PREVIOUSLY: Luke Cage episode 12 recap
The introduction of Diamondback threw Luke Cage for a loop and shook the show up too much. Since we met Willis Stryker, the show became less about the Harlem of it all and more about his vendetta against Luke, which, as I said before, is kind of boring. However, this episode finds the show re-centering itself and getting back to what made the show so interesting: Luke Cage finding his place in Harlem.
It seems as though Mariah’s attempts to sully Luke’s reputation with the people of Harlem hasn’t been entirely successful. Word has spread that he’s innocent and Harlem now views him as a folk hero or Harlem’s Captain America, to borrow Cottonmouth’s name for him.
After Luke escapes from the police transport, one of his guards catches up to him, but lets him go because he believes in him. “More people rooting for you than you think,” says the cop. The show returns to this point later on when Luke, while on the run, takes time out of his day to stop a bodega robbery and happens to run into Method Man, who was just as jazzed to meet Luke as Luke was to meet him. Luke asks if he’d be down to trade sweatshirts, and Method Man gladly takes his bullet-ridden one.
Following that encounter, Method Man goes to Sway’s radio show and talks about the importance of Luke Cage. “There’s something powerful about seeing a black man that’s bulletproof and unafraid,” says Method Man. Yes, that quote combined with Method Man’s ensuing rap about Luke Cage is meta and self-congratulatory. But, you know what? I don’t have a problem with it because a superhero show as progressive and socially conscious is allowed to be meta and self-congratulatory.
Method Man isn’t the only one with Luke Cage fever; it sweeps Harlem and we start to see more and more residents don hoodies with bullet holes as a sign of solidarity with their folk hero. Harlem’s acceptance of Luke Cage is comparable to how I feel about the show itself: I’m overjoyed that it’s on the air because, and this is probably a cliché at this point, there’s nothing like seeing yourself represented on TV.
But, Luke isn’t letting his adopted neighborhood’s support of him get to his head. He’s still pounding the pavement looking for Diamondback. That eventually leads him to Turk, who gives up Stryker’s location. Unfortunately, by time he gets to the warehouse, all that’s left of Diamondback are the bodies of Domingo and his crew and a bomb. Luke manages to escape the building just in time.
NEXT: A meeting at the barbershop