Marvel's Luke Cage 01×08 Review: 'Blowin' Up the Spot'

For this entire season we have heard rumblings about Diamondback, almost as if he is some form of Boogieman within in Harlem, calling the shots, but we never get to see his face – until now, in ‘Blowin’ Up the Spot. Especially since Cottonmouth was killed in the last episode, it was time for a newer and badder villain to take his place.
And Diamondback sashayed into that role perfectly:

The Cottonmouth Debacle

Before they could properly introduce the new villain, they had to deal with the repercussions of  Cottonmouth’s death, after he was killed by Mariah in the previous episode. Mariah and Shades, pros that they are, worked together to make it look as if Cottonmouth was killed by Luke Cage, even going so much as to pay a witness, Candace in order to claim that she saw Luke at the scene of the crime.
But Misty Knight ain’t no fool, she was onto Mariah, mainly because she could see that the crime was one of passion – and while Luke hated Cottonmouth he did not have a particularly strong connection to him – like a lover or a family member. Misty also knew that Candace was scared of Cottonmouth and it was very unlikely that she would have become one of his lovers as she claimed in her story. But because she had nothing to pin Mariah to the crime, she had to follow the straight path and pursue Luke instead.
It will be interesting to see if Luke will be found guilty for this crime (it feels like he has enough to deal with) or whether the law will circumvent back around to Mariah. Perhaps Diamondback and Shades will be the ones to sell her out?

Claire + Misty = Dream Team

Luke was out of commission for most of the episode as he was injured by the gunshot at the end of the last episode. Misty whisked him away in an ambulance but it was knocked off the road by the shooter, who taunted them through the streets of Harlem. Misty ended up taking Luke to a woman’s clinic where she attempted to patch him up but the bullet (remember the bullet that Shades showed Cottonmouth?) penetrated his skin, burst in his body and scattered shrapnel everywhere.
While Luke was out, it gave the women – more specifically Mariah and Misty, time to shine. One can see that Misty is battling with herself and what she believes to be right. Simone Missick was excellent in this episode as she went from questioning Candace and Mariah to searching for Luke and Claire to her altercation with Diamondback to her final scene where she got physical with Claire when she questioned her abilities as the police.
Although their interactions were not the friendliest, I did see chemistry and potential for a great team up between Claire and Misty, whether to defend Luke or Harlem, these two have the makings of an excellent duo. If only we will get to see more of Claire doing things other than playing the role of Luke’s personal nurse.

The Deal with Diamondback

The reveal of who Diamondback was slightly anticlimactic, those who are fans of the comics now that Diamondback is Willis Stryker, a childhood friend of Luke Cage, but the shows decision to first reveal Diamondback’s identity and then try and explain who he is, haltered the shock factor and made me feel confused rather than surprised. When Stryker announces that he is Diamondback, I instinctively wondered if he should be familiar to me, was he in the prison with Luke? Is he a Pop’s regular?
But no, what we could gauge from the dance between the two, Styker and Luke were childhood friends (or brothers, as Stryker revealed), Luke left him in the gutter and he was the one that sent Luke to jail. If it is mirroring the comics, Luke was framed by Styker, but the rest of the story will be revealed in a further episode.
‘Blowin’ Up the Spot’ left Luke being shot by the Judas bullet again by Diamondback and falling on a rubbish vehicle being transported somewhere. But we know we still have five more episodes to go, so it’s doubtful that Luke will die but we don’t know what else Diamondback has up his sleeve.
Marvel’s Luke Cage is currently streaming on Netflix

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