WARNING: FULL SPOILERS
Suckas Need Bodyguards is one of the better episodes so far in Luke Cage because of outstanding performances and a satisfying conclusion to a major story line.
Cottonmouth makes a fatal mistake as he shoots Scarfe after the detective demands more money for retrieving Domingo’s guns. As both the police and Cottonmouth hunt for the wounded Scarfe, he goes to an unlikely source for help.
Marian continues her campaign despite her cousin’s mistakes and a personal visit from Luke. But her desire to keep her hands clean is ruined by an intrepid reporter. Already showing a dark side, Marian may need to lash out to save herself.
Luke and Claire reunite just in time to stumble on Scarfe at Pop’s Barbershop. Luke agrees to help Scarfe only because he has the evidence to put Cottonmouth away. His path crosses with Misty, who is finally on to the corruption permeating the police department.
This episode belongs to Frank Whaley as Scarfe and Alfre Woodard as Marian. Though he hasn’t had a lot of screen time, Frank Whaley created a pretty well rounded character. Scarfe is crooked and a murderer, but he is ultimately human. We learn he lost a son because he forgot to lock his gun away. How much of this plays into his decision to work for Cottonmouth is left unsaid, but it adds to the tragedy of the character.
Marian has some great moments here. First we see that as much as she respects Mama Mabel, she still wants some distance from her. Her career as a council woman is a key to that and she is willing to do anything to secure it.
When Marian and Cottonmouth discuss how to take care of Luke, it’s truly scary. The unstable Cottonmouth seems a little taken aback at how Marian suggests drowning or burning Luke. The exchange is shot in extreme close up, making the interaction incredibly uncomfortable.
Equally as disturbing is how cool Marian is when the reporter exposes her underworld connections. Yes, she is taken aback and cuts the interview off, but the way she composes herself is impressive. She almost turns the corruption onto the reporter. It may be a window into how she will handle losing her brother.
And yes, Cottonmouth is now in jail as Luke, Claire and Misty manage to get Scarfe’s information to the police. Thankfully, Misty quickly figures out her Lieutenant is in league with Cottonmouth. An interesting idea comes into play as yet again Misty can see everything by simply looking at photographs. Does she have powers? Apologies to any die hard fans of the character…I know absolutely nothing about her comic counterpart.
The chemistry between Luke and Claire is fun. I love how Claire calls Luke out on his coffee line. Luke still being the reluctant hero who feels like his job is done should play nicely against Claire who knows that he can do so much more.
The conclusion of Suckas Need Bodyguards is satisfying because we see Cottonmouth taken down. The formerly cool club owner was slowly losing his grip on the city and his temper. To see him make so many mistakes and still stay in power would have been stretching it. Hopefully, Cottonmouth’s time away in prison will lead to a new fresh story line.
Luke Cage feels like he can go off into the sunset now, but we’re only on episode six. Shades seems to have seen the writing on the wall, disappearing just before Cottonmouth’s downfall. Will he return with that Judas bullet?
SCORE: 9 out of 10
WARNING: FULL SPOILERS