So from a certain point of view, these two episodes can be seen as all about Diamondback, as his presence in Harlem motivates everything that happens, and his crazy plans are what put everyone on certain paths leading up to the end of the season. All of which is not terrible, except for the fact that Diamondback is not nearly as intriguing a character as Cottonmouth was, nor Mariah. Still, he does cause a lot of mayhem, which is fun to watch.
First off, Luke clearly survived the acid bath heart-attack, and we get to see Claire kick ass as a medical professional as she pulls out the shrapnel and saves his life. Unfortunately, she’ll need more than a scalpel to soothe Luke’s heart once they crack open the hard-drive and learn Reva was playing him all along, and knew all about the prison fights and the experiments, a fact that is confirmed by the doctor, who is ecstatic to have all the information back that Luke had on Reva’s harddrive. Of course, Luke does not want an army of invulnerable men running around, so he smashes the hard drive and leaves, only the doctor is able to salvage the data anyway.
Back in Harlem, Luke learns of all the crimes Diamondback has framed him for, including the murder of cop, which was actually done by Diamondback in disguise with a power-glove that mimics Luke’s powers. Mariah uses the fear and the fact that the cops beat up little Lonnie when interrogating him about Luke’s whereabouts (Lonnie was the kid Luke saved in the Barbershop) to turn Harlem against Luke, and push for the cops to be better armed (with Judas bullets) against super-freaks. She holds a rally in Harlem’s Paradise to denounce Luke, which almost every major character attends, including Shades, Luke, Misty, Claire, and Diamondback. (NOTE – my FAVORITE sign from the rally was one that read: ‘The Only Superfreak We Need is Rick James.”) Things go south quickly, with Diamondback shooting Misty in the arm and Luke springing to action to save her, leading to people fleeing as the gangsters rain bullets on Luke as he heads to the kitchen to protect Misty.
Claire is caught up with other hostages as Diamondback closes down the club, knowing the police are coming, but planning to pin the whole situation on Luke (which is crazy because the hostages see him). Luke and Misty hide-out while Claire and Candice catch up, and Claire uses her cunning to escape to meet up with Luke and Misty (loved the moment when one of the guards refers to Claire as the “night nurse”!) As Claire deals with Misty’s arm, Luke goes after Diamondback, freeing hostages along the way. Meanwhile, outside the NYPD led by Inspector Ridley are awaiting confirmation of the use of new Judas bullet weapons to go in after Luke, though Ridley is not happy about the situation, especially after freed hostages claim Luke was not the villain. Inside, Shades finds Misty and Claire but the two women take him down (quite spectacularly) and leave him handcuffed to the pipes as they make their exit. As for Luke, he finds Diamondback right after he kills a Councilman (framing Luke again by using the power-glove) and Diamondback escapes by tossing Candice over the balcony of the club, knowing heroic Luke will have to save her. And Luke does, right before the police come in and arrest him, warning him their guns have Judas bullets. As Luke is led away to the precinct, Misty basically informs him that she will keep looking for Diamondback and a way to clear his name.
You can really tell we are getting to the end of the season as things continue to escalate, but I am a little disappointed that it seems Diamondback really is the big bad this season, with Mariah playing a very strong second fiddle. I was also disappointed to see Shades taken down as I found his character intriguing, but I do not think the show is done with him just yet. And during this episode, I kept flashing back to the comics where Misty loses an arm in action and gets a bionic replacement, especially after Diamondback shot her in the arm, but it seems we may not actually see that storyline this season. Still, pretty solid couple of episodes preparing us for the final 2, and I hope the show manages to maintain the same quality right on through to the end!
Check back here soon for the final review of episodes 12 and 13 of ‘Luke Cage’!