Episode three starts at the aftermath of his severe beatdown on Cockroach, who was attacking his family. While the paramedics approve of what Luke did, Claire (Rosario Dawson) doesn’t. She is very worried about how violent Luke (Mike Colter) is getting, even though he keeps saying he’s just trying to help people. Add some inner rage over his dad and Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), and something could set him off
Luke does meet Bushmaster (aka Bush), and his gang, when Luke suspects they may be interested in getting Mariah’s guns, Luke easily polishes off Bush’s crew. When Luke and Bush meet one on one, it’s a different story. Thanks to some voodoo and some tapes of Luke’s fighting style, Bush easily knocks out Luke, ruining his reputation and maybe his Nike deal. Even Stephen A. Smith disses him.
Not only that, before that fight, Luke and Claire have a big fight over his rage and he punches a big hole on one her walls. That’s enough for her to leave town and the series.
From here, both Mariah and Bush make moves to solidify their power and set up their showdown. Bush takes over the Stylers gang by beheading Nigel, the old leader. In fact,the head is put in a big bag of money he offers Shades (Theo Rossi) for the guns. It’s also revealed Bush has a grudge with the Stokes (including Mariah) that goes back three generations and he is vowing to literally burn her down and take over her empire. Mariah does learn about Bush but isn’t quite aware of his real plan. When they do meet, she expects Bush to stay out of Harlem.
Nope. She’s even reminded of the link their families had once, but she dismisses it. Once more of the details behind that story are revealed, fans may be more likely to see things Bush’s way.
As for Mariah, she wants to be Mother Harlem by any means. She wants the image of a united family with her daughter Tilda (Garbielle Dennis), and also benefactor with a community center that benefits single moms, just like her legendary grandmother Mama Mabel (who funded her good works with brothels and other shady things). Mariah even has the perfect slogan: Families First.
How to fund it? Blackmailing a friend, Mark Higgins (Jeorge Bennett Watson), who has a plastics company whose stock could jump in price after a merger. That gets her $350 million, but Shades wonders why she also had to put up the Harlem Paradise as collateral to make the deal.
As for Misty, she’s learning how to fight with one arm thanks to Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick). They talk about balance and chi, and it seems to work. At work, she’s getting a rival in Nadia (Antonique Smith) , while her boss Ridenhour (Peter Jay Fernandez) tells her to take it easy. He’s also suspicious about Luke being a hero for hire, and how he’s doing things the police are supposed to do. Misty says Luke’s OK, but is he?
Ridenhour also has a secret. He’s got a mole inside Mariah’s place through a guy named Comanche (Thomas Q. Jones), who’s also a friend of Shades.
Also, Tilda gets in deeper when Luke goes to her holistic place to ask whether she’s seen Bush or know what he bought. She’s able to use her skills to improve his health, though. Expect a lot of connections like these that gives the season a telenovela flavor.
So far, Luke is having a little trouble dealing with a guy who could beat him up. It’s not like his brother, Diamondback, because it’s not personal against him. Bush just sees Luke as an obstacle to Mariah, his real target. Mustafa Shakir does a fine job as John “Bushmaster” McIver, who walks around like a predator ready to strike. Just like Killmonger in Black Panther, he is a wronged man who may have a point His Jamaican accent is pretty good, along with the other actors playing his family and friends.
Simone Missick is also doing well returning as Misty Knight. Her scene with Jessica Henwick when they both clobber some very rude guys at a bar (especially Misty doing very well with one arm) was classic.
Henwick is only there to warm up for new episodes of Iron Fist, but she plays a part in helping Misty. She’s not quite a super-hero in training yet, but Danny Rand/Iron Fist’s offer to give her a new bionic arm will get her there.
As for Luke, things are getting worse. After losing a fight and his girlfriend, he finds out Cockroach is suing him.