Luke Cage episode 11, “Now You’re Mine,” picks up right where episode ten, “Take It Personal,” left off. The gunfight is raging at Harlem’s Paradise, and people are wisely running for their lives. Cage is crouched behind the bar, shielding Misty as best he can with his bulletproof body. Cage signs for Claire to stay where she is, out of harm’s (at least immediate) way, and Shades is out on the street looking surprised. I keep thinking of Shades as Wile E Coyote and his succession of bosses (Stokes, now Diamondback) as the ACME products: Shades has things under control until something blows up in his face. I almost feel bad for him.
Cage makes a run for the kitchen that I’m not quite sure how Misty survived, considering how many people were unloading automatic weapons at them. But they make it, and Cage barricades them in. Claire isn’t as lucky, and is taken hostage along with several others. Shades is getting really worried about how this is spinning out of control (How you doing there, Wile E?) as Diamondback seems serenely confident that everything will be fine. I really think Diamondback doesn’t quite experience the same reality everyone else does. There is a great scene where Shades uses Diamondback’s first name as part of an old catchphrase.
Chaos ensues and finally somewhat stabilizes in three places. Claire is in the main part of the club with most of the hostages. Stryker takes Councilman Boone up to what used to be Stokes’ office. And Cage and Misty hide in the kitchen. Aside from Shades and the increasingly divorced from reality Stryker, the bad guys are Zip, Los, and Sugar. Those three just really need to get away from this club. Nothing good for them ever happens here.
Luke worked at the club long enough to know some of the secrets. Apparently it can trace its roots back to Lucky Luciano during the Prohibition era, so it has some hidey holes, and Luke takes Misty to one under the kitchen floor. I get that he’s worried, but he’s bulletproof and doesn’t need to hide, and Misty’s bleeding badly, requiring medical help, not hiding out. Luke shares some of his and Diamondback’s history, prompting Misty to comment, “Your family is really jacked up.”
Outside, the cops and the press have arrived, and it’s not a good night for anyone. The press seems to have swallowed Mariah’s story from earlier hook, line, and sinker, repeating almost every sentence how this is all Luke Cage’s fault. Inspector Ridley takes command of the scene, and has a few disagreements with the tactical elements. She’s in for a rough night.
Shades tries to get through to Stryker, but he’s way too far gone into his own version of how things will happen. It’s like someone got a bit too persuaded by one of those positive thinking seminars. Misty tries to call Ridley, but the reception down in the sub-basement isn’t that good. Councilman Boone becomes Stryker’s mouthpiece to talk to the cops. Stryker has Boone saying that Cage is the one taking hostages.
As Cage patches up Misty, they talk about his past. Now, he was Force Recon, an elite part of the Marines. It seems like either his history is changing, or he’s not bothering to mention being an ex-cop to the police, which might help his case. In the comics, Cage was neither Marine nor cop. Misty urges him to help the people upstairs, and Cage worries that she’ll bleed out if he goes.
As Stryker spews crazy all over Boone, Claire notices one of the hostages is hurt. Claire ends up talking to Candace, the hostess Mariah paid to lie about Luke. Claire bluffs the dim-witted Sugar and manages to persuade him to let her help Candace. They talk and Candace says this is all her fault and tells Claire the truth about Luke. After Claire gets some useful facts, she tricks the guard into bringing her downstairs, then knocks the idiot out so she can go find Luke.
Misty agrees to help Luke, although I’m not sure what her other choice is at this point. Outside, Ridley gets more help in the form of assistant DA Blake Tower, last seen in Daredevil’s second season as part of the Punisher mess. Blake actually seems like a reasonable guy and makes some very valid observations at the night goes on. Even Ridley is starting to realize something’s wrong here, as Cage has never used guns before. He doesn’t need them, as she comments. We also learn that Mariah Dillard is in a closed-door meeting with the mayor about “enhanced weapons.”
Downstairs, Claire manages to link up with Luke and Misty and patches up Misty as best she can. This gets really amusing, when Claire takes charge, saying, “Me, medical shit. You, bulletproof shit.” Misty comments they sound married. She and Claire talk a lot over the course of this night and compare notes on a few things. Outside, Ridley and Tower agree they don’t trust Dillard, and get some odd demands relayed through Boone.
Styker continues to babble at Boone, and give some of his backstory. I swear, Stryker is the whiniest villain yet in any of the Marvel projects. Magneto wants to make the world safe for mutants, Stane wanted control of Stark’s company, Fisk really believed he was going to make Hell’s Kitchen a better place. Stryker just has Daddy issues. The cops interview a few hostages that were let go, and realize that things are not what they first thought.
The thugs get edgy as Shades and Diamondback argue about what’s going to happen next. Shades is still trying to inject reality, and Diamondback is threatening about what’s going to happen afterwards. They finally figure out who Claire is, and the potential threat from Candace’s knowledge. Diamondback turns on a club-wide PA system we’ve never seen before now and tells Luke to come out or he’ll start killing hostages. Luke is coming up anyway, so they are going to be meeting up. Claire and Misty keep talking, and Claire gets a great line off about “trouble stalks me like a crazy ex-boyfriend.”
Stryker goes on about his life, which to me sounds like he made a lot of bad choices, but he, of course, blames Luke for all of it. Luke wades through the thugs, who really shouldn’t even be trying to fight him anymore. Stryker ends his conversation with Boone, and they throw the hapless Councilman out the club’s doors, giving the press something else to blame Luke for.
Shades is far too clever for anyone’s good, and finds the hiding spot. He gets down there and there’s a knock down ugly fight between him, Misty, and Claire. There’s nothing showy or cool, just a desperate struggle for survival, which bonds Misty and Claire closer. It’s a really well done scene. Cage finds Styker and tries to talk him down, but Stryker has managed to get Candace and is holding her at the very edge of the balcony. There’s a lot of talking, a bit of shooting, and this is about when the cops decide to move in.
Cage proves he’s a hero several times over. He could have gotten away, but stays to save Candace’s life. He could certainly have taken down the cops, new weapons or not, but doesn’t raise a hand against them. They take him in to custody as Stryker gets led out a back way by Zip and his annoying cockroach-like habit of surviving everything. Misty, even as she’s being taken to the ambulance, tells Ridley Luke is innocent. Ridley seems to at least be listening. Claire gets some minor payback on Shades after he’s arrested, and then slips away as Luke urged her to do before. It’s a moment to catch your breath and end the episode.
What I liked: Claire and Misty made a great team. Claire overall is just a kick-ass character. Ridley finally started listening to reason. Luke was very heroic many times throughout the episode. Tower showing up and making comparisons to what he went through with Castle made a lot of sense and was another nice touch of continuity.
What I didn’t: Stryker is just whiny. And annoying. And I really look forward to being done with him. I still don’t understand where he got his punch machine from, or why he has it. Why are the idiot thugs still trying to shoot or punch Cage? As badly as she was bleeding, even with help from Luke and then Claire, I’m not sure I buy she survived. Although I do wonder if this is set up for the bionic arm she has in the comics.
Overall, another great episode. I’ll go 4 out of 5 for this as we build to the conclusion.