‘Luke Cage’ Recap: Episode 1 “Moment of Truth”

Starring Mike Colter as the hero with unbreakable skin, we find our main man sweeping up hair at Pop’s barbershop in Harlem. He chimes in on a discussion about the Knicks with Pop (Frankie Faison) and the other patrons of the shop until a young dude named Shameek (Jarmel Howard) mocks his job as a cleaner. Shameek, who’s getting his haircut by another young dude named Chico (Brian “Sene” Marc), backs down super quick after Cage checks his attitude. After being hit on by a local lady, Cage talks to Pop who tries to convince him to use his powers for good like those other guys downtown instead of laying low.

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Later that night, Cage bumps into Chico and sees that he has a gun in his bag. He questions him about it but is met with the “You’re not my dad!” retort and is left to watch him drive away with Shameek. Cage then rushes off to his second job as a dishwasher at a nightclub called Harlem’s Paradise but not before a Chinese woman named Connie (Jade Wu) demands Cage pay his overdue rent.

At the nightclub, we get to meet Mr. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) who is celebrating some type of weapons business deal with another shady guy in the high rises of V.I.P. He’s joined by Councilwoman Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) who is running for election. We find out later that they’re in fact cousins. Meanwhile, downstairs, Cage fills in as a bartender for Dante (Hugues Faustin) who called out sick. As Cage pours drinks and makes cosmos, he meets a mysterious woman in a blue dress.

It is revealed that Dante, the bartender who called out sick, actually joined up with Shameek and Chico, who we first met at Pop’s barbershop, to jack Cottonmouth’s weapons deal. Dante had the inside info on the deal because he worked at Cottonmouth’s club so it was supposed to be an easy job. However, things quickly go awry and someone dies. As a result, Dante panics about getting caught and Shameek quickly shoots him to keep him quiet. Chico freaks out but they both run away leaving Dante to die. With his final moments, Dante calls one of Cottonmouth’s men named Tone to tell him who jacked them.

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Meanwhile, back at the club, Cage is off his shift and finds the woman in the blue dress outside figuring out how to get home. After offering her friendly directions, she asks him out for coffee and they go back to his place for “sexy time”. However, when work calls she leaves quickly. She tells Cage that she’s an auditor before departing. We quickly learn that she’s actually an undercover cop named Mercedes “Misty” Knight (Simone Missick) who has just been assigned the weapons deal case and shootout. 

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The next day, we find Cottonmouth figuring out what went wrong with his weapons deal the night before. He is visited by a mysterious criminal named Shades (Theo Rossi) who offers his help on behalf of someone named Diamondback. Thanks to Dante’s final call, Cottonmouth knows who jacked him. They quickly find Shameek at a strip club and bring him back to Cottonmouth’s club for questioning. It is revealed that Councilwoman Dillard fronted money she received from donations for her election campaign to help refurbish Cottonmouth’s club. The money from the weapon’s deal was supposed to pay her back so she could set the books straight otherwise they all go to jail. As such, Cottonmouth asks Shameek where to find Chico because he has the other half of the money that was stolen. After a few painful slaps, Shameek spits blood in Cottonmouth’s face which prompts him to start brutally beating Shameek to death. His body is later found by Detective Misty and her partner Rafael Scarfe (Frank Whaley) who start connecting the clues.

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Back at Cage’s place, we find him contemplating about whether or not to take action to help those in need, He also reflects back on his deceased wife Reva. After some soul searching, he s up at at Connie’s Chinese restaurant where a couple of thugs are pressuring Connie to “donate” to Councilwoman Dillard. One dude takes a swing at Cage and completely shatters his own hand. Cage easily beats up the others except one who runs away. While Connie’s husband exclaims that Cage has made the situation worse, Connie offers money to Cage and then offers to hire him. Cage refuses saying he’s not for hire but reassures her and says, “I got you.” He puts up his hoodie and walks out like a boss.

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