Rating 3/5 – So, Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2 really leaned hard on those mommy/daddy issues, huh? That’s not hard to understand, family issues are relatable story tropes and a lot of what happened this season did organically arise from things that happened last season. Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2 was all about family, at least family as described by Dominic Toretto before or after a Fast and Furious action scene. In the midst of mommy issues and daddy issues and family issues, and identity issues – you get the idea – we had the creation of villains. If you want a reason to watch Marel’s Luke Cage Season 2 all the way through it’s the build-up to an interaction between mother and daughter that adds a level of horror to the last season revelation you’re not sure if you should have seen it coming or not. Because Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2 wears it’s subtext as text weaved right into the fabric of the story with the undertones of a Liberace jacket. And hey, we got a Power Man & Iron Fist moment that actually worked despite Finn Jones, so that was fun.
Every type of entertainment becomes an internal battle between flaws vs good stuff, and we all decide how we regard them depending on how much the good can outweigh the flaws. Not to mention the unspoken agreement with the circle of Pop Culture pundits that TV has reached a level on par to well-made movies. (Hey, Netflix, you’re one of the reasons the bar got set so high in the first place.) In the case of Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2, we have a show in its middle stage that both built off the last season while laying the groundwork for next season and it all totally fucking ROCKED. I disagreed with the persistent overuse of the N-Word, but I’ll get on that soapbox again in an IMO post. And before I go into the details of what makes this show so great I’m going to mention that it’s high time Disney and Marvel got that asshole Perlmutter in line because there comes a time that trying to pretend this is not a connect universe is irritating as shit Other than that there’s a bit to discuss Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2, so let’s get on with it.
Fathers, Mothers, Sons, and Daughters
If nothing else we have to give Luke Cage Season 2 props for building off the plot and characters set up in season one. And boy did they build off of them. We get to meet Luke Cages Father, played by the late Reg E. Cathey who was one of the masters of character acting. In this season we get to meet Black Mariah’s daughter, Tilda who kinda deserves her own section because who she’s shaping up to be is a real hoot next season and if she decided to go full blown monologuing villain. .well, who could blame her? This wasn’t a simple relationship between sons and father, this was the nuclear family put on display then given a bit Shonda Rhimes sprinkled in to keep things interesting. Every relationship both adds to the plot and figures into every decision made after by the final episode. That was some pretty good writing and directing.
Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2 Villain
In 1988 Steven Segal made a splash on the popular B Action movie craze that defined way too much of 1980’s pop culture with a little dumb but fun movie called Above the Law. It was fun for its time, absolutely does not hold up and set Segal on a course to rival Schwarzenegger who was kicking plenty of box office ass with his growing list of B-Action movies. His next movie, Hard Target was just as good and there was a hope that the name Segal would mean at least a fun time at the movies. Then came Marked for Death, and the main villain of Marked for Death was a Jamaican crime boss sadly named “Screwface.” Play by Basil Wallace who went on to be a “guy that was in that thing” for most of his career. But Screwface was laughed at by everyone and his Jamaican accent thought to be fake as shit. Here’s the funniest part, Basil Wallace is a native-born Jamaican so the problems with his dialogue is more about the script than anything he actually did. And what does this have to do with Luke Cage Season 2?
In the comics, Bushmaster adds up to about an F-list villain you only remembered when they bothered to bring him up and forgot with the next story. In Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2 they decided to make Bushmaster more closely tied to Black Mariah and painted his life around the traditions and culture of Jamaican people with a very clear connection to Mariah’s family, especially her father. It did make for some interesting conversation about the relationship and differences between Blacks who emigrate from the islands and those born here because of slavery. He wasn’t Michael B. Jordan but they did make him more than just a one-note villain and his motivations were driven by his relationship with his mother and family. He was also the catalyst that took Black Mariah from “ho-hum” bad woman to full-blown Hannibal Lector meets Walter White. And the source of his power needs to be discussed.
Here’s a fun fact, Nightshade started out as a Captain America villain. And if you think in Luke Cage Seasons 2 she was just the magic flower that gave Bushmaster his powers, you’re both very right and seriously wrong. Dr. Tilda Johnson is one of the geniuses in the Marvel universe who started out a villain and whether she’s a doctor is arguable, but everyone has pointed out she’s a genius. She’s currently reformed and finds herself helping some of Marvel’s newer villains. In Luke Cage Season 2 she is Black Mariah’s daughter trying to find the truth of a mother she’s never had a good relationship with. And when she gets the truth . . . well, that’s one of those moments so worth waiting for. It totally connects to the events of last season and leaves both characters changed. It one of the best as well as the most tragic scenes in the movies.
Alfre Woodard has one of the most eclectic careers in acting and you can find her in almost every important movie or TV show in every decade since the 1970’s. With the acceptation of an Academy Awards to list the awards, this woman has won would take a post all itself. So when you hear she’s playing any character at all, you’re expecting something awesome and her turn as Black Mariah/Mariah Dillard/Mariah Stoke better get at least an Emmy nod if not the win, because she’s the MVP of Luke Cage Season 2. This was a woman who’d give Vincent D’Onofrio a run for his money, and a Kingpin vs Black Mariah war would have been something to see. If there’s one solid reason to watch Luke Cage Season 2, it’s Alfre Woodard. Oh, and the relationship between her and Shades came off as creepy as shit.
Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2: Misty Knight Redux
As I said in my Luke Cage Season 1 review, Simone Missick was perfectly cast as Misty Knight, and frankly, I’m glad they dropped the whole “romance with Danny” thing that has been a staple of the comics since the 1970’s. Misty Knight is one of comic’s greatest badasses, ex-cop and now a private detective. Sometimes a mercenary. (If you have not read the classic Nextwave: Agents of Hate then you need to pick that shit up yesterday. There’s also the equally fun Daughters of the Dragon, and Her turn as the head of Heroes for Hire – even though that last one had a plot twist that was. . . well, it’s comics. Luke Cage Season 2 gave us that badass with the bionic arm and when the arm kicked into action and she realized it was more than just a prosthetic but also an offensive and defensive weapon, shit got AWESOME real fast. Kudos Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2, you did the fan-service proud on that one.
Luke Cage Season 2 is a total binged watch, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. Without the need for a lot of set-ups the showrunners simply started off from the sprint from the 1st season and just let everything happen as organic continuations of what was already set-up. The action was well spaced out except in some places it could have used a few more budget dollars. Good acting, better use of 13 episodes and an ending that is either a rip-off or homage for one of the most famous gangster movies on the planet. And it’s obviously the set-up for season 3 which I hope has more Power Man and Iron Fist.