The eighth episode of Luke Cage begins with Shades reconciling with murdering Comanche — he didn’t want to do it, really. But he had to. Or at least he probably had to. Eventually, he visits Comanche’s mother, dropping her some cash. He even nearly almost tells her what really brought about her son’s death. But much like Misty, a chunk of this season’s emotional charge has come from watching Shades transition into someone with, if not compassion, then at least a modicum of empathy. But it remains to be seen how much empathy that is, or how far it’ll ultimately go. In the meantime, we’re privy to shots of him rueing having pulled the trigger.
Across town, Mariah’s cleaning up house on her own end. At the police department, she tells her daughter that they won’t be talking to cops. “What he did to us will never be forgotten,” says Mariah, and Tilda seems to agree — but then, all of a sudden, she panics. Tilda tells Mariah they should run while they’re ahead. Mariah asks her daughter where they’d go. And, resigned to fighting it out, Mariah’s next move is to tell Luke that she wants to hire him. She needs him to protect Tilda. But just as Luke’s warming up to the thought, Misty arrives to tell the group that Ridenhour’s death was on Mariah.
“You should’ve let that bitch burn,” she tells Luke.
Which is pretty wild thing to say! But, nevertheless, that’s how melodrama works. In the meantime, Tilda finds out that Luke Cage is who everyone else already knows he is (relatively bulletproof, and so on — but one wonders how she wasn’t already aware of this, let alone as Mariah’s daughter). Tilda quizzes Luke on his “abilities” until he calls her out on lying about Bushmaster’s whereabouts. When she tells Luke that she only wants things to go back to normal, Luke tells her that there is no more normal, only what’s next.
Like much of Luke’s dialogue this season, it sounds like it was found in a fortune cookie. But what’s next for us is a shot of the police department. We watch as Nandi and Misty reconcile with one another, and, with Ridenhour dead, Misty takes charge of the unit in the interim. With a full team behind her, Misty sits down with Luke, and encourages him to entice Tilda to link any of the night’s crimes to Bushmaster. Misty says that she’s hoping for something to scare Mariah to her senses. And it’s clear that there’s camaraderie between Luke and Misty — there’s one bond, at least, that hasn’t been broken over the course of this season.
What follows are a few extended scenes within the police department: on one end, Luke tries to work Tilda. On the other, Misty tries to work Mariah into something like a confession. After Misty tells her that Ridenhour is dead (which Mariah didn’t know, apparently), she also offers her an out to plea — but not before Mariah’s lawyer arrives to bust her out of custody. Shades arrives to gloat as well, but that’s a mistake — he’s immediately thrown in his own interrogation room for having been in the vicinity of Ridenhour’s murder (his license plate was caught on tape). So, back in interrogation mode, Misty recollects the murder Shades committed to his face (using that thing that she does). And it isn’t long before Shades and Mariah’s lawyer informs the two of them that he won’t be saving them after all — now that they’re both broke, they have nothing to obligate him with.
It gives Misty an opening to conduct a proper interrogation — and she runs with it. Shades nearly starts recounting his whole childhood to her (or at least the highlights, featuring Comanche), before he finally comes to his senses. But before he stands to leave (since, after all, they don’t have any concrete charges that stick to him), Misty tells Shades to talk to her before Mariah does. And there’s a look of consideration on his face before he heads out.
Shades finds Mariah at her home, which is well past charred. They have yet another argument. Shades tells Mariah, “You are standing in ruins because of you.” But once Mariah melts down, and tells Shades that she’s scared, he adds, “This ain’t how gangsters do … They adapt. They boogie.” And it looks like Shades is still convinced, eight episodes into the series, that they can salvage the situation. He is very much head over heels for Mariah.
So they kiss, again! They make the same promises they broke last time! And it appears that they still, at the very least, have each other.
And what is Bushmaster doing throughout all of this? Griping about Mariah with his uncle at Harlem’s Paradise, which now belongs to him. They talk about the nightshade (which is killing Bushmaster). They talk about Bushmaster’s vengeance (his uncle pulls a whole Kenobi and says, “I fear the darkness consumes you”). Once an informer tells Bushmaster that Mariah and Tilda are alive and well, he lashes out at a desk — making it clear that he can be injured. And eventually, the cops arrive at the nightclub, where they’re informed that Bushmaster’s been expecting them — and along with Ben Donovan, Mariah’s former attorney! Who works for Bushmaster now! (He has her money.) Misty and Bushmaster meet for the very first time. They have a back and forth, but there’s nothing that sticks, and Misty leaves empty-handed. Bushmaster sets a million-dollar bounty on Mariah and Tilda.
What Bushmaster really needs is nightshade, though. Our dude is clearly out of it. But his uncle tells him that they can’t help him replicate the product in the States — the materials he needs are in Jamaica. So what Bushmaster attempts to do is make it on his own. In the meantime, the Stylers arrive at Luke’s father’s church, in an effort to stake Luke out (it doesn’t work). The Stylers also hit Tilda’s shop — where it looks like she’s in the middle of coming up with something to combat the nightshade — but Misty and Nandi arrive just in time to prevent that murder from taking place.
Luke shows up late, as usual. They have a shootout of sorts. Luke and his friends make it out alive. But once they’ve made it outside, they see that there really is nowhere else for them to go, and Luke asks Misty if she’s still got Danny Rand’s number. With no small amount of regret, he asks her to call the Immortal Iron Fist, because, in Luke’s words, “We need a favor.”