This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Netflix released the whole season the same day.
Luke Cage Hits Us With An Origin Story In S01.E04
It's important to know that Luke had no problem getting ladies even in his scruffier days.
Before we go on, it's important to know that while there's a gigantic pile of fiery wreckage and rubble after the events of the last episode, both Luke Cage and his landlord, Connie, survive. The first was a no-brainer, but the second is pretty shocking. I guess when your tenant is a secret human shield, you might benefit in unexpected ways.
Of course, Connie has no idea that Luke possesses superstrength and hidden powers -- or rather, she didn't, until now. Since, uh. Luke can't cover that up. She asks a bunch of questions (naturally), and Luke's initial response is pretty adorable: "The best way to put this is, I'm kinda strong." But then, Luke starts to reflect and remember things. Bad things.
As it turns out, Luke Cage isn't really Luke Cage. He's Armin Tamzarian!
And by that, I mean Carl Lucas. But, to keep things less confusing, let's just continue referring to him as Luke Cage -- or, if not that, "Prison Luke," since when we join him in the past, he's an inmate at Seagate Prison in Georgia. While his crime isn't really specified (besides "pissing off the wrong people"), we do find out that he's an ex-cop.
At Seagate, Luke has a few connections. One is his friend Squabbles (best name ever), and another is his therapist, who leads the group sessions. The therapist, a young woman, seems to take a liking to Luke -- but then, doesn't every young lady? Of course, anyone who watched Jessica Jones will recognize her as a pretty important figure in Luke's life: that's Reva Connors. Bathroom photo Reva. Love-of-Luke's-life Reva.
For now, she's just Therapist Reva, and her goal is for the inmates finally to take responsibility for their actions: "Even if you were set up, you have to see your involvement in what went down." This just sets her up for Luke to call her out: "What gives you the right to listen to us, and not share anything about yourself?" he asks. Ooh, Luke. Way to get real.
Eventually, Reva decides to open up -- just to Luke, after a group session. It turns out her brother died in jail while she was getting her Master's degree. He needed her help, but she felt like she did all she could do at the time, and now regrets it.
Of course, serving his sentence at Seagate isn't just an emotional time for Luke to connect with women. There's also a corrupt guard named Rackham who seems set on Luke's joining his underground fighting ring. After all, Luke is a large and muscular guy: seems logical. While Luke initially wants to stay out of trouble, Rackham threatens to hurt Squabbles if Luke doesn't agree to his terms. Not Squabbles!
Luckily, Squabbles -- now with a gigantic black eye -- is down to help Luke train. Luke needs to be on his game, since the fights are actually broadcast out to the world online.
This still doesn't end well for Luke. While he tries to prepare to take Rackham out, Rackham fights back by having Squabbles killed. And Luke has a good idea that Reva might be next. With cuts all over his face, he tells her all about the fight club, and warns her to stay away.
Luke's self-sacrificing attempt to part from Reva, though moving, isn't "That Moment"-worthy, but there's another fantastic moment that deserves a lot of accolades. It's not this severe prison fight.
It's what comes afterward. Luke is in bad shape, and in order to heal, is prepared to go through an experimental treatment.
Luke is hooked up to machines with a metal headband that recalls the one he worked in the comics, Rackham comes in and disturbs the peace. With a gun.
See, Luke has pretty much lost all value in Rackham's eyes. Before, Rackham made money, and Luke got to live -- so now he might as well go the way of dear Squabbles.
Of course, guns and experimental machinery don't always mix. The machine Luke is in malfunctions based on the chaos, and blows up.
As we know, Luke survives. And he notices some...sudden changes, meeting their arrival with a "Sweet Christmas!"
What kind of changes? The kind that let him break out of prison by punching through a wall. It's the same gift that lets him punch away rubble in the present day to save Connie (who, by the way, is asked to keep quiet about this whole "superstrength" thing).
Back in the past: Luke is out of prison. Cleaning up, he decides to shave his face and hair. Reva, for some reason, flawlessly deletes all of his prison records, in a move that actually seems less believable than the whole "punching through a prison wall" thing earlier.
With his new looks, Luke needs a new name. If you thought "Luke" came from his actual last name "Lucas," you'd be wrong: it's a religious reference. The "Cage" is from a line his father used to say: "No one can cage a man if he truly wants to be free."
In present day, reporters are hounding Luke about his heroic escape from the attack. They ask him what his name is, and the episode ends with a bold "My name is Luke Cage." And it is, now that we've seen how lowly, powerless Carl Lucas has been erased from existence.