There are so many things to love about episode five of “Luke Cage.”

Marvel's Luke Cage
Marvel’s Luke Cage

Let’s see, Rosario Dawson’s Claire joins the fray, Luke Cage wears a suit – this man could wear a bag and look good but that suit tho – and Pop’s funeral gives us all the feels in large part because of Mahalia Jackson’s “Trouble Of the World.”

This is also the episode where style faces off with substance in a lot of ways and substance wins. For instance when Cottonmouth speaks at Pop’s funeral, he sounds great and says all the right things. But then Luke speaks and his message is from the heart proving that any silver-tongued heathen can deliver a eulogy but only a good-hearted person can tell us what we really need to hear in a time of grief.


Speaking of style and substance, Jidenna brought both with his performance of “Long Live the Chief.” The only thing better would’ve been if he’d had a speaking part. Love that dude.

Random questions/observations: Isn’t it awesome that the writers weaved in the history of “benign neglect”? If you don’t know what that is, seriously Google it. Too bad Cottonmouth shot and killed that dude for being smart. Speaking of knowledge, it’s also cool to hear names like Percy Sutton, ASAP Rocky and Billy Strayhorn get dropped. Big ups to Theo Rossi, who is killing it as Shades, and “The Wire” alum Sonja Sohn as Captain Betty Audrey. It’s always great to see her get work. Lastly, did you like when Luke Cage said, “I am the gun”? That line seems a little wooden like it was better on paper. No?

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Marvel's Luke Cage
Marvel’s Luke Cage

What did you think of episode five of “Luke Cage”? 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 ( 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,,, 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 or on iTunes