Last episode’s surprising ending, with Bushmaster sucker-punching Luke and knocking him flat, gets repeated in the next one, “I Get Physical.” This time we see the moments leading up to the ambush from DW’s point of view, as the young documentarian follows Luke through the streets, sees the infamous punch, and gets a few words from Bushmaster. DW is a fan of Luke’s, but he’s made it clear he’s all about the money, so the video goes viral in no time.
Luke fights his way back to consciousness, surrounded by what you’d expect these days: people getting as many pics as they can. DW at least gives Luke the Bushmaster name. Luke staggers back to the barber shop, clearly in pain and not doing that well. Gee, Luke, you’re all kinds of physically screwed up. Isn’t this a great time for your crappy attitude to have chased off your girlfriend who also seems to be the best authority on superhuman medicine these days? Bobby Fish comes in and commiserates a bit, making a few good, subtle points as he usually does.
At the Harlem precinct, Misty works at her desk, glaring at her rivals Bailey and Tyler. Bailey sees the footage of Luke getting taken down and seems really happy about it. Misty makes several great points about why that shouldn’t be something that makes him laugh. Those two characters seem to exist mostly to contrast Misty’s dedication and commitment. Captain Ridenhour comes in and quells the argument. When Misty talks to the captain about the video, Ridenhour has a realistic attitude about it, although not what Misty was hoping to hear. She finally leaves, claiming a therapy session for her arm.
Mariah and Alex celebrate the huge profit they made from the Atreus Plastics sale. Shades looks on and comments they are on the edge of a new world. When Shades tries to find out what’s next, he pretty much gets blown off and more or less gets a version of “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.” Shades is also worried at their drinking so much so early in the day, and has a healthy skepticism about the good fortune. Then they see the Cage footage and Mariah is thrilled, while Shades looks troubled. I really do think he’s smarter than she is, or at least in better control.
Luke runs across DW selling copies of the video, and he’s surprised and disappointed. After that surprise, Luke gets more bad news from DW. The Hero of Harlem is having a bad day. Shades finally gets Mariah to listen to him about a few things he’s worried about, and gives her some information she didn’t have about Bushmaster and the Yardies. Mariah is overconfident about her future, but has a telling reaction about something Shades said, although she won’t tell him what’s worrying her. Luke confirms DW’s bad news and gets some deserved bad attitude from someone, as well as a message.
Shades leaves Comanche to guard the club, and gets more of Comanche’s contempt for Mariah. Those two seem to be heading for a major confrontation down the road. Misty finds Luke, after some guidance from Bobby, and after handling a bit of police business everyone knew the answer to ahead of time, asks for Luke to come with her to Brooklyn to investigate something. They talk about Nigel the missing Jamaican, Luke and Claire’s relationship, and the concept of Rules of Engagement. They get where they’re heading, exchange some Ripley vs. Sarah Connor banter, and find out that Bushmaster and the Yardies have left the building. They find something shocking that bumps things up from their covert mission to having to officially call things in.
Comanche has a talk with Mariah. All things considered, he not only behaves himself, he gives her some really good advice she doesn’t want to listen to. Misty runs into an old work buddy, Detective Tomas Ciancio, who fills in some blanks about the Yardies. He also gives them Bushmaster’s real name, John McIver, who he calls the Jamaican boogieman. Luke leaves, staggering still from his earlier beating, and gets some very firm parting words from Misty. She’s direct, and I get where she’s coming from, but she’s not exactly kind. She does offer some hope for Luke on one front.
In another musical montage from a great act at Harlem’s Paradise, Mariah looks worried, Luke deals with being on the bus when famous, and Tilda sees some video that makes her think. Misty and Tomas go to an ICE facility to get some background on McIver, while Tilda does some research and sees something that ties back to the comics.
Luke staggers to Tilda’s ironically named “Mother’s Touch” shop, looking for information about Bushmaster and whatever he did. They have a good talk which I suspect would be a lot different if he knew she was Mariah’s daughter. She makes a few good observations and does a little something to help Luke out. He asks for her help finding Bushmaster as he leaves, and she gives him an answer I’m not sure I believe. Misty gets some half-answers and parables in her quest to learn more about Bushmaster at the ICE facility.
Harlem’s Paradise is the scene of more great music and an interesting meeting as Mariah and Bushmaster finally meet up. She thanks him for a public service, and he asks a lot of questions about the club. They exchange barbs and he gets a rise out of her with the name issue he’s been pushing the entire season. As Bushmaster leaves, Shades hears something about Comanche that worries him.
Bushmaster goes back to Gwen’s, the restaurant he’s been spending time in. His methods are drawing mixed reactions from the crowd there. Bushmaster, being called John-John by the people here, debates things with Anansi, his elder. Outside, Shades watches the place and fails to get hold of one of his allies. We see a secret about one of the players in the game, who isn’t on the side it seemed. Misty gets a package at work from Danny and Colleen that should make things interesting for the maimed detective.
Luke ends the episode in the barber shop. He and Bobby have a talk, and Bobby’s news makes it sound like he’s going to be out of the picture for a while. Bobby gives Luke more good advice and then the older man leaves. Luke gets a new visitor with some bad news to end the episode.
What I liked: I suspect I’m going to regret it later, but at the moment I like Tilda. She seems pretty cool, and is a lot more level-headed and kind than her mother, although granted that doesn’t say much. I like Misty a lot, and her determination to do the right thing. If Luke would listen to her and Bobby, he’d be a lot better off. I get he’s a bad guy, but of the bad guys, Shades seems to be the more reasonable. For a gangster and a murderer anyway. The music is fantastic, like last season.
What I didn’t: Luke’s attitude is going to keep getting him in more and more trouble, and I’m really puzzled that it seems to be coming from nowhere. A lot of the others have problems they’ve mentioned in their back stories, which explains why they are the way they are now. Luke seems to have gone through some kind of major personality shift for no apparent reason, and it’s really jarring.
Aside from Luke’s weird change, I like the writing on this show. It’s really good, and possibly my favorite of the Marvel/Netflix/Defenders. I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5.