Cheo Hodari Coker
Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Dennis, Mustafa Shakir
June 22, 2018
Summary for Moms:
After the events of The Defenders, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) has returned to Harlem and continues his crusade to clean up its streets, with the help of Misty Knight (Simone Missick). Meanwhile, Ex-Councilwoman and Current Criminal Scum Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) has also returned to Harlem and, with the help of Shades (Theo Rossi) and her estranged daughter Tilda (Gabrielle Dennis) attempts to resurrect her empire. Meanwhile, Luke’s father (Reg E. Cathy), returns to Harlem, sparking old disputes between him and Luke. What both Luke and Mariah don’t know is that a new player has taken to the streets of Harlem. John “Bushmaster” McIver (Mustafa Shakir) has set his sights on Harlem’s throne and intends to fulfill a grudge against the Dillard family to get it.
After the back half of Season 1, Luke Cage had nowhere to go but up. And Season 2 is a big, if not perfect, improvement. Free from the shackles of Diamondback, the focus of Season 2 shifts to the Dillard family, as Mariah, Shades and the whole crew return to Harlem or, as my mom said: “everyone is back in the business.” But the Dillard family’s generational misdeeds come back to haunt them in the form of Mustafa Shakir’s Bushmaster.
Bushmaster, while no Cottonmouth, is far and away the best part of this season. Although he suffers from having pretty much the same powers as Luke Cage. My mom was surprised that “he [was] bulletproof too”, but I didn’t want to go into detail on the differences between “bulletproof” and “bullet resistance” which I think just mincing words.
Luke, on the other hand, is on his own journey, as the writers attempt to shift his character from the upstanding, taciturn Luke of the past to a more angry, frustrated version that skews a little closer to comic book Luke. This didn’t really work for me, since Mike Colter seems too nice a guy to pull it off, but my mother was indeed worried when he started taking his anger out on Claire. She was upset and said “he was going in the wrong direction.”
The plot is whirlwind of gangland violence that Luke, once again, gets caught up in. It’s compelling enough to serve as a passable story with the focus really on Bushmaster’s thirst for revenge and Mariah’s thirst for power and control, but is ultimately not very memorable.
What is memorable are some of the great fight scenes between Luke and Bushmaster, as well as the segments where they team up near the end. Mariah’s brutal burning of Anasi and her killing of sweet old Alex the aide also surprised my mom, and myself as well. The burning is pretty graphic.
By the end of the series, Luke is offered control of Harlem’s Paradise, which he initially turns down, which delighted my mom. However, eventually, in order to fill the power vacuum in Harlem, Luke’s shift of character does its full 180, and he takes over Harlem’s Paradise, which left my mom disappointed. Luke, though, seemed pretty set on ruling Harlem with an iron fist.
Speaking of which, my mom’s absolute favorite part of the show was when her favorite character shows up. She expressed interest in a Heroes For Hire show, as she thought Luke Cage would have been much better if he joined up. Here’s hoping.
Mom Rating (Out of Five):
- My mom often bemoaned the “greed of money hungry people” that snakes its way through this season.
- She really liked Danny Rand’s new haircut.
- On Luke: “Be a good king. Don’t be a bad king. Be a wise kind. I hope he does good.”
- Simone Missick’s Misty didn’t make it into the above review, just she was fantastic as usual. My mom especially loved her team up with Colleen.
- Guys, don’t do an homage to the last scene of the Godfather in anything unless you’re parodying it. It just invites the comparison to something that will always be infinitely better.