After the events of The Defenders, Harlem's favorite hero returns in a much different way than we last saw him.
(WARNING: Some spoilers for Marvel's Defenders and Luke Cage Season 1 will follow in the article!)
As we have already seen, Luke has been exonerated of all of his accused crimes and is free to be the hero of his neighborhood. Not just a hero, but a hero that doesn't wear a mask. Not only does this make him unique to his contemporaries who either hide their identity (or in Jessica Jones' case, don't want to be a hero), it puts him in a unique position of celebrity.
(Photo credit: David Lee/Netflix)
We've seen this kind of attention and how it affects heroes in the past. Usually we are talking about young heroes, who don't have the maturity to deal with their new found fame. While Luke doesn't fit that model, he certainly struggles with this early on in Season 2. Where before he was keeping the people of Harlem safe as a mysterious good samaritan, now he is all over YouTube and making personal appearances. It may seem like a small change, but it leads us to see a very different Luke Cage than we have been seeing since he debuted in Season 1 of Jessica Jones.
This leads him to change his approach, and it also affects his relationships in a way that you may not expect. There's a frustration, and almost a lack of focus at times, that you wouldn't expect from a hero who is literally (and sometimes figuratively) bulletproof. How Luke struggles with his own life and perspective is one of the best parts of the first episodes of this season.
Just when you think we're done talking about change, enter Mariah Dillard. We have seen in trailers and from other information that has surfaced about the show, that she is going "legit". I can not stress those quotes enough because, let's face it, she's still Mariah. You can see that quite easily in the final trailer that was released not too long ago:
Without spoiling anything, I actually felt like this made Mariah MORE of a threat than she was last season. I think it's because we think we know who she is and what she is. You do see her reconnect with her daughter in that same trailer, but it almost made me feel sorry for the daughter. One thing I also found interesting was her relationship with Shades. I won't go into too much detail, just in case you're trying to avoid all spoilers, but it is very different this time around for the two of them. Given that fact, as I continue to tip-top over spoiler territory, it also opens the door to a whole new set of potential problems that may surface in the rest of this season. Not only does the presence of the daughter change the dynamic, then you have Bushmaster.
There have been some very good villains in the Marvel Netflix realm, but just in the first 5 episodes this season, I feel like he may be the most unique. He has multiple motives, he's strong and he has a very unique fighting style. Every time I saw Bushmaster on screen, I was completely locked in. He draws your attention so much, and absolutely commands every scene that he is in. There is a confrontation between he and Luke Cage in these first few episodes that will absolutely blow you away. The Marvel Netflix series also do a good job at diving in the backstory of the villain, and it seems like we get to scratch the surface of that a bit with Bushmaster early on. I cannot wait to see more of what's coming from him, especially after his first meeting with Mariah.
(Photo Credit: David Lee/Netflix)
There so many other storylines to keep you intrigued, that Luke Cage Season 2 never makes you feel like there is a wasted moment in the first 5 episodes. I haven't even started talking about Misty Knight, and her struggle in returning to the force after losing her arm in The Defenders. I may actually devote a whole article to that next week, so I can discuss it with a few spoilers. We also have the relationship between Luke and Claire, the return of Luke's father and so many other things to discuss that I could really go on forever here. While Luke Cage Season 2 is not perfect, it certainly adds more intrigue to the story and sends it in a direction that promises not to disappoint. After just 5 episodes, I find myself thinking about and interested in the path of multiple characters. That, to me, is the biggest compliment that I can give a show. Marvel's Luke Cage Season 2 should already have your attention, but if it doesn't, I'm confident you'll change your mind after seeing these first few episodes.
Watch Marvel's Luke Cage Season 2 starting Friday, June 22nd on Netflix. You can also click here to start watching.