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Luke Cage: Time for a Geography Lesson On "Suckas Need Bodyguards"

Which way is uptown again?

Alexander Zalben

Marvel and Netflix are launching their new original series Marvel's Luke Cage today, September 30, with 13 original episodes. The superhero series developed by Cheo Hodari Coker exists in the same Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Avengers movies, but is more closely tied to fellow Netflix Originals Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Because we're so excited about the show, we're going to recap each episode every hour as we go through and watch: you can check out our recap of the premiere, episode 2, episode 3, episode 4 and episode 5. And needless to say, spoilers for Marvel's Luke Cage past this point!

Well, that's it then! As of Luke Cage episode 6, the good guys have won, the bad guys have lost, and it's all over. It was a great series, but... What's that? There are seven more episodes to go? Well I guess we should get into it, then.

So yes, of course this isn't the end of the series; but as act breaks go, this episode was a doozy. If the first few hours were all riffing off superhero tropes, the past few have delved deeper into movies: the prison movie; the community railing against an evil developer movie; and this time the urban assault movie. Specifically, 16 Blocks comes to mind, as Luke (Mike Colter) and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) end up taking a bleeding Scarfe (Frank Whaley) the treacherous short distance from Harlem, to 1 Police Plaza with deadly results.

Scarfe is in this situation in the first place because he mouthed off to the increasingly erratic Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali), squeezing him for money to get weapons that can pierce Luke's unbreakable skin; and instead, getting shot by Cottonmouth. Cottonmouth is without the bullets he needs to kill Luke and get his honor back, and Scarfe is being hunted by both Cottonmouth's men, and the police.

See, Misty (Simone Missick) knows Scarfe is dirty, and wants to be the one to look him in the face and ask why... As his long time partner, she owes him that. Unfortunately she's held back by another rat working for Cottonmouth, who she ends up having to take down -- missing the opportunity to catch up with Luke and Scarfe.

A quick geography lesson for you non-New Yorkers: Scarfe pops up in, er, Pop's former barbershop, bleeding on the floor because he knows Luke will do the right thing and protect him. Luckily, Luke's reconnected with Claire, who tries to nurse Scarfe back to health. Once they get Scarfe's copious notes on Cottonmouth, though, it's off to 1 Police Plaza.

Marvel's Luke Cage is the most important TV show of 2016

This is where the geography comes in. Pop's is in Harlem, which is pretty much a straight shot to NYPD headquarters once you drive to the East Side, or the West Side. But when you get down to Lower Manhattan where 1 Police Plaza is located, the streets aren't a grid anymore. That's why Luke and co. don't have any problems for a good long while (other than not being discovered): if they hit the East Side Highway late at night, they pretty much wouldn't need to slow down until that final 5-10 minutes.

Hence why those last two blocks or so become a firefight. Luke has to slow the van down, they get discovered, then they get trapped mere feet from safety. And then Scarfe dies, too late for Misty (or anyone else) to save him.

Misty arrests Cottonmouth, his operation gets shut down, and everyone lives happily ever after. The blowback even hits Cottonmouth's cousin Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), who's political goals get stymied by a bad interview with local press (what, Pat Kiernan wasn't available?) and an association with her criminal relative. Then Claire and Luke semi-flirt about coffee. The end!

Except not at all. Like I said, we're just finishing off the first half of the story here. The police chief tells Misty that without Scarfe's testimony, Cottonmouth will get released. Something weird is going on with Mariah, and her obsession with her villainous relative Mama Mabel. Diamondback is still out there somewhere, threatening to take over Harlem the second Cottonmouth falters.

Oh, and then there's that super-bullet that's going to take down Luke, that hasn't been used yet. Just like Luke's trip down the East Side Highway, it's been easy sailing so far. Now, things are going to get twisty, harder for the heroes, and most likely headed towards a tragic end.

Easter Eggs & References:

- Hey, it's Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), host of Trish Talk! The popular (fictional) radio show was first introduced in Jessica Jones -- Trish is Jessica's best friend -- and though it only played briefly into the previous show, Trish is also known as Patsy Walker, the comic book hero known as Hellcat.

- "First Fisk. Then Cottonmouth. This is huge," the chief tells Misty. Fisk is Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio), the crime boss who terrorized Daredevil in the first season of his show, and then briefly in Season 2.