Luke Cage S:01 E:05

Episode Title: Just to get a Rep
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

lukecage-rep-funeral

We are gathered here today at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in the heart of Harlem to mourn and celebrate the home-going of Henry “Pop” Hunter. A former criminal who got his nick name not from being a great father but from the sound his fists made when he would beat up someone. Stopping at former criminal would be a major disservice to a man that evolved and became much more than he used to be. He became a small business owner, a community leader and a savior to many young men and women who may have been claimed by gangs and violence without the safety of his shop. He became a man whose death could fill a room with criminals, their victims and the police who are trying to bring them down but they will forget all that for a while to join in remembrance of a great man.

claire-is-back

Claire has finally made her appearance in her fourth Marvel series. After the events at the end of Daredevil season 2, she has come home to visit her mother and discuss what she should do next with her life now that she left the hospital. Comic book fans will know what her future holds; it will be interesting to see how far the Netflix shows take her on the path of the Night Nurse. She has not seen Luke since the end of Jessica Jones but now that he is all over the news it is only a matter of time before they reunite. Our introduction to her in this series shows how much she has grown since we first met her in Daredevil season 1, at that time she was a great nurse who did not want to be involved in much outside of the hospital doors. In this episode, she steps off the train and is promptly mugged. Instead of surrendering to the fact that she will have to call and cancel her credit cards and try to remember everything she needs to replace, she chooses to give chase, and kick his ass when she catches him. She is very interesting because she does not play a huge role in most of these seasons but we get to see how each one affects her little by little. It is an interesting dynamic for this universe that I quite like, but I also would not mind having Rosario Dawson on screen more, because she is a good actress.

new-look

One of my favorite things about this episode is the nod to the current costume Luke wears in the comics. Last week we saw his original costume and now his latest and I have to say I greatly prefer this one, even if I do not love the shirt. I wonder if he will stay in the suit or go back to the hoodie that he has worn in most episodes. Since everyone is learning about him, the hoodie will be pointless if its purpose was to make him more anonymous. Mike Coulter has come out to say that the hoodie was used so frequently in homage to Trayvon Martin. I am sure all of you remember what happened to Trayvon and how he was deemed suspicious for being black and wearing a hoodie in George Zimmerman’s neighborhood. Mike and the rest of the cast and crew want to show that clothes actually don’t make the man because within that hoodie can be a villain or a hero, you have to judge them based on their actions not their appearance.

My least favorite aspect of the show so far is the cinematography. I cannot tell if it is filmed the way it is to make the city feel more alive, as if it is breathing and moving like all the people who populate it. I think it does accomplish that to a degree but it also feels very amateurish as well. It looks like someone inexperienced, which Manuel Billeter is not, shot it, or that there was a much lower budget than there actually was. Billeter also shot Jessica Jones which did not have this feel at all so I am left to believe that it was a stylistic choice if not a budget constraint. I am also reluctant to blame the director for this episode because Marc Jobst is a long time Netflix and TV director who shot the best episode of Daredevil season 2, New York’s Finest. I love the story but if they could have cut it down from 13 episodes by 1-3, they would have had a lot more money to spend on camera work and visual effects.

raise-on-up

The CGI was another low point, for me, in this episode when Luke picks Zip up by his throat; it is almost distractingly bad in the wide shots. The poor placement of Luke’s hand on his chin and the obvious rigging removal diminished what should have been a great scene.

Now that Shades has finally recognized Luke, and Cottonmouth has declared war I am excited to see what the next episode brings and who will win the next battle. So far, Luke is a mile ahead but with the promise of new weapons coming into Cottonmouth’s hands the tide could quickly turn for Harlem’s newest hero.

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