Episode Title: Who’s Gonna Take the Weight
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016
Episode 3 begins the day after the climatic ending of the second episode that saw Pops die and Chico be sent to the hospital. We find the Harlem community in shock due to the loss of Pop and what he and his business meant to so many people. Luke is out for revenge because he believes Cottonmouth broke his word and put all of them at risk and Luke is finally ready to take the fight to him.
Even though Luke is ready to wage war, I don’t think that is the weight that the title of the episode is referring. I think it is the weight that Pops carried, who will provide a sanctuary for the youth of Harlem to escape some of the dreary realities of life even if only for a few hours. Will the Crooked politician Mariah who does not seem to be all-bad, even if she is willing to let someone go to any length to get her the money she needs to reach her goals. She also might be a bit of a racist. I could not tell him her comment about invaders was referring to people of other races that were moving into Harlem or if she was referring to people with abilities.
It won’t be Cottonmouth, his only desires are power, respect and money, and he does not care if they are earned through fear and intimidation or any other mean necessary. Cottonmouth played by Mahershala Ali is a great character after only three episodes. He enjoys being violent but doesn’t seem to have a need for it, he would rather do his illicit acts with integrity then to always be looking out for double crossing and backstabbing. Ali was in two of the three best-acted scenes of this episode and he had my favorite line, when in mid argument he tells Mariah to stop breaking things because it is his stuff to break. He also had a powerful scene when he had his meeting with Domingo, you could see how the lack of respect was getting to him and he wished he had the freedom to do more about it, but he doesn’t want to have a full out war with Domingo’s organization. Ali has a great smile that he can use to light up a room and make people feel relaxed but he can also make it look very creepy like he did at the end of this episode.
The other stand out scene this episode was between Misty and Scarfe, when they were discussing the influence Pop had on her life. It was a scene that means a little more to big time sports fans who understand what it is like to find out that someone you like is a fan of your team’s rival and how disappointing that is. The playful banter that the two have is a lot of fun and all of their future scenes will have an extra bit of tension because we know things about Scarfe that Misty doesn’t and we don’t when everything will hit the fan.
This episode saw a new director introduced to the series, Guillermo Navarro a cinematographer for more than 30 years on many of Guillermo Del Toro’s projects will only be directing this single episode before we are passed to a third director in four episodes. This is not an uncommon formula for TV, no matter how crazy it seems, with the writers and producers all staying, the same directors can only add so much of their personal flair because if they do anything too wild how will the people follow them up without drastically changing the series. The cinematography felt a bit week to me while I was watching this episode. Several jerky movements, a few awkward pans would occasionally take me out of a scene for a few seconds.
So far, Luke Cage is fitting perfectly into the Marvel Netflix universe. You can definitely feel the connections to the world and we already know how he is linked to Jessica Jones but there is a little bit of a different vibe to this show. You get some of it in Daredevil with the levity that Foggy can bring to the show but for the most part Matt/Daredevil are dark, brooding, angry character that don’t offer much fun outside of them punching people. Jessica Jones was not afraid to tell a joke but because of the subject matter, there wasn’t much fun to be had. I am not saying a show has to be fun and light hearted to be great but so far, Luke Cage seems to be getting the mixture a little closer to perfection.
To prove my point about the different feel to the show I think everyone should take the time to watch this video. I don’t know who made this but I give them all the credit in the world and I wish they could thank them because it is a great video. You may or may not remember that I mentioned the great 90’s sitcom Family Matter last week and I guess I wasn’t the only one who had that thought. I hope you are enjoying the show as much as I am feel free to comment or send me a message @jvl007 on twitter if you want to discuss this or any other hero related entertainment. I bet this is how Cottonmouth would react to the video.