As Luke is struggling with his bullet wound, and now in the crosshairs of Willis Stryker, Mariah decides to frame him for her cousin's death.
Tropes in this episode include:
- Abnormal Ammo: The Judas bullets. We get a good idea how much damage they caused to Luke when we see one bullet hitting a wall. It drills upon the surface and then explodes.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Upon taking Misty hostage, Willis is disappointed that she doesn't even try to beg for mercy.
- Attack Its Weak Point: With Luke having visible bullet wounds, Willis has an easier time of fighting him than most.
- Badass Normal: Willis Stryker isn't superstrong like Luke, but with Luke already weakened by the Judas Bullet, he's able to fight him by continually striking his bullet wounds.
- Blatant Lies: Misty easily sees through the fabricated story Candice has been paid by Mariah to give to the cops.Misty Knight: Candice, look me in the eye. You were too scared to go upstairs and serve Cottonmouth without Luke. Table number 7, right? And then you started sleeping with him? But you still call him "Mr. Stokes" and you can't even tell me about his private entrance? What do they have on you? Huh? Is it money? How much are they paying you?
- Call-Back: Misty's response when being held at gunpoint by Diamondback ("If you're gonna shoot me, then do it!") is very much an echo of a remark that Karen Page makes when being held captive by James Wesley. ("If you're gonna kill me, then do it. I'm sick of listening to your bullshit.")
- Cleanup Crew: Shades helps Mariah clean up the scene to get rid of any evidence linking her to the crime. He also uses his fists to do a bit of post-mortem damage to Cottonmouth's face.
- Combat Pragmatist: Willis keeps striking Luke where his bullet wound is to maximize the painful impacts.
- Continuity Nod: Willis boasts about being behind all of Luke's misery:Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: I've been watching you. Harlem doesn't realize they're worshiping a false idol.
Luke Cage: False idol?
Diamondback: You, Carl! You! You're the golden calf! But I've got commandments for your ass. I'm gonna bring the pain. Reva's death.
Luke: Keep her name out of your mouth!
Diamondback: The crimes you went to jail for? The torture you endured once you were inside? All me! I'm afraid. Well, not Reva's death. I just like saying her name just to watch you squirm.
Luke: You ruined my life!
Diamondback: I gave you wings! [voice breaking] I sent you to hell, and you come back with superpowers! [inhales deeply] Ain't that a bitch?
- Convenient Misfire: After Willis and Luke's second bout at the clinic, Willis tries to fire his shotgun, but it jams. So he uses the gun as a blunt instrument and strikes at Luke's wound to knock him down. Then he takes Misty hostage, gets ahold of her gun, and uses that to shoot at Luke's wound.
- Faux Symbolism: As Diamondback hits Luke with the second Judas bullet, he falls back into a nearby garbage truck which then drives away.
- Incoming Ham: Willis Stryker introduces himself to Luke and Claire by shouting quotes from The Warriors.Stryker: Can you dig it?
- Insult Backfire:Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: Hello, Carl.
Luke Cage: Willis.
Diamondback: I prefer "Diamondback."
Luke: Because you're a snake. Just like Cottonmouth.
Diamondback: I am a snake. I've shed my skin for something better. Stronger. You left me to rot, Carl, in a gutter. But I changed that sewer into a garden.
- Internal Reveal: Willis Stryker reveals that he is Diamondback.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Diamondback is revealed to be Luke's brother at the end of this episode.
- Misidentified Weapons: Willis is shown using a Fostech Origin-12 to fire Judas bullets at Luke. In real life, the weapon is a shotgun, but here, it's treated as a high-powered sniper rifle.
- Police Brutality: When questioning Claire about Luke's whereabouts, Misty loses her cool, pins Claire to a wall and starts choking her. Inspector Ridley has to stop her and asks Claire if she wants to press charges, but she refuses.
- Rage Breaking Point: Misty becomes so frustrated over the course of this episode with people's unwillingness to work with her on top of being nearly killed by Diamondback that she finally snaps during Claire's questioning.
- Replacement Goldfish: When holding Misty at gunpoint, Willis thinks Misty is a replacement for Reva, given the similar hairstyle.Willis "Diamondback" Stryker: I see Carl's taste in women hasn't changed. He likes frizzy hair and a tight frame.
Misty Knight: Carl? Who's Carl? You mean Luke?
Diamondback: No, I mean Carl, Misty. "Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." First Peter, chapter five, verse eight. See, my daddy was a preacher. Oh, come on. Aren't you gonna beg? Not even a little bit?
Misty: If you're going to shoot me, then do it!
- Sarcastic Clapping: Misty does one to Mariah after listening to the "story" that Candice gave to the cops.Misty Knight: And the Oscar goes to...
- Shoot Out the Lock: Diamondback shoots the chains barring the front doors of the Palace Theatre to gain access.
- After Willis takes out the ambulance, Luke and Claire climb out. Willis takes this opportunity to start taunting Luke with The Warriors quotes, including Cyrus's "Can you dig it?" and Luther's "Warriors, come out and play!" Luke immediately recognizes him because as kids, they saw that movie pretty regularly.
- The way Diamondback says, "Nigga, I am your brother" is almost like Darth Vader's reveal as Luke's father in The Empire Strikes Back.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Taken hostage by Diamondback, Misty tires of his ramblings and says, "If you're gonna shoot me, then do it."
- Wham Line: Willis Stryker speaks to Luke before shooting him a second time with a Judas bullet.Luke Cage: Willis, I'm sorry. You don't have to do this. I loved you like a brother.
Diamondback: Nigga, I am your brother.
- Worf Had the Flu: Luke loses to Willis because of the injuries from the Judas.