At San Diego Comic Con, showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker commented that the world is ready for a bulletproof black man. The room erupted with applause as some clips began to play. In the footage, Luke Cage rips a door off of a car and uses it as a shield against some gang members. And when the door is no longer needed, he deflects the bullets with his chest—a powerful message in today’s society.
And while those clips were supposed to tide us over until September 30th, we finally got some context in “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight.” In order to save Pop’s shop from the bank, Luke decides to hit Cottonmouth’s Fort Knox where he keeps all of his cash hidden. After two episodes of exposition, we finally get to see what Luke can do. The fight scenes were less choreographed than Daredevil or Jessica Jones, but I suppose that was the point; Luke is literally invincible so having to gracefully dodge bullets isn’t necessary. I did find it a little funny how they portrayed the hallway scenes though.
There is a laughing gag that Marvel has to have at least one hallway fight in all of their series. In this fight, every time it looks like they’re about to have a hallway fight, Luke just pushes them off, avoiding it at all costs. It felt like a little meta jab at their fans. After all the bustle, he manages to escape with all of the cash, but not without attracting Misty’s attention. When looking at the crime scene photos, she sees a large hooded individual escaping the building and automatically knows that it has to be Luke.
With that little act, it’s not looking good between Mariah and Cottonmouth. During their heated discussion, we get a better glimpse into Mariah’s character. Unlike other politicians, she actually cares about Harlem and wants to restore it like their late grandmother Mabel did. But people are starting to ask questions about the shortage of funds and it could very well trace back to her.
Besides family drama, Luke has also inadvertently started a street war between Cottonmouth and weapons dealer, Domingo. From just looking at Domingo’s threats and Cottonmouth’s put together poker face, this is just the beginning of what’s to come.
Going back to the beginning of the episode, we see Misty and Scarfe try to interrogate Chico in the hospital (he must have literal plot armor to have survived that messy shootout). After a failed attempt, Scarfe takes him out for some food and a casual one and one session. Just as we’re about to think there is some softness to this snarky character, he takes off his tie and strangles Chico to death.
In a gritty police procedural, I suppose it’s necessary to have at least one dirty cop. Though, Scarfe seems to have more complexity than just a cop who is paid to keep quiet. While they were going over the Fort Knox crime photos, Scarfe was saying how cops are not needed anymore because vigilantes exist. In the two Marvel series we’ve seen so far, we haven’t really gotten a police perspective on it before. We’ve seen the courts deal with it in Daredevil, but never once have gotten a personal view. It really puts more depth in Scarfe’s choices. But for now, we hate him, especially because he informed Cottonmouth that Luke Cage is the one responsible for the robbery.
While the money mainly went to Pop’s shop, Luke also uses it to make right by people. He gives money to Connie to make up for rent, but she politely refuses, asking him to focus on himself. It’s a very sentimental moment and it seems like Luke has another adult figure to look up to. Unfortunately, the moment is ruined when Cottonmouth decides to blow up Genghis Connie’s with both Luke and Connie inside. It’s a very tense ending to the episode and a thankful reminder that you don’t have to wait a week to find out what happens.
Overall, the episode was a great episode in terms of character development. We got see different sides of Mariah, Luke, and Scarfe and their motivations. We also got to see the potential turning point for the series. Will Connie die and make Luke avenge her death? Or will he save her with his strength?