Well God Damn! That escalated quickly!
Episode 9 of Luke Cage graced us with the return of Captain Ridley and the departure of Mariah and Tilda’s damn minds!
Looking to lay low from Bushmaster’s men; Luke calls in a favor from his good friend Danny and stashes his father, Misty, Mariah, and Tilda in a developing Rand Industries building. Confined within the boundaries of the building, unlikely, revealing, and devastating conversations unfold between Luke and his father, Mariah and Luke’s father, and – taking up the bulk of the spotlight this episode, Mariah and Tilda.
In their hideout, Tilda asks her hero, Luke, to be completely honest with her and tell her everything he knows about her mother. Apparently, Luke had no qualms divulging every bit of dirt he knew about Mariah, and when Tilda confronts her mother about the murder of her uncle, Cornell, Mariah holds nothing back. In a raw and emotional scene, Mariah tells her daughter the whole truth. Not just that she killed Cornell, but also why.
I pointed out the moment, earlier in the season, where Mariah remarks that Tilda is a “true” Stokes and surmised that it was foreshadowing that Tilda would be more ruthless and “Stokes-like” than Mariah ever was. But it seems that her words were a lot more literal than I thought. With the harsh, cold demeanor of a woman who is sick and tired of being sick and tired, Mariah reveals that Tilda is a not a Dillard but a “true Stokes”. Her father, is Mariah’s uncle Pete – making Tilda a product of rape. Mariah’s former husband, the esteemed Dr. Dillard was actually a gay man she fell in love with in college, and his family was more than willing to “wash the gayness away” by marrying him off to a woman who already had a child and claiming it was his.
While Mariah’s harsh truth heralded the death of Mariah and Tilda’s mother/daughter relationship, the final nail in the coffin was Maria’s last piece of cold, heartless truth. That despite doing her very best, Mariah was never able to get past the circumstances of Tilda’s conception. Mariah has never loved her, and she never will. With that she turns her back on Tilda and walks away, as Tilda screams that she is a monster.
Honestly, that scene gave me chills…
So what else happened this episode? Oh yeah, stuff.
Things I liked:
Misty is growing. With the return of Chief Ridley, I was afraid that the growth Misty had shown as a leader would come screeching to a halt, but I was pleasantly surprised by the direction the show took. In order to deal with the more immediate threat, Misty is put in a position to have to offer Mariah a deal: full immunity. This is extremely hard for Misty to come to terms with, especially since she the last words she exchanged with Ridenhour before his death were chewing him out for trying to cut a deal with Mariah that wasn’t even half as generous. However, Misty must learn to put her personal feelings aside and make the tough calls. Thankfully, due to Nandi’s betrayal and Bushmaster’s attack on Rand Industries, Misty never has to make that deal.
Luke and Bushmasters fight… surprisingly. This season, Bushmaster has gotten the upper hand on Luke twice. But this episode, the hard headed Luke learned his lesson, and came prepared for the fight. After learning the whereabouts of Luke and Mariah from Nandi, Bushmaster and his men swarm on the Rand Industries building. When Luke and the others refuse to surrender peacefully, Bushmaster’s men come in full force, and Luke takes the fight straight to Bushmaster. The fight was well choreographed and showed an evolution of Luke’s fighting style, which tends to rely on brute strength. I actually shouted, “yay” when Luke slapped the paralyzing powder out of Bushmaster’s hand.
Queen Mariah. It seems that Mariah lost a whole lot more in that fire than I could have ever thought. After telling Tilda the whole truth and literally walking away from her, Mariah seems to have given up and walked away from the entire “Dillard” illusion. As the building swarms with Bushmaster’s men, Mariah goes full Rambo, shooting men down with a shotgun before escaping into the night, abandoning Luke, her deal, and her daughter. As the episode ends, Shades finds her, walking the street and gives her a surprise. Anansi, in the trunk of his car. Mariah is fully ready to embrace her new role as the gangster queen of Harlem.
However, it might be too little too late. When the wounded Bushmaster goes to Tilda’s shop demanding her help, it made me think that a very dangerous union was about to take place. See, although Mariah and Shades seem united right now, the seeds of distrust have been planted. But, the recently spurned Tilda, with her knowledge of holistic and western medicine, and the wounded Bushmaster, with his connections and ferocity could make for a very dangerous pair – that is, if Bushmaster would ever be willing to chance working with a Stokes.
That’s a bit of character growth I don’t think any of our heroes need right now.