September 30, 2016

Netflix Luke Cage Intro & Episode 1 Recap: Moment of Truth

It is the most Marvel-ous time of the year!

It is time for the Marvel Fandom to embrace Luke Cage on Netflix. After watching the premiere episode, I can honestly describe Luke Cage in three words: different, intriguing and powerful. Marvel fans should not dive into this series looking for the same feels they receive watching the Avengers. This is a grittier tale, deeply woven in corruption, crime and weapons trafficking. And Luke? Well, he is still the impenetrable superhero we all remember from Jessica Jones, but he is low key, hiding out working menial jobs. While there is no mention of the Sokovia Accords, we must assume Luke is well aware of the new laws.

Mike Colter once again takes the reigns as Cage and gives a believable performance. Aside from Colter's Cage, there are other standouts which I will get to during my recaps. Also, I am extremely impressed by the use of music in the series. Did you know that every episode is named after a track by legendary hip hop group Gang Starr?

You can learn more about that here:

Why All Luke Cage Episodes Have Gang Starr Song Titles

With that being said, I begin my episodic recap of Luke Cage. As you may remember, last spring, I did a complete recap of all episodes of Netflix's Daredevil Season 2. These will be written in the same format and available in the Marvel Forever section of the blog. The first episode will be the ONLY recap without reference to major spoilers. While there will be some mild ones, I will not reveal the ending for those of you who would like to watch the entire series.


Episode 1: Moment of Truth

Forward always, always forward ~ Pop

We open the episode at Pop's Barber Shop and meet Pop portrayed by Frankie Faison.

Faison is an incredible character actor 
(who shall forever be known as Hannibal's Barney to me)

Cage works for Pop sweeping up while young men receive haircuts. Once the boys leave, Pop refers to Cage as Mr. Bulletproof and Powerman. Apparently, Pop is quite familiar with Cage's "abilities."

Luke Cage has been around the comic book world since 1972.

Pop tells Cage he should be helping people like the others downtown (we assume Pop means The Avengers). Cage rebuffs this and says his powers were not given to him by choice and he simply wants to be left alone.

Later that night, Cage runs into Chico, one of the boys who was in the barbershop earlier. Chico drops a gun on the way and jumps into a vehicle driven by Shameek, another boy who was having his hair cut.

Cage heads down the streets of Harlem where a man tries to sell him bootleg films of the Avengers Battle of New York. What a different world Harlem is than Hell's Kitchen! While Hell's Kitchen laments and mourns the losses from Loki's alien destruction, Harlem is peddling footage of the battle.

Cage also runs into his landlord, an elderly Asian woman, who informs him he is late on his rent. To make ends meet, Cage heads to his second job as a busboy at Harlem's hottest nightspot owned by Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes.

Meet your "Big Bad."
Cottonmouth is portrayed by Mahershala Ali.

When the bartender, Dante Chapman, has not shown up for work, Cage is asked to fill the role for the night. He is approached by a young woman named Misty Knight who orders a cosmo and flirts with Cage. Meanwhile, Cottonmouth is at his private balcony with his cousin and local city councilwoman, Black Mariah, played by Alfre Woodard. Domingo, an arms dealer, arrives and Cottonmouth offers him a deal - "a cool million for weapons."

He even suggests that he has "Justin Hammer level shit" arms. My MCU family will remember Justin Hammer from Ironman 2.

Been awhile since I heard this name!
(We last saw him arrested at the end of Ironman 2)

Domingo and Cottonmouth shake on the deal. However, outside the club in a junkyard, Cottonmouth's men are being robbed. The thieves are Chico, Shameek and Dante. During the robbery, Dante freaks out and Shameek shoots him thinking he would snitch.

Outside the nightclub, Cage and Misty Knight flirt a little more.

Then, they head back to his place where they sleep together. She receives a call the following morning and has to leave immediately. Cage inquires what her profession is to which she replies "I'm an auditor." However, Misty Knight arrives at the junkyard crime scene. She is not an auditor, she is Detective Misty Knight!

Misty Knight is a Marvel comics heroine who sports a bionic arm designed by Tony Stark.

Back at the nightclub, Domingo is furious with Cottonmouth. He believes the robbery was an inside job. Shades Alvarez, an employee of Diamondback (Cottonmouth's weapons supplier), arrives to help obtain the money from the thieves and the weapons from the cops. Shades is played by Theo Rossi.

Meanwhile, Pop is upset because the kids from the robbery were ones he mentored. He is disgusted they involved themselves in Cottonmouth's thuggery. Who else is upset? Black Mariah. She used federal grant taxable donations to renovate Cottonmouth's club. She quickly informs Cottonmouth that she needs all the money back or else she goes to jail. We also learn that during the junkyard shooting a dying Dante ratted out Chico and Shameek as the other thieves.

Thus, Cottonmouth's cronies Tone and Shades find Shameek and bring him to Cottonmouth.

What happens next? Watch the first episode to find out! You will not be disappointed. For the rest of you, I hope you continue and join along by reading my recaps.

Click here for Episode 2: Code of the Streets.

Or read all my recaps:
Netflix Luke Cage Intro & Episode 1 Recap: Moment of Truth
Episode 2: Code of the Streets
Episode 3: Who's Gonna Take The Weight?
Episode 4: Step In The Arena
Episode 5: Just To Get A Rep
Episode 6: Suckas Need Bodyguards
Episode 7: Manifest
Episode 8: Blowin' Up The Spot
Episode 9: DWYCK
Episode 10: Take It Personal
Episode 11: Now You're Mine
Episode 12: Soliloquy Of Chaos
Episode 13: You Know My Steez

As always, I am,


  1. I've never been a fan of Luke cage or Iron Fist.

  2. I enjoyed episode 1. It'll take me a while to get thro the whole series.

  3. I haven't heard of this show, I'm not sure if I'd like it or not. What do you think?!

    God bless,

    XO, Claire


    1. I think you'd like Daredevil on Netflix!! Check it out!!

  4. I'm about 4 episodes in and I like it a lot better than Jessica Jones, I didn't even finish that season. Luke Cage may not be my favorite series in all the Marvel universe (that's on the tele right now), but it's not too bad either. It is very different and it keeps me hooked!

  5. Music is TOTALLY AWESOME!!! Casting seems spot on (although I'll have to see about Theo Rossi..I am a big SOA fan, and unfortunately, have him typecast as a bit of a wuss)
    I've only watched the first epi...but really like it so far!

    Not sure if it will beat my love for JJ, but it is better than DD season 2 and definitely another Netflix dark Marvel winner in my books!


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