Here is something Mike Hale of the New York Times will never understand – if he doesn’t want to anyway – Black culture is incredibly verbal.

We discuss, talk and masticate words like no one else. It’s in our DNA and oral histories which stretch back to ancient Africa. So when “Luke Cage” features characters talking about, well, just about everything under the sun, that is not only authentic but inherent in barber and beauty shops and churches and mosques and recreation centers and Twitter.

Marvel's Luke Cage
Marvel’s Luke Cage

This is also why episode twelve is so profoundly beautiful. Weak and wounded, Misty gets off the gurney and comes and communicates with Luke in code so that he can escape when the time is right. Code is the form of communication our people used to endure and occasionally escape slavery in America. Non-Black people may not understand our verbal culture but the least Hale and others like him can do is respect it.

The verbal culture aspect of our lives is further stressed in the episode when Luke saves Method Man – guest starring as himself – during a robbery. After thanking him and swapping hoodies with him, Method goes on Heather B. and Sway’s radio show and tells the pair and listeners how amazing Luke Cage is. He also creates a rap in his honor called “Bulletproof Love,” which features a heartfelt nod to Trayvon Martin. So many goose bumps.

Other scenes of note include the Black cop who lets Luke go, the exchange between Misty and Inspector Ridley about Luke being a Black man on the run, Shades asking for his lawyer, Shades killing Zip after Zip tries to kill him, Fish’s exchange with Luke in the barbershop and of course Diamondback’s explosive entrance at the barbershop during Mariah’s parley. Fish’s snarky remarks about Diamondback’s getup is hilarious too. “What type of Jean Paul Gaultier shit is this?” Fish asks. “What are you? A pimp Stormtrooper?”

Marvel's Luke Cage
Marvel’s Luke Cage

Random observations/questions: Is it crazy to want Zip (Jaiden Kaine) to live? He lasted this long. The same goes for Domingo. Damn. Turk lives but is trapped in a dumpster. Also, Pop’s barbershop is once again destroyed. Poor Fish. Maybe he’ll land a HGTV barbershop makeover show.

What did you think of episode twelve of “Luke Cage” titled “Soliloquy of Chaos”? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based television critic. She’s also one of the co-founders of Antenna Free TV (AntennaFree.tv). The Detroit native has covered the medium and the entertainment industry for 17 years. Madden Toby is also an NPR expert commentator who has written for MSN TV, The Detroit News, TV Guide, CNN.com, Playboy.com, People Magazine, Us Weekly, The Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Minneapolis Star Tribune and The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Wayne State University. Madden Toby is also a wife and mother. When Madden Toby was 10, she started her own magazine and paid her staff in candy. Check out her podcast, “TV Madness with Mekeisha Madden Toby,” at tvmadnessmmt.podbean.com or on iTunes