his identity. Luke stays in Harlem and is a local police problem, Danny is not that public and Jessica is pretty much a loner so doesn’t stand out. They work beneath the radar.
      • Actually the Accords also prohibit any super powered beings committing crimes or vigilantism. They have protocols with dealing with such individuals which is why the cops talked about Alisa Jones going to the Raft. By definition the Defenders each or together are in violation of the accords. It doesn’t matter if you incognito, or keep to yourself. While Matt works incognito he is a super power vigilante breaking the accords. Violation of the accords leads to punishment which is the main point of the headscratcher. The accords exist in the Netflix version of the series as shown, then the consequences should apply to our heroes. In fact its surprising Luke’s beating of Cockroach didn’t get him slammed with violations of the Accord and sent to the raft.
      • "The others are murky but again the puzzle is why a government taskforce isn’t investigating the group considering they were in the middle of a bombing of a building in the middle of New York?" The first reason is that the NYPD covered it up because it'd look bad if they had to explain to the press how they lost the C4 from an evidence locker. The other is that the Sokovia Accords are just not enforceable at a street level. Too much resources to monitor and punish street level heroics who keep it local and keep mostly to themselves. Instead they focus on the bigger picture like the Avengers and others that act on a larger world stage.
      • "In fact surprising his beating of Cockroach didn’t get him slammed with violations of the Accord and sent to the Raft." I don't see the international community being very concerned about a bulletproof black man beating the shit out of criminals in Harlem.
      • "While Matt works incognito he is a super power vigilante, automatically violating the accords." The Accords don't really factor in here because one, vigilantism is already illegal. Also, except for Matt's inner circle, the world doesn't see Daredevil as enhanced, since they don't know he's blind.
      • A lack of outright reference to the Accords in the Netflix sticks out. Because it's a bit weird to now go and say that the government has suddenly passed legislation requiring the registration of powered persons, which the shows haven't ever hinted at or alluded to as something that was even being considered. This may be due to the lagging timeline in the Netflix series but shows like Agents of SHIELD do it better because they don’t lag behind the source material as much.
      • It is highly doubtful that the NYPD covered up a bombing in New York as that by definition would be an act of terrorism and would include the FBI at the very least. Also it was never stated that the cops covered it up, not they would. Another factor involved that the Accords publicly shut down the Avengers meaning that they shut down any powered individual that stands against the Accords. Hence the issue at hand, Matt and Luke broke the accords and are subject to its penalties. Luke at least for his assault should be booked for a stay on the Raft.
      • Assuming that were to be the case, do you really think that the government would want to risk the backlash that would come if they incarcerated Luke for that? He was already exonerated once for a crime he did not commit. Do you think the US government want to send him back again? There would be protests, riots. As for Matt, as said before no-one save his inner circle (and Fisk) know who he is. So they can’t go after him. Plus both Matt and Luke have great and expensive lawyers on their side.
      • The Accords are also more about international actions. With the exception of the events of The Punisher, the things that have happened in the Netflix shows have been relatively local and deal with the criminal underground. It’s not that noticeable, happens in the background. Even the normal New Yorker wouldn’t even notice much less the international stage where the Accords were written up.
      • One last thing to consider: Talbot was in charge of enforcing the Sokovia Accords and he was kept pretty tied up in the events of Agents of SHIELD. It seems very likely (especially after the pretty spectacular failure to fully bring the Avengers under the Accords) that the government wasn't devoting a lot of resources to registering superhumans. Not enough resources to deal with the problem and the Defenders and lower tier vigilantes are left alone so the US Government can focus on the bigger names.
      • It was never stated that the Accords was about international actions only. The Sokovia Accords note that a super powered individual committing crimes or vigilantism comes under the accords. Which is why Alisa and T Rish eligible for containment in the Raft as per the Sokovia Accords. As for the US government not wanting to risk backlash for going after Luke? They went after Captain America and he is a war hero and icon. They would not hesitate to go after Luke seeing as they helped forged the accords and policing it in their own backyard would be a priority.
      • "They would not hesitate to go after Luke seeing as they helped forged the accords and policing it in their own backyard would be a priority." Except Luke garners a lot of good press with Harlem as seen at the start of Luke Cage season 2. No way the government will want to try this for fear of angering the public.
      • "The Sokovia Accords note that a super powered individual committing crimes or vigilantism comes under the accords." If that's the case, then why has Iron Man told Peter to not be Spider-Man and honour the Accords? Shouldn't Spider-Man stopping a bank robbery land him in the Raft by this definition? No. It's because street level crime is not something on the Accords jurisdiction. Honestly, I just like to believe that the Netflix shows have a loose continuity with the rest of the MCU. Yes, they share the same plane of existence BUT they don't overly commit themselves to the details of it. Comic books do this all the time. This is no different from that.
      • That’s actually something that should be brought up in the headscratcher page for that page. Also in the accords it does not state what level the accords work on. It states ANY enhanced individuals that use their powers to break the law INCLUDING taking part in extra-legal vigilante activates. As well deemed a threat to the public in general are not only accountable to the accords but can be detained without legal representation or trail. In short it does not have a bar, or line. If you’re super powered, you break the accords you are accountable to them. Peter may be protected due to his relationship to Tony Stark one of the creators of the accords, as pointed out that’s for his page to discuss. But Luke and Matt are not. Also it’s not about overly committing to the details, if Netflix has added its existence to the show. Then plot holes are bound to happen and questioned when our heroes are in violation of it. The head scratcher is the inconsistency. In Jessica Jones Alisa loses her rights and faces time on the raft for her actions. But the committing assault, minor crimes, connected to a bombing downtown and assault but not being investigated for it.
      • The Sokovia Accords are a framework for accountability for enhanced or powered individuals that work for government agencies, or on behalf of a government, or legitimate organizations, or otherwise share responsibility with the aforementioned. Therefore it applies to The Avengers, anyone working for SHIELD, or indexed and watched by SHIELD, and anyone else that might fall into the above categories. Street-level vigilantes DO NOT fall into its remit, thus Spider-Man, or any of the Defenders, would not be required to sign the Accords. Although, vigilantism is still a crime, so they can still fall afoul of the law for any other number of reasons. They mention the Accords several times in Homecoming, but Spidey's not affected by them because he's not an Avenger or works with the government. Of course, at the same time, do realize that Agents of SHIELD (the ones who retconned the Accords into being a superhero registration act) don't really care what the movies do except as a tie in, and frequently makes up its own rules outside of the films. The TV and movie sides don't actually coordinate, as is obvious from a lot of Agents of SHIELD's history and how they handled the Inhumans plot. The Netflix shows have a solid independent themes/story to them that I wouldn't want interrupted by trying to incorporate this thing that's not been alluded to at all in the Netflix universe.
      • Actually street-level vigilantes DO fall into its remit due to one simple factor and one of the reasons it applies to the Defenders in general. ANY enhanced individuals who use their powers and abilities to break the law (including those who take part in extra-legal vigilante activities, or are otherwise deemed a threat to public safety are accountable to the accords. May be detained indefinitely without trail. Such as the case of Jessica's mother and Trish. Enhanced individuals are accountable when they take actions that are deemed against the accords. It does not state you have to be at this level of enhanced or level of function. ANY enhanced individual that breaks the accord. While Netflix has played fast and loose timeline wise originally. But now have showed more connection between the shows and movies. This is shown more when Alisa is temporarily incarcerated in Jessica Jones season 2, and when Trish is sent to the Raft in season 3. It’s not about wanting the story to be interrupted, but a plot hole is still a plot hole. If the writers were going to have a token showing of the accords affecting those with super powers. Then at least a token showing of government interest or consequence due to the Defenders actions as well should be expected.
      • Sokovia Accords are an international agreement. They have less than zero jurisdiction locally. After all, that would totally violate sovereignty, and there's no way a coalition of independent nations would ever let said union dictate the laws of its member states. That'd be totally tyrannical and undemocratic. And for that matter, can you prove someone is an enhanced individual? For example, Matt's super-senses manifested before he met Stick, therefore, they are not a result of his training. In this regard, they would count as a "superpower" or "enhancement". You know that, I know that, Matt knows that, Stick knows that. But can a court prove that the guy who beats the shit out of muggers has a superpower when, to the eye of a casual observer, he just goes to the gym a lot? While Jessica Jones season 3 shows that enhanced individuals don't necessarily get the same right to due process (which itself is a Constitutional violation to save for another thread), you still have to prove they are enhanced. Trish could be proven as enhanced because people caught her on camera jumping from a 4th floor. Luke's super-strength is also hard to prove. And you can't prove super-hearing.
    • The MCU is really one big Red Skies Crossover. While a mention of the Accords would be nice in them, the Netflix shows, being street-level, are not equipped to deal with some of the larger, game-changing consequences from the feature film continuity. Case in point, Jeph Loeb acknowledged in a Reddit AMA that the Snap at the end of Infinity War was never going to be acknowledged in the Netflix shows. It is worth noting that the movies' scripts are usually written years in advance so it's genuinely difficult to try and work things out so that everything makes sense, especially when the Netflix shows were constantly figuring things out very actively (see: the Hand and why what's depicted of them in The Defenders doesn't totally mesh with how they're depicted in Daredevil or Iron Fist).
      • Another argument that can be made about this Accords matter is that the Netflix shows take place in a slightly different timeline from the movies where the Accords never happened, although the events of The Avengers still did happen, and the Raft still got built. This would certainly explain other discrepancies, like the presence of the real MetLife Building instead of Stark Tower in the Midtown Manhattan skyline.
      • Pretty much. The thing here is that the films, Agents of SHIELD, and the Netflix shows have nothing to do with each other outside of small references. How each handles the Accords, and that's assuming the Netflix shows actually did use them at any point, will naturally be different from one another. In that respect, the MCU is just like the original Marvel Universe. Crossovers happen, and The 'Verse overall is the same, but trying to make too much sense of it all takes away from enjoying the content. While Trish gets sent to the Raft in Jessica Jones season 3, the way characters like Detective Costa talk infers that laws passed by the federal government, not the UN, are the ones responsible for putting her there.
    • Even if Luke is running afoul of the Accords, the government aren't likely to touch him. For one, he befriended somebody in the NYPD before going public with his powers, and most of his vigilantism has been aimed at helping the police stop violent criminals they've been trying to take down for years. Then there's the practical aspect, which is that Luke can't be forced to go anywhere involuntarily. And then there's the PR aspect; any politician who decided to have the Hero of Harlem arrested for this can kiss goodbye any chance of getting reelected because the public will see Luke Cage, a pillar of the community, being locked up just for who he is (a status crime, which is unconstitutional). Note that the US Marshals only arrested him at the end of season 1 because of stuff that Luke did before he gained his powers and before he arrived in New York City.

    Bushmaster and the nightshade 
  • Is Bushmaster a normal human who is empowered by the nightshade? Or is he really an enhanced human who is only able to access his powers through the nightshade? It's a little confusing.
    • His flashbacks and from what his friends and family say, suggest that Bushmaster has always been special, as he survived a vaccine that killed all others who took it (though you could argue that the vaccine was an earlier version of the stuff that Luke got subject to in Dr. Burstein's tank). Anansi also remarks at one point that "Nightshade not heal. Nightshade reveal," implying that nightshade just unlocks Bushmaster's powers (or the healing factor, at least).
    • Bushmaster is just a normal human with a high toxicity resistance/immune system, the Nightshade enhances the human body but is deadly. When Tilda gave him a concentrated dose of Nightshade he is noticeably faster and stronger, able to dodge the bullet when Shades fires at him at close range, and catch Luke's fist instead of running circles around him. So it is the drug that gave him the powerset but it only works with someone that has Bushmaster's specific condition.
    • Doubtful regarding the "normal" part. If someone has an immune system that protects them from incredible levels of toxicity then they are no longer normal. Not only that his biology was not just immune to the Nightshade’s poison but metabolized it to boost his physical abilities allowing his speed, strength and durability. The same way his biology processed the lethal immunity shot that killed everyone else that took it except him. As the wise woman said, the Nightshade revealed. Sheldon talked about how Bushmaster was "special" from birth. But is he gifted? Maybe a latent inhuman? In the end he was no way a normal human being seeing as he was able to survive the Nightshade. I think he had an highly advanced metabolic process that when combined with Nightshade made him superhuman.
    • And how would the wise woman know that if Bushmaster is the only one it does that on? Even the apothecary books says that Nightshade does that it's just worse than steroids, the only reason Bushmaster keeps doing it is because he has a higher tolerance to virus and stuff, explaining why he survived the inoculation but that could just be being above average not inhuman, and he is crazy enough to do it, it's like any Psycho Serum.
    • Nothing above average gives one the ability to survive extreme toxic levels and poisoned immunization shots. Above average does not save one person in hundreds from a shot that leaves everyone else dead. Also being "crazy" does not make one survive a incredibly powerful toxin that allows superhuman strength, durability and healing. Bushmaster was caught point blank in a grenade blast in the tight confines of a van. Something that should leave him crippled or worse, like was the case for the cops and driver who were in the van with him. As for the reason the wise woman knew, its in her job description of "wise woman." The nightshade did not boost, or acted like a psychoserum. It gave Bushmaster a one in a million chance to access superhuman abilities. The ability to shrug off bullets, explosives and tear down steel bunker doors at the cost of his health. Not above average abilities, not above average durability. But superhuman ones. Thanks to his unique and super human metabolism combined with a powerful physical accelerant that would have left "above average" people dead.
    • Being crazy is how he thinks the products everyone tells him is gonna kill him slowly is worth using, Tilda and the wise woman know nightshade do that they aren't that surprised he comes back from gunshot and he thinks surviving a bad batch and being descendant of Maroons, it's like Simpson's combat enhancers in Jessica Jones, in that it's supposed to do that but no one in their right mind will. The wise woman didn't just have nightshade ready because she saw little John needing it in a crystal ball it's in her books. Tilda even knows what part to extract and concentrate.
    • That's not being crazy, that’s being determined. Also being "crazy" doesn’t imbue one with the ability to survive poisons and deadly toxins in extreme doses. Never mind actually metabolise it to accelerate ones physical abilities. Not only that Bushmaster showed no signs of being insane. Determined, driven and focused on his purpose. Yes, but certifiably crazy no. Not only that they advised constant use could kill him not definitely end in his death. That is why at the end of the series he is still alive and not dead. Also, Simpson's pills were an actual steroid, useful but nowhere the same power level of the Nightshade. The reds did not make Simpson or Trish bulletproof, accelerate healing or strong enough to tear down steel. The wise woman's knowledge and "wisdom" is proven by what the Nightshade did to Bushmaster: it revealed as she promised. It revealed that Bushmaster's highly advanced metabolism combined with the plant's potency allowed super human abilities as shown multiple times in the series. In short, as his family and others had always said he was “special”.

    Bushmaster's luck 
  • Let's say that Shades hadn't lost his composure and impulsively killed Arturo, and the meeting ended with no dead bodies. And let's say Luke didn't put Cockroach in the hospital. Would that have affected Bushmaster's schemes? It definitely seems like pure luck that the two criminal competitors who could've posed an obstacle to Bushmaster's plans to get Mariah's guns, ended up being taken out of the picture by circumstances he played no part in.
    • If Luke hadn't put Cockroach in the hospital, and Shades hadn't killed Arturo, it's hard to tell what Bushmaster would've done. We do know Bushmaster had a mole in Harlem's Paradise with Sheldon's cousin Stephanie. She told them all about Mariah's three potential buyers, which is how they knew that Nigel had spoken with her. By killing Nigel, Bushmaster has gotten him out of the way and now had an army of henchmen. So now it would just be a matter of getting Arturo and Cockroach out of the way, which is hard to tell because he'd have to do so in a way that didn't tip off Mariah to what he's up to. Let's assume that the meeting between Shades and Arturo ended peacefully and without Arturo dead. Most likely, Shades and Comanche would've walked away empty-handed by conceding that yeah, Arturo is too hot to be sold to, forcing them to sell to Bushmaster anyways (since Mariah was pretty firmly against selling to Cockroach).
    • Way easier for Bushmaster actually. Mariah retires, so perhaps she has no heavy guns to protect her (aside from the emergency reserves that they store at the club), and Arturo or Cockroach is not gonna try stopping Bushmaster from getting Harlem's Paradise. It's a business, not birthright or vendetta. Bushmaster didn't need the guns; he just wanted a more elegant plan where he buys and own the club somewhat legally and taunt Mariah and Shades with beheading and meeting but at worst he just kills her and take the place by force. Arturo is not gonna fight someone that clocked Luke Cage after finding out Judas bullets are obsolete now.

    Shades' charges 
  • So when arresting Shades in the season 2 finale, Misty says to him he's under arrest for the murders of Candace and Comanche. That makes sense since he revealed in his confession that he was the one who pulled the trigger in both shootings. But wouldn't the cops also be charging Shades with accessory charges to Ridenhour's murder? Yes, it was Comanche who shot Ridenhour (in a failed attempt to preserve his cover), but it was the arrival of Shades to the meeting that was the reason things escalated the way they did.
    • Misty's words when they're arresting Shades imply that Mariah had set something up on her own to incriminate Shades in all of the crimes he was a party to.

     Using guns 
  • Why does everyone keep using guns against Luke when it's already COMMON KNOWLEDGE they can't hurt him that way?
    • Because people always want to see if the legends are true that Luke can't be hurt by bullets.
    • It's a street cred factor. No thug wants to look like a coward who just gave up at the sight of Luke Cage. That's why the guys at the drug lab in the cold open to the first episode say, "Hey, they gotta know we tried, man!" in response to Luke's exasperated "Really, guys?"

     Mariah's criminal charges 
  • If Mariah lived to see trial, what charges would she be convicted of? Who would testify against her?
    • Shades would've testified. He would have to, as it was a condition of his plea deal. He would be testifying on crimes she ordered him to commit, as well as the crimes in which she personally participated. This would mean she'd be convicted on about ten counts of murder: the victims of the Rum Punch Massacre, plus Cottonmouth, Candace, and Arturo Reynote . Shades can also implicate Mariah in the witness purge, which gives her a couple more murder convictions, plus attempted murder for Shades, and witness tampering (and investigation into this would lead to sanctions against Mariah and her attorneys). Lastly, he can testify to her role in the Atreus deal, which adds additional charges of blackmail, tax evasion, and conspiracy. Tilda could certainly corroborate a lot of this, as Mariah had confided in her a lot of incriminating details like the fact that she blackmailed Mark Higgins, the family's real source of revenue, and being the one who lit Anansi on fire.
    • Luke could also testify as a witness to some of Mariah's deeds, although he's also someone that Mariah's lawyers would likely try very hard to discredit on cross-examination.

    Bushmaster vs. Luke round 1 
  • Dramatic as the first fight between Luke and Bushmaster is, what was Bushmaster hoping to accomplish by attacking Luke in public? More importantly, how did he even know where Luke would be?
    • The answer to the "why" is because he wants to make an impression and make clear he's coming for Mariah. And the best way to do that is to beat up Luke Cage in public, because the Harlem's Hero app ensures that there almost certainly will be someone around to film the whole thing and will post it to the Internet. As to how Bushmaster would know Luke was going to be at that exact spot, we have to assume some combination of 1) Bushmaster gathered intel on Luke's usual haunts after Luke showed up at his lair, 2) that he's probably using Harlem's Hero, or 3) he just had someone shadowing Luke.


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