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Reason Netflix released the whole season the same day.

Netflix

OMG! Luke Cage Got Shot!

With all bets off in S01.E08, who's next to fall in this masterclass on gun violence?

This show has absolutely no problem with killing people. I mean, important people. Is this intentional? Are these people supposed to catch a bullet...or twelve? Look, I freely admit that I'm totally unfamiliar with the Marvel universe outside of Daredevil and my new girlfriend Jessica Jones (y'all, I've got no time to get caught up with forty years of comic books, a network TV series, and like, what, two dozen interconnected movies? I got things to do!), but it's turning into a bit of an abattoir up here in Harlem. Signing on for a more than three-episode story arc in this show is no indication of potential longevity.

My point is: I've no idea who is supposed to live because they have some future roles to play in the Luke Cage/Marvel universe, and who is totally expendable, no matter how important they seem at the moment. So I totally did not see Cottonmouth getting taken out by a microphone stand.

Although it leaves me a bit concerned. If one thing has become clear now that we are into the third series of the Marvel universe on Netflix, it is that these shows rise and fall and the quality of the Big Bad. Luke Cage has some pretty large shoes to fill after Vincent D'Onofrio's turn as Wilson Fisk in Daredevil and David Tennant's stellar Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. I liked Cottonmouth. He had potential, despite all his flaws and weaknesses. And I'm going to miss him bringing the slow jamz on his Fender Rhodes.

But now we get Diamondback. I know it’s a bit soon for a final verdict but still, he's kind of....meh. Sure, he's got a big gun and he quotes lines from The Warriors, but does he have the goods to bring the second half of this series home with authority? I'm not so sure. And given the show's habit of whacking major characters, I'm not totally convinced he's even going to make it to the season finale.

Now that Luke has caught one magical alien space bullet in the belly and another one in the shoulder, let's take a look at who has the least chance of escaping this cornucopia of death, ranked from "I can totally meet for coffee in six months" to "I need to get that living will done, like, right now."

  1. Misty Knight

    Misty has a far better opinion of herself as a cop than she should. She sleeps with Luke, can't figure out that her partner was crooked, gets knocked out by Diamondback after he steals her gun, and then rolls up on Claire. BACK OFF CLAIRE, MISTY! She's got three humans with superpowers in her corner and two more series to appear in: you don't want to fuck with her.

    Netflix

    Netflix

    Misty's star has fallen pretty far in the first half of the season, but I don't see her getting a case of rapid lead poisoning any time soon. I'm still holding out for a rekindling of her romance with Luke, even though we all know he has to end up with Jessica Jones eventually.

  2. Mariah Dillard

    Mariah is far more of a badass than she will admit to or wants to be. Mama Mabel taught her well, and despite her desire to work inside the machine to bring change to Harlem, she has definitely got the brains and the guts to take over Cottonmouth's criminal empire after putting a mic stand through his face. But will Diamondback allow it? She's got Shades on her side -- for reasons that still remain unclear -- and he does get her out of the mess she created at the club, but will her talents and political savvy keep her alive despite being stuck between Diamondback on one side and Luke on the other?

    Netflix

    Netflix

    I'm betting yes if for no other reason than I need to see Misty redeem herself by slapping some cuffs on that woman.

  3. Shades

    Is he smart or too smart for his own good? Is the assistance he provides Mariah to serve his own ends, hers, or Diamondback's?

    Netflix

    Netflix

    It looks like he's trying to take a step up in the world after Cottonmouth's demise by assuming management of the club, but is he reaching too far? He's got all the makings of the classic criminal underling who makes that one obvious miscalculation and ends up in a dumpster with a bullet through one -- or both -- eyes. It could go either way, but I'm giving better odds to him ending up at Cottonmouth's favorite funeral home before the season ends.

  4. Diamondback

    Speaking of dumpsters, Diamondback slams another Judas bullet into Luke, who falls into a garbage truck and appears on his way to a smelly demise -- which, of course, we all know won't happen -- but first, Diamondback tells Luke that he's Luke's brother. And apparently not in the "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" kind of way: his biological sibling.

    Netflix

    Netflix

    This complicates the relationship just a little bit. I've always liked the moral ambiguity in the Netflix version of the Marvel Universe, particularly how the decision to operate outside the law presents tough decisions regarding serving up justice and just what that term means, anyway. Despite their desire to do good, are Daredevil and Luke Cage simply just vigilantes with superpowers? If so, then Luke, like Matt Murdock, has to come to terms with the possibility that helping people by working outside the law will eventually mean committing murder. And what more painful way to learn this lesson than killing your own flesh and blood? Diamondback's days are numbered and that's fine because, well...meh.

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