Episode Title: Soliloquy of Chaos
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016
The penultimate episode of Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage is upon us and it did not disappoint. From a great celebrity cameo by Method Man to multiple double crosses and a gang war, I was entertained from start to finish. As most of you probably know each episode this season has been titled after a Gang Starr song, I had to bring it up this time because if you just look at the title it doesn’t make much sense. Yes, the song is terrible, and it is a poor title because it is hard to cause chaos when you are alone, but if you listen or read the final verse of the song, you see that it is about retaliation and a circle of violence that can apply to this episode.
This episode felt like a strong response to the Treyvon Martin case from Florida. Just like in real life how people were wearing hoodies to show unity with him, they wore bullet hole riddled hoodies to show support with Luke. I can understand how some people would be upset with this episode and the multiple times it brings up the teenager and the difficulty and mistrust the black community is having with police throughout the country. That however is the point of a message or a protest, to make things uncomfortable and to force you to listen. Yes, they have cost themselves some viewers with the stance they have taken and that is a shame, but they have also helped others grow and learn and that will always be the best path.
After all this time, Diamondback’s motivation continues to be making himself more like Luke; if he cannot be more like Luke, then he will make Luke more like him, which is where everything started. He went to Jail, so he framed Luke and had Luke sent to prison, where he tried to kill Luke the first time. Now that Luke is back with abilities he has been doing everything he can to make Luke more Like him, He developed the Judas bullets that can kill Luke like any other man. When that did not seem to be enough he finally unveiled a super suit that will make him stronger and bulletproof, unless someone aims for his face.
Shades did not stay locked up for long and now that he is out, he has a new partner, Mariah. They are not happy with recent developments and are willing to change their loyalties to reach an end that benefits them most. Shades motivation is much more understandable, he was betrayed so he is out for vengeance; while Mariah just does not like being bullied, she prefers being the bully. I hope that shades will survive the final confrontation in next week’s episode so he can come back in season 2, maybe embracing his comic book origins and have a visor that shoots energy blasts. I think that level of tech may still be too advanced for this world but I will keep hoping until I see a cast list for next season. I do not think Mariah will be back next season, she is not a smooth enough criminal to sneak away with Misty gunning for her and she will be irrelevant in the community without all the money from Cottonmouth or Diamondback.
The last two episodes may be the best of the season, a different director directed them each, and the same is true about the finale next week. I hope that he will be able to continue this upward trend as the action is set to hit its peak. The way the cinematography has changed throughout the season is hard to understand how it could bounce from amateurish to highly professional. I can only conclude that it was intentional, that the various directors ask for certain angles and shot profiles and the cinematographer does his job. I hope that going into season 2 they will work with the directors on not only a unified story but also a cohesive visual style. I know that will make the job less interesting to directors because it will give them less control so the solution will continue be, to go after talented new directors that need the exposure more than they need total control.