Review: Luke Cage Episode 5 – “Just to get a Rep”

S1:E5 “Just to get a Rep”

Synopsis: Cottonmouth strikes back at Luke by taking his vengeance out on the people of Harlem, while detectives Knight and Scarfe face an unexpected threat.


After the change-up of the fourth episode, the fifth installment turns the corner quickly propelling Luke Cage into a new role and a new attitude. No longer reluctant to be who he is, Cage takes center stage as a heavyweight in Harlem intent on bringing down Cottonmouth.

Episode Details

Cottonmouth’s star is fading fast and so far he looks to be Cage’s appetizer before the main course of Diamondback. The overtones of the bigger player can be heard throughout the episode. Cottonmouth’s pressure on Harlem brings Cage willingly into the daylight as Harlem’s “Defender”. Cage’s coming out party is total – the media knows his name, the community knows what he can do and Shades knows who he was. This is an unusual turn for Marvel, who typically don’t open up a character this quickly. They’ve drawn a pretty clear line straight to Luke’s full past that might reveal some important, if not new, background on the character.

Unlike Daredevil, Luke Cage is squarely in view of their community and from this comes Claire Temple. Long known to be appearing in the series, the character of ER nurse Claire Temple, finally arrives in the fifth episode. Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of the character cuts across all three series as the glue that binds our street-level defenders.

We see the theme of blurred lines again during the funeral of Pops. Cottonmouth stirs the crowd with his speech but Luke Cage’s words make Harlem stand and cheer, setting up a showdown we expect to see well before the last episode of the season.

Cottonmouth and Luke face-off
Our findings…

This episode was a fun one. Luke takes a walk through the streets sticking up for the victims of Cottonmouth’s abuse. The first half had the feel of having your older sibling straightening out the schoolyard bully. The rest of the episode brought the public in to the fight between Cage and Cottonmouth. The soundtrack continues to be exceptional, especially the opening performance of Jidenna’s hit single Long Live the Chief.

The expectation of seeing Alfre Woodard bringing her powerful tone to Mariah has been somewhat missed and it wouldn’t be surprising for that character’s presence to be felt soon.

Additionally, as the Cottonmouth/Luke Cage conflict seems to be coming to a head, and given the teasing of Diamondback thus far, we expect Luke to be facing a new threat very soon.

Luke Cage in a suit

Dan Hex
Dan Hex
Relic from the bronze-age. Student of all things nerdish. Except math.