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Recap / Luke Cage 2016 S 2 E 13 They Reminisce Over You

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Mariah adapts to her new circumstances in prison and goes to extremes to cover her tracks, killing almost everyone ever associated with her. Luke takes a new approach to protecting Harlem which alienates some of his friends.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Sugar admits that as horrible as Mariah was, he still owes her a lot and he's going to miss her.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Rosalie's claim to be as much a native of Harlem as anybody else might strike some people as odd, but up until The '80s Harlem was home to one of the oldest Italian communities in Manhattan. It was also one of the strongholds of The Mafia.
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  • Analogy Backfire: Mariah tries to use Katrina references in her speech, but the judge finds them offensive as she's got family who lost their houses to the hurricane.
  • Artistic License – Law: Misty mocks Shades for dismissing his lawyer halfway through his confession, before she could tell him the terms of his confession deal. But his lawyer would have had to make the terms clear to him before he agreed to take the deal and start confessing.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Shades does this to one of Mariah's goons sent after him.
  • Back for the Finale: Claire, though only off-screen.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Mariah spares Sugar from The Purge of all her bodyguards and employees because his wife gave her clothes after Bushmaster burned down her house and took all her money.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The recipe of the concoction Tilda is preparing before visiting Mariah is called "Beso de la Araña". Viewers fluent in Spanish will know this translates as "Kiss of the Spider".
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Luke has finally rid Harlem of the Stokes crime family and seems to have brought peace through his truces with Carbone, albeit at great cost and with no guarantees he won't be seduced down the same path of corruption.
  • Continuity Nod: Mariah recalls Sugar's kindness when the brownstone was burnt down, and returns the favour by not ordering a hit on him when he could testify against her.
  • Dirty Cop: The corrections officers in the prison are so absurdly corrupt they will take bribes from all sides.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Luke comments about how he's "going to make Harlem great again," and D.W. Griffith likens him to Donald Trump in turn.
  • The Dragon: Sugar becomes Luke's dragon when he takes over Harlem's Paradise.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: After Mariah is put behind bars, hell breaks loose in Harlem due to the struggle for control.
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  • Foreshadowing: Early on, we see Tilda looking over the recipe for the concoction she'll use to poison Mariah.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Tilda is clearly not happy with Luke being given Harlem's Paradise instead of her. She only get's Cornell's piano.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: While he hasn't turned villain yet, it is clear by the end of the episode that Luke is now far more ruthless than before, to the point of alienating D.W., Misty and possibly Claire.
  • Hellhole Prison: The jail Mariah is kept in appears to be absurdly badly run. In the space of a few minutes 4 people are murdered, one a guard. 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 corpses somewhere.
    • It's heavily implied that Rosalie Carbone owns this cell block, seeing as the inmates who shiv the guard are on her payroll.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Shades' Kick the Dog moment with his lawyer ends up coming back to bite him, as she pulled a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! before she could properly explain the terms of the deal, namely that if Mariah wasn't convicted, the deal wouldn't stand. Subverted in that Shades had nothing to do with Mariah's death, which is what actually invalidates the deal, but had he known that his immunity wasn't actually guaranteed then he would probably have skipped town, or at least made himself harder for the cops to find.
  • Karma Houdini: Bushmaster has won his revenge, and now he and Sheldon are returning with his aunt Ingrid to Kingston. Bear in mind Bushmaster hasn't come out of the whole ordeal unscathed due to his nightshade usage, and the emotional toll means he will probably not come back.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty/Laser-Guided Karma: Shades's immunity deal is voided by the fact that it was contingent on Mariah being convicted. With her dead, it means that his confession to the murders of Candace and Comanche can be used against him in court.
  • Kiss of Death: How Tilda is able to poison Mariah.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Mariah orders the assassinations of anyone who could remotely speak up against her. This includes Alex Wesley, her right hand spokesperson. One of her button men tries to kill Shades, but he manages to kill his would-be assassin and personally visits Mariah to tell her that he's untouchable at this point. The only aversions are her daughter Tilda, Sugar (because he and his wife clothed her after the brownstone burnt down), and Donovan, because of their attorney-client privilege.
  • Mythology Gag: The dress and hairstyle Tilda wears at the end, in Harlem's Paradise, resembles her villainous Deadly Nightshade costume. She also takes the last name Johnson, the same as her comic counterpart.
  • Necessarily Evil: Mariah tries to portray herself as this during her arraignment and later to her daughter. Both the Judge and Tilda don't buy it.
  • Nerves of Steel: Rosalie Carbone doesn't flinch even once during Luke's "visit".
  • Revenge Through Corruption: The reason Mariah leaves Harlem's Paradise to Luke. She's hoping that being left in her former position of power will drive him to the dark side.
  • Shed the Family Name: While looking at Mariah's body in the morgue, Tilda officially throws out her associations with the Stokeses in her conversation with Spurlock, and insists on being called Tilda Johnson.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The final scene has a shot-reverse shot that references the final shot of The Godfather, with Luke and Misty standing in for Michael Corleone and his wife Kay.
    • Mariah's speech about a "wall around Harlem" is also quite similar to Col. Jessup's speech regarding men guarding a wall in A Few Good Men and even includes a very similar line, "You want me out there, you need me out there!"
    • In a cross-series reference, showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker has compared Luke taking over Harlem's Paradise with the Shadowland storyline where Matt Murdock became leader of the Hand.
  • Taking Over the Town: Luke takes over Harlem's Paradise and considers himself the new "Sheriff" of Harlem.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Mariah kills the inmate who just saved her from Carbone's goons to take over her position.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Rosalie Carbone answers Luke's threat of killing her by mentioning that she makes too much money for her business partners from The Mafiya, and they would unleash a blood bath on Harlem if anything happened to her.
  • Wham Episode: The arrest and incarceration of Mariah Dillard creates a power vacuum in the Harlem underworld, leading to a sharp uptick in gang violence as her former rivals try to take over; this is exacerbated by Mariah putting hits out on her former crew members and even her assistant Alex to keep them from testifying against her. Forced to act to stop further bloodshed, Luke Cage makes truce with Mariah and Rosalie Carbone and becomes the defacto boss of Harlem in the process. Mariah dies in prison, poisoned by Tilda, but not before willing Harlem's Paradise to Luke, believing that the power he will wield after she's gone will eventually turn him to the dark side in spite of his good intentions. The denouement shows Luke in the reopened Paradise and being confronted by Misty, who says she will take him down if he pulls a Face–Heel Turn, to which Luke responds "I'm counting on it". He then has Sugar send Claire Temple away and sits behind the office desk, the words of his father echoing as he is left to an uncertain future.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: D.W. and Misty are clearly upset over Luke taking over Harlem.
  • The Woman Behind the Man: Shades points out to Luke that the only way Anibal Izqueda and the Puerto Ricans could've dared to take out the head of the Korean mafia and made a move to expand west and take over Harlem would be if the Italians, i.e. Rosalie Carbone, were backing them and using their influence to keep the Yangshi Gonshi out of it.
  • You Are in Command Now: Mariah bequeaths Harlem's Paradise to Luke, partially because she knows he is strong enough to lead the club, but also because she hopes it will corrupt him into being just as bad as her in the eyes of the law.

"Your strength is from God, Carl. I have no doubt in my mind about that. But with that kind of power comes its share of pain. Science? Magic? God? That power flows from within. From inside. What comes out when that pressure is heaviest? That's the real magic. That's what defines being a man. That's what defines being a hero."

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