Diamondback is the worst kind of villain – a vengeful one.

And when episode eight of “Luke Cage” kicks off, we finally get to meet the mysterious and shadowy figure behind Cottonmouth and Shades. Turns out old Diamondback (played by Erik LaRay Harvey, “Boardwalk Empire”), aka Willis Stryker, used to be Luke’s childhood friend. But when the two were accused of a crime, Luke got off scot-free and Willis did the time.

Marvel's Luke Cage
Marvel’s Luke Cage

But the pain runs much deeper for Diamondback. He is hell bent on killing Luke with his Judas bullets because – and we don’t learn this until the end of the installment – Diamondback is actually Luke’s illegitimate brother and Luke’s dad was quite the man whore.

OK, so daddy didn’t love you like he loved Luke. Why do you have to destroy Harlem and give Misty a bad case of PTSD? It took eight episodes but we’ve finally seen Misty crack. She’s human after all. When she gets raw with Claire, the ish is crazy and fun to watch. Game recognizes game. But in the end, it nearly costs Misty her job.

A hat tip also goes to Harvey as Diamondback in this episode. He enraged us as Chalky’s nemesis Purnsley on “Boardwalk Empire” and he’s bigger, badder and more hateful on “Luke Cage.” After this, Harvey really should consider playing an altruistic priest. You know, just to shake things up.

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Marvel's Luke Cage
Marvel’s Luke Cage

Other noteworthy moments include Candace lying to the police about seeing Luke kill Cottonmouth – she’s a horrible liar – Misty confronting Mariah and Candace, Shades calling Mariah a “sexy, dominating bitch we all love to hate” and the moment Misty’s boss, Inspector Ridley (Karen Pittman, “The Americans”), gets buddy buddy with her sorority sister Mariah. This of course prompted Misty to say, “I was about to put her on blast before you let your soror skee-wee on out of here.”


Random questions and observations: Is it just us or does it seem like Shades is feeling himself a little too much now that Cottonmouth is dead? That scene where Claire and Luke dig in his wound is super gross and super hard to watch, no? Was Misty really going to try and arrest Luke after they were all getting shot at? Really? Sometimes Mariah’s wig is tight. Other times? Uh, no. Wasn’t Diamondback’s line about Luke’s type of woman having “frizzy hair and a tight frame” hilarious? But for the record, Diamondback, Misty’s hair is far from frizzy. Humph.

What did you think of the eighth installment of “Luke Cage” titled “Blowin’ Up the Spot”? 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