Action Crime

TV Review: Season Two of ‘Luke Cage’ Delivers a Knockout Second Round

June 20, 2018Ben MK

If you're a superhero like Iron Man, it's safe to say that money isn't a concern. But what if you're a working class defender of the people like Luke Cage? As he's told in the season two opener, "Just because you're a woke superhero don't mean you gotta be a broke superhero."

Directed by Lucy Liu, the season two premiere of Luke Cage finds Harlem's own bulletproof hero at the top of his game. Criminals live in fear of him, while the everyday citizens of his neighborhood adore him. But if there's one thing that Luke (Mike Colter) has yet to figure out, it's how to monetize his heroic enterprise. Sure, the free coffee is kind of cool, but when everyone wants a piece of him — whether it's the bad guys who want to kill him, or his fans who want a selfie with him — is there anything wrong with trying to earn a living doing what he does best?

Enter Bushmaster, a character that debuted within the pages of Iron Fist Vol. 1 #15, played here by Mustafa Shakir. True to his comic book counterpart, Bushmaster possesses superhuman strength and invincibility, making him a formidable match for Luke himself. And with crime boss Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) looking to get out of the gun business and go legit, the stage is set for an epic power struggle — with Harlem caught in the middle.

Returning for season two are a slew of familiar faces, including Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Luke's headstrong and level-headed girlfriend, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, the no-nonsense cop who's willing to sacrifice it all for the greater good, and Ron Cephas Jones as Bobby Fish, Luke's manager and one of his closest confidantes, not to mention Theo Rossi as the poker-faced Shades, Mariah's right-hand man, business partner and lover. But as with season one, it's the relationships between these characters that really makes the show tick.

From the standoffish position Luke takes with his estranged, preacher father, James (the late Reg E. Cathey, in one of his final roles), to Mariah's attempt to reconcile with her estranged daughter, Tilda (Gabrielle Dennis), which is driven by ulterior motives, to the toll being a superhero takes on Claire and Luke's relationship, there's no shortage of drama to go along with the show's oftentimes brutal and graphic depictions of violence.

With Black Panther and Black Lightning stepping up to challenge Luke Cage for the urban superhero crown, season two has its work cut out for it. Nonetheless, showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and the creative minds behind the show prove they're more than up to the task, making this the most knockout season of Luke Cage thus far.

Luke Cage: Season Two begin streaming on Netflix June 22nd, 2018.

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