Episode 6 starts off pretty fast and does not let up, as it chronicles the final hours of Officer Scarfe as he attempts to team up with Luke Cage in order to bring down Cottonmouth, who dealt him a mortal gunshot wound. We also finally get to see Claire reunite with Luke, who barely remembers her as he was unconscious during most of her scenes in ‘Jessica Jones.’ Fortunately for him, she comes around just in time to support his heroism and urge him to help Scarfe and bring down Cottonmouth through legal means, instead of lethal force as Luke has hinted about earlier in the season. Unfortunately for Scarfe, at this point, his own fellow officers have realized he was a mole for Cottonmouth, and while Misty does not entirely believe it as she was close to her partner, she helps the police search for their former ally. Pretty quickly, she realizes her new partner is also in Cottonmouth’s pocket, and she manages to record a confession from him on her phone and get him arrested even as she finds a way to meet up with Luke, Claire and Scarfe as they attempt to make their way down to the precinct with evidence.
At this point, the episode really just became a suspense/action/ thriller as Cottonmouth’s men and corrupt cops alike are all trying to stop Team Cage from getting to the precinct. Fortunately, Luke and his allies have a van they borrowed from Claire’s mom (poor van did not have a chance in the world of surviving this adventure) and Luke’s strength, which holds off bullets and trucks alike. Unfortunately, by the time Misty joins the team (and before they get him to Police HQ) Scarfe is close to death, and she barely has time for a quick goodbye before her old partner fades away. But she does take his evidence and uses it to arrest Cottonmouth, who is taken into prison at the end of the episode, though no one really thinks he will stay there for long.
Episode 7 finally tells the tale of Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes and his cousin Mariah Dillard, and we finally get to meet Mama Mabel during the many flashbacks it employs. Mariah starts off the episode pissed that Cottonmouth has been arrested (though he is let out of jail pretty quickly) and that her interview from the previous episode went south, with the interviewee bringing up Mariah’s connections to Cottonmouth and his criminal organization. Cottonmouth spends the episode playing his piano, reminiscing about the events in his life that led him to his criminal empire and who he is, even as Mariah is fervently denying to the press that he is a criminal. In the illuminating flashbacks, we learn Cottonmouth was a musician in the pseudo family held together by Mama Mabel, though she wanted him to forget those aspirations and join the family crime business, as Mama Mabel is well known in the community for various criminal enterprises (except drugs which she abhors). Cottonmouth was supported though by his uncle Pete, who paid for lessons for the boy against Mama Mabel’s wishes. It all goes south though when Cottonmouth learns his uncle is trying to make a deal with a rival gang, and he rats him out to Mama Mabel. Mama Mabel is pissed, and decides to solve all her problems at once and has Cottonmouth kill his uncle, thus bringing the boy into the family business once and for all. And while Cottonmouth is shooting his uncle, young Mariah comes downstairs from her studies to watch, as she has her own problems with Pete.
Luke does not do much in this episode besides flirt with Claire, and pay a visit to Cottonmouth, who tries to blackmail the hero by saying he will out him as fugitive Carl Lucas unless he works for Cottonmouth. Luke leaves, out of options, and then Mariah arrives to speak to Cottonmouth, and they let out some longheld anger. She accuses him of being reckless and stupid in how he has handled Luke Cage, and he rails against her, saying this is not the life he wanted, but Mama Mabel always looked after her and sent her to school, so he was forced into being a criminal. She reveals that Mama Mabel sent her to school because Uncle Pete had been abusing her, and Mama Mabel wanted to separate the two. Cottonmouth, though, is too enraged to sympathize, and he blurts out that he saw Mariah flirting with Pete, and claims she wanted his sexual advances. Which is Mariah’s snapping point, screaming “I did not want it!” as she brains him over the head with a wine bottle, pushes him out the window of the office to the empty club below, and then follows him downstairs and kills him by bludgeoning the man with a microphone stand. Once her cousin is dead, Shades walks out of the shadows and applauds her work, promises to help her cover it up. Meanwhile in a nearby park, Luke is walking with Claire trying to formulate a plan, and he is shot by one of the Judas bullets, which is actually strong enough to penetrate his skin and explode within him. As he lays on the ground with Claire trying to help him, the episode ends.
Loved the flashbacks and everything about Mama Mabel, especially her contradictions. She was known as someone in the neighborhood who could help anyone, be it with extra food, school supplies, or if your husband was beating you and you needed a way to fight back. How ironic then that Mabel’s own husband was abusing one of the children in her house, and Mabel could do nothing about it. Cottonmouth’s story was sad, and it definitely informed his character, but it was really Mariah’s hour to shine, and now it is clear she has been set-up as the primary antagonist of the show from the beginning, Cottonmouth was just her training wheels. And now that we know Luke can be hurt, this war seems to finally be coming to even ground, especially since Mariah seems so much better about handling herself in the press and the eyes of the community, two areas that Cottonmouth lacked in skill.
See you back here for reviews of episodes 8 and 9!