“Suckas Need Bodyguards,” the sixth episode of Luke Cage, opens with a nice bit of a crossover. There are a lot of divided opinions over Luke’s recent actions, and they are being discussed on “Trish Talks.” That’s the radio talk show hosted by Trish Walker, best friend of Jessica Jones and a big part of her series, as was Luke in Season One. With this much public comment about Luke, I do wonder how long it will be until SHIELD comes knocking about Registration for the Sokovia Accords. A lot of the scenery under this is Luke jogging through the streets. Even supers need to work on their cardio, I guess.
When the action picks up, there’s a meeting between Cottonmouth Stokes and his paid- for police detective, Scarfe. There’s no honor among thieves, or at least not among gangsters and crooked cops, and they have a falling out that ends badly. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Cottonmouth isn’t exactly the kind and understanding sort.
Marriah is preparing for a big tv interview, shooting some background talk on the steps of her brownstone. Luke jogs up and has a chat with her after the camera stops. He’s very quiet and confident, but Mariah holds her own and gets a few good lines. She’s clearly not happy with him as he jogs off.
Back at the barber shop, Bobby Fish and Luke discuss getting the place open again. A major drawback to their business plan is that neither of them know how to cut hair. I guess there’s going to be a help wanted ad in their future. Bobby jokes that Luke could make a living robbing bad guys, which might be another veiled reference to his comic book career as a Hero For Hire.
Marriah and Stokes have a meeting, by which I mean Marriah spends a lot of time yelling at and lecturing Stokes. They might be cousins, but they fight more like brother and sister. Marriah actually makes some good points about Stokes’ options. But Cottonmouth has way too much pride to just walk away. Since she can’t persuade him to change his path, she offers some suggestions on how to deal with their biggest problem: Cage. Marriah might be trying to play nice for the cameras, but she’s just as dark and ruthless as Stokes ever was. After this, Stokes calls another of his crooked cops, Lt. Perez, one of Misty’s supervisors.
Cage and Bobby go out for breakfast and end up in the A Train Diner, which is the place Claire’s mom owns. Soldedad (Claire’s mom) calls up her daughter and encourages her to talk to Luke. Bobby excuses himself in a very classy way to let that happen. Luke doesn’t actually remember Claire from their first meeting initially, which makes sense considering he’d had a major head trauma. She encourages him to do something with his abilities, and he’s clearly not comfortable with the topic. Watching Soledad urge on Claire is entertaining.
Scarfe’s disappearance, coupled with the rumors from IA, is making work rough on his partner, Misty. The Captain decides she needs her best on the case, and assigns Misty and Perez. Misty is less than thrilled at the assignment, and they clash as they get to work.
Claire follows Luke through the streets, trying to persuade him to her point of view. She’s very passionate about her beliefs. Their discussion is interrupted when they get back to the barber shop and find Scarfe hiding out. Let’s just say that after his disagreement with Stokes, he’s very much in need of Claire’s talents. Luke isn’t inclined to help him until Scarfe reveals that he has information that could help bring Cottonmouth down.
At Scarfe’s place, Misty uses her talent at crime scene reconstruction to try and figure out where the missing detective is now. She’s not psychic, so she doesn’t home in on him, but it’s an impressive display. Perez is less than impressed, and comments on everyone thinking she’s a weirdo. In response, Misty explains why she feels so strongly about Scarfe, and shares a tragedy from his past.
While Marriah prepares for her interview, Misty and the very bored Perez stake out Scarfe’s place. Luke manages to get past them, finds Scarfe’s evidence that the cops missed, and then has to duck out when Misty notices the broken door. Luke gets away by taking advantage of his powers to make a unique escape.
Claire, Luke, and Scarfe hit the road, leaving the barber shop and trying to get Scarfe and his evidence someplace safe. Soledad has arrived with her catering van, and hands it over after a stern warning to Luke that he takes seriously. Luke has a plan for the evidence that doesn’t thrill Scarfe, but he doesn’t get a lot of say in it at this point. As they get on the road, both the cops and Stokes’ people are all looking for them. It’s going to be a rough trip, even without New York’s infamous traffic.
They don’t get that far before Stokes’ network, and the promise of a huge reward, draws some unwanted attention to them of the automatic weapon kind. While Luke and company lead the thugs on a chase with some special twists from Luke’s powers, Misty gets her only ugly surprise on her stakeout. This is going to be a nasty week for the NYPD.
Luke can’t have all the bad times today. Marriah’s interview takes a turn she didn’t see coming and things get ugly for the very corrupt Councilwoman. I don’t know who that reporter’s sources are, but they’re damn good. Marriah ends the interview in a huff that is just not going to play well on tv. Then, after that, she gets another shock later in the episode.
Cage and his group end up in some of the many tunnels under New York. The thugs pursue and Luke has to work hard to keep everyone safe. He’s definitely taking the position of rear guard seriously. By the time the group ends up on the streets again, Luke needs to perform a very dramatic rescue. He does this just as Misty arrives, which should remove any doubts at all she has about his powers. But even Luke can only do so much, and not everyone makes it.
The end of the show has a lot of small but important scenes. Stokes gets some very bad publicity. Marriah gets a shock. Claire’s captain makes a comment about Stokes, Marriah, and even Fisk from Daredevil’s first season. There’s also a comment that makes it sound like things aren’t going to go as easily as Misty hoped.
What I liked: Claire is working on having the most interesting hero’s journey of the Netflix series. It’s great to see her again and I like the direction they are taking her in. Luke is growing into a role as hero, whether he wants to or not. Marriah’s interview was an interesting twist. Bobby is also doing well at pushing Luke along towards being something greater. There’s finally a better sense of stakes as Luke is working so hard to protect others this time. Using Trish’s show as a framing device was a really nice touch.
What I didn’t: Actually… not much. This was a great episode. I don’t like the foreshadowing about Stokes maybe getting out from under his new problems, but then again, this only six out of thirteen episodes.
I’ll give this one a 4.5 out of 5. It doesn’t get the 5 solely because there wasn’t a scene that really wowed me, it was overall really well done.