Season 1 Episode 9: "DWYCK"
The episode starts with Misty Knight in the middle of an interrogation for getting all rough with Claire. While Misty has some attitude, she breaks down and it's clear she's feeling helpless from her encounter with Diamondback and worried that she's losing the fight against the big bad, whom she assumes to be Luke. We find out more about Misty's backstory and the tragic reason why she became a cop and chose to stay in Harlem.
Diamondback confronts Shades about deflecting to Mariah and Cottonmouth being dead—we find out that Diamondback considered Cottonmouth his brother. He's also furious because Luke is supposed to be dead, but nobody's found his body yet.
Mariah visits Cottonmouth's body and tearfully apologizes to his corpse. A little late, Mariah. Then Shades skulks in and tells her she did what she had to, and enlists her help in finding Luke Cage after insisting the "business" is hers now. She doesn't want it. He tells her she has to keep it together in order to hand off the business seamlessly to the other big bads in town. Mariah meets with the mob bosses to try and get them to buy her out of the game because she doesn't want to be part of the crime syndicate anymore- and everything seems to be going well until Diamondback shows up and murderizes almost all the mobsters because he's all pissy that he wasn't invited to the party so he throws a Malificent-style tantrum—and a KNIFE. INTO A DUDE'S EYE. Instead of killing Mariah, though, Diamondback recognizes crazy in her and wants to be friends—especially after Mariah suggests using the leaked footage of Luke attacking officers to broker a deal with the cops for the Judas bullets. Mariah again tries to step away, but Diamondback insists she be a part of the deal.
Meanwhile, after getting caught on camera attacking some cops in self defense, a gravely injured Luke reluctantly flees Harlem with Claire and a bunch of chunks of rusty metal in his gut to meet with the super creepy mad scientist doc who Frankensteined Luke into existence after his big prison fight, in hopes of removing the shrapnel after Claire can't get into his skin to remove it before his skin pushes the shrapnel into his organs. Mad scientist dude confirms that abalone shell was used in the experiment and decides that the only way to soften Luke's skin is to dip him in boiling acid. Luke has a heart attack from the shock and pain of the boiling acid and then fade to black.
For a show that's about a bulletproof dude, the real stars of Luke Cage continue to be the female characters. Misty, even after her breakdown, continues to be a tough-as-nails cop—and one of the only good ones on the force. Claire's emotional strength rivals Luke's physical power, and Mariah is really taking the reins as a more than capable villainous mastermind. Where the male characters are flawed, weak, prone to acting out—except for Shades, who is as calculating and cold and slimy as ever—the ladies get shit DONE. Cottonmouth is dead, Pop is dead, Diamondback is completely ruled by anger, Zip is completely useless, the Doc is a mad scientist lunatic, Luke is beyond emotionally stunted, and the majority of the corrupt cops on the force are dudes, including our dearly departed Detective Mayonnaise.
Also, as much as I'm loving the Harlem crime drama element of the series, the science-y scenes were a welcome break from all that- as cool as it is to see a superhero punchin' stuff, I love origin stories and Luke's is a great one. The experiment storyline adds a depth to this show that keeps it from being a straight crime drama with super punching, which is needed. This may have been one of my favorite episodes in the season so far.
BODY COUNT: 4 Including a freaking THROWING KNIFE TO THE EYE