PREVIOUSLY: Luke Cage episode 2 recap
“Who’s Gonna Take the Weight” may be Luke Cage the character’s best episode so far. Pop’s death lit a fire under him, and he’s finally starting to play an active and interesting role in the show. He decides it’s time to take the fight to Cottonmouth, not only for revenge, but also because he needs money to keep the bank from taking from the barber shop. So, Luke starts by attacking some of Cottonmouth’s stash houses; he takes money and makes it look like Domingo, one of Cornell’s associates, is coming after him. The entire montage is set to “Ain’t It a Sin” by Charles Bradley, who just happens to be performing at Harlem’s Paradise.
Obviously, Cottonmouth and Mariah become very concerned about their money, so they enact their backup plan. Cottonmouth brings all of the money to Crispus Attucks, which is nicknamed Fort Knox because it’s impenetrable since you can only get in through one door. Little do the Stokes know, this was part of Luke’s plan all along. As they secure their money, the cousins also argue about their different approaches to having a hand in Harlem’s future. While Cornell isn’t afraid to be called a criminal, Mariah is very passionate about her civic activity and is insulted when Cottonmouth considers her work a hustle.
“I sincerely care about what happens up here. The only way to save Harlem is to do it legally, fortify against the real invaders,” she says.
Nighttime arrives, which means it’s finally time for Luke to lay siege on Crispus Attucks — something we’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the last episode. And, boy is it fun and thrilling. As Wu Tang Clan’s “Bring Da Ruckus” plays, Luke busts into the fortress dressed in a hoodie and taking bullets like it’s nothing. I particularly loved the moment when Luke takes a group of Cottonmouth’s goons out with a couch. Once he’s done causing some chaos, he steals some bags of money and strolls out of there.
NEXT: And the violence just keeps coming
Misty Knight, who has become suspicious of Luke since Pop’s death, figures out he’s the bulletproof guy who tore through the building and wants to bring him in since she’s pretty much again vigilantism. Scarfe, meanwhile, doesn’t care because it makes his job easier. Their argument about it gets cut short when Scarfe gets a phone call and drives off to meet Chico, who wants to confess to everything he knows about Cottonmouth. However, he doesn’t get the chance to come clean because Scarfe kills him. The murder is shot from a distance, which makes it all the more uncomfortable watch (and was very similar to how Mr. Robot handled violent scenes like this in its second season).
So no surprise: It turns out Scarfe is working for Cottonmouth. And after taking care of his Chico problem, he pays his patron a visit to tell him that Luke Cage was the one who attacked his fortress. Cottonmouth decides it’s time to take the fight to Luke Cage.
Meanwhile, Luke is enjoying a meal at Genghis Connie’s restaurant, which is right underneath his apartment, after giving his landlady Connie a cut from what he stole from Cottonmouth. But that meal is interrupted when Cottonmouth fires a rocket into the building. “Sweet sister,” he whispers as the rocket hurtles toward the restaurant, bringing the entire apartment building down. Cottonmouth laughs and walks away.