Luke Cage S:01 E:13

Episode Title: You Know My Steez 
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

The final episode of Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage You Know My Steez is finally upon us. I think if the show followed, a typical naming convention for its episodes that this one could have been called Old Beginnings because almost everything is back to the way it was before the events of episode 1. We lost fan favorite characters like Pop and Cottonmouth among many others, but those that survived, while changed, are back where they began. Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:13

Advertisements

Luke Cage S:01 E:12

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.

method-man

Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:12

Luke Cage S:01 E:11

Episode Title: Now You’re Mine
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

The latest episode of the Marvel and Netflix collaboration may have been its best to date. With only two episodes to go, it is hard not to binge through to the end to experience everything they have planned.  Several aspects of this episode reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Die Hard. The episode features one man versus a team of armed gunmen, a psychotic leader that has no value for a life that is not his, and a mix of inept and trigger happy cops outside. Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:11

Luke Cage S:01 E:10

Episode Title: Take it Personal
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

The newest episode of Luke cage was close to being one of its best. A few moments of refrigerator logic aside, it was a good entertaining episode. The police want Luke and they want blood, willing to hurt innocent people and the people that consider Luke a friend in order to bring him in. Mariah is at the peak of her political power play game and Diamondback is as crazy and dangerous as ever. Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:10

Luke Cage S:01 E:07

Episode Title: Manifest
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

cottonmouth-mariah

The latest episode from Marvel and Netflix centers on my two favorite criminal cousins, and is full of shocking moments and missteps that will make Manifest an episode to remember.  It is unclear to me what the title is referencing, is it in relation to how being raised by Mama Mable would manifest it in Cornell and Mariah as adults? Alternatively, it could be related to conversation Shades had that led to the death of a major character, because after that the result is not too shocking.

lukecage-manifest-stokes

To me the first misstep is the importance Claire has been given in this series. While I really enjoy the character and Rosario Dawson brings out the best in Mike Colter, this was easily his best acting episode so far, she has too much to do too soon. She is lecturing Luke about who he should be and what he should do with knowing next to nothing about him. She is not a relative, a girlfriend she would barely qualify as a close acquaintance. Her big monologue of righteousness came before she knew his back-story, which we see him giving her in the final moments of the episode. You cannot know why people do things if you do not understand where they are coming from which she clearly did not at that moment. If Reva was still alive or if he continued his relationship from the first episode with Misty, she would have the place to say those things to him, so in the end, it was the right message but the wrong source.

bad-girl

The second misstep to me was the inclusion of a backstory that saw Mariah being molested by her uncle Pete. Before her major scene in this episode it was less than five words in a flashback, we had no time to appreciate what she may have gone through before her anger made her finally get her hands dirty. Something the young Cornell was not allowed to avoid, she would happily defend children in Harlem except for Cornell,  he was forced to kill a friend and then his Uncle to become a man in her eyes. She was a horrible Mama instead of nurturing his gift she turned him into the criminal that everyone is working for or trying to bring down. Child sexual abuse is such a serious topic I do not feel it should be used in such a throw away fashion. With six episodes left I highly doubt it will ever come up again, they just picked something that could cause a person a lot of trauma and grief and used it as motivation for her encounter with Cottonmouth. I am fine with the topic being used as motivation it should have just been given more screen time and maybe show her dealing with it well before he made his hurtful remarks. Most kids who are abused and seek help, never forget but move on and become normal well-functioning members of society not someone who would kill a person over the wrong statement.

lukecage-manifest-shot

The real highlight of this episode was the acting, everyone gave a strong performance even the characters we met for the first time in flash backs at Mama Mabel’s. Alfre Woodard was the strongest of the group with truly convincing performance with her anger at Cottonmouth. My favorite moment of the episode goes to Luke, with his comments about being tired of buying new clothes and asking a crime boss if they have a hoodie in 2X. In addition, this episode has made me excited for next week, now we know Luke can be hurt, and are left wondering if Claire will be able to save him. Well, duh, of course, he is not going to die but how will this change his approach to the fight that lies ahead. Diamondback, Domingo, and the NYPD are all going to be after him, who will be on his side, will he be forced to go into hiding after finally deciding to stay and fight.

 

Luke Cage S:01 E:06

Episode Title: Suckas Need Bodyguards
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

Episode 6 of Luke Cage could be titled Suckas Need a Plan or Suckas Need to Read a Book, but after what happened to the last person who liked to read it might be safer to mindlessly fight Luke repeatedly. How many times can you shoot someone, have the bullets bounce off him and then be smacked upside the head, before you figure out that plan is not going to work. Do they think they can get lucky or that Cottonmouth has bad aim when he shot a RPG at Luke and dropped a building on him?  I know criminals are not always the smartest people in the world but this seems like the kind of thing that they could understand. I hope going forward that the fight scenes will start to change and they try to poison him, drown him, set him on fire maybe try a car bomb or anything that is different than  a 45 in an alley or dimly lit room.

mariah

Other than a major arrest and the death of another main character, this episode was mostly filler with only about 10 minutes being worth telling. The rest of it was filled with Luke lamenting that he has changed and Mariah spouting the same pro Harlem stuff we hear in every episode, and then being hassled by a reporter over her criminal connections. I like her as a character but she is becoming overly repetitive, she only has three types of scenes so Far this season. First, she is schmoozing the public or media about how great she is and how magical Harlem is. Second, she is telling Cottonmouth that he could be so much more if he applied himself in different areas and not so focused on money and guns. Third, she yells at Cottonmouth about his tactics for handling Luke and how she wants and needs money. This episode introduced a fourth type of scene I’m sure we will see her in several times, the hassled by a reporter and calling for an assistant to get them away from her. She is a bad person with the sensitivities of a southern debutante, I would not be surprised to hear her say something like, and how dare you speak to me with such righteous indignation.

cage-and-claire

One good thing about this episode were the interactions between Claire and Luke. When Luke asked her if she wanted to get some “coffee” it was the best scene this season for Mike Colter in my opinion. He just felt more natural in that scene than he normally does. It was a genuine reaction when he normally feels like someone who is over thinking it and trying to act instead of just acting. I am excited to see how long Claire will be around she has already played a much bigger role than I anticipated. She was much needed in this episode too, because there was not much going on that was any different from what we have seen before.

luke-stops-suv

Overall, an OK episode with two important moments wrapped around a bunch of generic filler that I was mildly interested in and my wife called boring. This could be the start of a downward trend for the series but I have faith in the Marvel and Netflix team that next week will be something special. I am hopeful that it will not take long for us to get to the Luke and Misty confrontation after it has all been laid out on the table the kind of things he is capable of doing. She has never seen it first-hand always after the fact and had to wonder how things happened and does it look like what it could be. Now she knows he is more powerful than a speeding SUV and able to leap from a fourth story window with the greatest of ease and things are going to come to a head now that he will be hew main focus.

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. Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:05

Luke Cage S:01 E:04

Episode Title: Step in the Arena
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

The fourth episode of Luke Cage takes us back to the man’s origin and reveals multiple surprises about his past. The bulk of the show takes place in the past but it is juxtaposed to a situation that finds Luke and Connie in a tight spot just like Luke was while doing time at Seagate Prison. One of the biggest surprises is that Luke Cage is not his real name; he is actually Carl Lucas former police officer and member of the military.

lukecage-arena-crownNot only did this episode explore the backstory for Luke, as we know him it also hinted at his comic book origin as well. We got to see him in his original costume from when he debuted in 1972, and as Luke himself said, he looked like a damn fool. Don’t worry I won’t forget about the swear jar, I’m just a little light on cash right now. There are three bright spots to this episode make it entertaining even if it does drag a little at times.

Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:04

Luke Cage S:01 E:03

Episode Title: Who’s Gonna Take the Weight
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016

Episode 3 begins the day after the climatic ending of the second episode that saw Pops die and Chico be sent to the hospital. We find the Harlem community in shock due to the loss of Pop and what he and his business meant to so many people. Luke is out for revenge because he believes Cottonmouth broke his word and put all of them at risk and Luke is finally ready to take the fight to him. Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:03

Luke Cage S:01 E:02

Episode Title: Code of the Streets
Originally Aired: September 30th 2016


Reviewing a show that airs on Netflix is a lot different that writing about a show that is made by almost any other company. Its episodes are dropped all at once, so on September 30th you could have spent 13 hours, watched every second of the show, and not have to worry about tuning in for an hour each of the next 12 weeks. While you can avoid hearing specific spoilers about the show, keeping the suspense that the creators of the show hoped to provide almost 100% pure, it is much harder to avoid the general talk about the show. Is the show a hit, and even if it is, what are peoples biggest complaints and what did the viewers tend to enjoy. I want to address a couple of those complaints at the start of this article because I think it is important and because I completely disagree with them. Continue reading Luke Cage S:01 E:02