Luke Cage: Take It Personal – Do What You Know (Review)

Mike Colter as Luke Cage

Luke Cage continues to be a rich tapestry of Marvel lore that offers up brilliant backstory with an R&B beat. “Take it Personal” reveals more about Luke’s own beginnings, before Seagate, and offers up one of the best flashback sequences in the series thus far.

As Luke visits his father’s old church he has memories of his mother and Willis Stryker’s mom. In the last part of the flashback, Claire calls his name and both women turn and look at the superhero. This splendid touch added volumes to the scene and the power of Cage’s memory.

Mariah is going full speed ahead on her Luke Cage campaign. After her talk with the barking mad Stryker, who Misty has now identified as the man who killed the cop and took her gun, Dillard is now on track with Diamondback’s plan.

The episode starts with Claire and Dr. Burstein working frantically to resuscitate Cage whose heart stopped beating at the end of episode 8. Temple improvises while Burstein dithers with possible solutions and offers reasons why her way will not work.

Claire gets control by telling the doctor that “sometimes you have to throw science out and go with what you know.” She throws an electric heater into the vat of acid and electrocutes Cage back to life.

While Luke comes out of the operation pretty much healed, his mental health and well being take a beating when he learns that Reva lied to him. A lot.

After a few flashbacks at the church Cage realizes that Willis Stryker is his half-brother. Willis’ mother was the reverend’s secretary and he was older than Luke by a couple of years.

The police department have become aggressive, Stryker’s fear tactics worked after he killed a cop, and young Lonnie Wilson was beaten badly by a detective. These occurrences set off a trigger in the local community. The councilwoman holds a rally in Cornell’s old nightclub, now under new management with Stryker in charge, and fans the flames of Harlem, unrest.

Misty learns from Domingo that Stryker is the new threat on the streets, this is after the facial recognition software identifies the man, and she heads to the club to arrest Diamondback.  Detective Knight is joined by Cage and he saves her life when Stryker shoots her.

Luke tries to get Misty out of the club but he is surrounded by Stryker’s men who are shooting at Cage and the cop. The end of the episode sees them both trapped behind the bar.

It remains to be seen as to whether Luke will be taken in by the police when they respond to the event in the nightclub.  (On a sidenote: Misty now knows that Cage is, or was, Carl Lucas.)

This episode further enforces the Marvel tie-in with the first Avengers movie by pointing out that the Judas bullets are made from Chitauri metal fragments left over from the thwarted invasion of New York City.

There is someone else who knows who Luke really is, Dr. Burstein. He has a copy of the thumb drive that Claire took. It seems fairly certain that the doctor will crop up again, despite Cage’s warning and Temple’s assertion that if she had Luke’s power she would have done him serious harm.

Luke Cage is streaming on Netflix with all 13 episodes available right now.


Guest starring Michael Kostroff as Dr. Noah Burstein, Darius Kaleb as Lonnie Wilson,  Cassandra Freeman as Patricia Wilson and Justin Swain as Bailey. 

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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