Thursday, September 20, 2018

What I’m Watching: Luke Cage (Season Premiere)

Luke Cage: Season 2, Episode 1 “Soul Brother #1” (B+)

I know I’m more than three months behind in getting to this show, but what a premiere! I appreciated the first season even though I didn’t find it to be nearly as good as the Marvel Netflix series that first introduced this character, “Jessica Jones.” I’m pleased to report that this episode represented a very strong start for this cycle, one that firmly established Luke Cage as a particular type of hero. His name is well-known, as are his abilities. He’s seen as the protector of, if not the embodiment of, Harlem, and he’s determined to clean up the streets. Drugs being bagged and sold with his name stamped on them represent just the latest attempt to tarnish his reputation, and if his biggest problem if having the police admonish him for working apart from them rather than with them, he’s doing pretty well. I like that he decided to embrace the omnipresent publicity and challenge anyone who wants to mess with him to come at him, but I worry that he’s not prepared for his newest foe, who is a bit subtler than but just as dangerous as Diamondback. I like that Claire asked him “What’s my name?” while they were in bed together, mocking his new reputation. The casting of the late Emmy winner Reg E. Cathey from “House of Cards” as his father, an unsupportive preacher, is great, and transforming Shades and Mariah into the main villains following Cottonmouth’s death makes a lot of sense too. Even Misty is still holding it together after having to adjust to her life-changing injury. I’m eager to see where this show full of great music and great style goes in its second season, which I’ll be making my way through over the next few months.

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